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Guide to Online Healthcare Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 10/31/2023

Students can pursue a diverse range of medical degrees online, ranging from online associate degrees in healthcare to graduate degrees in a number of rewarding fields. Where some online degrees in healthcare require an in-person component, such as clinicals or on-the-job training, others can be completed entirely from the comfort of your home.

That said, it's important to research online medical degrees based on the length of time you want to spend in school and the career you hope to pursue. After all, earning an online associate degree in healthcare can take as little as two years, whereas online graduate degree programs can take up to six years or longer to complete.

This guide breaks down the various online healthcare degrees you can choose from as well as details like the length of each program and potential careers to consider after you graduate.

By the OnlineU team | Updated 10/31/2023

Students can pursue a diverse range of medical degrees online, ranging from online associate degrees in healthcare to graduate degrees in a number of rewarding fields. Where some online degrees in healthcare require an in-person component, such as clinicals or on-the-job training, others can be completed entirely from the comfort of your home.

That said, it's important to research online medical degrees based on the length of time you want to spend in school and the career you hope to pursue. After all, earning an online associate degree in healthcare can take as little as two years, whereas online graduate degree programs can take up to six years or longer to complete.

This guide breaks down the various online healthcare degrees you can choose from as well as details like the length of each program and potential careers to consider after you graduate.

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Online Degrees in Healthcare

If you're hoping to join an industry that will likely see rapid growth in the coming years, healthcare may be exactly what you're looking for. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that 1.8 million new job openings in healthcare are expected each year through 2032. This growth will be partly based on an overall increase in healthcare needs nationwide but also on a need to replace healthcare workers who retire with a new generation of workers.

Pay for healthcare careers also tends to be generous when compared to other industries. The BLS figures show that the median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (including registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and dental hygienists) worked out to $77,760, as of May 2022. This compares favorably to the median annual wage for all occupations combined that year, which sits at $46,310.

If you're thinking about going to college to begin a career in healthcare, you'll want to know about all the healthcare degrees you can pursue as well as how long each program takes. Read on to learn about online degrees in healthcare by degree type, as well as factors that set each program apart.

Online Associate Degrees in Healthcare and Certificates

Students who want to enter the workforce quickly can consider online associate degrees in healthcare as well as certificate programs. Many certificate programs can be completed in less than one year, and the majority of associate degree programs require two years of full-time study. That said, some certifications are meant to be pursued after earning a degree in order to increase a graduate's skill set and job opportunities.

Here's an overview of the associate degree and certification programs you can pursue online:


Online Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): An associate in nursing can help you enter the workforce as a nurse within two years of beginning your program. Finding work as a nurse requires completing this degree and passing the National Council Licensure Examination.

Legal Nurse Consultant

Online Legal Nurse Consultant Certification: Registered nurses with an ADN can pursue an online certification to become a legal nurse consultant (LNC). This type of professional works with attorneys in order to advise them on the medical aspects of various legal cases, including medical malpractice lawsuits.

Medical Billing and Coding

Online Associate in Medical Billing and Coding: For those looking for a two-year degree in the healthcare field working behind the scenes, this may be the right choice for you. Medical billers and coders can get an Associate of Applied Science to begin a career at a medical office, with the possibility of remote work.

Medical Assistance

Online Associate in Medical Assistance: Medical assistants work with doctors and nurses at various healthcare facilities, and their responsibilities largely depend on the given setting. Their duties may range from helping with patient care, such as checking a patient's vitals, to working on administrative tasks. 


Online Pharmacy Technician Certification: Students who want to enter the workforce quickly can pursue certification to become a pharmacy technician. These workers assist pharmacists with various tasks, such as compounding medications and handling customer inquiries.


Online Phlebotomy Certification: An online phlebotomy certification can help you learn how to draw blood for a variety of medical purposes. This certification could help you land a job in many other healthcare settings, including clinics and labs.

Dental Assistance

Certificate in Dental Assistance: This online certificate program can help you learn the basics of assisting in a dental office as well as the core principles of dental care and office management.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Healthcare

Online bachelor's degrees in healthcare require four years of full-time study, yet they open the door to higher pay and jobs in a broader range of industries. While some online degrees can be completed entirely online, others require lab training, clinical experience, or both, to finish the program.

Here's an overview of the bachelor's programs in healthcare you can pursue online:

Health Education

Online Bachelor's in Health Education: This bachelor's degree program can help you begin a career educating others about their health. Job openings can be found in various settings, from hospitals to government agencies.

Healthcare Administration

Online Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration: Professionals in this field oversee the practical aspects of complex healthcare management systems while working toward excellent patient outcomes and customer satisfaction. A career in healthcare administration could take place in hospitals, nursing homes, or any healthcare setting.

Healthcare Management

Online Bachelor's in Healthcare Management: Earning a healthcare management degree prepares you for any number of management positions within healthcare, where you would oversee issues like staffing, employee training standards, event planning, and more.

Exercise Science

Online Bachelor's in Exercise Science: Earning a degree in exercise science prepares you for a career in fitness management. For example, you could become a personal trainer or health club manager.


Online Bachelor's in Nutrition: An online nutrition degree can prepare you for a career as a nutritionist or dietitian, who help others improve their diets and overall health.

Holistic Medicine

Online Bachelor's in Holistic Medicine: A degree in holistic medicine provides an introduction to alternative treatments and remedies outside of traditional healthcare. Students learn about the medicinal value of herbs and proper nutrition as well as yoga, meditation, and other natural wellness practices.

Public Health

Online Bachelor's in Public Health:  An online bachelor's degree in public health can help you begin a rewarding career in healthcare administration. This degree program can lead to an array of careers in hospital and clinical settings as well as in state and local governments.


Online Bachelor's in Radiology: This degree program introduces you to the use of X-rays and ultrasound technology, both of which are crucial when it comes to diagnosing and monitoring various medical conditions.

Respiratory Therapy

Online Bachelor's in Respiratory Therapy: Respiratory therapists use their knowledge and understanding of the respiratory system in order to help patients improve their breathing and overall health. These professionals work with patients of all ages but particularly those with chronic heart and lung diseases.


Online Bachelor's in Sonography: This degree program helps you learn the basics of ultrasound equipment and how it's used to diagnose medical conditions. Earning this degree from an accredited school can lead to a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer. 

Dental Hygiene

Online Bachelor's in Dental Hygiene: Dental hygienists work closely with dentists and other professionals to provide the best possible dental care and management to their clients. 

Emergency Management

Online Bachelor's in Emergency Management: A bachelor's degree in emergency management can help you find work with relief organizations, state or local governments, and more. Workers in this field learn how to stay focused in stressful situations and coordinate all components of an emergency relief effort. 

Online Healthcare Programs at the Graduate Level

A variety of online medical degrees are offered at the graduate level, including master's level degrees in many of the same fields you can pursue a four-year degree in. However, earning a master's degree positions students to climb the career ladder in their respective fields and accelerate their earnings at a much faster pace.

While the timeline required to earn a master's degree can vary, most graduate degree programs require at least two years of full-time study after completion of a bachelor's degree.

Here's an overview of the master's programs in healthcare you can pursue online:

Careers You Can Get With Online Healthcare Degrees

Health Education

Online Master's in Health Education: Earning a graduate degree in this field can position you to become a health educator, a community outreach coordinator, or a program resource coordinator for an organization or government agency. 

Healthcare Administration

Online Master's in Healthcare Administration: This graduate level program can prepare you to become a medical and health services manager or an administrative services manager, both of which are in-demand healthcare professions with excellent pay.

Healthcare Management

Online Master's in Healthcare Management: Completion of this degree program prepares graduates for leadership roles across all industries tied to healthcare, including clinics, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.

Health Informatics

Online Master's in Health Informatics: Earning a Master's in Health Informatics prepares you to work with numbers and data on a regular basis. Potential careers you can begin with this degree include informatics nurse specialist and chief medical information officer.

Public Health

Online Master's in Public Health: Pursuing this master's degree can position you for an advanced career as a health informatics specialist, health educator, or healthcare consultant.

Healthcare Management

Online MBA in Healthcare Management: This graduate degree helps you learn the business side of healthcare management so you can begin a career as a medical director or a hospital operations manager.

Exercise Science

Online Master's in Exercise Science: Earning a graduate level degree in this field can prepare you to find work as an athletic trainer or director, or in management at a gym or health club.


Online Master's in Nutrition: Earning a graduate degree in nutrition can lead to a management position in various healthcare settings. Other potential careers to consider include health coach and public health advocate.

Physician Assistant

Online Master's in Physician Assistant: This online master's program helps you become certified as a Physician Assistant. After completion of this degree program, you'll need to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Nurse Practitioner

Online Nurse Practitioner Degree: This master's degree program helps you meet the educational requirements to become a nurse practitioner. This field can also require certification through organizations like the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).

Occupational Therapy

Doctorate in Occupational Therapy: This online doctoral degree can help you become a licensed occupational therapist. It can even position you to open your own practice or work as an occupational therapist in a hospital or clinic.


Doctorate in Pharmacy:  Completing this degree program is required for students who want to work as a pharmacist. In addition to the online component of this program, students participate in hands-on training and clinical experiences.

Is a Degree in Healthcare Right for Me?

While the degrees in healthcare we outlined above can lead to any number of rewarding careers in hospitals and other healthcare settings, some medical degrees truly stand out. As an example, careers in healthcare administration have become increasingly popular due to their high pay and excellent job prospects. In fact, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $104,830 nationally in 2022, and job openings for these professionals are expected to increase by 28% during the decade leading up to 2032.

Becoming a nurse can also be incredibly rewarding, both on a personal level and in a financial sense. After all, nurses get the chance to take care of others during some of the most difficult times of their lives — and all while earning a handsome salary. 

The BLS shows that, as of May 2022, the median annual salary for nurses worked out to $81,220 nationally. Meanwhile, the top 10% of nurses earned approximately $129,400 on average. There are many types of nursing careers to consider as well, including careers outside of traditional hospital settings

FAQs About Online Degrees in Healthcare

Due to the range of skills required to manage the healthcare industry, any number of degrees and certifications can help you enter this dynamic field. Not only does the healthcare industry need nurses, doctors, and specialists but also administrators, data entry specialists, medical transcriptionists, and medical records specialists.

Like we mentioned already, all healthcare jobs combined are expected to see significant growth in the coming decade. 

The BLS even estimates that nearly 2 million healthcare jobs will be created or need replacement through 2032, and some healthcare careers will see job openings increase at a much faster pace. 

As an example, job openings for health information technologists and medical registrars are expected to increase 16% through 2032, and medical assistant jobs are expected to increase 14%. Meanwhile, job openings for occupational therapists are expected to surge 12% through 2032, and job openings for physician assistants are expected to increase 27%.

Whatever field of healthcare you're interested in, there's a good chance the job that suits you best will come with fair pay and a chance for growth. Fortunately, online healthcare programs are ready to help you work toward the career and lifestyle you really want. 

Can I Go to Medical School Online?

Becoming a physician or surgeon means pursuing a Medical Doctor (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) — both of which require participation in internship and residency programs. With that in mind, this is one career you can't begin with online-only coursework.

That said, there are many online healthcare degrees to consider, including the options outlined above. 

What Is the Easiest Health Degree To Get?

The easiest health degree to get can be a certification or an associate degree. Where a certification may be completed in one year or less in some cases, most online associate degrees in healthcare require two years of full-time study.

Which Healthcare Degree Is Best?

Before you apply to college, you should take steps to figure out which school and degree is best suited to your learning style and future career goals. Obviously, the outcome will be different for everyone. In the list above, we outline the different options based on degree level, and each description includes a link to more detailed pages that cover each higher education pathway, including employment outcomes, coursework, and more.

What Is the Quickest Medical Degree?

Earning a healthcare certification takes the least amount of time. Although, online associates degrees in healthcare also require as little as two years of full-time study and may be more beneficial in the long-run, especially if you plan to continue your education at some point.

What Is the Easiest 2-Year Degree To Get?

The easiest two-year degree to earn depends on your academic aptitude and drive. If you're a natural learner when it comes to math and science, for example, a two-year nursing program could be easy for you. If you're more interested in the administrative side of healthcare, earning a two-year degree in healthcare administration or medical assisting may make more sense.

What Medical Job Is the Happiest?

According to data compiled by CareerExplorer, nurses are some of the least happy in their careers nationwide. However, professionals in many other healthcare careers were a lot happier overall, including clinical nurse specialists, healthcare social workers, and medical and billing coding technicians.

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