Online Medical Degrees and Schools

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Researching online medical degrees and schools can be overwhelming due to the number of options available.

Online Medical Degrees and Schools

There are many medical colleges online with different concentrations. Degrees in medicine from these institutions may help position you for a career opportunity in healthcare, a field that typically pays well and has stable or positive growth.

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If you have a passion for helping people, you may want to begin by looking at the type of medical degrees that will build on your strengths and allow you to pursue your interests in the various areas of healthcare.

Online Medical Degrees and Schools

Although there are some underlying similarities between online MD programs, there are also significant differences. Before choosing between medical field colleges, you should first evaluate your academic and career goals and determine which best aligns with your needs.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunities for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.

Biology

Biologist woman writing medical expertise in laboratory

There are numerous biology degrees, ranging from general biology to pre-medical studies and medical research. The specific courses you take will be largely determined by which specific path you choose.

Some courses are standard across all types of biology degrees. These include biology, chemistry, math, and physics. You will also be required to complete some form of lab work to demonstrate that you can apply the knowledge that you have learned.

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As a biologist, you may go on to become a medical researcher who studies human disease, conducts clinical trials, and develops cures and treatments. You may also choose to complete a biology degree in preparation for medical or veterinary school.

Biomedical Engineering

biomedical engineers working on a Bionics Exoskeleton Prototype

Students who are both mathematically and scientifically inclined may benefit from pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering. As the title suggests, this program combines studies in engineering and biology.

Typical courses for a biomedical engineering major include statistics, calculus, chemistry, and physics. Depending on a student’s concentration within the major, there may also be coursework in biomechanics, biomedical devices, and biomedical informatics.

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This kind of degree is a logical choice for those hoping to become biomedical engineers. People in these positions design and develop medical equipment, computer systems and software, and devices that are vital to successful health care.

Health Sciences

health service manager working in a clinic

A health sciences degree is a strong option for a number of potential career paths. A health sciences graduate might go on to become a clinical healthcare provider, health educator, or health services manager.

Many students also use a health sciences degree as a stepping stone toward additional degrees in areas like dentistry, physical therapy, and medicine. Because there are so many possibilities tied to a health sciences degree, the coursework can vary widely from one program to the next.

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Most students can expect to take courses in molecular biology, anatomy, and genetics, as well as social sciences like psychology.

Health Information Management (HIM)

group of students taking online medical degree

If you want to work in the field of healthcare but are not interested in becoming a care provider or researcher, you may want to consider a degree in health information management (HIM).

An HIM degree program focuses on developing skills in processing and analyzing data and using digital technologies in a healthcare setting. These are important skills in order to properly maintain and create patient records.

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In order to refine these skills, HIM students generally take courses in medical coding, health, and finance. Graduates are well-prepared to seek out positions as medical records technicians, HIM consultants, and patient information coordinators.

Healthcare Administration

professional medic physician working in her office

A degree in healthcare administration is ideal for students who want to be involved in the daily operations of a healthcare facility.

This degree can help prepare you to pursue a job as a medical secretary, healthcare administrator, or healthcare department manager. While completing a healthcare administration degree, students typically take courses in business, finance, ethics, and information and healthcare technology.

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Degree programs at some universities may also allow you to choose a more specific focus, such as public administration, human resources, or international management. Each concentration would include more specific coursework requirements.

Medical Assisting

school nurse doing consultation with student

Medical assistants have regular and direct interactions with patients and their families. They are crucial employees in healthcare facilities of all kinds, including outpatient care centers, physician offices, and hospitals.

In addition to preparing for a position in the professional setting, medical assistant schools online degree programs can also be a good place to begin advancing into higher positions in healthcare, such as administrative roles.

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To obtain a medical assisting degree, you will most likely need to complete coursework in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, phlebotomy, and medical terminology. This helps prepare you to perform the primary tasks in medical assisting, such as taking patient vitals.

Medical Billing & Coding

IT scientist doing system monitoring

A medical billing and coding degree is focused on becoming adept at compiling, processing, and transferring information. The necessary coursework includes medical terminology, computer skills, and medical coding.

After attending medical billing and coding schools online, it may help students qualify for a position within a healthcare setting or an insurance agency. Common positions for this degree include medical billing specialists and insurance specialists.

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This degree program is often a good match for students who are interested in healthcare but prefer to stay behind the scenes. It is also attractive to people who enjoy working with data and organizing information.

Nursing

male nurse doing medical consultation over the phone

Nurses have some of the most frequent and personal interactions with patients, and they play a critical role in patient care. There are many kinds of nursing degrees available, including medical schools online programs for registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

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The classes required to obtain a nursing degree are often quite similar to those required for physicians. They include physiology, microbiology, nursing fundamentals, and psychology. You might also choose to specialize in a particular kind of nursing, such as working in a psychiatric setting, within pediatrics, or as a family nurse practitioner.

Psychology

mental psychologist writing clients medication

The study of psychology centers on learning about the human mind, how it operates, and how it affects human behavior. A psychology degree might be intriguing if you are interested in mental health.

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Graduates with psychology degrees are well-prepared for a number of roles. These include substance abuse or addiction counselors, psychiatric assistants, and mental health counselors. If you choose to pursue a degree in psychology, you can expect to take courses that focus on your particular area of interest. For example, you might study child psychology, human sexuality, social work, or experimental psychology.

Public Health

medical students reading reports in laboratory

If you are invested in promoting the health and wellness of your community, you may be well-suited to a public health degree.

Public health majors study essential science courses, such as chemistry and biology, as well as specialized coursework. The classes that you complete during a public health degree program are often focused on a particular area of healthcare, such as environmental, occupational, or community health.

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Public health graduates are attractive to non-profit and government organizations, like the Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organization. With this degree, you may be better-qualified for a role in epidemiology, public health education, or healthcare delivery.

Medical Careers and Salaries

Medical Careers and Salaries

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 based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Careers Annual Median Salary
Radiation Therapists $82,790
Dental Hygienists $77,810
Registered Nurses $77,600
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers / Cardiovascular Technologists $75,380
Dietitians /Nutritionists $61,650
Athletic Trainers $48,420
Licensed Practical / Licensed Vocational Nurses $48,070
Exercise Physiologists $47,940
Massage Therapists $46,910
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians $45,240
Dental Assistants $38,660
Phlebotomists $37,380
Medical Assistants $37,190
Paramedics or EMTs $36,930
Pharmacy Technicians $36,740
Medical Transcriptionists $30,100
Home Health Aides $29,430

According to the BLS, employment in this field is projected to grow 15% over the next 10 years. Specifically, radiation therapists projected growth is 9% over the next 10 years, while the demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow 11% over the same time period.

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Registered nurses are expected to see a 9% growth rate as well.  This growth is due to an aging population and a greater demand for healthcare services. Whether you prefer to work as a healthcare practitioner or take on a more supporting role, the healthcare industry continues to grow. There are a wide variety of positions in the healthcare industry, all of which play a vital role and have a secure future.

How to Choose an Online Healthcare Program

Student choosing a medical degree online

Choosing an online healthcare degree program is complex because there are so many variables to consider. When debating how to know if a medical degree is right for me and what path you should choose, these are some of the questions that should factor into your decision when choosing from various online healthcare degrees.

  • Will completing the degree help qualify you for your desired career path?
  • Do you want to work directly with patients, in a supervisory role, or behind the scenes in a lab or office?
  • What is the cost of the program, and is there financial aid available?
  • Is the program nationally or regionally accredited?
  • What is the expected completion time for the degree?
  • Does the curriculum for the program interest you?
  • Is a flexible schedule important to you?
  • Is ongoing education a priority for you?

As you compare schools and degrees, it may be helpful to reach out to admissions counselors who can provide more detailed information about your program of interest.

Medical School Admissions Requirements

The admission requirements for a medical degree vary dramatically depending on the type and level of the degree you are pursuing. These are some of the most common criteria.

  • Transcripts: You may be asked to provide transcripts from your secondary and postsecondary schools.
  • Standardized test scores: Some online medical programs may require you to provide results from the SAT, GRE, or MCAT.
  • Personal references: These letters should be written by instructors or employers and attest to your competency and motivation.
  • Statement of purpose: You may be asked to write an essay that explains your goals and interests.

In addition, you may be required to submit an application and pay a fee before enrolling in an online med school.

Medical Schools Online Accreditation

university campus offering medical degree online

Accreditation is a crucial element to consider when selecting an online medical degree program. Schools that are accredited have been thoroughly evaluated by outside parties. Only schools that are providing a high level of academic quality are given accreditation status.

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Universities and colleges can be accredited on a national or regional level, but regional accreditation is especially important. Regionally accredited schools have been deemed to meet the highest possible quality standards. You can also rest assured that the credits you complete are likely to transfer if you choose to change schools midway through your program.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Medical degrees can be extremely expensive, particularly if you attend a private university or are paying out-of-state tuition. There are several ways to offset the cost of completing your degree. As you make plans for attending an online medical school, research any financial aid that may be available.

These include federal aid programs, which require the completion of a FAFSA form, and state aid. In addition, if you are already working in a healthcare position, your employer may be willing to cover a portion of your tuition costs. It is also worthwhile to search for scholarships that are specific to your circumstances or the program you will attend.

Can You Do 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.

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These types of courses are required for licensure renewal and help medical professionals stay up-to-date on changing technologies and treatments. According to Forbes, there are more than 300 online nursing degree programs available including certificate programs and bachelors to masters, and even doctorate level programs.

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 medical field majors continue to gain popularity and the demand for flexible schedules becomes more popular, we expect to see fully online medical programs made available in the not-so-distant  future.

Will Medical Schools 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.

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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.

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 2 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.

What Can You Do With a Medical Degree?

One of the advantages of a medical degree is that it may help you to advance on several different high-paying career paths.

Depending on the program you pursue, you may become qualified for a healthcare position as a clinician, epidemiologist, pharmacologist, or optometrist. Alternatively, medical degreesonline can help prepare you for administrative or office roles focused on data, human resources, and management.

According to the BLS, some of these positions may offer much faster than average job growth over the next several years. These include nurse practitioners (45%), physical therapists (21%), and veterinarians (17%).

What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in the Medical Field?

Highest Paying Jobs in the Medical Field

Positions in healthcare are often well-paid, in part because they require an intensive level of education and training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the highest paying positions in the medical field.

Careers Annual Median Salary
Physicians and Surgeons $208,000
Dentists $163,220
Podiatrists $145,840
Pharmacists $128,570
Optometrists $124,300
Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners $123,780
Physician Assistants $121,530
Veterinarians $100,370
Biomedical Engineers $97,410
Physical Therapists $95,620


Your pay may also be significantly affected by other factors. These include the location of the job, your level of experience, and whether you work in a private practice or public health facility.

How Long Will Online Medical School Take?

It depends on what type of career you’re looking to pursue. Some bachelor’s level online medical programs may take around 4 years to complete, while certification programs can be completed in just a matter of months.

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On the other hand, some nursing and dental hygienist programs will take around 2 years to complete online. The length of time is also subjective depending on your schedule and if you are enrolled in an online program full-time or part-time.

Can I Earn a Healthcare Certificate Online?

Woman in her 30s enrolling in medical school 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.

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Here are 6 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 1 year or less.

How Hard is Medical School?

Man getting a healthcare certificate online

Medical school is notorious for being challenging, but the level of difficulty depends on your strengths, skills, and level of motivation. It also varies based on the university that you attend and the specific degree that you pursue.

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Most online medical school programs require coursework in biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, genetics, pharmacology, and physiology. Students in these courses learn about the human body, the pathology of diseases, and the efficacy of treatments and cures. In addition, some medical degree programs are math-intensive, requiring courses like calculus and statistics.

Is Medical School Worth It?

Yes, medical school is worth it for many students. There will likely always be a need for well-trained healthcare providers, and the demand for many positions in the medical field is expected to increase.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some medical professions, including nursing and physical therapy, are expected to grow at a rate that is significantly faster than average. Others, such as physicians, are not projected to expand as quickly but are projected to maintain steady growth.

If you have a passion for helping others, graduating from medical school may also offer a sense of personal fulfillment and satisfaction.

List of Best Medical Schools Online

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University offers an online program for a BS in Healthcare Administration. The program requires the completion of 120 hours in total, with 64 hours concentrated in the field of study.

Students can choose between three concentrations: Change Management, Public and Community Health, or General. Courses include Innovation and Trends in Healthcare, Healthcare Quality and Safety, and Leadership and Relationship Management.

Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s online BS in Biological Sciences program offers a concentration in Biomedical Sciences. The degree requires the completion of 120 credit hours. Students must take a total of 39 classes, and each class is 7.5 weeks long. All classes are fully online except for Organic Chemistry, which requires a week at ASU or another accredited school.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

DeVry University

DeVry University

DeVry University offers an online program for a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management. The courses can be taken completely online or can be completed in a hybrid format. Classes begin every 8 weeks. The program requires the completion of 126 credit hours and can potentially be finished in just 32 months.

DeVry University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Drexel University

Drexel University

Drexel University offers an RN-to-BSN program that allows candidates to potentially earn their BSN in just 12 months. The program requires the completion of 180 quarter credits, and up to 135 qualifying quarter credits can be transferred in. Drexel features a 3 year tuition lock to ensure against tuition cost hikes. Graduates of the program often go on to work in ERs, NICUs, oncology departments, and more.

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University offers an online BS in Bioengineering degree program that is designed to provide students with the education needed to attend most medical schools. Graduates may also pursue careers in biotechnology, health care, and the medical device industry. The program requires the completion of 129 credits, with at least 48 credits in 3000- or higher-level courses.

FGCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Herzing University

Herzing University

Herzing University offers a Medical Assistant online diploma program. Graduates of this program often pursue bachelor’s degrees in health sciences, healthcare administration, or nursing.

The program is online but does require some hands-on labs and an externship. It can be completed at the student’s pace. Those in the diploma track can typically finish in 10 months, while those pursuing the associate degree can typically finish in 20 months.

Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Maryville University

Maryville University

Maryville University’s BS in Nursing, RN-to-BSN program is entirely online and has six start dates throughout the year. The program requires the completion of 89 credits, but students may apply with an approved associate degree. It’s possible to complete the program in a year. Students with BSN degrees often go on to work in more specialized nursing fields.

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University offers a BS in Health Sciences—Allied Health with an emphasis in Medical Assisting. The program requires the completion of 90 credit hours. It is typically completed as an upside-down degree, meaning most students earn an associate degree in allied health and then complete their core coursework at NAU.

Northern Arizona University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University

Ohio State University offers a BS in Health Sciences designed to train students for careers in health services or graduate studies in fields like medicine and dentistry. The program is online but only after meeting the prerequisites at a college or university. The program only has limited authorization in Colorado. Students should check their home states to ensure they’re meeting licensing requirements.

The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University

Oregon State University gives students the option between a BA or a BS in Psychology. The online program requires the completion of 180 credit hours, 60 of which must be in upper-level courses. The program has four start times throughout the year. The curriculum offers opportunities to learn psychology from both scientific and human sides.

Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Rivier University

Rivier University

Rivier University offers a BS in Nursing through its RN-to-BSN online program. The degree requires the completion of 120 credit hours and usually takes 1 to 2 years to complete. Each course is 7 weeks long. Students are allowed to transfer in up to 90 qualifying credits from an approved institution. The program is designed to allow students to continue working while earning their degree.

Rivier is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers a BS in Health Sciences program that requires the completion of 120 credits. Students with a qualifying associate degree in allied health may transfer credits to finish faster. SNHU offers math assessments that can allow students to earn up to 12 credits without taking a class. The courses are completed entirely online.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers an online program for a BS in Biology that requires the completion of 120 credits. The curriculum is designed to provide a foundation for many science-related fields, including health sciences. While all core coursework can be completed online, two of the required organic chemistry labs are hybrid classes. These must meet on campus for 3.5 days each.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida offers an online program for a BS in Psychology. Students are required to complete 120 credit hours, and each term is 16 weeks long. Students may choose between six tracks: Clinical, Experimental, Neuroscience, Industrial Organizational, Human Factors, or a general track. UCF provides students with experiences like field work and an optional capstone project.

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers a BS in Health Information Management that requires the completion of 52 credits. The courses are entirely online, and students can potentially get their degree in just 5 semesters if they have the right prerequisites. UC offers reimbursement for some exams, including RHIA. Students may also begin master’s work while working on their BS.

UC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Carolina – Greensboro

University of North Carolina Greensboro

The University of North Carolina—Greensboro offers a BS in Public Health Education. The program is entirely online. Students need an associate degree before applying. The program requires the completion of 120 credits, with at least 36 credits in higher-level courses. The curriculum explores racial, socioeconomic, and gender health disparities and how to help communities overcome them.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota’s BS in Biomedical Engineering can be earned almost entirely online. Students are required to complete their labs in sessions that are 1 to 2 weeks long during the summer semester. The program offers access to online tutors, and online students earn the same degree as those attending in person. To graduate, students must earn 125 credits, and 36 of these must be from higher-level courses.

UND is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of West Florida

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida offers an online program for a BS in Public Health. The program requires the completion of 120 credit hours, and it usually takes around 48 months to finish. Students may transfer in up to 90 qualifying credits. Each course is 8 or 16 weeks long and can be taken entirely online. Graduates of the program often go on to become health educators and community health employees.

The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University

Walden University offers an online RN-to-BSN program. Students must complete a total of 181 quarter credits to graduate. Up to 135 qualifying quarter credits may be transferred in toward the degree. Students can choose from two online options: course-based learning and tempo-learning. Course-based is an online format with synchronous meetings. Tempo-learning lets students work at their own pace.

Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Western Governors University

Western Governors University

Students can earn a BS in Health Information Management at Western Governors University. The program can usually be completed in 36 months. It is designed to help students fit classes around their busy lives. The program requires the completion of 36 courses. At the end of their last semester, students in the program must complete a research-based capstone project based on what they’ve learned.

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting Your Medical Degree Online

male chemist working on a project in laboratory

Online medical schooling can help qualify you for a promising and rewarding career in healthcare. As you research programs and schools, consider your personal strengths, interests, and aspirations to determine which is the best fit for you.

It is helpful to remember that these degrees are not appropriate exclusively for students who want to become doctors. If your interests lie in a related area, such as billing, administration, or counseling, there are medical degree programs available with those concentrations.

No matter which program is best for you, it is important to seek out reputable, accredited universities with online degrees that will best prepare you for your future career.

Ready to start your journey?
Kama Offenberger
WRITTEN BY Kama Offenberger

Kama has a master's degree in English from Virginia Tech and a bachelor's in English from Concord University. She previously taught college-level English composition, literature, and English as a second language courses. She is now a full-time writer in the education field, with a particular focus on educational technology and pedagogical best practices for English language learners.