Healthcare is a large, complex, and evolving field in which physicians and nurses are only the most visible practitioners. There are in fact dozens of other types of specialists whose expertise and services are integral to the healthcare system. These specialists include a wide and varied range of allied health professionals who work as nutritionists and dietitians, physical therapists, clinical researchers, medical technicians, information technologists, regulatory compliance and safety officers, policy experts, program administrators, and organizational leaders.
Making an informed decision about career preparation and advancement in healthcare can be difficult. There are different types of degree and certificate programs for various healthcare specializations and often several pathways for career advancement within each field. Clinical healthcare fields generally require practitioners to receive supervised training through formal internships and practicums prior to applying for state licensure and/or professional certification. However, there are degree programs that allow students to fulfill internship requirements while taking all or most of their classes online. There are also online programs that offer professional training and instruction in non-clinical areas of healthcare, such as public health and healthcare administration, and in the management of healthcare data and informatics systems.
These online healthcare degree programs represent a flexible alternative to traditional, campus-based programs, and provide a more convenient option for students who would prefer not to move, travel, or commute to a school’s campus in order to earn a degree in the field.
OnlineEducation.com conducts in-depth, independent research into online baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in healthcare and classifies these programs based on several important criteria. In order to be included on the site, a healthcare degree program must be offered by a regionally accredited, non-profit college or university. In addition, all or most of the program’s didactic instruction must be offered online. Programs that require students to attend more than two campus visits or on-campus sessions per year are considered hybrid or campus-based programs and are not included on the site.
Online healthcare degree programs are classified based on their degree level, and through an analysis of program curricula using the best available data and information from recognized institutional and programmatic accreditation organizations. Currently, OnlineEducation.com identifies healthcare programs in the following areas and groups them accordingly:
As part of our research into online healthcare degree programs, OnlineEducation.com consults with and interviews experts in various healthcare fields and aggregates the most up-to-date information on trends and developments in healthcare education. The program pages below provide detailed information on admissions requirements and accreditation standards for each type of degree program, as well as on program curricula, internship requirements, and issues related to online program formats, such as the difference between synchronous and asynchronous instruction. In our FAQ section we provide answers to commonly asked questions about education, training, certifications, licensure, and careers in healthcare.
Students in an online bachelor’s in health science program learn about human physiological, psychological, and social development, medical terminology and practices, and public health policy in preparation for careers in allied health professions and further professional graduate studies in medicine, nursing, and other healthcare fields.
Online bachelor’s in healthcare administration programs provide students with coursework in business management for healthcare professionals, the US healthcare system and healthcare policy, and technical aspects of working in healthcare management.
Online MPH programs provide professional, master’s-level training for public health professionals in community, population, and environmental health issues, public health research, and the implementation and coordination of policies to improve public health.
Online master’s in clinical research administration (CRA) degree programs are designed to prepare students for professional careers overseeing and managing medical research projects for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and academic research centers.
Online master’s in health administration (MHA) programs use distance learning technologies to offer training and instruction in healthcare business, policy, and law, as well as healthcare technologies and other aspects of healthcare administration.
Students in an online master’s in healthcare informatics program receive training in data privacy and security, IT project management, and the design and management of data collection and storage systems used by healthcare organizations.
Students in an online master’s in nutrition degree program learn about the science of nutrition, policies and programs designed to improve individual and community health through diet, and the latest advances in food research in preparation for careers in dietetics, nutrition education and consulting, and dietary counseling.
Online master’s in patient safety and healthcare quality (PSHQ) programs train students in the practical application of risk reduction and quality improvement strategies throughout the healthcare system.
Online master’s in regulatory science and affairs programs prepare students for the challenges of navigating the regulatory constraints and ethical concerns associated with the research, development, and manufacturing processes for biotechnology products and medical devices.
A guide to online transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree programs, including eligibility requirements for tDPT programs, online instructional methods, and details regarding the tDPT curriculum.