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Career and Technical Education (CTE) | Health Science

Health Science Curriculum: Where to Find What You Need

July 21st, 2022 | 10 min. read

Mike Cescon

Mike Cescon

With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the iCEV curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.

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If you’re new to teaching high school health science, you probably feel overwhelmed trying to find the best curriculum for your course. After all, with so many textbooks and lesson plans out there, where do you begin? And how do you know you’re making the right choice?

As a health science curriculum developer, we often hear from teachers seeking curriculum that will meet their course standards and help their students earn their certifications

In this article, you’ll discover the best places to find high school health science curriculum that will suit your course’s needs. These curriculum options will be divided based on the particular health science course each is equipped to teach. 

By the end of this article, you’ll know where to find the right curriculum for the future health workers in your program.

Finding the Health Science Curriculum You Need

The type of course you teach should be your first consideration before deciding on a curriculum option. Are you teaching an introductory health science course? Something more specialized like a medical assisting or pharmacy technician course? What are the course standards you have to teach to?

Depending on your answers to these questions, the kind of curriculum options you need will be different. Understanding the course standards your district follows is of particular importance. After all, if you know the exact topics you’re supposed to teach, it’s simply a matter of finding curriculum that aligns properly. 

Below, you’ll find curriculum options to teach the following courses:

  • Introductory Health Science Courses
  • Nursing Assistant/CNA Courses
  • Medical Assisting Courses
  • Anatomy and Physiology Courses
  • Emergency Medical Services Courses
  • Sports Medicine Courses
  • Pharmacy Technician Courses

These courses will be divided into their own sections, each containing solid textbook or digital curriculum options to choose from.

Introductory Health Science Curriculum


This course can have several titles, including Intro to Health Science, Health Science I, and Principles of Health Science. Introductory courses are generally taught at the high school level, and provide students with a foundation of health science knowledge that they can build upon in more specialized career training courses. 

These courses are often built using the National Health Science Standards (NHSS) as their baseline. Meeting these standards, then, could be key to teaching your students the information they need. 

Some of the best textbooks to teach an introductory health science course include:

  1. DHO Health Science, 9th Edition
  2. Introduction to Health Science: Pathways to Your Future
  3. Health Science: Concepts and Applications
  4. Essential Skills for Health Career Success
  5. Health Science Fundamentals: Exploring Career Pathways, 3rd Edition
  6. Healthcare Science Technology
  7. Stanfield’s Introduction to Health Professions, 8th Edition

If you’re looking for a resource that’s more engaging and interactive than a textbook, some of the strongest digital curriculum options for this course are: 

  1. iCEV’s Health Science Curriculum
  2. Apex’s Principles of Health Science Courses
  3. Edgenuity’s Health Science Courses
  4. Odysseyware’s Health Science Courses

Each of these curriculum options will go a long way toward helping you teach this essential health science course.

Nursing Assistant/CNA Curriculum


Depending on the state, a nursing assistant course or program could have several different names, like STNA or CNA. These courses are designed to train students in the skills necessary to become certified nursing assistants, the requirements for which are largely the same regardless of the state.

To teach this course successfully, you’ll need to grant your students essential knowledge to pass exams like the NNAAP CNA. And to do that, you need the right curriculum. 

Some of the best textbooks to teach a CNA course include:

  1. Nursing Assistant Care: The Basics, 5th Edition
  2. Nursing Assisting: A Foundation in Caregiving, 5th Edition 
  3. Mosby’s Textbook for Nursing Assistants, 10th Edition
  4. The Nursing Assistant: Essentials of Holistic Care 

If you’re looking to move away from textbooks, other robust curriculum options for CNA courses are iCEV’s CNA curriculum or the free Nurse Aide Curriculum offered by the DHSR in North Carolina

No matter which of these you choose, you’ll be setting your students up for success when it comes to earning their certifications and jobs as CNAs.

Medical Assisting Curriculum


Medical assisting courses are designed to train students in the professional skills necessary to enter the healthcare industry as certified medical assistants. This term can refer to professionals with either a clinical focus, or an administrative one. 

Some of the most common certification exams for clinical medical assistants are the NHA CCMA and AMCA CMAC. On the other hand, for administrative medical assistants, the NHA CMAA is one of the most popular. 

Whichever certification your program focuses on, you need to ensure your chosen curriculum will prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need. 

Some of the best textbooks to teach a medical assisting course include:

  1. Medical Assisting: Administrative and Clinical Procedures, 7th Edition
  2. Clinical Procedures for Medical Assistants, 10th Edition
  3. Comprehensive Medical Assisting, 4th Edition
  4. Today’s Medical Assistant: Clinical and Administrative Procedures, 4th Edition
  5. Kinn’s Medical Assisting Fundamentals, 2nd Edition

Alternatively, if you want to help your students pass specific exams, or simply teach them the hands-on skills they need to thrive as medical assistants, some strong digital curriculum options include:

  1. CTE Online’s Medical Assistant Curriculum
  3. NHA’s Medical Assistant SkillsBuilder

These options can teach both clinical medical assistants, administrative ones, or both. Just be sure the choice you make serves your course’s needs.

Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum


Anatomy and Physiology is a key course in many health science career pathways. Generally, these courses are intended to teach students information on the body’s main systems, structures, and functions—foundational knowledge students need to begin their careers.

To teach this critical course, you need a curriculum that will grant your students mastery over the structures of the human body. 

Some of the best textbooks to teach anatomy and physiology include: 

  1. Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease, 3rd Edition
  2. Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology, 16th Edition
  3. Understanding Anatomy & Physiology, 2nd Edition
  4. Body Structures and Functions, 13th Edition
  5. Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

Another option is to look into an established digital curriculum. For instance, both NHA and iCEV offer digital curriculum options that can serve well as full textbook replacements. They have information on par with textbooks, just delivered in a digital format. 

With how much teachers like you value a solid, comprehensive anatomy and physiology curriculum, do your research on each option before making your choice. Anatomy and physiology plays a huge part in most health science professions, after all.

Emergency Medical Services Curriculum


Emergency Medical Services (EMS) courses are intended to train students in the skills they need to become emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or responders (EMRs). To earn their new careers, however, students will need to pass critical certification exams like the NREMT EMR and NREMT EMT

Generally, these exams measure a student’s knowledge of the National EMS Standards to ensure students possess the skills and knowledge they need. 

Some of the best curriculum options to ensure your students meet EMS standards are: 

  1. Emergency Medical Responder Curriculum from the American Red Cross
  2. Emergency Medical Responder: First on the Scene, 11th Edition
  3. Emergency Medical Responder Courses from eDynamic Learning

These health science curriculum options are a combination of textbooks and digital curriculum packages. All in all, most of them can be used as comprehensive resources to prepare students for success both on their exams and in the field.

Sports Medicine Curriculum


Sports medicine courses tend to cover the basics of physical fitness and the treatment of injuries related to exercise, sports, or even physically demanding jobs. These courses can offer introductory knowledge of sports medicine, or prepare students to enter careers in the field.

Sports medicine is an extremely popular course for high schoolers looking for careers in the health sciences, ranging from physical therapists to athletic trainers, and more. To teach this class well, it’s invaluable to have a well-rounded, in-depth curriculum. 

Some of the best textbooks to teach sports medicine are: 

  1. Sports Medicine Essentials, 3rd Edition
  2. Introduction to Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, 3rd Edition
  3. Essentials of Athletic Injury Management, 11th Edition

These textbooks cover a wide range of sports medicine topics, including kinesiology, injury management, career exploration, sports psychology, nutrition, and more. Overall, depending on the focus of your sports medicine course, one of these books should be more than enough to fit your needs. 

Pharmacy Technician Curriculum


Pharmacy technician courses teach students the knowledge and skills necessary to earn their certifications, including the regulations surrounding controlled substances and how to prepare and dispense prescriptions. 

One such certification for pharmacy technicians is the NHA CPhT, which focuses on essential areas like medication safety, quality assurance, drug therapy, and more. To ensure your students earn this certification, it’s essential they have a strong education on these topics. 

Some of the best textbooks to teach a pharmacy technician course include:

  1. Mosby’s Pharmacy Technician, 6th Edition
  2. Mosby’s Advanced Pharmacy Technician, 1st Edition
  3. Pharmacology for Pharmacy Technicians, 3rd Edition
  4. The Pharmacy Technician: A Comprehensive Approach, 4th Edition

These textbooks cover topics including career outlooks for pharmacy technicians, operational skills, how drugs treat specific disorders, and more, all in a reliable, traditional format. 

If you need a technology-based resource, there are several digital curriculum options just as useful for teaching a pharmacy technician course, including:

  1. Kaduceus Pharmacy Technician Program
  2. PassAssured Pharmacy Technician Training Program (PTTP)
  3. NHA’s PharmaSeer Program

These health science curriculum options are designed for both high schoolers and current pharmacy technicians who need refreshers on essential knowledge. Some are even specifically intended to train students for their certification exams.

Need a Comprehensive Health Science Curriculum for Multiple Courses?

Finding the right high school health science curriculum for your course is the first step to making it a class your students will remember. But with so many options out there, it’s difficult knowing where to begin. 

In this article, you discovered some of the best curriculum resources out there for teaching a wide variety of health science classes, from anatomy and physiology to more specialized courses for medical or nursing assistants. With these resources in mind, you should be well-equipped to fill your course with relevant, engaging information. 

However, mixing and matching these resources to fit your needs can take time that you don’t have. Instead, if you want an all-in-one curriculum option that will let you teach each of these courses and more, check out the full course catalog of HealthCenter21.

HealthCenter21 is a curriculum system with hundreds of hours of engaging course content. It is fully aligned with many prominent health science certifications, and can even be used to teach a complete course on anatomy and physiology:

Explore the HealthCenter21 Catalog