human biology in a class

Understanding human biology is fundamental to having a successful healthcare career. Whether you aspire to become a doctor, nurse, physical therapist or medical assistant, you won’t be able to earn a degree without showing competency in your chosen field.

Having at least a basic knowledge of human biology may help you more easily grasp diagnostic and treatment concepts that will be relevant in your education and ultimately enable you to make more informed decisions that keep your patients safe.

The good news is you don’t have to major in human biology if you want to work in the healthcare field, especially if you’re not particularly interested in spending the better part of a decade pursuing a doctorate.

For instance, if your goal is to become a physical therapy assistant, you can enroll in an associate-degree PTA program with coursework focused on aspects of human biology relevant to your profession, such as human anatomy and physiology.

What Is Human Biology?

Human biology is a branch of biology that is focused on the scientific study of the human organism. Studying human biology sheds light on how our bodies work, how they’ve evolved over time and how we interact with our physical environment.

Some medical professionals, especially doctors, need to have a deep and comprehensive understanding of human biology, however those pursuing more focused roles in the medical field like phlebotomy or physical and occupational therapy usually only need to focus on certain aspects of the discipline relevant to their profession.

Human biology broadly focuses on 12 systems within the human body:

  • Cardiovascular: Transports blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
  • Digestive: Takes in and processes food and liquid.
  • Endocrine: Produces hormones that regulate your metabolism, growth, sleep, mood and many other functions.
  • Immune: Keeps you healthy by fighting infections.
  • Integumentary: Protects the body from outside damage like infections and injuries.
  • Lymphatic: Connects the lymph nodes in your body, strengthening the circulatory and immune systems.
  • Muscular: Allows you to perform various movements.
  • Reproductive: Allows you to engage in sexual activity and have children.
  • Respiratory: Enables you to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide as you breathe.
  • Skeletal: Gives your body a framework, protects internal organs and stores minerals.
  • Urinary: Removes waste from your body in the form or urine.
  • Nervous: Transmits sensation and pain signals throughout the body and controls voluntary and involuntary actions.

All of these systems work together to ensure the human body works correctly and keeps various diseases and medical conditions at bay.

Healthcare Professions that Focus on Different Aspects of Human Biology

Respiratory Therapist

A respiratory therapist works under the supervision of a doctor and treats patients who are having trouble breathing. Their duties include giving patients oxygen, managing ventilators and administering medication to the lungs.

To become a respiratory therapist, students must learn different aspects of human biology, with an emphasis on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.


A phlebotomist’s primary job is to draw blood from patients and send it off to medical labs for testing. Most phlebotomy programs include coursework which focuses on exploring the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems.

Physical Therapy Assistant

A physical therapy assistant works under the supervision of a physical therapist and treats patients through exercise, massage and stretching.

To become a physical therapy assistant, you’ll need to have an in-depth understanding of the skeletal and muscular systems.

Occupational Therapy Assistant

An occupational therapy assistant works under the supervision of an occupational therapist helping patients regain or develop the ability to perform everyday tasks, such as eating, getting dressed and bathing.

Similar to a physical therapy assistant, an occupational therapy assistant must study the skeletal and muscular systems, but also the nervous system.

Pursue the Healthcare Career of Your Dreams with a Degree from the St. Louis College of Health Careers

If you’re looking to leap into the ever-growing and ever-evolving field of healthcare, but you’re not sure which career is right for you, consider studying at the St. Louis College of Health Careers.

We offer a variety of accredited and flexible healthcare programs that allow you to work at your own pace and gain valuable hands-on experience without spending years in school.

Browse the opportunities we offer and reach out to us with any questions you may have by calling 866-529-2070.

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