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


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The Pathway to your Health Career

Whether you are interested in a career in human health or animal health, K-State has you covered with our health professions options. We offer you the ability to choose any of our more than 250 academic majors and pair that choice with a health professions advising program that will set you on the right path toward your career. At K-State, you'll find:

Accessible, personalized health career advising

Health Professions Advising

You will have a health professions advisor to help you set long-term goals, navigate the professional school application process, and develop alternate degree or career options. And this advisor is in addition to your academic major advisor who assists you in planning your course schedule each semester.

Experiential learning and undergraduate
research opportunities

Undergraduate Research

No matter what major you choose in addition to your health professions program, K-State offers world-class laboratories, including a cadaver lab right on campus, as well as a variety of courses that will get you out of a desk and into real-world, hands-on scenarios. Additionally, undergraduate research opportunities create a pathway to connect directly with groundbreaking researchers at K-State who are shaping their fields. Research allows you to study your area of interest in greater depth, sharpens your analytical skills, and enables you to develop working relationships with faculty members, many of whom you may soon need to rely on for letters of reference.

Plan to work with your health professions advisor to identify specific opportunities within your academic department and/or opportunities available on a national level, such as programs listed by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Additionally, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry is a wonderful 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 fully supports students' learning beyond the classroom. Local health care professionals, pharmacists and assisted living care agencies welcome our students to shadow and volunteer in area hospitals, private practices, clinics and retirement communities. One example is the university's internship course, BIOL 698, that partners with the Flint Hills Community Health Clinic. Additionally, K-State's Lafene Student Health Center and Veterinary Health Center both offer an on-campus environment that fosters rich pre-professional experiences for dedicated students. And the benefits extend well beyond students' time at K-State — the university partners with Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan to give KU Medical School students who had previously completed their undergraduate work at K-State the opportunity to return to the Manhattan community for their clinical rotations.

Health professions involvement opportunities

Involvement opportunities

There are a variety of ways to explore your future health care profession while at K-State. Through mentoriship programs in both the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Human Ecology, student organizations, and even residential and non-residential health professions communities (aka CAT Communities), students are able to stay connected and ensure they are building a strong network. 

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 training incorporates acute or chronic injury and medical condition prevention, examination, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Entities that recognize athletic training as an allied health care profession include the American Medical Association (AMA), Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Athletic trainers are health care experts who possess a variety of vital skill sets and qualifications that allow them to work closely with physicians to provide services for injuries and medical conditions such as preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation. State licensure statutes prescribe that athletic directors work under the direction of a physician.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway to become an athletic trainer

The minimum required degree is a bachelor's degree from an accredited program, which you can earn at K-State. Upon completion of your degree program, you would become eligible for national certification by successfully completing the Board of Certification Examination. 

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Chiropractic health

Chiropractic care is a discipline of health care that focuses on restoring full functionality to the body's muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems without the use of drugs or surgery. Primary focuses include the spine and nervous system and how the connection between the two relate to the ability to preserve and restore bodily health. Chiropractic doctors work in cooperation with other health care providers of clients when appropriate and are known for their hands-on techniques. Chiropractic health takes an all-inclusive approach and emphasizes the patient's overall health and wellness.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway to become a chiropractor

All Doctor of Chiropractic Programs (DCP) require incoming students to have at least three years of undergraduate education (90 credit hours). This education is comprised of the appropriate pre-professional education outlined by the Council on Chiropractic Education, which you can earn at K-State. An increasing number of DCP programs do require bachelor's degrees because a degree is required for licensure in many states, so K-State does encourage our pre-professional students to earn their bachelor's degree alongside the required courses as set forth by the Council.

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Communication sciences and disorders

Communication sciences and disorders is the academic program for the profession of speech-language pathology. It is for students interested in human communication (speech and language, reading, writing and hearing) and swallowing for individuals across the lifespan.

Speech-language pathologists help children and adults who have difficulty with communication and/or swallowing. Graduates from the Kansas State University master's program are equipped to work in many types of settings and treat individuals with a wide range of disorders. Graduates go on to work in schools, hospitals, private practice and other medical and educational settings.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for speech-language pathologists

A bachelor's degree is required for graduate school admission, and a master's degree is required in the profession. In addition to K-State's bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders, the university also offers a master's degree in communication sciences and disorders.

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Today's dentists are highly refined health professionals who contribute to the general health and quality of patients' lives by providing a wide range of oral health care. Exciting developments in technology allow dentists to work with new methods for dental implants, computer-generated imaging and cosmetic aesthetic procedures. In addition to being vital in the early detection of oral cancer and conditions, they can also serve as first responders in a large-scale health emergency.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for dentists

A bachelor's degree prior to dental school admission is highly recommended. Dental schools are 4-year programs that lead to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree. After completing a dental degree, some may choose to go straight in practice as a General Dentist. Others may choose to undertake a dental residency, either to gain advanced training as a General Dentist or to become a specialist.

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Dietitians professionally apply the science of food and nutrition to improve the well-being of individuals and groups. Registered dietitians (RDs) work in various places: health care facilities such as hospitals and extended care services, community health care settings such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs, food stamp programs, programs for the elderly, commercial and non-commercial food service operations, wellness programs for business and industry, consultants in private practices, and more. Because of the large range of prospects for RDs, they have maximum flexibility and limitless opportunities in their professional careers.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for registered dietitians

In order to become a registered dietitian, 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 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

Digital and traditional medical information is essential to providing quality patient care, which is why health information management (HIM) focuses on obtaining, examining, and protecting this kind of data. Professionals in HIM fields are highly familiarized with the latest technology functions and possess extensive knowledge on the logistics of many healthcare provider organizations from large hospitals to private practices. HIM professionals have many opportunities for various career settings, including serving in bridge roles and connecting clinical, operational, and administrative functions, and they are overall incredibly important for managing the health information and electronic health records during day-to-day operations. The pre-health information management program is a two-year program at K-State followed by two years in a health information management program at another school.

Common academic majors

Students may pursue any major offered by K-State as long as they work with their health professions advisor to ensure they are meeting the appropriate prerequisites for their future Health Information Management program.

Degree pathway for health information management professionals

There are a variety of health information management programs to which students may choose to pursue, and the prerequisites vary across programs. Generally, a bachelor's degree is not required, though it is recommended.

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Medical laboratory science

Medical laboratory science professionals provide information that assists physicians in important medical matters such as patient diagnosis and treatment, disease monitoring or prevention. They use complex biomedical equipment and technology that carry out many functions, which can include testing blood and body fluids. The production of accurate data is vital to this profession, because it leads to developments in detection of cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, infectious mononucleosis, and identification of drug abuse and bacteria/viruses that cause infections.

Common academic majors

Students may pursue any major offered by K-State as long as they work with their health professions advisor to ensure they are taking the appropriate courses to prepare for their clinical laboratory science profession.

Degree pathway for medical laboratory science professionals

A bachelor's degree is not required in this profession. However, the experience offered through a bachelor's degree at K-State has the potential to increase your marketability post-graduation. Students who earn their bachelor's degree from K-State will have the opportunity to complete a clinical rotation at an affiliated site in Kansas City. 

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Medical doctors (MDs) have careers that are essential to society: they examine, diagnose, and treat patients. For these reasons, MDs require substantial formal education, in which they have many options for specialization (family practice, internal medicine, surgery, ENT, ER, psychiatry, pediatrics, anesthesiology, cardiology, and more). These professions allow medical doctors to have an interpersonal career in which they work with other professionals in the health care field. The vast amount of knowledge that MDs possess comes from their academic careers, which include a doctoral degree in medicine, clinical rotation requirements, and often a residency program working toward a desired specialty. State licensure and additional certifications may be required depending on their practice and location.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for medical doctors

Students must earn a bachelor's degree prior to admissions 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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From entry-level positions to doctoral-level researchers, nurses provide crucial care to stimulate health, thwart disease, and assist patients coping with illnesses. Professionals in this career have an exceptional range of abilities and possibilities, which allows them to both practice independently and collaborate with all members of a health care team. By working hands-on with patients, nurses serve as their advocates and work to advance or preserve their health.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for nurses

While a bachelor's degree is not always required, admission requirements do vary between nursing schools.  Therefore, K-State recommends earning your bachelor's degree before seeking admission to nursing school.

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Occupational therapy

Occupation therapists (OTs) provide assistance to clients who are in need of help with activities ranging from using a computer to day-to-day tasks. Services such as customized treatment programs, comprehensive home and job site evaluations, adaptation and equipment recommendations, usage training, and family/caregiver guidance are all typical of an OT's profession.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for occupational therapists

You must complete a bachelor's degree prior to entering an occupational therapy program.

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Doctors of Optometry (ODs) serve as the primary professionals in health care for all issues regarding the eyes. Tasks of an OD include examining, diagnosing, treating, and overseeing diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual structures. There are specializations within optometry, which include fields dealing with contact lenses, vision therapy, sports vision, ocular disease, geriatrics, pediatrics, low vision, occupational vision, education, and research.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for optometrists

A bachelor's degree is not required for admission into optometry school. However, it is highly encouraged and very common to do so. According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry profile of the 2015 entering class, 95.5% of admitted students across the nation had earned a bachelor's degree.

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Licensed pharmaceutical professionals possess and deliver information about medications, as well as the medications themselves, to patients in this doctoral health profession. Pharmaceutical professionals also provide medication information to other health care professionals and are considered experts in the field of medication.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for pharmacists

A bachelor's degree is not required for pharmacy school admissions, but many schools give preference to those applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree in any major.

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Physical therapy

Physical therapists (PTs) are licensed health care professionals who have received a high-level of education in order to reduce the need for expensive surgery or long-term medication for patients by increasing or reestablishing mobility. Each individual patient is examined by a PT in order to establish personalized plan that aims to promote movement, get rid of pain, restore function, and avoid disability. PTs also take preemptive action against loss of mobility by promoting fitness and wellness. There are a wide range of settings that physical therapists are active in, including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, fitness facilities, and outpatient clinic. Each state requires that PTs have licensure.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for physical therapists

A bachelor's degree is required for admission into DPT programs. The course prerequisites for admission vary significantly across PT education programs. Visit the institutional website or the PTCAS directory to determine what courses are required by each institution. PT programs often require preprofessional (pre-PT/undergraduate) science courses to be completed in a 4-year university/college within the 7-10 years prior to enrollment. Be prepared to identify what classes you have taken (or will take) to fulfill the program's course requirements. 

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Physician assistant

Physician Assistants (PAs) work on health care teams with physicians and other providers practicing medicine. PAs are medical professionals who are nationally certified and state licensed. Their job descriptions can include any of the following: gather medical histories, carry out physical exams, order and analyze tests, write prescriptions, perform medical procedures, provide preventative health care counseling, assist in surgeries, and make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals. PAs share diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning with physicians because they are educated alongside each other. Physician assistants have an education modeled on the medical school curriculum, and after a year of classroom study, there is a minimum of 2,000 hours of required clinical rotations. These clinical rotations often have emphases in emergency medicine, gynecology, general surgery, family medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, and obstetrics.

Common academic majors
Degree pathway for physician assistants

PA program applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree. Programs are often not particular on the academic major students bring in as long as prerequisite coursework is completed. Shadowing experience in the medical field as well as paid patient care experience are often recommended/required as well.

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Respiratory care

The essential health care workers known as respiratory care practitioners, or respiratory therapists, specialize in breathing and other cardiopulmonary disorders. The patient range for these professionals is wide, from premature infants to the elderly. Respiratory therapists deal with chronic conditions as well as emergency care (such as individuals who have had a stroke, drowned, are experiencing shock, etc.). Job settings include doctor's offices, the homes of patients, hospitals, and nursing facilities. Professional licensure is required in this field, and students who are in the pre-respiratory care program are able to complete two years of foundational coursework at K-State before applying to respiratory therapy programs.

Common academic majors

Students may pursue any major offered by K-State as long as they work with their health professions advisor to ensure they are meeting the appropriate prerequisites for their future respiratory care program.

Degree pathway for respiratory therapists

K-State's pre-respiratory care program is designed to prepare students to enter a professional respiratory care program. A bachelor's degree is not required for professional program admission.

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Veterinary medicine

Professionals in veterinary medicine focus on health care for pets, livestock, zoo animals, sporting animals, and laboratory animals. Some disciplines of veterinary medicine work to protect humans against animal-carried disease, others focus on restoring health to sick or injured animals, and others conduct research to increase the amount of knowledge and data about the animals.

Common academic majors

Review the Guide to Veterinary Medicine at K-State

Degree pathway for veterinarians

A bachelor's degree is not required for veterinary school admission. However, 70% of hose accepted have completed one. While a bachelor's degree in veterinary medicine is not available at K-State, students can complete program prerequisites and/or earn a degree in a field of their choice at the university before going on to veterinary school. K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine does offer the terminal degree required for veterinarians, and an early admission program is available to prospective undergraduate students.

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