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Education

Can You Major In Anatomy

By David Krug 11 minute read

How many times around the Earth’s equator may an adult’s blood arteries travel? Or the fact that the typical human heart beats over 3,300,000 times in a lifetime.

Sniffing up to one liter of saliva per day is not uncommon for the ordinary person. Alternatively, how many odors can the human nose identify?

The human body is something we all own and utilize every day of our lives, but only a small percentage of the population realizes just how amazing and intricate the human body really is.

People who are captivated with the human body, from cells to systems, may choose to pursue a formal education in anatomy and physiology.

This field is everything about the human body, including its components, how it functions, and even what may go wrong with it.

Students in an anatomy and physiology curriculum study the many components of the body and how they interact in the classroom, laboratories, and out in the field.

With a foundation in Anatomy & Physiology, students can pursue careers in everything from physical therapy and massage to nursing and pediatrics.

This field of study may be used in a wide number of healthcare positions, whether you’re inclined to the technical focus of lab work or the human touch of therapy services.

Job opportunities in the healthcare field are many, pay well, and offer the personal gratification of making a difference in the lives of others.

Learn more about degrees in anatomy and physiology if you’re intrigued about the human body and want to make a difference in people’s lives by improving their health.

Continue reading to find out more about anatomical and physiological degree programs, classes, and professions.

What is the distinction between Anatomy and Physiology?

The terms anatomy and physiology are sometimes used interchangeably by the general public. Although they both deal with aspects of human biology, it is true that they both have a lot in common.

However, the definitions of these two complementary biological disciplines differ slightly:

Anatomy. is a study of how and why the human body works. Studies of the tissues and organs that can be seen with the naked eye are included in gross anatomy including cardiology, the study of the heart, and nephrology, the study of the kidneys.

Microscopic anatomy, on the other hand, deals with the study of those parts of the body that cannot be viewed with the naked eye such as cytology, the study of cells and histology, the study of tissues

Physiology. is the study of biological systems and their role in the human body as a whole. This comprises the chemistry and physics of the physical structures of the human body.

The study of how the body’s systems maintain homeostasis, or a steady equilibrium of circumstances that indicate healthy functioning, lies at the heart of physiology.

What is a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy and Physiology?

When it comes to learning about the human body, anatomy and physiology degrees are unmatched. This includes its structure and function from a medical and health standpoint.

Students who complete an anatomy and physiology degree will have a thorough understanding of the physiology and development of our bodies as well as the underlying causes, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

Anatomy and physiology students may expect to learn about areas such as cell biology, embryology, cardiology, and neurology. 

Learn about how aging affects the brain and body, the role of heredity in health, how exercise affects the muscles or the effectiveness of immunizations in keeping people healthy.

Stem cell treatment, gene therapy, and cell cloning are just a few of the cutting-edge anatomical and physiologic issues that students may be introduced to.

Even though there are graduate-level programs in anatomy and physiology including the master’s and doctoral levels, the bulk of undergraduate degrees in the field are conferred.

Having a degree in anatomy and physiology gives you a solid foundation in the general science of the human body, making it ideal for pursuing a career in medicine or healthcare. 

Pre-medical degrees in anatomy and physiology are a common path for those who want to become physical or occupational therapists.

Pre-med is a common designation for students who want to pursue a career in medicine, although it is not a recognized academic discipline.

Medical school admissions are open to anybody with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, including philosophy and English. 

These are a few of the possibilities:

  • One Year of Biology with lab work
  • One Year of General Chemistry with lab work
  • One Year of Organic Chemistry with lab work
  • One Year of Physics with lab work
  • One Semester Biochemistry

Most medical school candidates majored in biology in college, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMCC).

In addition to biology being a great pre-med major, a bachelor’s degree in anatomy and physiology might be an even better alternative as well. 

An anatomy and physiology program normally includes all of the aforementioned requirements, as well as subjects like gross anatomy, which are part of a standard first-year medical school program.

As a result, students will have an academic advantage while entering medical school and will be better prepared to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) (MCAT).

A degree in anatomy and physiology isn’t as common as a degree in biology, medical technology, kinesiology, nursing, or other more particular and well-established degrees.

A degree in anatomy and physiology often requires a more extensive search to locate a school that fits one’s needs.

What Courses Am I Required to Take for an Anatomy and Physiology Degree?

Anatomy and physiology is as pure a degree as you can get, emphasizing systems, data, technology, and research abilities in the process.

Human evolution, human development, genetics, kinesthesiology, and pathology will all be covered in your study. New fields of study will be introduced, including genetics in medicine and stem cell research.

Many of your classes may need you to work in the lab. This may include dissecting cadavers or particular organs. In order for students to have a thorough understanding of the human body, it is critical that they engage in practical, hands-on exercises.

There are several physical and chemical features of the human body that affect how it functions. That implies you’ll need a thorough grasp of the physical and biological sciences in order to comprehend anatomy and physiology.

When doing measurements, gathering data, and conducting research you will require a strong knowledge of numbers. 

Anatomy and physiology students can expect to study the following courses as part of their education:

  • Introductory Biology
  • Introductory Chemistry
  • Elementary Physics
  • Calculus
  • Research Writing
  • Statistics
  • Experimental Design

With a strong focus on anatomical and physiological foundations, students will learn about more advanced topics like bioinformatics or genetic engineering in the context of the specialized profession of the anatomist courses in anatomies and physiology

  • Cell Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Systems Physiology
  • Human Nutrition Science
  • Principles of Biochemistry
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Gross Human Anatomy
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Cardiovascular Systems
  • Medical Ethics

Any degree program in anatomy and physiology will also contain electives, the bulk of which will be in the humanities and social sciences.

Selecting electives that allow you to narrow your focus on a particular demographic or area of medicine can be quite beneficial.

If you want to work in epidemiology or pediatrics, for example, you might want to take sociology or developmental psychology coursework.

What can I do with an Anatomy and Physiology Associate’s Degree?

Undergraduate degrees begin at the associate’s level and can serve as a springboard for further study at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

On a full-time basis, an associate’s degree program normally takes two years to finish. A bachelor’s degree in the same or a similar subject is a common goal for associate’s degree holders.

Even if you have a bachelor’s degree in biology or anatomy, you’ll still need post-graduate training and certification through testing.

Job growth rates for each of these occupations are expected to exceed the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Many jobs that need a bachelor’s degree may be found in these professions:

  • Personal trainer: $39,820 per year
  • Massage therapist: $41,420 per year
  • Nurse: $71,730 per year

What can I accomplish with an undergraduate degree in Anatomy and Physiology?

Half of those who graduate with a degree in anatomy and physiology go on to pursue careers in physical therapy or occupational therapy, according to the Guardian.

Physician’s assistants are another option for some. Other others decide on a career in exercise physiology, which entails helping people achieve their full potential by providing coaching.

If you want to get into the medical field, you’ll need to get your bachelor’s degree in an area like anatomy and physiology because it’s a pre-med degree.

Audiology, neurophysiology, and speech and language therapy are among the other medical and allied health areas that may be of interest. 

There is no better way to prepare for medical school than a bachelor’s degree in Anatomy and Physiology.

This degree gives students an in-depth knowledge of the body’s systems and functions, while also fulfilling the criteria for medical school including chemistry, mathematics, and research methodologies.

Medical occupations that begin with a bachelor’s degree in anatomical and physiologic sciences can be found in:

  • Public and private hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • In-home services

A bachelor’s degree in anatomy and physiology can lead to positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, such as clinical research associate, pharmacologist, scientific writer, medical sales, pharmaceutical sales, or research scientist.

While a bachelor’s degree can lead to entry-level work as research assistants in most of these professions, more study in a specific subject is required for senior roles.

In the private sector, you may be able to apply your knowledge and expertise. Graduates in STEM subjects, including computer science, banking, and accounting, have an advantage in the financial services industry because of their demonstrated proficiency in working with data and using analytical thought processes.

What Can I Do with a Doctorate in Anatomy and Physiology?

Graduate Prospects and the Higher Education Careers Services Unit found that 16.9% of 2009 anatomy and physiology graduates chose to continue their education.

Most of them decide to continue their education by earning doctorates in medical school or master’s degrees in subjects such as speech pathology in order to work in the medical profession.

For the most part, those who want to pursue advanced degrees in anatomy and physiology do so in order to work in academia or research in the field.

We can learn more about the human body and how it operates through these sectors, which might lead to new breakthroughs in the health care industry. 

It’s a no-brainer that these positions are critical to the advancement and personally rewarding, but they also pay well.

According to the Department of Labor, the average annual salary for university professors is $76,000, while the average annual salary for medical research scientists is $84,810.

A master’s degree in anatomy and physiology requires two years of full-time study and a lot of laboratory work and research.

To get a Ph.D., students must complete a dissertation, a substantial piece of original research that they must conduct, write about, and defend in front of an expert panel.

Can I earn an online degree in Anatomy and Physiology?

Anatomy and physiology degrees aren’t available online in any significant numbers. This is due in large part to the significance of hands-on laboratory experience in the study of the human body.

One of the most important aspects of learning anatomy and physiology is getting real-world experience viewing and dissecting the human body in the flesh.

As a result, an online-only bachelor’s degree program simply cannot provide a similar educational experience in its entirety.

Some colleges do offer online classes in anatomy and physiology as part of a more general degree program, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in biology.

Some of the coursework necessary for a degree in anatomy and physiology, such as statistics and chemistry, can also be completed online.

There are hybrid anatomy and physiology programs that allow students to take some of their needed coursework online, as well as specific schools’ policies on transferring online credits from other universities.

With a degree in Anatomy and Physiology, what is the job market like?

According to research by The Atlantic in 2018, the healthcare industry has overtaken manufacturing and retail as the greatest generator of jobs in the United States.

In 1960, the healthcare business in the United States was valued at $24.7 billion; now, it is worth $3.504 trillion dollars. 

As the baby boomer generation grows older, obesity rates rise, chronic diseases become more common, and medical advancements extend people’s lives, these factors have all led to an increase in the number of people seeking medical treatment and the associated costs.

And, as Deloitte has noted, the healthcare sector’s development is unlikely to slow down any time soon, since both demands for services and expenditures are expected to climb in the coming years.

That’s fantastic news for anyone looking for a job in the medical field. Those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in anatomy and physiology will have a leg up on their peers when it comes to finding work in the medical field. 

By 2030, the United States expects 40,800 vacant physician roles and 204,000 unfilled nursing postings, according to research from AMN Healthcare.

The healthcare sector is expected to increase at a rate of 18% between 2016 and 2026, much higher than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Some of the fastest-growing jobs include:

  • Physician Assistants. 37% job growth
  • Nurse Practitioners. 36% job growth
  • Physical Therapist Assistants. 31% job growth
  • Physical Therapists. 28% job growth
  • Massage Therapists. 26% job growth
  • Genetic Counselors. 29% job growth
  • Professors of Medicine/Healthcare. 26% job growth

With a lack of skilled practitioners, hospitals and clinics might offer competitive compensation in order to entice and keep the best workers.

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the yearly median salary for healthcare practitioners and technicians (including doctors, registered nurses, dental hygienists, etc.) was $66,440.

We should anticipate wages to rise as the need for healthcare practitioners and technicians continues to grow. 

The following are some of the current averages in the field of healthcare:

  • Physical Therapists: $87,930 per year
  • Obstetricians and Gynecologists: $208,000 per year
  • Orthodontists: $208,000 per year
  • Dentists: $156,240 per year
  • Nurse anesthetists: $167,950 per year
  • Registered Nurses: $71,730 per year
  • Athletic Trainer: $47,510 per year

An anatomy and physiology degree is a great way for students interested in medicine and healthcare to obtain a solid foundation in the discipline.

They may be inspired to pursue a profession in sports training or dentistry by their experiences in certain classes, labs, and internships.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining an Anatomy and Physiology degree?

Anatomy and physiology degrees are highly recommended for a variety of reasons. The most significant of these benefits are adaptability and job prospects. In terms of job opportunities, an anatomy and physiology degree is adaptable. 

With additional schooling or training on the job, you can pursue a career in exercise science, dentistry, research, biotechnology, or any number of roles in healthcare, medical science, or allied health professions.

The job market for these occupations is still another advantage. Whether on the technological, clinical, or scientific aspects of healthcare, positions are in high demand and likely to stay that way. 

In addition to high income and perks, positions in health and medicine are in high demand and pay well. Hospitals and other major businesses often provide the best compensation packages.

In contrast, a degree in anatomy and physiology has a variety of disadvantages. The primary disadvantages of this degree are the paucity of available programs and the absence of a distinct professional path.

Numerous colleges offer anatomy and physiology classes as part of their medical or biology departments, but very few offer degrees in anatomy and physiology alone.

And nearly no institutions offer anatomy and physiology degrees exclusively online thanks in part to the importance of hands-on lab work for these degrees. 

In order to enroll in an anatomy and physiology degree program, it will be necessary for students to search further afield and potentially relocate.

The absence of a defined job path is another possible disadvantage of this degree. Some pupils will enjoy that an anatomy and physiology degree might be utilized to enter a variety of medical and allied health professions.

Others, particularly those with a specific medical job in mind, such as nursing, may prefer a more focused pre-professional degree program.

David Krug

Author