Online Degree Programs in Allied Science
Allied science programs are preparatory for careers in medicine, technology and administration. Learn about undergraduate and graduate degrees, online study options, course topics and practical training requirements.
What Kinds of Allied Health Science Degrees Can I Earn Online?
Allied health science is a broad term referring to several different occupations in the health care field. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) recognizes at least 28 health science professions, such as medical assisting, dental assisting, diagnostic medical sonography and surgical assisting (www.caahep.org).
Allied health distance education programs are usually bachelor's degree completion or graduate programs for health care professionals who are already working in the field. Associate's degree programs are also available to students who would like to prepare for entry-level careers, but these are less common.
While many of these programs deliver course content in a way that allows you to access course materials at your convenience, others may require you to participate in online discussions. Most require a high-speed Internet connection and access to a course management system, such as Wimba or Blackboard.
|Degree Types||Associate's and bachelor's degrees are available in the 28 different recognized allied health professions|
|Associate's Programs||2-years, qualifies you for entry level jobs as technicians/assistants or to go on to earn a bachelor's degree; not as common online|
|Bachelor's Programs||Often offered as degree completion programs for those who already have associate's degrees; can be completed online|
|Graduate Programs||Graduate programs often are focused on administration or research; some coursework could be offered online, with an in-person internship or project often required|
|Median Salary (2018)||$54,620 (for all healthcare practitioners and technical workers, all other)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for all healthcare practitioners and technical workers, all other)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Does an Online Associate's Degree Program Entail?
There are a few online 2-year programs out there that award an Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology or Health Informatics. These programs can prepare you for an entry-level job as a health information technician or medical coding specialist. Upon graduation, you can also enter a bachelor's degree program and branch out into the medical field of your choice. Coursework can include topics like coding systems, medical terminology and medical office procedures.
Hybrid associate's degree programs for aspiring surgical technicians and sonography technicians are also available, but fairly rare. In addition to online coursework, you need to attend laboratory sessions and clinical rotations at a school-affiliated clinic or hospital.
What About a Degree Completion Program?
Bachelor of Science degree completion programs are for allied health professionals who already have associate's degrees. These online programs are available in areas such as dental hygiene, radiology, cardiopulmonary science, nursing or allied health management.
You can take courses in epidemiology, pathology and health services administration. Depending on your specialty area, you may also take courses such as periodontal therapy, cardiopulmonary therapeutics and radiographic pharmacology. Some programs require you to complete a capstone project at your place of employment.
What Graduate Programs Are Available to Me?
Online allied health master's and doctoral degree programs can focus on topics ranging from health promotion and nursing education to biomedical informatics and disease management. These programs are often for health care professionals who want to take on administrative or research positions in hospitals, nursing schools or public health agencies. Your coursework could include topics such as qualitative research methods, health care law, management decision-making and healthcare delivery systems. While some programs are available entirely online, others include internship or on-campus residency requirements.