Online Medical Degrees and Schools

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Thinking of going to online medical school?

Thinking of going to online medical school

If you’ve dreamed about getting into the medical field, online medical school can help make your dream a reality. Check out the different areas of healthcare you can get into with an online medical degree or certification.

Whether you’re mastering advanced technologies to treat sick patients, compiling billing or transcription information for digital records, or crunching numbers to purchase equipment and hire trained medical professionals, there are hundreds of essential roles in the healthcare field which require specialized training and education.

Can you go to medical school online?

 Woman applying for Online Medical School

Absolutely! While you can’t become a practicing physician with an online education, there are many accredited online medical schools available to help you get started in a number of other healthcare professions.

For example, you could take online courses that will prepare you to become a dental hygienist, pharmacy technician, medical transcriptionist or nurse.

There are also online continuing education (CE) and continuing medical education (CME) courses for already licensed physicians and nurses. These types of courses are required for licensure renewal and help medical professionals stay up-to-date on changing technologies and treatments.

Can you get an MD degree online?

At this time, there are no online medical schools in the United States that will allow a person to become a full-fledged doctor or physician without ever stepping foot on campus. In order to earn an “M.D.” after your name, you will have to attend a traditional, campus-based medical school.

However, as online schooling continues to gain popularity, we expect to see fully online medical programs made available in the not-so-distant  future.

Will medical school accept my online undergraduate degree?

Medical School applicant with an online undergraduate degree

It depends on the medical school.

Most medical schools have strict science credit requirements, which include in-person lab work. Because the lab work cannot be adequately replicated in an online format, schools often insist that all science courses be completed in person, on campus.

Some medical schools are even stricter and do not accept any online courses.

But there are exceptions! A few accredited medical schools have no course prerequisites, and would not turn away an applicant with an online undergraduate degree.

Ultimately, it’s up to the school. If you happen to have completed all or some of your undergraduate work online, or if you plan to, check with the medical school you are interested in and see what they will accept.

Can I get a good job with an online medical degree?

Man working as a Home Health Aide

Yes! While it is common knowledge that physicians make quite a bit of money, there are dozens of other professions within the medical field that earn very competitive annual salaries. Whether you prefer to work directly with patients, in a research or laboratory setting, or in an office, there is a good job waiting for you.

Here are some examples of careers you could consider, and their respective average annual salaries:

OCCUPATION AVERAGE
ANNUAL SALARY
Athletic Trainer $48,440
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer / Cardiovascular Technologist $68,750
Dental Assistant $40,080
Dental Hygienist $76,220
Dietitian /Nutritionist $61,270
Exercise Physiologist $49,170
Home Health Aide $25,280
Licensed Practical / Licensed Vocational Nurse $47,480
Massage Therapist $42,820
Medical Assistant $34,800
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians $42,630
Medical Transcriptionist $33,380
Paramedic or EMT $35,400
Pharmacy Technician $33,950
Phlebotomist $35,510
Radiation Therapist $85,560
Registered Nurse $73,300

*2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the BLS, employment in this field is projected to grow 15%from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This means the field will add about 2.4 million new jobs, more than any of the other occupational groups. This growth is due to an aging population and a greater demand for healthcare services.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of positions in the healthcare industry, all of which play a vital role and have a secure future.

How do I choose which medical degree is best for me?

Student choosing a medical degree online

There are so many different aspects of healthcare that it can be difficult to pinpoint which profession is best for you. Start by asking yourself important questions about your skills, preferences and plans for the future.

  • Do you want to work directly with patients, in a supervisory role or behind the scenes in a lab or office?
  • Do you tend to be the go-to, take charge person or are you more comfortable in a supportive role?
  • Do you like working with and learning about new technologies?
  • Is on-going education a priority to you?
  • Are you calm under pressure?
  • Is a flexible schedule important to you?
  • What kind of timeline do you have for your educational pursuits? Are you hoping to get started in the profession quickly?

This will help you eliminate some professions, and hone in on what would suit you and your lifestyle.

What is the easiest medical field to study?

Phlebotomist taking blood sample of an old man

The easiest medical field to study is one that excites and engages you. That said, there are some areas that tend to be easier to get into in terms of education, training and job outlook.

The following positions require two years or less of education or training:

  1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  2. Phlebotomist
  3. Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  4. Paramedic
  5. Medical Records Technician

But that’s just a sampling, so be sure to do some research on the area you are interested in to see how quickly you could get started.

How long will online medical school take?

It depends what type of career you’re looking to pursue. Some bachelor’s level online medical programs may take around four years to complete, while certification programs can be completed in just a matter of months.

Is 30 or older too old for online medical school?

Woman in her 30s enrolling in medical school online

No! There are plenty of people enrolled in medical school who are in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. Older students offer more life experience, and are better able to appreciate the commitment of time and money that medical school often requires.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average age of students applying to medical schools is 24 years, but it’s trending upward, especially with the availability of online medical school. Certain programs may be more popular with older students, particularly programs that can be completed on a faster timeline.

What is the most affordable online medical school?

The most affordable online medical program is one that can be completed quickly. The less time spent in the program, the less you will pay in tuition.

It’s difficult to compare actual costs because they vary greatly by school, program, length of enrollment, level of degree and many other factors, but here are some points of reference based on data from the National Center for Educational Statistics, the College Board and U.S. News and World Reports.

Degree Average
Program Cost
Nursing Assistant $1,200-$4,488
Medical Assistant $4,868-$9,736
Radiology and MRI Technology $4,000-$30,000
Diet and Nutrition $5,163-$47,000
Cardiovascular Technology $5,766-$10,251
Surgical Technology $6,318-$10,142
Radiation Therapy Technology $6,907
Anesthesia Technology $7,967-$8,809
Physical Therapy $8,880-$10,800
Dental Sciences $9,586

 

Can I earn a healthcare certificate online?

Man getting a healthcare certificate online

Yes! Online certification programs make it easier than ever to get trained quickly and move into a new, exciting career in healthcare right away.

Here are six certifications you can earn in under a year:

  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Surgical Technologist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Dental Assistant

These are important roles in the healthcare industry – in-demand positions with competitive salaries. If they seem like something you would be interested in, you could earn a certificate and be earning an income in one year or less!

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.