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Office of Admissions
Kansas State University
119 Anderson Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-0102

785-532-6250

785-532-6393 fax
k-state@k-state.edu

The Pathway to your Health Career

Whether you are interested in a career in human or animal health, K-State is a great place to start the journey toward becoming a healthcare professional. K-State's pre-health students get started on the right path toward a health career by choosing from more than 250 academic majors/options and adding one of the following health professions designations:

  • Pre-Chiropractic
  • Pre-Dentistry
  • Pre-Health Information Management
  • Pre-Medicine
  • Pre-Nursing
  • Pre-Occupational Therapy
  • Pre-Optometry
  • Pre-Pharmacy
  • Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Pre-Physician Assistant
  • Pre-Respiratory Care
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Accessible, personalized health career advising

Health Professions Advising

You will have a health professions advisor to help you establish long-term academic plans that combine the prerequisites for application to professional schools with the requirements of the major you choose. Health professions advisors also help you navigate the professional school application process and discuss alternate degree or career options with you. In addition to your health professions advisor, you will also have an academic major advisor who helps you plan the sequencing of courses required to meet your degree requirements.

Experiential learning and undergraduate
research opportunities

Undergraduate Research

In addition to your coursework, K-State offers undergraduates the opportunity to get out from behind a desk to work in research laboratories. Undergraduate research opportunities offer real world, hands-on experiences and create pathways to connect directly with K-State researchers who are doing groundbreaking, scientific work. Research allows you to study topics of interest in greater depth and sharpen your analytical skills. These experiences will enable you to develop solid, long-standing relationships with research faculty. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry is a centralized resource to learn more about undergraduate research opportunities at K-State. 

Connections to highly regarded campus and
community health initiatives

Health Professions Connections

The university is centrally located within a community that supports learning beyond the classroom. Local professionals welcome our students for shadowing and volunteer experiences in Manhattan's local hospital, private practices, clinics and retirement communities. Students who volunteer at the Flint Hills Community Health Clinic have the opportunity to get shadowing experience and earn college credit. Additionally, K-State's Lafene Health Center and Veterinary Health Center both foster rich pre-professional experiences for dedicated students. KU Medical School students, many of whom completed undergraduate degrees at K-State, do clinical rotations at Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan.

Health professions involvement opportunities

Involvement opportunities

There are various ways to explore your future healthcare profession while at K-State, including mentorship programs in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Human Ecology, student organizations, and even residential and non-residential health professions communities (CAT Communities). Regardless of what path you choose, you'll have the opportunity to stay connected and build strong networks. 

Health Career Pathways

There are numerous careers in health care and a variety of pathways to take. Explore common career paths of K-State students below, and request information on our health professions programs to learn more.

Athletic training

Athletic trainers examine, diagnose, treat and provide rehabilitative care for persons with acute or chronic injuries and other medical conditions. They also provide preventive care. Athletic trainers work with physicians and other healthcare providers in caring for people of all ages. The job outlook for athletic trainers is good, and the average salary is $45,630, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some athletic trainers are self-employed, while others work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, sports centers, offices of physicians, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, professional sports teams, the military, law enforcement and with performing arts organizations.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway to become an athletic trainer

Currently, students may earn either a bachelor's degree or a master's degree in athletic training. However, the requirement for entry into the athletic training profession is moving from a bachelor's requirement to a master's degree requirement. Bachelor's degree programs will no longer be available after the fall semester of 2022. Once the profession has transitioned completely to the master's level, students may select any undergraduate degree as long as they complete the prerequisites of the programs to which they apply. Kansas State University currently offers a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and will begin offering the Master's degree in 2020, at which time students may choose to complete the bachelor's and master's degrees concurrently. Upon completion of the degree program, students are eligible to take the Board of Certification Examination (BOC). 

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Biomedical engineering

Biomedical engineers work at the intersection of engineering, the life sciences and healthcare. These engineers take principles from applied science (including mechanical, electrical, chemical and computer engineering) and physical sciences (including physics, chemistry and mathematics) and apply them to biology and medicine. Although the human body is a more complex system than even the most sophisticated machine, many of the same concepts that go into building and programming a machine can be applied to biological structures and diagnostic and therapeutic tools. The goal is to better understand, replace or fix a target system to ultimately improve the quality of healthcare. Biomedical engineers design instruments, devices and software used in healthcare; develop new procedures using knowledge from many technical sources; or conduct research needed to solve clinical problems. They frequently work in research and development or quality assurance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for biomedical engineers in line with other engineering fields and is expected to continue to grow; the median salary is $85,620.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway to become an athletic trainer

Students with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering usually take one of three career paths. Many will pursue jobs in the industry at companies that produce medical devices, software or related technologies. Some will pursue graduate degrees in biomedical engineering or related disciplines, while others will pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, etc.

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Chiropractic health

Chiropractors work to restore full functionality to their patients' muscular, nervous and skeletal systems using hands-on techniques such as spinal adjustments and manipulations. Chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery. The primary focuses of chiropractic care include nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons and how the connections among them relate to preserving and restoring health. Chiropractors work in cooperation with other healthcare providers when appropriate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for chiropractors is growing faster than average compared to most jobs, and the average annual pay is $67,520. Most chiropractors are self employed and work in either a group or solo practice.

Common academic majors

Students who choose to complete a degree may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway to become a chiropractor

Current Doctor of Chiropractic program (DCP) entrance requirements include the following:

  • Completion of at least three academic years of undergraduate study (90 semester hours) at an accredited U.S. institution or equivalent foreign agency.
  • A GPA of no less than a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for those 90 hours.
  • Completion of at least 24 semester hours of life and physical sciences courses with at least half including a substantive laboratory component. These courses will provide an adequate background for success in the DCP; completion of courses leading to a well-rounded general education program in the humanities and social sciences, and other coursework deemed relevant by the DCP for students to successfully complete the DCP curriculum.

An increasing number of chiropractic schools require completion of a bachelor's degree because that is required for licensure in many states.

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Dentistry

Dentists contribute to the general health and quality of patients' lives by relieving pain and providing oral care that is both preventive and restorative. Dentistry is primarily focused on maintaining proper oral health, but it also focuses on improving appearance, which can have an enormous, positive influence on people's lives. Dentists work with people of all ages and enjoy independence, good salaries and a flexible lifestyle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for dentists is increasing, and the median annual income is $159,770. Many dentists work in private practices either alone or in partnership with other dentists and own their own businesses. Some dentists work as faculty members in academia combining teaching, research, community service and patient care. Others work in public health, research, international healthcare organizations and hospitals. No matter the setting, dentists work in a team environment.

Common academic majors

Students may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway for dentists

A bachelor's degree prior to dental school admission is highly recommended. Dental schools are four-year programs leading to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree. Some dentists begin practicing immediately after completing a DDS or DMD degree. Others choose to complete a dental residency, either to gain advanced training as a general dentist or to become a specialist.

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Dietetics

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are trained in both clinical nutrition and food service management. Depending on their work setting, they may have clinical nutrition or food service management responsibilities and in some circumstances, both. They work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health organizations and programs, senior centers, food stamp programs, food service operations, food corporations, wellness programs for business and industry and as consultants in private practices. Depending on the work setting, dietitians may provide individual patient care, nutrition education for individuals and groups, teach and do research at universities, manage food service operations and personnel in hospitals, K-12 schools, universities, restaurants, or correctional facilities, or provide consulting services in either the clinical or food production and management arenas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for clinical RDNs is growing, and the average annual salary is about $60,000.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for registered dietitians

Entry into the Dietetics profession is moving from requiring a bachelor's degree to requiring a master's degree. At the present time, to become an RDN, students must follow the three steps outlined by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND):

  • Earn a bachelor's degree that meets ACEND academic requirements.
  • Complete a supervised practice (internship) experience in an ACEND-accredited program.
  • Sit for the National Registration Examination for Dietitians, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

The College of Human Ecology outlines the requirements in more detail.

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Health information management

Health information management (HIM) professionals gather, analyze, protect, maintain and manage both the electronic and traditional medical data needed to ensure quality patient care for individuals and groups. Although they do not work directly with patients, HIM professionals are vital members of the healthcare team who connect clinical, operational and administrative healthcare functions. They manage patient care data, create systems that streamline data sharing among healthcare providers, ensure appropriate reimbursement for healthcare services, evaluate the consistency and quality of patient care and ensure the privacy and accuracy of patient records. HIM careers are extremely versatile. Members of this profession hold positions in more than 40 job categories that include more than 200 job titles. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private and group healthcare practices, insurance companies, law firms, educational institutions and organizations involved with healthcare research and policy development. The need for HIM professionals is growing. Because job titles and responsibilities vary widely, so do salaries. Check the American Health Information Management Association salary survey for more information.

Common academic majors

At K-State, students may choose to complete two years of prerequisite work and then apply to bachelor level programs, or they may choose to complete a bachelor's degree at K-State and then apply to bachelor or master level programs. Those who choose to complete a bachelor's degree at K-State may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred.

Degree pathway for health information management professionals

There are a variety of health information management education options students may pursue, ranging from certifications to associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Prerequisites vary widely among programs. A bachelor's degree is the preferred education for entry into the profession.

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Medical laboratory science

Medical laboratory science (MLS) professionals work behind the scenes as healthcare detectives, uncovering and providing accurate lab data from the analysis of tissue, blood, urine and other body fluid samples. Their work helps identify drug abuse, bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, and other abnormalities that indicate the presence of disease. The results of their work are essential in helping healthcare providers diagnose, monitor and manage diseases and other health conditions, and prescribe appropriate treatment. Their work is important in medical research leading to new developments in detection and treatment of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, infectious diseases and many other conditions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for this profession is good, and jobs in this field are expected to grow faster than average, with a recent graduate starting salary of $50,000.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for medical laboratory science professionals

The Medical Laboratory Science curriculum requires the completion of 94 credit hours (basic requirements and major requirements) at K-State and then the completion of 30 hours of clinical training at one of two affiliated hospitals in Kansas City: North Kansas City Hospital or Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City. Both sites are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS). Admission into the clinical portion of the training is competitive, and acceptance is not guaranteed. Students are expected to have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in both overall coursework and the required science courses. After completion of all the requirements for the bachelor's degree in MLS, students are eligible to sit for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC).

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Medicine

There are two types of physicians in the United States: Allopathic physicians (MDs) and Osteopathic physicians (DOs). Both types of physicians are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients based on physical examinations and the results of a wide array of tests and other assessments. Physicians provide routine, preventive care and treat people who have sustained injuries or who have medical conditions that range from minor problems to severe, acute and chronic diseases. Both MDs and DOs order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, perform surgery and practice in a variety of specialty areas. Most physicians work as employees of hospitals, community health centers, or multidisciplinary group practices or in privately owned solo or group practices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for physicians is high and expected to continue to grow; the median salary is $208,000.

Common academic majors

Students may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway for medical doctors

Students must earn a bachelor's degree prior to admission to medical school. In addition to a bachelor's degree, students must also complete the core courses required by the medical schools to which they apply and score competitively on the MCAT. Strong applicants also shadow physicians in a variety of settings and are involved in community service.

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Nursing

Nursing is a very flexible health career offering employment opportunities in a wide range of work settings. Examples include hospitals, physician offices, long-term care facilities, community healthcare organizations, educational organizations, correctional facilities and homecare and hospice organizations. Nurses work in cooperation with all members of a healthcare team. They care for people of all ages, providing direct patient care such as observing, monitoring, and recording patients' conditions, administering medications, providing wound care, giving educational information and instruction, communicating with physicians and other care providers, directing and supervising nurse aides and providing general physical and emotional support to patients and their families and friends. They also work as educators, managers, researchers and administrators in non-clinical environments. There are numerous nursing specialties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for nurses is very good, and the need for nurses is expected to continue to grow. The average annual salary is $68,450.

Common academic majors

Students who choose to complete a K-State degree may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway for nurses

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) requires completion of either an associate degree (ADN) or a bachelor's degree (BSN). The preferred entry level into the profession is the BSN. At K-State, pre-nursing students may complete only the prerequisites (about 65 semester hours) for application to a traditional two-year BSN program, or they may complete a bachelor's degree at K-State and then apply to either a traditional or accelerated BSN program. Those who choose to complete a bachelor's degree at K-State are often better prepared for the rigor of nursing school.

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Occupational therapy

The American Occupational Therapy Association describes the work of occupational therapists (OTs) as "helping people do activities they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations)". Occupational therapists:

  • Help clients and their families set personal goals by conducting individualized evaluations.
  • Customize therapeutic interventions to help improve their clients' abilities to do daily activities that will help them reach their goals.
  • Evaluate their clients' progress, adjusting the interventions as needed.

OTs evaluate clients within their homes, schools and workplaces so they can make the most appropriate suggestions for using adaptive equipment and provide guidance and education for their clients' families, teachers and caregivers. OTs work with people of all ages and abilities. Work settings for OTs include hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools and home health agencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for occupational therapists is very good, and the need for OTs is expected to increase much faster than most occupations. The median annual pay for OTs is $81,910.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for occupational therapists

A bachelor's degree is required prior to entering a professional OT education program. Students may choose any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Entry into the OT profession requires at least a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree, and some practitioners have earned a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (DOT) degree.

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Optometry

Optometrists examine the eyes, perform vision tests and diagnose sight problems like nearsightedness and farsightedness. They also diagnose conditions and diseases that affect the eyes, like cataracts, retinopathy, eye infections, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, other visual aids and medications in the states where laws allow it. Some examples of optometric specializations include pediatrics, geriatrics, low vision, rehabilitation, contact lenses and ocular diseases. Optometrists may work as solo practitioners or in a group practice; some are self-employed and some work for corporations or in a physician's office. There are opportunities for optometrists to work in education and research at optometry colleges and as consultants in the eye care industry. The job outlook for optometrists is good, and the need for optometrists is expected to grow, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Optometrists earn an average annual salary of $106,140.

Common academic majors

Students may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway for optometrists

A bachelor's degree is not required for admission into optometry school. However, nearly all accepted applicants have earned an undergraduate degree prior to entering optometry school. As such, earning a bachelor's degree is highly encouraged.

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Pharmacy

Pharmacists dispense medications to patients as prescribed by physicians and other healthcare providers. They communicate directly with healthcare providers who prescribe medications, work with them to ensure medications are correctly delivered and advise them about medication therapy. Pharmacists educate and advise patients about the appropriate use of prescription and over-the-counter medications to help them get the most benefit from the drugs they take and to avoid complications that might arise from drug or food interactions or improper storage or administration of medications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs prospects in pharmacy are good and expected to grow at about the same rate as the average for most professions. The average annual salary for pharmacists is $122,230.

Common academic majors

Students who choose to complete a degree may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway for pharmacists

Entry into the Pharmacy profession requires completion of Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Admission requirements vary among Pharm.D. programs; some require completion of a bachelor's degree and some do not. Completing a bachelor's degree is recommended for pre-pharmacy students because they are better prepared for the academic rigor of pharmacy school, and some Pharm.D. programs give preference to applicants who have earned an undergraduate degree.

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Physical therapy

Physical therapists (PTs) work with people of all ages, from infants to the very elderly. They diagnose and treat people with medical problems and physical conditions that prevent them from moving and doing activities they want and need to do. PTs examine patients and establish individualized treatment plans that focus on maintaining and restoring mobility, relieving pain and avoiding disability. PTs also promote fitness and wellness to help people live active, healthful lifestyles. They also work with people to prevent the onset or progression of symptoms, impairments and physical limitations that may result from a variety of diseases or conditions. Typical work settings for PTs include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, fitness facilities and outpatient clinics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for PTs is very good, and the need for PTs is expected to grow. The average yearly salary for PTs is $85,400.

Common academic majors

Students may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway for physical therapists

Entry into the PT profession requires a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. A bachelor's degree is required for admission to DPT programs. 

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Physician assistant

Physician Assistants (PAs) work under the supervision of allopathic physicians (MDs) or osteopathic physicians (DOs) and work with patients of all ages. The degree to which PAs must be supervised and the scope of their practice varies according to the state laws where they practice. In general, they take medical histories, examine patients, order and interpret medical tests, make diagnoses, write prescriptions, perform some medical procedures, provide preventive healthcare education and assist in surgeries and other medical procedures. Most PAs work in physicians' offices but they also may be employed in other settings like hospitals or outpatient clinics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for PAs is excellent and expected to grow more than the average for all jobs. The average salary for PAs is $101,480.

Common academic majors

Students may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Degree pathway for physician assistants

The minimum education required to enter the PA profession is the master's degree and, with a few exceptions, a bachelor's degree is required before entering a PA program.

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Respiratory care

Respiratory therapists (RTs) work with people across the lifespan, from premature infants to the elderly. They specialize in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of people who have breathing problems. Their patients may suffer from chronic diseases like cystic fibrosis, asthma or emphysema. RTs also provide care to patients whose ability to breath is compromised by a heart attack, stroke, shock, drowning or other emergency events. They interview and examine patients, consult with physicians and other healthcare providers, develop respiratory care plans for individual patients, determine levels of oxygen and other gases in patients' breath, blood and other tissues, and manage breathing devices like ventilators and artificial airways. RTs also educate patients and families about how to manage lung diseases and conditions, and they may supervise respiratory therapy assistants. Hospitals are the most common job setting for RTs, but they also work in doctor's offices, patients' homes and long-term care facilities. There are opportunities to earn specialty credentials in respiratory care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for RTs is good, and the number of jobs is expected to grow faster than average. RTs earn an annual salary of $58,670.

Common academic majors

Students who choose to complete a bachelor's degree may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred.

Degree pathway for respiratory therapists

Either a two-year associate's degree or a four-year bachelor's degree is required to become a registered RT. Master's degrees in respiratory care are available at some schools. Many employers prefer completion of a bachelor's degree, which may enhance opportunities for career advancement. K-State's pre-RT students may choose to complete two years of undergraduate work, which includes prerequisites for admission to a bachelor's degree program, or they may decide to complete a degree at K-State before applying to professional school.

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Speech-Language pathology

Speech-language pathologists (SLP), sometimes called speech and language therapists, evaluate, diagnose and treat people with disorders of communication, cognitive-communication, voice and swallowing. They are important in the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. SLPs help people of all ages and abilities and are important members of healthcare teams that include physicians, nurses, audiologists, physical therapists and occupational therapists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for SLPs is excellent and expected to grow. The average annual salary is $74,680. SLPs work in schools, hospitals, private practice and other medical and educational settings.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for speech-language pathologists

A master's degree is required for entry into the profession, and completion of a bachelor's degree is required prior to admission to a master's program. K-State offers a bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders as preparation for admission to the master's degree in communication sciences and disorders. A degree in communication sciences and disorders is also an excellent way to prepare for admission to doctoral programs in audiology.

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Veterinary medicine

Veterinarians provide healthcare for pets, livestock, zoo animals, sporting animals and laboratory animals. Some veterinary specialists work to protect people against animal-borne diseases, others help restore health to sick or injured animals, some conduct research to increase knowledge about animal health and disease, and others are involved in food production, safety and inspection. The veterinary profession is also involved in aquaculture, comparative medical research and international disease control. In addition to private clinics and hospitals, some veterinarians provide educational services through state, local and private agencies, and some are employed by the government. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for veterinarians is good and expected to grow. The average yearly salary for veterinarians is $88,770. Many veterinarians are self-employed owners of their own businesses and work in either solo practices or in partnership with other veterinarians.

Common academic majors

Students who choose to complete a bachelor's degree may select any academic major of interest to them; no major is preferred. Typical majors include:

Review the Guide to Veterinary Medicine at K-State.

Degree pathway for veterinarians

Completion of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM) is required to become a veterinarian. K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine offers the DVM degree, which is a four-year program. An early admission program is available to exceptional high school students. Although a bachelor's degree is not required for admission to veterinary school, 70% of applicants who are accepted have completed one.

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