MHS Leadership

College of Health Professions

10 Healthcare Degrees for Those That Don't Want to Be A Doctor or Nurse


There are many healthcare career paths beyond doctors and nurses for those passionate about promoting well-being and helping others. Bellarmine University's College of Health Professions features a variety of alternative healthcare degrees that offer diverse and impactful opportunities. Whether you are exploring options for your academic journey or contemplating a career switch, you can find information about ten undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs in fields such as health, rehabilitation, wellness, and fitness facilities, cancer research, community health and advocacy programs, sports and athletic clinics, forensic work, bio-terrorism research, as well as in hospital and other clinical settings.

What healthcare degrees are available for those who don't want to become a doctor or nurse? 

Bachelor's Degrees

Exercise Science

At Bellarmine: Our program offers you the opportunity to learn from experts and gain hands-on experience in the rapidly growing field of exercise science. The major will prepare you to improve performance, maintain health and wellness, and prevent and treat chronic diseases. Additionally, it is an ideal option for those seeking pre-professional preparation for careers in physical therapy, nursing, respiratory therapy, athletic training, occupational therapy, and medicine.

Career Opportunities: Exercise Science degrees offer many career paths, typically within these primary categories: coaching and fitness leadership, health promotion and policy, sports management and administration, sports medicine and rehabilitation, and teaching and research. Graduates work as exercise specialists in clinical settings, with athletes and students, clients’ homes, fitness facilities, or workplaces. 

Learn more about Bellarmine's Exercise Science program.

Health Care Administration 

At Bellarmine: Our program allows you to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to manage and innovate in the healthcare industry. Healthcare is a continuously evolving field, and this program prepares students to become critical thinkers, innovative problem solvers, and successful leaders of healthcare organizations.
Career Opportunities: Health Care Administration degrees offer rewarding career opportunities such as nursing home administrator, assisted living executive director, business office manager for home health care, hospital health unit coordinator, director of adult day services center, health care data analyst, and more leadership roles. 
Learn more about Bellarmine's Health Care Administration program.

Health Humanities 

At Bellarmine: Our program offers students the opportunity to explore health and healthcare from a comprehensive perspective beyond just clinical diagnosis and treatment. The curriculum strongly emphasizes compassion, equity, and patient-centered care, and it is the only program in the country that offers three different tracks to choose from: aging and end-of-life studies, health disparities and health equity, and narrative health and medical humanities.

Career Opportunities: Health Humanities degrees open various career paths, such as Executive Director of Long-Term Care, Human Resources, Community Health Administration, Pharmaceuticals, Public Health Advocacy, and more.

Learn more about Bellarmine's Health Humanities program. 

Public Health

At Bellarmine: Our program is designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue various roles in the field of public health. Students will also complete a 90-hour internship with local and community partners in Louisville as part of the program. This internship provides a unique opportunity to support underserved communities through various projects and initiatives while preparing students for future public health careers.
Career Opportunities: Public Health degrees offer a range of career opportunities, from creating policies and conducting research to leading public health organizations and developing preventive health practices that can improve individuals' quality of care and life. 
Learn more about Bellarmine's Public Health program. 
Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory Therapy

At Bellarmine: Our program offers you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and learn from experienced faculty in a field with 13% projected job growth over the next decade.

Recognition: College Choice ranked Bellarmine's Respiratory Therapy program as the #1 program in the nation in 2021. ranked the Respiratory Therapy Program as the top program in the country for 2021.

Career Opportunities: Respiratory Therapy degrees offer a fulfilling career path with opportunities for specialization and growth. They significantly contribute to healthcare in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, home healthcare, and specialized respiratory care centers, working directly with patients, conducting diagnostic tests, or contributing to education and research.

Additional Benefit: The Norton Healthcare Scholars Program will cover tuition costs but requires a post-graduation work commitment.

Learn more about Bellarmine's Respiratory Therapy program. 

Sports Administration

At Bellarmine: Our program offers the flexibility to design your degree program according to your goals and interests. Additionally, we allow you to pursue a combined bachelor's and master's degree program, which can be completed in just five years. The major is designed to equip students with the technical knowledge and professional skills to succeed in the sports industry.

Career Opportunities: Sports Administration graduates enter their career field with confidence, securing jobs in sports business, sports marketing, facility management, coaching, business management, human resource management, and more. 

Learn more about Bellarmine's Sports Administration program. 

Graduate & Second Degree Programs

PhD, Health Professions Education Online Program

At Bellarmine: Our program prepares students from diverse healthcare backgrounds for college and university teaching, leadership, and research careers.

Career Opportunities: Graduates of the program will address the critical shortage of academically qualified faculty in healthcare-related fields. These fields include nursing, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, speech-language pathology, medical laboratory sciences, imaging sciences, pharmacy, physician assistants, radiation therapy, dental hygiene, and healthcare administration.

Learn more about Bellarmine's online Ph.D. in Health Professions Education

Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

At Bellarmine: Our program offers a comprehensive academic and clinical curriculum grounded in clinical, scientific, and educational evidence to develop patient-centered physical therapy practitioners dedicated to service and life-long learning.

Career Opportunities: Physical therapists can work in various settings such as hospitals, rehab centers, private practices, pediatric facilities, home health agencies, school systems, higher education and research institutions, fitness and wellness centers, and nursing homes.

Learn more about Bellarmine's Physical Therapy program. 

MHS, Health Care Leadership Online Program

At Bellarmine: Our program is specifically tailored for healthcare professionals who are already practicing and who aspire to take on advanced roles in healthcare leadership, promotion, advocacy, or education. The program is designed to help you develop the necessary skills to serve in a leadership position within various healthcare environments, allowing you to impact your patients and your organization positively.

Recognition: Forbes ranked Bellarmine's Online Master of Health Science as one of the top five online health science master's programs in the nation.

Career Opportunities: Graduates of the program will be prepared to lead and serve as practitioners and administrators. 

Learn more about Bellarmine's online MHS in Health Care Leadership program. 

MHS, Respiratory Therapy 

At Bellarmine: Our graduate program is specifically tailored for individuals who hold a Bachelor's Degree in a non-respiratory therapy field and are considering a career change. This two-year program is one of only five such programs in the nation. It is dedicated to building strong clinical skills while also preparing future leaders in respiratory therapy with a focus on education and research.

Recognition: Best Colleges ranked the Respiratory Therapy Program as the #1 program in the nation in 2023. 

Career Opportunities: Respiratory therapists find careers in multiple settings, including hospitals, home care, and rehabilitation.

Additional Benefit: The Norton Healthcare Scholars Program will cover tuition costs but requires a post-graduation work commitment.

Learn more about Bellarmine's Master of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy program. 

Bellarmine University's College of Health Professions offers a variety of alternative healthcare degrees that provide impactful and unique opportunities. From direct patient care to administrative and leadership roles, these degrees provide various paths within the healthcare landscape, highlighting Bellarmine's commitment to delivering excellence in health education.

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Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.