Online Colleges for Health
We all know that doctors and nurses diagnose our illnesses and injuries and give us the treatment or medication to make us feel better. But if you're interested in health care, there are many careers to consider besides doctor or nurse. A clinical laboratory technician or technologist analyzes the specimens that a doctor sends to the lab. A medical records specialist is responsible for maintaining patient files. These files are often consulted and amended by physician assistants, who work with doctors and have important duties, including making diagnoses and performing some procedures like suturing.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists no less than 40 occupations under the heading of health care. Many of these occupations are highly in-demand: the BLS reports that health care occupations could add 3.5 million new jobs from 2010 to 2020 at a growth rate of 29 percent nationally, making it the fastest-growing labor sector in the U.S. Health professionals are in high demand in states like Florida, which have a higher percentage of elderly residents. Some of the highest paying heath occupations in 2010 listed by the BLS include:
- Physician Assistants - $86,410 average median salary
- Physical Therapists - $76,310 average median salary
- Occupational Therapists - $72,310 average median salary
Health Degree Programs and Careers
Just as we all know what doctors do, we know that it's tough to become one. Pre-med undergraduate degree programs are science-heavy, with courses in biology, chemistry and physics supplemented by classes such as anatomy and nutrition. If you're smart and lucky, you can look forward to the rigors of medical school. But there are plenty of associate and bachelor's degree programs that prepare you to enter the health care workforce right out of school. Many of these programs are offered by online colleges and feature very targeted degrees. For example, you can get a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Studies with a concentration in long-term care, or a Bachelor of Science in Health care Administration. Getting a degree from one of these programs, you can learn skills to make you marketable for jobs like medical services manager, physician assistant, or health information technician.
Why Get a Health Care Degree through an Online College?
Online programs can offer students the flexibility of learning from the comfort of their own home. This is especially helpful for people who may learn better outside the classroom setting or have other responsibilities in their lives that keep them from being able to attend rigid classroom hours. Below is one students story as to why they want to get their health care degree and how online classes are helping them do so.
"I want to earn my degree because I found my self wondering how my family was going to make ends meet after my husband was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure in 2006. He was going to have to work less in order to start dialysis. Through the time of dialysis, and being on the kidney transplant donor list for three years and working as much as he could, I was running up my credit card bills to maintain my household because my job wasn't enough. I decided I never wanted to be in that position again and began to ponder on school and my passions. I became interested in health care after being so involved with my husband's care during his illness. I checked several school and decided that online classes and the Healthcare Administration degree program was for me.
I obtained my associate degree in April 2013, and will obtain my bachelor's in 2014. My goals are to become a hospital administrator or an executive director at a senior living facility. Getting my degree isn't so much about the money as much as it's about having more options to fall back on in case of any critical life-changing events like the one we experienced. I plan on pursuing my master's degree after getting my bachelor's, which will also open even more opportunities for me and be able to provide for my family and enjoy life without financial worries. Going back to school online has given me the freedom to pursue a degree, and work while in school, which is what I needed because I am a middle-aged woman with a full life that doesn't stop but with these online classes I am able to do both."
- Vitanza (South Carolina)
How to Find Online Colleges Offering Health Degrees
You can find colleges that offer online degrees in a variety of concentrations. You can also narrow down the field you want to get an online degree in by choosing one of the programs on the right. When you find a college or program that you would like to learn more about you may choose one of our options, and after filling out some information about yourself, we will put you in contact with a representative.
- Healthcare Occupations, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/
- Projections Overview, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/projections-overview.htm