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Distance Learning Programs in Parasitology

Parasitologists work to develop vaccines or control disease by studying parasite behavior and their relationship to human and animal hosts. Learn about educational options and courses in this field.

What Levels of Parasitology Education are Available?

Online parasitology classes can be offered as part of online or hybrid undergraduate and graduate degree programs. You may come across online parasitology classes in a clinical laboratory science or veterinary technician associate degree program. Online classes are also available through bachelor's degree programs in biology or agriculture.

At the graduate level, you can take online parasitology classes within a degree program in microbiology, veterinary medicine, biotechnology or tropical medicine. You may also enroll in parasitology courses if you pursue a graduate certificate in clinical pathology. Master's and doctoral degrees are available in parasitology, but these are offered as traditional, on-campus programs.

Program Levels Graduate certificate program, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate degree; master's and doctorate are only available on-campus
Common Courses Parasite identification, parasite prevention, parasite-borne illnesses, parasite life cycle
Online Availability Fully and partially online programs are available; in some programs, laboratory courses may need to be completed on-campus
Possible Careers Hospital staff, veterinarian, farmer, university professor, public health agent
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 19% (for veterinarian)
Median Salary (2018)* $93,830 (for veterinarian)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

A parasitology course will typically include topics in diagnostic parasitology and parasite epidemiology. You'll learn to identify types of parasites, such as protistans, flatworms and arthropods, through laboratory identification. You will also learn about parasite life cycles and parasite prevention. More advanced course topics discuss how parasites create disease in the human body, spread from one organism to another or become immune to drug treatments.

How Do Online Programs Work?

Distance education courses work by allowing you to submit tests and research papers over the Internet. You can also converse with instructors and classmates through online discussion boards and e-mail. Most programs allow you to attend scheduled lectures or weekly lab sessions via live video streaming. However, in some programs you may have to complete laboratory requirements on campus.

To access course material you will need a high-speed Internet connection, browser and operating system that meet minimum system requirements. You may also need a PDF reader, Flash Player and media player.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

Education in parasitology is applicable to multiple disciplines, including medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, aquaculture, ecology and biology. A Bachelor of Science in a biological science with coursework in parasitology may prepare you for an entry-level career in the pharmaceutical, agricultural or environmental preservation industries as a research assistant.

If you have a master's degree in biology or a related field you can pursue research careers with fish and wildlife or public health agencies. A Ph.D. is required for tenure-track university research positions within parasitology.