Healthcare is a challenging field to study, but you can reap great rewards from providing exceptional care to patients that make the hard work worthwhile. From managing clinics and healthcare information databases, to providing direct patient care, there are many ways that you can utilize online healthcare degrees to build rewarding careers.
If you have a deep compassion for others and a quick, adaptive mind, then a career in the field of healthcare may be perfect for you! With the continual evolution of innovative medical procedures and the aging population, the healthcare field is always in need of skilled professionals.
Careers in Healthcare
By nature, healthcare is a hands-on field, but there are several career options that you can pursue by earning an online degree. To give you an idea of the different occupations available after completing an online healthcare degree program, we have put together the following information on various jobs and their mid-career pay:
|Job Title||Job Summary||
|Healthcare Administrator||Upper-management position that is responsible for leading a large staff of healthcare professionals.||
|Medical and Health Services Manager||Oversees the operation of a health care institution, such as a hospital.||
|Public Health Specialist||Performs a variety of tasks related to public health, including health education.||
|Senior Healthcare Assistant||Works within a medical facility to provide basic care services to clients and their families.||
|Pharmacy Technician||Assists in the preparation and dispensing of medication under the supervision of a Pharmacist.||
*Job and salary data provided by Payscale.com
As you can see from the information above, there are several career subfields available in healthcare. While typically a well-paying career field, the salaries above represent the average pay for professionals who have worked 10 years in the field. You may make more or less dependent upon your experience, education, and skill level.
Types of Online Healthcare Degrees
There are numerous options among online degree programs that involve the world of healthcare. From diploma programs to graduate degrees, the degree program that is right for you depends on your long-term career goals and interests.
Online Diploma Programs in Healthcare
If you are looking for a way to jump-start your healthcare career with less time invested than an associate’s degree program, then consider the many options available through online healthcare diplomas! There are several programs online that will allow you the flexibility to earn your diploma at a pace that fits your schedule.
Certificate and Diploma Programs in Healthcare:
- Physical Therapy Aide
- Dental Assistant
- Certified Personal Trainer
- Veterinary Assisting
Once you have received your training and diploma, you will have the necessary skills to be hired for a wide range of entry-level positions in the healthcare field.
Online Associate’s Degree in Healthcare
Earning an associate’s degree in healthcare is a great way to begin your journey into a successful career. Typically taking two years to complete, you may be able to work at a faster pace due to the flexibility of online education. There are many associate’s degree programs available that range from an overview of administration and management to learning the skills you need to compassionately care for patients.
Many students who earn their associate’s degree in a healthcare field go on to higher level degree programs in the future. Whether you plan to continue your education or use your degree to break into the field of your choice, it is an excellent starting point for those with an interest in healthcare.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare
Once you reach the bachelor’s degree level of healthcare programs, you will have the opportunity to take in-depth classes related to your specific concentration. Many top medical institutions seek out applicants that have a bachelor’s degree or higher within their chosen field, so successfully completing this program is a perfect way to stand out in a competitive job market.
During the course of your bachelor’s degree studies, you can expect to learn skills related to leadership, critical thinking, data management, and specialized patient care.
Online Master’s Degree in Healthcare
Completing a graduate degree in healthcare opens up a world of opportunity within specialized fields. If you are interested in applying for mid to upper-level management positions or would like to work in the field of public health, then there are several online degree options available through reputable universities.
Online Master’s in Healthcare:
Two of the most common healthcare master’s degree programs that can be earned online include Exercise Science and the various subfields of Healthcare Management. Within each of these graduate degree programs, there is an opportunity to choose a concentration that suits your career goals.
While the courses that you take will vary based upon your specific degree program, you can expect to take classes that emphasize the following skills:
- Health care theories and strategic planning
- Leadership and management
- Epidemiology and biostatics
- Global health concerns
- Nutrition and fitness
Earning a master’s degree in healthcare will allow you to apply for professional career opportunities that include public health administration, research and science positions, and healthcare management.
Online Doctorate Degree in Healthcare
When most people consider a doctorate degree in healthcare, they likely think of physicians and other medical professionals. While these degrees involve lengthy residencies and specialized schooling, you can also earn a doctorate in less time that is focused on other healthcare subfields.
One of the online doctoral degree programs available today is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Healthcare Management. During the course of this program, you can expect to take courses that may include:
- Leadership and ethics
- In-depth research methods
- Health policy, law, and regulation
- Healthcare economics and financial management
- Healthcare organization informatics
While most online DBA degrees that focus on healthcare do not require any in-person residency, you can expect to prepare a dissertation and take comprehensive examinations in order to graduate from the program.
Healthcare Career Outlook and Salary Information
Healthcare is an in-demand career path that is constantly in need of educated professionals that are able to adapt to quickly changing environments. There are countless ways to pursue a career within the subfields of healthcare, and the salaries vary widely based on the specific occupation and education level required.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is an excellent resource to obtain information related to the career outlook and average pay of the different healthcare career paths. For example, they estimate that there will be a 32% growth in medical and health services managers jobs between 2019 and 2029 – which is much higher than the national average across all occupations! With an annual median salary around $100,980, this is great news for students graduating from an online healthcare administration degree program.
View a list of the top 40 Healthcare careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.
Is an Online Degree in Healthcare Right for me?
After looking over the career opportunities available in the healthcare field, it is time to consider if an online degree program is the right choice for you. If you are a motivated individual with strong work ethic, you have a great chance at succeeding with the flexibility of distance education.
There are many advantages to taking college healthcare courses online, including:
- Potential to finish your healthcare degree in a shorter timeframe
- Interactive tools that allow you to learn specialized skills from the comfort of your home
- Flexibility to continue working a full-time healthcare job around your courses
- Lower tuition costs than many on-campus healthcare programs
By researching reputable colleges and looking ahead at the career outlook for various healthcare occupations, you can set the stage for success when choosing to enroll in an online healthcare degree program.
Comparing Top Healthcare Degree Programs
Not all colleges offering degrees online are created equal, and it is important to do your research before committing to the university of your choice. Healthcare is a specialized field, and avoiding “degree mill” schools is vital to ensure you are working towards a reputable degree.
There are several recognized accrediting agencies in the United States, from regional accreditation to specialized agencies that focus on individual degree programs. If your college has gone through the accreditation process, it shows that they are committed to providing their students with a high-quality education within their program of study.
When considering the many options for online healthcare degrees, keep an eye out for the following accrediting agencies to help you decide if the program offered is reputable:
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management (CAHME)
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Regional accrediting agencies
In addition to the names listed above, you can also look for agencies that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the Association of Specialized & Professional Accreditors (ASPA).
Student to Faculty Ratio
With the highly specialized nature of the healthcare field, you need to know that your college has the resources necessary to help you learn necessary career skills. One way that you can be supported with online schooling is through low student to faculty ratios. Although you will not be sitting in the classroom with your professor, you will still be regularly interacting through online classes, discussion boards, and various communication tools. If online healthcare courses have too high of a student to faculty ratio, it will be difficult for your professors to provide you with the individualized attention necessary to support you through your journey.
Do you know who your professors are? Well, you should! And luckily, most college websites have an extensive “Faculty” section that will help students get to know the backgrounds and credentials for their future professors. After all, when it comes to healthcare, it is important to know that you will be taught by experts in the field to give you the best start on your career path.
Academic Advising and Student Services
In addition to qualified faculty and low class ratios, the best online schools offer additional supports to their student body to help them succeed. Many top-tier schools are jumping on board with online education, and they offer numerous student services to both traditional and non-traditional healthcare students, including:
- Health education seminars
- Virtual tutoring services for advanced level classes
- Extensive medical library available online
- Open lab times for required classes
- Academic advisement to help you choose the best healthcare courses for your goals
Whether you are trying to get a promotion at your current healthcare job or you have high goals of building a lucrative healthcare management career, the options are endless within this exciting field! So what are you waiting for? With the flexibility of online degree programs, it is easier than ever to start working towards your healthcare career!