Top Online Medical & Healthcare Degrees

Explore how to choose an online medical and healthcare degree. Then learn about the best careers available, including educational requirements, salary and expected job outlook. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Choosing the Right Online Medical Program

If you're interested in a future in healthcare, there are several factors that you should consider when choosing an online program and school.

Education Requirements

One of the first things that you should consider is what educational requirements you are comfortable with. Some programs don't require any prior college coursework while other programs require a specific degree. If you already have some college coursework, see what that could be used toward. Perhaps you could apply those courses towards a degree, decreasing the time it takes to complete the program.

Program Length and Flexibility

Once you've narrowed down what types of programs you are interested in, consider how long each will take to complete. Would you prefer to study part-time and complete your program at a more relaxed pace, or to take as many courses as possible and finish your curriculum significantly faster?

Cost

Most schools charge online fees by credit hour, so the more courses you need, the more it will usually cost. However, do not be discouraged by a longer/more expensive program because there are several types of financial aid available for most online medical programs.

Practical Requirements

Some online medical and healthcare programs require students to complete some hands-on learning hours or supervised practice hours. Consider any on-site components when comparing your program choices.

Transference

While not applicable to all degree programs, some degrees can be used for more than one career. For example, students who complete administrative and office support programs can typically use that degree and skills developed for more than one role.

Program Comparison: Medical Support vs Medical Specialization

Several fields have different programs and requirements for supportive and specialized positions. Supportive positions generally require less academic preparation while direct-care and specialized programs prepare students for more responsibility and, typically, higher wages.

For example, veterinarians are required to have a doctoral degree and license, but veterinary technologists and technicians only need a bachelor's degree and associate's degree respectively. Although these support professionals aren't required to have a license, they may have to pass an exam demonstrating competency. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the salary difference is about $60,000 as veterinarians brought home a median annual salary of $93,830 in 2018 and technologists and technicians earned $34,420 the same year. Online bachelor's and associate's degree programs are much easier to find than doctoral programs, however, and take less time to complete.

Similar differences are present between physical therapists and physical therapist assistants and aides. PTs need a doctoral degree and license to practice, and made $87,930 (median) in 2018, as per the BLS. PT assistants can practice with an associate's degree and license, and earned $58,040 this same year. PT aides can enter the field without a degree or license, and took home a median salary of $26,240.

Best Careers in Healthcare

Consider the following list of healthcare careers ranked by salary and the required education. Find out about online medical and healthcare degrees applicable to each career. All salary and outlook data is provided by the BLS.

1. Medical and Health Services Managers

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Bachelor's degree $99,730 18%

Medical and health services manager positions are expanding fast, with 18% growth expected by 2028. These managers oversee facilities, departments, services and practices. Their duties can include managing finances and budgets, employee recruitment and training, ensuring compliance and quality, and managing operations and employees. Although specific requirements vary by position, many employers prefer these managers to have at least a bachelor's degree. Many candidates earn a bachelor's degree in healthcare management or a related field. Undergraduate programs can be completed completely online in four years or less, and include classes in health systems, medical terminology, accounting, healthcare regulations and management.

2. Occupational Therapist

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Master's degree $84,270 18%

Occupational therapists provide therapeutic treatments to patients who have been injured or are ill. They use exercises from daily activities to assist patients with improving and maintaining the necessary skills to live independently. Their duties can include evaluating patients, gathering medical histories, developing treatment plans, demonstrating and assisting with exercises and providing patient and family education. Occupational therapists need to have at least a master's degree in occupational therapy which requires some supervised clinical practice in preparation for licensure. An online master's degree program can be earned in as few as three years but may include some on-campus labs and coursework.

3. Radiation Therapist

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Associate's Degree $82,330 9%

Radiation therapists provide radiation treatments to patients with cancer and other diseases. Their duties often include explaining treatments, ensuring patient safety during radiation treatments and maintaining treatment machinery. They also are responsible for ensuring machines are properly calibrated to deliver the correct amount of radiation to the specific area that requires treatment. Radiation therapists need either an associate's degree (two years) or a bachelor's degree (four years) in radiation therapy. Students can find fully online as well as hybrid programs and typically take courses in physics, computer science, human anatomy and algebra.

4. Speech-Language Pathologists

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Master's degree $77,510 27%

Speech-language pathologists assess and treat speech and swallowing problems in adults and children. They evaluate patients to find potential problems and determine appropriate treatments. Their duties can include teaching patients how to properly make sounds, increasing patient vocabulary and sentence formation, and counseling patients and their families on how to improve and cope with disorders. They usually need to have at least a master's degree in speech and language pathology, which includes courses in communication methods, speech development and swallowing and speech disorders. They can complete most courses online but also need to complete supervised practice and obtain licensure.

5. Nuclear Medicine Technologists

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Associate's degree $76,820 7%

Nuclear medicine technologists prepare and administer radioactive medications to patients for therapies and imaging processes. They also support other nuclear medicine professionals and physicians with diagnosing and treating patients affected by radioactivity. Their duties often include counseling patients, maintaining safety, monitoring patients after treatments and operating equipment. Nuclear medicine technologists can become certified after earning a certificate, associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, although most have at least an associate's degree. An associate's degree program takes around two years and includes courses in human physiology and anatomy, radioactive drugs, chemistry, computer science and physics. Nuclear medicine technology certificates can be completed completely online.

6. Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Bachelor's degree $73,020 6%

Occupational health and safety specialists collect and analyze data relating to work processes and environments. Specialists review workplaces for regulatory compliance through various tests and safety measures. Their duties can include designing and implementing safety procedures, preparing reports, testing equipment and operations, and providing education to employees and employers about workplace safety. They usually need a bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety, but some have degrees in related technical or scientific fields. Online occupational health and safety programs usually include classes in communication, accident prevention, ergonomics and science.

7. Dietitians and Nutritionists

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Bachelor's degree $60,370 11%

Dietitians and nutritionists help people live healthier lives by providing guidance on better eating habits. They typically consult with patients to determine areas for improvement, create nutrition and meal plans, evaluate plans after implementation and monitor patient progress. They also host and address groups to promote health as well as create materials for public education about health. Most dietitians and nutritionists need to earn a bachelor's degree and complete an internship for independent roles, and many states require them to also obtain licensure. They can earn an online degree in nutrition and take courses in biology, psychology, nutrition and chemistry.

8. Occupational Therapy Assistants

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Associate's degree $60,220 33%

Occupational therapy assistants work with occupational therapists to provide therapy to patients who have been injured or have disabilities. They assist with developing, improving and maintaining the necessary skills for daily life. Assistants work directly with patients, assisting with exercises and equipment use, and updating patient records and treatment plans as needed. Assistants usually need to have an associate's degree and certification, depending on their state. Students take online courses in biology, psychology and pediatric health, and typically complete clinical practice as part of their programs.

9. Physical Therapist Assistants

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Associate's degree $58,040 27%

Physical therapy assistants assist patients with regaining bodily movements and managing pain. They work directly with patients under the supervision of physical therapists. Their duties include observing patients, assisting patients with completing exercises, treating patients through massages or stretches, and providing patient education. Physical therapy assistants need to have an associate's degree from an accredited program, which takes about two years and includes courses in anatomy, psychology and physiology. Online programs are typically of a hybrid nature, involving some on-campus labs and supervised clinical work to prepare students for the required licensure.

10. Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Bachelor's degree $52,330 11%

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians retrieve various samples and conduct tests to analyze tissue, bodily fluids and other materials. Their duties can include studying blood and other samples, operating lab equipment, logging results and discussing conclusions with physicians. Technologists typically need a bachelor's degree while technologists often need an associate's degree. Most online degrees in medical laboratory technology include courses in microbiology, chemistry and statistics. Technologists and technicians are required to have licensure in some states, and many employers prefer candidates who have obtained certification even if it isn't mandatory.

11. Exercise Physiologists

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Bachelor's degree $49,270 10%

Exercise physiologists create exercise and fitness programs to assist patients with recovering from chronic illnesses and improving health. They review patient history to assess any potential health risks during exercise and supervise patients during stress and fitness tests. They then create programs that may help to improve body composition, cardiovascular performance and overall flexibility. They typically need at least a bachelor's degree in fields such as exercise science or kinesiology, and take classes in kinesiology, science and anatomy.

12. Recreational Therapists

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Bachelor's degree $47,860 7%

Recreational therapists devise and implement recreational treatment programs for patients with illnesses, injuries and disabilities. They utilize different approaches such as music and dance, arts and crafts, sports and community outings. Their duties often include assessing patients, creating treatment plans, assisting patients with social skill development and educating patients on effective coping methods. Recreational therapists usually need to have a bachelor's degree in recreational therapy or a related field and certification. Coursework for online recreational therapy degree programs can be delivered 100% online, but students may need to complete an internship.

13. Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Associate's degree $40,350 11%

Medical records and health information technicians are responsible for organizing and maintaining patient health information. They make sure that data is secure, accurate and accessible in both electronic and paper retention systems. Their duties include reviewing records for accuracy, organizing databases and registries, utilizing software for data organization and analysis and maintaining patient confidentiality. Although some positions hire candidates with a high school or college diploma, an associate's degree can be preferred or required by some employers. Online health information technology diploma programs can be completed in as few as 6 months and associate's degree programs usually take 2 years or less. These programs can be completed 100% online and include courses in medical coding, computer systems, healthcare finance and reimbursement, as well as health information security and practices.

14. Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Some College $39,310* 3%*

Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks record and update financial transactions and records. Their duties may include receiving payments, entering transactions into software, auditing reports and adjusting reports as needed. Typically, these clerks only need a high school diploma with some college, but candidates who complete relevant and sufficient college programs will have an edge over those who don't. Many colleges offer completely online programs to prepare students for these positions, including diploma programs in bookkeeping, certificate programs, and associate's degree in accounting programs. *Salary and outlook data represents those working in the healthcare and social assistance industry.

15. Financial Clerks

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Some college $37,880* 5%

Financial clerks perform a variety of tasks such as maintaining records, processing monetary transactions and assisting customers. Those working in healthcare might work in billing and posting positions, preparing bills for mailing to customers, calculating charges and contacting customers. They may also work as payroll or timekeeping clerks, collecting and reviewing payroll and time data. These positions don't usually require any college education, as training is often provided on the job, but candidates who have taken applicable courses have an advantage. Colleges often offer online courses and certificates in office and related subjects, that enable students to develop a firm grasp of procedures in preparation for their position. *Salary data represents those working in the healthcare and social assistance industry.

16. Bill and Account Collectors

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Some college $37,650* 2%*

Bill and account collectors work to retrieve overdue bills and negotiate plans for repayment in order to make payments more feasible for clients. Their duties can include contacting customers, discussing potential payment options and explaining payment plan terms. Although college coursework isn't always required, many employers prefer candidates who have taken applicable coursework. Beneficial courses include those in accounting, communication and computers. *Salary and outlook data represent those working in the healthcare and social assistance industry.

17. Medical Secretaries

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Some college $35,760 16%

Secretaries perform administrative and clerical duties such as scheduling appointments, preparing documents and organizing files. Their duties can include basic bookkeeping, processing payments and answering phones. Medical secretaries also transcribe medical information and arrange hospitalization for patients. Medical secretaries need to be familiar with medical terminology, record keeping practices and healthcare procedures. Employers typically require candidates to have some college preparation, so candidates who have taken online courses in medical terminology and other relevant subjects are ideal. Many colleges offer undergraduate certificate programs that take one or two semesters and include courses that are relevant to medical secretary positions.

18. Medical Transcriptionists

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Some college $34,770 -3%

Medical transcriptionists listen to recordings and create written reports with the information given. They might also review documents that have been made using speech recognition technology, ensuring accuracy. Their duties can include interpreting medical terminology, identifying errors in records and entering information into electronic health records. Employers typically prefer candidates who have earned a certificate, diploma or an associate's degree in medical transcription. These programs are offered completely online and include courses in medical terminology, healthcare laws and regulations, English and anatomy. Although the overall field of medical transcriptionist positions is expected to decline as technology evolves, several industries are expected to have a high job growth for medical transcriptionists; these include offices of mental health practitioners, specialty hospitals, professional services and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.

19. Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Associate's degree $34,420 19%

Veterinary technologists and technicians conduct medical tests and other processes under the supervision of veterinarians. Their duties can include observing animals, restraining animals when necessary, preparing animals and tools for surgical procedures, and bathing and caring for animals. Technologists typically need a bachelor's degree while technicians usually have an associate's degree. Both require a program in veterinary technology, which includes courses in animal anatomy, animal care and science. Online veterinary technology programs include online coursework and on-site clinical practice hours. Most technologists and technicians obtain licensure, which is required in some states.

20. Medical Assistants

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Certificate or associate's degree $33,610 23%

Medical assistants complete both clinical and administrative tasks in physician offices and other healthcare settings. Although their duties vary by organization and specific role, duties may include taking patient vital signs, assisting with examinations and administering medications. They may also prepare blood and other samples for testing, schedule appointments and update patient records. Most employers prefer candidates who have completed a medical assisting program; these programs are available as one-year certificates or two-year associate's degrees. Medical assisting programs include some on-site requirements as well as courses in medical terminology, anatomy and biology.

21. Psychiatric Technicians

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Certificate $32,870 12%

Psychiatric technicians assist patients who have developmental disabilities and mental illnesses, providing therapeutic care and monitoring. Their duties can include leading group activities, observing and counseling patients, assisting patients with daily activities and restraining patients when appropriate. They typically need to have a college certificate or an associate's degree in a field such as mental health technology or psychiatric technology. Many qualifying programs can be completed entirely online without any practical experience. These programs include courses in counseling, biology and psychology.

22. Pharmacy Technicians

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Certificate $32,700 7%

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with dispensing prescription medications to health professionals and customers. Their duties can include measuring and packaging medications, organizing inventory, processing monetary transactions, updating patient information and answering phone calls. Although some positions do not require any college coursework, employers may prefer candidates who have been academically prepared for the position. Programs in pharmacy technology are available as one-year certificates or associate's degrees, and they include courses in pharmaceuticals, regulations and mathematics; many programs also include some hands-on practice in pharmaceutical settings.

23. Nursing Assistants

Education Needed Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Some college $28,540 9%

Nursing assistants, or nurse aides, provide fundamental care for patients in various settings, such as nursing homes and hospitals. Their duties can include bathing patients, assisting patients with moving or dressing, listening to patient concerns and reporting them to their supervisors, and serving meals to patients. Some nursing assistants are also responsible for dispensing medication to patients. Nursing assistants are required to complete an education program, which can be done at numerous schools. These programs typically take one or two months and include courses in medical terminology, nursing practices and anatomy. Nursing assistant students are often able to complete the majority of their coursework online, but are required to complete laboratory and clinical practice hours in order to prepare for their future roles.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »