Healthcare has been much in the public discussion for the past few years and there are many changes, increased healthcare needs, rapidly aging groups in need of care and financial and administrative requirements. While most consider healthcare careers to be clinical in nature (dealing directly with patients), there is a growing need for ancillary, support and management professionals. The majority of these careers require undergraduate or graduate education; and, increasingly colleges and universities are providing online educational degrees to meet the demand. These programs cover a wide range of opportunities in all facets of healthcare. Best Medical Degrees, with this ranking, offers an overview of available medical degree programs which are offered online and allows students to advance their education while continuing to work.
Because healthcare is so broad and encompassing, there are many educational avenues which will take you into a professional career in the field. Not all careers in healthcare involve clinical practice or working directly with patients; but, also includes diplomas in computer science, management, therapy studies, etc. Hopefully, this list of the 50 Best Online Medical Degrees for 2018 will include areas in which you are interested.
Best Medical Degrees utilizes recognized research, survey and ranking sources to develop the 50 Best Online Medical Degrees for 2018. This ranking reviews online medical degrees on the Associates, Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral levels relying on data provided by: 1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics examining potential job growth for a profession, 2) PayScale, which conducts national employer surveys to establish median annual salary ranges (NOTE: Salary ranges may be influenced by geographic location), 3) U.S. News and World Report rankings of career satisfaction data and unemployment estimates, 4) Department of Education approved, independent auditing and accrediting agencies and professional healthcare associations to verify credentials necessary for a specific healthcare area and 5) the 2016-2017 National Center for Educational Statistics data, College Board and U.S. News and World Report to determine the most cost effective educational degree programs offered online.
Best Medical Degrees has ranked these online medical degrees by concentration and degree types (Certificate/Diploma, Associate, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral). Some educational tracks may be mentioned more than once, depending on the degree. For instance, an Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy typically will qualify students to become Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA). Bachelor and Masters degrees will qualify students to become Occupational Therapists which involves more specific and detailed patient treatment areas.
Program Cost Estimates
Program costs are always a consideration in choosing an online degree; but, this ranking is concentrated on the degree, typical length of programs, coursework, online availability and key accreditation and liscensing standards required of medical practitioners. We have provided tuition estimates from the National Center for Educational Statistics’ 2016-2017 data. Of course, those numbers may vary depending on the individual institution, state, degree, etc. Depending on your personal financial situation, many students may find tuition help through Federal Student Aid offered through the U.S. Department of Education. The cost of a specific program will also be influenced by the length of time required to complete a degree. Bachelor degrees typically require four years of study, while Associate, Masters and Doctoral programs will usually range between 1-3 years for completion.
About This Ranking
This ranking lists the minimum, or preferred degree, to enter a specific healthcare field; and, there may be some overlap. For example, nurses may enter the profession with either a diploma or Associate Degree (ADN) but nursing is moving toward requiring all nurses have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in the near future. The ranking gives you options and a starting point to plan your education, and ultimately, your profession.
Certification and Diploma Degrees
There are some healthcare fields which don’t require a college degree but do require certification or diplomas. Certifications and diplomas typically take one year for completion and average tuition rates are cited by National Center for Educational Statistics range from $1,430-$7,980.
1. Medical Assistance Certification
Offered online, students interested in becoming Medical Assistants may find programs which will train them for work in outpatient clinics, physician offices or other healthcare facility. Certificates, just as degree programs, should be accredited by one of the following: American Association of Medical Assistants (Certified Medical Assistant), American Medical Assistant(Registered Medical Assistant), National Center for Competency Testing (National Certified Medical Assistant), National Healthcare Association (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) and (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant). This insures that you have the proper education in medical terminology, basic pathophysiology, basic anatomy, basic pharmacology, communication, clinical competencies (taking vital signs, patient histories and office management. The length of time required to complete a Medical Assistant certification is one year. Best Medical Degrees published a ranking of 10 Most Affordable Online Medical Assistant Certificate and Diploma Programs which may fit your educational needs.
Medical Assistant positions are growing a much faster than normal rate of 29% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. News and World Report ranks this career at a satisfying #18 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #51 in The 100 Best Jobs in its 2018 rankings and projects an average $31,500 median salary range.
2. Phlebotomy Certification
Even though this is a direct patient care field, there are online certification programs for Phlebotomists. Online coursework for the certification will include anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, basic infection and universal precautions, blood collection and equipment, appropriate hazardous material disposal, epidemiology, etc. Clinical experience will also be required. Online programs should be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) to assure quality standards are used in achieving the certification or diploma. Certification exams are offered by: The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the National Phlebotomy Association, and the American Medical Technologists (AMT). These certification programs are usually a year or less in duration.
Once education is completed, job prospects for phlebotomy are a strong 25% and salaries range from $20,379- $44,075 according to PayScale.
3. Home Health Aide Certification
Certification as a home health aide is beneficial for students who wish to enter the home health field. Certification is important for home health agencies receiving Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. While some states don’t require formal education, many states are moving to more formalized training for Home Health Aides. Training may include studies in CPR, basic patient care skills, medical terminology and proper safety methods (such as helping a patient move from a bed to a chair). These caregivers work under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional or nurse. Some programs require students to have a background check and will typically be one year or less in length.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a rapid job growth in this area and suggests a 41% rate which is much faster than average. The average salary for this healthcare certification is approximately $$23,130 per year.
Associate degrees are most predominantly offered by community colleges and range from 1-2 years in length of study. Many healthcare related Associate Degrees will be designated as Associate of Applied Science (AAS). Some degrees, especially clinical programs, will require internships or field experiences which are conducted in the student’s home community. These degrees will include not only studies in healthcare concentrations, but general education coursework as well (English, history, mathematics, etc.) to provide a solid and well rounded education. Associate Degrees are stand alone degrees; but, are also excellent ways to obtain general education credit if your goal is to obtain a more advanced degree in a field while working in a particular profession. Coursework completed in a community college setting will frequently transfer to four-year colleges but at a lower tuition cost. Community colleges tuition, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics range from $4,000-$16,000 for two-year programs. (Note: Some states, such as Tennessee (community colleges) and New York (state supported schools), offer tuition free education for in-state residents. It may be worthwhile for you to see if your state offers such assistance and if it applies to online degree programs).
This is, perhaps, one of the most sought after degrees for many reasons. First among those reasons is the surprising need for qualified nurses in today’s healthcare setting; and, students wishing to have a quick entry into the nursing field may want to examine obtaining an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). The ADN can normally be completed in 2-years, including clinical practice hours. Typical studies in the ADN will include, not only clinical rotations, but studies in physiology, microbiology, anatomy, nutrition, psychology, social and behavioral sciences, chemistry, microbiology and physiology. This degree will provide graduates with a Registered Nurse designation and allows for a variety of employment opportunities in hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, etc. Accredited ADN programs will hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) which will prepare students to sit for the NCLEX-RN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing). Another advantage to the ADN degree is it will prepare to work; and, if desired, be eligible to enter a RN to BSN program. Best Medical Degrees has ranked 25 Fastest RN to BSN Degree Programs and 30 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Degree Programs. to help as you advance your education.
PayScale surveys estimate a salary range from $40,250-$88,449 for RNs and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% job growth between 2016-2026. Nursing is consistently considered one of the most trusted professions and has received rankings from U.S. News and World Report #15 in Best Health Care Jobs and #18 in The 100 Best Jobs categories.
5. Licensed Practical/Licensed Vocational Nursing
Another fast track into the nursing profession, this degree is sometimes referred to as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program. Courses may include studies in anatomy, pharmacology, nursing theories and practice biology, psychology, health informatics, pathobiology, and online programs will require a clinical experience as part of the curriculum. Be certain to look for accreditation from the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) and will prepare students to sit for NCLEX-PN) National Council of State Boards of Nursing exam which is required by all states. Employment opportunities for LPN/LVN exist in long term care facilities, home health agencies, hospitals, physician offices and community agencies. As with the ADN, students with a LPN/LVN degree may advance their careers by enrolling in a RN to BSN program as suggested by Best Medical Degrees30 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Degree Programs and 25 Fastest RN to BSN Degree Programs.
As with other nursing fields, this degree prepares you to enter a field that is ranked #15 in Best Health Care Jobs and #18 in The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics rates LPN/LVN careers at a 12% growth rate between 2016-2026, with a salary range between $27,893-$55,514.
6. Medical Coding and Billing
This is a two-year degree (although there are a few bachelor programs) which will require studies in health data information, management and reimbursement, anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and the International Classification of Diseases 10th Edition, which is known as the ICD-10 as well as Current Procedural Codes referred to as CPT. Accurate medical records are vital in the accurate description of a patient’s health, as well as providing the basis for providing information used to bill insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid and patients. Coders work a variety of settings in physician offices, outpatient clinics, insurance companies, hospitals, etc. Best Medical Degrees has published 10 Most Affordable Online Associates Degree in Medical Billing and Coding that will get you started on your school search. Medical Coding and Billing degrees should have accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and some employers may also prefer certification.
The most recent projection from the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 13% job growth over ten years and PayScale surveys show a salary range of $25,088-$58,669.
7. Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Qualified Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree online programs in this technology field should hold accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and employers will often require certification from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Basic coursework will include physiology, chemistry, anatomy, biology, medical procedures, ultrasound physics & instrumentation, sonography & ethics, ultrasound scanning & abdominal ultrasound and will usually require clinical experiences prior to graduation. Some programs will offer specialization courses in Adult Echocardiography, Cardiac Electrophysiology, Invasive Cardiovascular Technology, Noninvasive Vascular Study or Pediatric Echocardiography. Working with patients, physicians and nurses, these technicians are key in the proper diagnosis and treatment of patients.
A career in this field is projected as having a 17%, ten-year job growth and technologists earn between $25,235-$80,537 annually. U.S. News and World Report rates this career as #8 in its Best Health Care Support Jobs ranking.
8. Certified Nursing Assistance
Certified Nursing Assistant online programs focus on studies in introduction to healthcare, medical terminology, healthcare concepts, communication, ethics, charting, life saving techniques,vital signs, etc. CNA degree programs will also require field experience before graduation. While it may be true you may not need a formal degree to become a CNA in your state, an Associate Degree will do two things: qualify you to sit for your state’s nursing assistant competency exam and put you into position to advance your healthcare career if your ultimate goal is to receive a nursing degree. CNA’s are in demand in hospitals, long term care facilities, and home health agencies; and, while working, you could continue your education. Accreditation of CNA programs should come from a regional oversight agency, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Salaries for CNAs are estimated between $14,501-$39,112. The need for CNAs is projected to be 11% over a ten year period with 177,700 jobs becoming available. Be certain to look for state approved online programs or programs accredited by Department of Education approved regional agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for the best programs that meet your educational needs.
9. Surgical Technology
Community colleges and technical schools offer online degree programs in Surgical Technology that studies medical terminology, communication, surgical practices and application, biology, pharmacology, anatomy and will include clinical experience in a surgical suite under the direction of an appropriate preceptor. Completed in 1-2 years, Surgical Technology programs will train you in sterilization techniques, set-up and management of technical equipment, robotic instruments and review contamination and infection prevention. Training will also expose students to the preparation of patients for surgery, familiarity with surgical instruments, correct patient positions depending on surgery, sterile draping and what is involved in the wearing of PPE, Personal Protection Equipment to reduce the chances of infection. Following academic and field experiences, certification from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
This career is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as #23 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #92 in its Best Jobs category. PayScale estimates salaries for this career to range from $29,758-$58,344 annually and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 12% job growth between 2016-2026.
10. Dental Science
Studies toward an Associate Applied Science degree with a concentration in Dental Assistance are typically 1-2 years in length and can be found online as distance education degrees. Requiring coursework and field experience working in a dental office, students will study coursework in anatomy, general studies of teeth and gums, application and processing of dental x-rays, equipment sterilization procedures, patient preparation for dental procedures, laboratory techniques, preparation for dental impressions, studies in fluoride application and topical anesthetic uses and application. Students should look for programs which hold accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
Successful AAS prepared dental assistants may enter a career which is ranked #25 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #98 in The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report and has a 19% job growth expectation. Salaries for these graduates range from $19,210-$44,896.
11. Paramedic Studies
We’ve all seen television medical programs featuring paramedics and we have a fairly good idea what they do; but, becoming a Paramedic requires education. Unlike the Emergency Management Technician (EMT), Paramedics have advanced training and education. Online Paramedic Associate Degrees are available. These programs require EMT certification for entrance and coursework will involve biology, pathophysiology, anatomy, utilizing airway equipment and devices, pharmacology, anatomy, pathophysiology, application and interpretation of EKGs, communication, proper patient safety and transportation procedures and wound management and stitching techniques. Students will also learn universal precaution procedures and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Paramedic programs should meet the requirements of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) and the school should be regional accredited by a Department of Education approved accrediting agency such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Graduates can enter a field with a projected 15% growth rate and on of U.S. News and World Report’s #24 Best Health Care Support Jobs. PayScale surveys indicate a median salary for Paramedics between $31,088-$67,932.
12. Nuclear Medical Technology
Nuclear Medical Technology requires a two-year Associates Degree. Studies in this area include coursework in chemistry, physics, anatomy, computer science, familiarity with radiopharamceuticals, proper protocols, computer imaging equipment. It’s important to find accredited programs which hold approval from the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT). Students may obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board.
With this degree, students will enter what U.S. News and World Report ranks as #21 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #87 in The 100 Best Jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 10%, ten-year job growth for trained technicians with a salary estimate between $44,540-$91,493.
13. Dental Hygiene
An associate degree in Dental Hygiene covers coursework in clinical dentistry, anatomy, radiology, pathology, dental tissues, periodontics, public health, immunology, sterile processes, microbiology, etc. Additional courses may be required in diet and nutrition, ethical considerations, physiology and patient assessment and management. Online associate degrees are available from technical schools or community colleges for the academic coursework, with clinical experiences in approved dental offices are expected before graduation. Some programs may be hybrid in nature, requiring a certain amount of coursework to be conducted on-campus involving laboratory experiences. Be sure the program you choose is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
Requirements for licensure and certification vary by state and you should check with your state’s regulatory board to determine what you need for compliance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a faster than average 20% job growth expectation between and U.S. News and World Report ranks this career as #3 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #17 in The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report. Dental Hygienists may seee salary ranges from $34,314-$74,965 according to PayScale.
14. Pharmacy Technology
While it’s possible to become a Pharmacy Technician with a certificate or diploma program, the advantages in obtaining an AAS that will provide solid educational foundation skills in math, communication skills and pharmaceutical science. Coursework for this field of study will include studies in drug awareness, biology principles, general nutrition, pharmacy calculations, pharmacology for technicians, medication dispensing, pharmacy law and ethics, etc. An AAS also provides a good educational basis should you decide to continue your studies in pre-pharmacy either on the community college or four-year college environment. Programs should be accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and should lead to certification from either Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Pharmacy Technician programs are typically 1-2 years in length and may require field experience before graduation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics records a 12% job growth rate over the next ten years and U.S. News and World Report cites a median salary for Pharmacy Technicians at $30,920.
15. Anesthesiology Technology
Associate Degree programs in Anesthesiology Technology trains students for a career working with anesthesiologists, surgeons, surgical nurses and patients. Classwork will include pharmacology and anesthesia, anesthesia equipment, critical care procedures and protocols, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, math pharmacology and clinical experiences under the guidance of an appropriate preceptor.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) provides appropriate accreditation for this field and will prepare students to site for the certification exams from the American Society of Anesthesiology Technologists and Technicians (ASATT). Online programs are available which normally range between 1-2 years in length for this curriculum.
With a 12% projected job growth rate as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale surveys show a salary range between $29,815-$61,539 annually.
16. Radiology and MRI Technology
Associate Degree coursework for this academic program includes studies of computer science, math, algebra, human physiology and anatomy and physics. Students will also study medical and radiographic procedures and protocols, studies in diagnostic imaging, specialized imaging, radiation biology, general medical procedures. Clinical experiences are required working with qualified radiology technologists before graduation. Program accreditation standards are set by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCET) for those pursuing a radiology technology degree; and, from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). Many professionals sit for the certification exam provided by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT).
U.S. News and World Report ranks this career #22 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #64 in The 100 Best Jobs in its Best Jobs report and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% job increase in this field between 2016-2026. Salary surveys for this profession range from $33,701-$72,033 annually.
17. Respiratory Therapy
An Associate Degrees in Respiratory Therapy (RT) are offered online but will include field experience as well as studies in math, chemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, therapeutic assessment, microbiology and respiratory equipment, protocols and procedures. Additional coursework may delve into specialized areas such as adult critical care management and diagnosis, neonatal, pediatric and adult care, cardiopulmonary diseases, etc. Many programs will also offer CPR training for respiratory therapists. Look for program accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CARC). You should also look for academic programs which will prepare you for certification by sitting for the The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) exam, since states frequently require licensure and certification to practice. The national board offers certification in two areas: Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).
A career in respiratory therapy is ranked by U.S. News and World Report’s #16 in Best Health Care Jobs and #21 in The 100 Best Jobs categories. The job outlook for RTs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a whopping 23% between 2016-2026 with PayScale estimating a salary range between $36,850-$73,286.
18. Radiation Therapy Technology
Patients diagnosed with certain cancers often are treated with radiation therapy as part of their health plan. An Associates Degree in Radiation Therapy is required to become a licensed therapist to deliver the subscribed doses of radiation to reduce tumor size for surgery or eliminate tumors all together. Online studies in this field will include anatomy, physics, computer science, physiology, algebra, basic oncology, fundamentals of radiation therapies and will require clinical rotations for completion of the degree. Working with radiation oncologists and physicists, Radiation Therapists will be required to understand calibration of a linear accelerator (used to administer prescribed radiation doses to a precise area on the patient. Therapists are also required to be able to explain the procedure accurately and plainly to the patient. Students should look for programs which hold accreditation from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) since a majority of states require licensure for practice. Several states also require certification which is offered through an exam conducted by the ARRT.
U.S. News and World Report ranks this particular career at #21 in Best Health Care Jobs and #31 in The 100 Best Jobs and it rated a 13% job growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. PayScale surveys show a salary range between $35,072-$64,669 annually.
19. Veterinary Technology
Americans spend an estimated $72 billion on their pets, which makes a study in veterinary care one of the top careers in the country. To become a Veterinary Technician, an Associates Degree through a two-year community college is necessary (although some four-year schools offer Veterinary Technician degrees, a good choice if you’re planning on attending veterinary school). Coursework will involve studies in animal anatomy, pharmaceuticals, behavior, emergency medicine, surgical protocols, anesthesia fundamentals and clinical rotations in a qualified veterinary office. Properly trained Veterinary Technlologists may often find themselves providing grooming services such as nail trims or bathes; and, may also do double duty as office manager in veterinary practices. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredit online programs there are several online American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited programs available which help prepare students to sit for the certification from the Veterinary Technician National Examination. A majority of states require Veterinary Technologists to be registered, licensed or certified before practicing in a veterinary clinic or hospital.
This field has a rapidly growing 20% job growth expectation between 2016-2026, with salary ranges from $20,228-$47,970 on an annual basis. This particular veterinary field ranked #20 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Care Support Jobs.
20. Physical Therapy
An Associate Degree in Physical Therapy provides the opportunity to work with patients as a Physical Thearpy Assistant. Programs which are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) will offer you the education necessary to sit for the the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) exam offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Physical Therapists Assistants (PTA) work directly with physical therapists and physicians to follow prescribed techniques to assist patients regain mobility following an accident or illness. PTAs not only work with patients utilizing stretching and physical manipulation; but, observe progress and document progression for the physical therapist. Patient and family education is also a key part of the PTA’s role in patient recovery. This two-year course of study will follow coursework in anatomy, psychology, physiology, tests and measurements, pharmacology, pathophysiology, communication in healthcare, rehabilitation techniques and will require a clinical practicum working with a licensed Physical Therapist in a clinical setting. This would be an excellent foundation for students wishing to advance their education to a four-year Physical Therapy program. Most states require licensure and certification to practice as a Physical Therapy Assistant.
With an astounding job growth expectation of 30% over the next ten years, the field also ranks #4 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health CAre Support Jobs and #20 in The 100 Best Jobs. PayScale surveys show salary ranges from $35,072-$64,669.
21. Occupational Therapy
Beyond the general education courses required for an Associates Degree, students majoring in studies to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) should look for programs which hold accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE). Online programs may offer studies in: human anatomy and physiology, psychology, healthcare communication, human movement, neurological theory, physical dysfunction, documentation practices and will require field experience. The most attractive educational programs will prepare students for certification exams.The American Occupational Therapy Association recognizes five areas for Occupational Therapy Assistant certification: Driving & Community Mobility, Environmental Modification, Feeding, Eating, and Swallowing, Low Vision and School Systems. Certification in a specialty area is a plus when entering the job market.
This field has a projected 28% job growth between 2016-2026 and has ranked #1 as Best Health Care Support Jobs and #60 in the Top 100 Best Jobs of U.S. News and World Report. National salary surveys indicate an average salary yearly salary of $30,576-$61,264. You should check with your state regulatory board to see if your state requires certification as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) and state licensure to practice.
There are two types of bachelor degrees available. Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA). Most healthcare majors will culminate in a BS degree although there are some medical programs which will require a BA. Offered as four-year programs at colleges and universities, bachelor degrees provide general education as well as in-depth studies in medical or health related fields. This listing cites healthcare majors that are available within the broader, undergraduate degree programs. All degree programs will include general education studies, such as history, English, humanities studies, mathematics, psychology, etc. Undergraduate healthcare majors serve as the listing’s titles. Average tuition costs for four-year colleges range from $39,880-$102,480, depending on residency status.
22. Medical Laboratory Technology
Online Bachelor Degrees for laboratory technology, known as a Medical Laboratory Science degree, will include studies in microbiology, hematology, immunology, chemistry, molecular biology, laboratory techniques and protocols, clinical laboratory science, medical terminology and may require field experience working in a medical laboratory. While there are Associate Degrees available for technicians, the four-year BS is preferred to become a Laboratory Technologist. Some states require certification and licensure is required in some states. Look for online programs which offer accreditation from National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Personnel (NAACLS) or, at the very least, regional accreditation. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, American Medical Technologist and the American Society for Clinical Pathology provide certification examinations which may be required by your state. Be sure to verify with your state regulatory board which, if any, of those certifications may be need.
PayScale reports salaries for this degree/career in the $29,863-$73,390 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% ten-year job growth in this field with a median salary of $51,770. US News and World Report ranked clinical laboratory careers as #11 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #94 in its The 100 Best Jobs categories.
23. Nursing (BSN)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing is becoming the preferred degree for entry level nurses. The Institute of Medicine, in 2010, recommended that the standard for the nursing profession should move toward establishing the Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) as the industry standard for the profession. There are a significant number of online nursing schools and colleges offering BSN degrees. The four-year BSN will include courses in nursing theory, anatomy, pharmacology, chemistry, healthcare communication, physiology, patient assessment and management, biology, microbiology, anatomy and will require clinical rotations before graduation. Clinical rotations are provided under the guidance of an approved preceptor and are normally conducted in the student’s home community. Accreditation for BSN programs is crucial and you should look for online program which offer accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). You may also want to explore a programs nursing exam pass rate of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and most schools post their exam pass rates on their program’s website. Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is required for state licensure. NOTE: Several online programs offer a RN to BSN option for students with an ADN (see Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs, Best Medical Degrees ranked 50 Best Value Online RN to BSN Degree Programs 2015-2016 and 30 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Degree Programs).
With the national nursing shortage, the job growth for this profession, as cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is estimated at 15% over ten years. U.S. News and World Report rates nursing at #15 in Best Health Care Jobs #18 in The 100 Best Jobs; and, the Gallop Poll consistently rates nursing the #1 Most Ethical Profession by U.S. News and World Report. Salaries, according to PayScale, range from $40,208-$87,927.
24. Emergency Management
We live in dangerous times with potential terrorist attacks, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or tonadoes. These events which require organized and measured responses. A BS in Emergency Management prepares students to serve as an Emergency Management Director (EMD) to organize and manage aid and disaster relief. Online programs are available for this degree and will cover studies in emergency management principles, mass and social media communication theory, emergency management design and implementation, ethics, terrorism threat assessment, leadership and organization principles, psychology, chemical, biological and radiological hazards, etc. Many states may require Emergency Managers to be certified by the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) designation offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers. To help in your school search, Best Medical Degrees has reviewed 10 Most Affordable Online Emergency Management Bachelor’s Degrees.
With a Bureau of Labor Statistics average job growth projection, U.S. News and World Report has ranked this profession as one of its 50 Best Jobs. PayScale publishes a $50,000-$110,215 national, salary reports.
25. Social Work (BSW)
Bachelor of Social Work degrees will usually include studies in social welfare policy, ethics in social work, human behavior, diverse population theory, social environment studies, general social work practice with individuals and families, community and organization, mental health and wellness, social welfare policy and all programs will require a field experience working with a qualified clinical social worker. You should look for online programs which provide accreditation from the The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) which is required for licensure and certification. BSW programs prepare students to find entry level employment as social work assistants, service positions or caseworkers and is a key stepping stone to obtaining a Master of Social Work (MSW) which will allow students to work in clinical settings.
With a 12% job growth over the next ten years projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Social Work ranks #5 in Best Social Services Jobs and #63 in 100 Best Jobs ranking by U.S. News and World Report. PayScale surveys show annual salaries of $30,653-$63,759 for this entry level degree.
Students interested in body mechanics, fitness or exercise physiology may want to investigate a BS in Exercise Physiology. Online programs are available which study human anatomy, community health, biology, statistics, kinesiology, human nutrition, strength and conditioning, therapeutic modalities, biomechanics and athletic training. Most physiology programs will also include clinical experiences working directly with patients. Students should choose a program which holds accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Surprisingly, only one state requires licensure for practicing exercise physiologists; but, it’s highly recommended that certification be obtained from American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics sets a mean salary average of $49,090 per year and projects a 13% ten-year job growth rate.
27. Health Science
A Bachelor of Science degree will help you gain entry into a career in health education, health administration and can provide a foundation for advanced degrees in other healthcare fields. As always, look for online programs which are accredited. In this case, there is no specialized accrediation necessary, but the school you choose should hold accreditation from a regional accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This course of study may include coursework in general education studies such as English, communication, history, mathematics, social studies, etc. Healthcare specific courses might be in healthcare ethics, legal issues, healthcare leadership, epidemiology, healthcare informatics, health information management, public health, gerontology studies, etc. This course of study will prepare students for entry level healthcare administration and management with employment opportunities in healthcare systems, physician offices, government agencies or outpatient care centers. Best Medical Degrees offers a ranking of 10 Most Affordable Online Health Science Bachelor Degrees of accredited, online programs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 20% ten year job growth expectation and a median salary of $96,540 annually for students entering the healthcare field with a BS in Health Science and U.S. News and World Report ranks this career as #14 in its Best Business Jobs report.
28. Health and Human Services
This may sound like a broad degree category, but it holds great appeal for those who may wish to enter a field which is dedicated to working with individuals, families and communities. Including coursework in general education studies, students will complete studies in intervention, human services evaluation techniques, ethics, leadership, psychology, sociology, statistics, healthcare economics, healthcare delivery systems, addiction behaviors, etc. Online programs should hold accreditation from a U.S. Department of Education approved regional accrediting agency, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).10 Most Affordable Online Bachelor Degrees in Health and Human Services. There are also master degrees available and Best Medical Degrees has published 10 Most Affordable Online Masters Degrees in Health and Human Services if you wish to pursue an advanced degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a median salary for students with a bachelor degree in this field at $98,350 per year.
29. Public Health Education
A degree in Public Health Education will prepare students to enter a field to work with community health agencies to educate the population on health on topics of vaccinations, health support opportunities, health and wellness and education programs aimed for specific target demographics (children, geriatrics, etc.). Bachelors programs are available online and will include coursework in program planning, health communications, health and wellness across life spans, health education strategies, statistics, management principles, program analysis and evaluation, social and behavioral sciences, etc. Students may also sit for certification exams offered through the National Commission for Education Credentialing (CHES). Best Medical Degrees provides a ranking of 10 Most Affordable Online Bachelor of Public Health Degrees that provides information for some online BS degrees in this field.
Public Health Educators are estimated to have a job growth of 16% over the next ten years and U.S. News and World Report ranked Public Health Education as #7 in its Best Education Jobs. According to PayScale, the national salary estimates for this field is between $31,383-$60,451 according to its employer surveys.
30. Computer Science/Information Technology
A bachelor degree in Computer Science opens many employment opportunities for those students interested in working in the healthcare field. Online programs concentrate on web programming, information retrieval, statistics, databases, system analysis. Additionally, studies in methodical processes (think algorithms), operating systems, software engineering, calculus, network administration and computer architecture. Students should look for regionally accredited programs (through such agencies as the Higher Learning Commission or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, for example). Some areas of computer science may offer certification opportunities. Information Security Analyists, for instance, offers certification for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Information security specialists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics will see job growth for information technologists between 2016-2026 ranging from 6-15% depending on the specialty (Network Administrators, Computer Programmers, Web Developers, etc). U.S. News and World Report ranks the Top Best Technology Jobs which may help in your academic decision. PayScale estimates annual salary expectations of $49,779-$103,418.
31. Recreational Therapy
Online bachelor degrees are available for students wishing to become Recreational Therapists (sometimes called Therapeutic Recreation). Most of the programs will include course studies as well as field experiences or internships before graduation. Online coursework may include studies in assessment and evaluation, aquatic management, activity analysis, ethical standards, health and safety, role of therapist, ethics, role of the therapist, therapeutic recreation intervention and protocols. Students may also study medical and psychiatric terminology, illnesses and disabilities, use of assistive devices and technology and human anatomy and physiology. Prospective students should look for the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE), which is part of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), accredited programs; or, at minimum, institutional regional accreditation. Students may also wish to become certified through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification exam.
Ranked #18 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Social Services Jobs (for Recreation and Fitness Workers), the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an annual, median salary for this career at $47,680 annually.
32. Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counseling
Students looking to train as mental health and substance abuse counselors will find online undergraduate programs which will prepare them to work with patients under the supervision of clinical psychologists or physciatrists. Studies in this field may include development of treatment goals, patient evaluation, behavioral disorders and triggers, group and individual counseling techniques, ethics, pharmacology, anatomy, pathophysiology, health and social problems, counseling theories and practice, substance abuse prevention and recovery studies; and, may include an internship or field experience working with a qualified preceptor. It’s important to find programs accredited by the Counsel for Accreditation Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and a majority of state require licensure and completion of the National Board for Certified Counselors exam. Your state regulatory board will be able to provide you information for requirements.
Counseling careers in this field are ranked #8 in Best Social Services Jobs and #97 in The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a job growth of 23% between 2016-2026 and PayScale publishes an annual salary range for this profession to be between $29,107-$52,851 annually.
While not a healthcare degree, per se, a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing is an excellent background for entering the healthcare field, working with hospitals, health systems, physician groups, etc., in promoting health services and providing educational material for patients. Online programs may feature studies in market research, social media and marketing communications, strategic marketing planning, consumer behavior, visual arts, computer science, intercultural communication, branding, ethics, etc. Some online colleges and universities offer specific bachelor and master degrees in healthcare marketing. Most programs will require a capstone project prior to graduation.
With an average 10% job growth projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates in marketing managers may see salary ranges between $40,699-$98,155 per PayScale. U.S. News and World Report ranks marketing management high in its #1 in Best Sales & Marketing Jobs, #13 in Best Paying Jobs and #19 in The 100 Best Jobs categories.
Master of Science
Many healthcare professions, especially direct patient care fields, have Master of Science terminal degree requirements. Take nursing, for example. Nurse Practitioner degrees are considered terminal degrees for that particular area of patient care. While satisfying careers may be found with a diploma RN degree, advanced specialties require graduate studies and certification to become a Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse Anesthetist. NCES provided data (most recently for 2015-2016) shows graduate tuition rates range from 17,868-$22,490, based on public, non profit colleges and universities.
34. Nurse Practitioner (MSN-NP)
Online Nurse Practitioner programs may be found online to train Nurse Practitioners for BSN or MSN nursing wishing to advance their education. Nurse Practitioner programs include advanced studies in evidence-based practice, nursing theories,, research, advanced health assessment and management, advanced anatomy, pharmacology and physiology. Nurse Practitioner programs also provide specialty concentrations in gerontology, adult, pediatric, child and family practices, etc. Best Medical Degrees ranked 10 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees which may help you in your school search. Online programs should hold accreditation from the American Association of Colleges and Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing (AACN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). All states require Nurse Practitioners to be licensed and credentialed so students should search for Nurse Practitioner programs which will prepare for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exams for certification. Many online programs will also provide their NCLEX-NP exam pass rates.
Nurse Practitioners careers are ranked as #4 in The 100 Best Jobs and #3 in Best Health Care Jobs U.S. News and World Report and offers an amazing the 31% job growth by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary ranges for this profession according to PayScale between $72,893-$115,967.
35. Nurse Midwife
Online midwife programs are available for nurses currently working and who wish to specialize. Studies will include core Nurse Practitioner courses as well as courses in advanced anatomy, diagnostic methods, pharmacology, physiology, primary care for women, pathophysiology, primary care for women, perinatal and antepartal care, and will include clinical rotations. Midwife programs should have accreditation from the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (AACN). States requie licensure and certification for practice and nurses must sit for the American Midwifery Certification Board exam. Best Medical Degrees researched several 10 Most Affordable Online Nurse-Midwifery Certificates and Degrees which may be helpful in your school search.
U.S. News and World Report ranks this profession at #35 in The 100 Best Jobs category and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a job growth rate of 31% for this profession. PayScale rates Certified Nurse Midwife salaries to be between $72,333-$109,626.
36. Physician Assistant (PA)
Nurses with a BSN or MSN degree may want to further their education, and profession, by studying to become a Physician Assistant (PA). Studies to become a Physician Assistant are stand alone and rigorous programs. PA programs are usually 2-3 years in length and will include online studies in advanced courses in clinical medicine, patient assessment and diagnostic protocols, pharmacology, biology, anatomy, evidence based practices, life span studies, etc. and require clinical practicums working with patients under the supervision of a physician. Online programs should hold accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and certification is required for licensure is required through the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Physician Assistants who pass the exam may be credentialed as “Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C). Best Medical Degrees provides Best Value Online Physician Assistant Master’s Degree Programs. This is a hot career with a Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 37% job rate over the next decade.
With an amazingly high 37% job rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physician Assistants rank #2 in Best Health Care Jobs and #3 The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report. National salary ranges for this career average $72,783-$117,855.
37. Speech Language Pathology (MS-SLP)
Graduate programs in this discipline will typically take 1-2 years to complete and will include a clinical practicum as part of the degree. Online courses may include studies in speech disorders, speech and language communication and alternative communication skills, swallowing and swallowing disorders, communication methods anatomy and physiology, neurology, speech and language disorders, voice disorders, etc. States regulate this field and you should look for programs which is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA), a branch of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Certification is also preferred through the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). Speech Language Pathologists may also see specialty certifications in child language, fluency, or swallowing which is available through the American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders, American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders, and American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders.
U.S. News and World Report ranks this field #22 in Best Health Care Jobs and #38 in The 100 Best Jobs report and Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this career will grow by 21% over the next ten years. and PayScale surveys indicate the field has a salary range of $43,481-$80,415.
Bachelor of Science degrees in Nutrition are offered online and will include studies in biology, chemistry, psychology, general nutrition, study food service systems management, food science, anatomy, biochemistry, dietetics, etc. Nutrition programs should hold accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and credentialing may be obtained by taking the Commission on Dietetic Registration exam; and, some students may wish to become certified by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialist in such nutrition specialties as oncology nutrition, gerontology, pediatric nutrition, renal nutrition, genetics and sports dietetics. Best Medical Degrees reviewed 10 Most Affordable Online Masters Degrees in Health, Wellness and Nutrition which may point you in the right educational direction.
This profession has an estimated median salary of $59,410 per year and a 15% job growth expectation of 15% between 2016-2026. Nutritionists enjoy a #73 in The 100 Best Jobs ranking by U.S. News and World Report.
39. Healthcare Administration
Studies in a MHA will focus more on management than administration as healthcare management and healthcare administration are two different subjects with different responsibilities. Online degrees in Master of Healthcare Management (MHA) will provide courses in federal and state regulations, clinical requirements, marketing, reimbursement and insurance, ethics, healthcare delivery systems, quality assurance, economics, human resource management, accounting, healthcare informatics, communications, healthcare ethics, organizational management, strategic planning and frequently involve a capstone project or internship in a healthcare setting. Best Medical Degrees reviewed online MHA programs on its 10 Affordable Online Masters of Healthcare Administration website. Programs are typically 2-3 years in length and should be from a regionally accredited college or university.
PayScale suggests a salary range between $39,042-$101,746 and the BLS suggests a 20% job growth rate over the next decade. MHA prepared students are estimated, by U.S. News and World Report, to earn $20,000 more a year than students with a bachelors degree in the field.
40. MBA Healthcare
If you currently work in healthcare administration, you may want to further advance your career by obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a healthcare management concentration. Online MBA programs may includes studies in healthcare laws (such as HIPAA), healthcare informatics, statistics, organizational leadership, ethics, healthcare reimbursement standards, marketing strategies, strategic management, etc., and may be completed in 1-2 years. Some programs may require a field experience. Online programs exist for this degree and Best Medical Degrees has previously published 20 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Healthcare Management Degrees which should give you a guide for possible programs for you. Be sure to select a program which holds accreditation from a Department of Education approved, independent agency, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), to assure education quality standards.
Payscale suggests salary ranges for this profession to be between $38,823-$95,480 and a job growth expectation of 23% over the years 2016-2026.
41. Nurse Anethesist (MSNA)
This is a highly specialized course of study which will include studies in anatomy, pharmacology, chemistry, physics, advanced physical assessment, pathophysiology, anesthesia principles and protocols, diagnostic physical exam, ethics, patient safety, etc. Clinical practicums are an integral part of this field of study. Students should search for online programs which hold program accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (CANAEP) and will lead to certification by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) which is required by most states and employers. Best Medical Degrees has ranked 20 Most Affordable Nurse Anesthesia Degree Programs to help you find programs which may work for you.
U.S. News and World Report as #3 in its Best Jobs in Healthcare ranking and #10 overall jobs and CRNAs are estimated to earn between $96,923-$183,503 according to PayScale. The career has a more rapid than normal 31% rate per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A Master of Science in Psychology degree will train students to find employment in healthcare agencies, industry, schools or clinics. Studies will include coursework in developmental psychology, alcohol and substance abuse, assessment, child and adolescent psychology, group psychology, ethics; and many will require field experience working with a qualified, clinical psychologist. Online programs will frequently offer concentration areas in school psychology, marriage and family psychology, behavioral disorders, substance abuse, etc. You should look for programs which hold accreditation of the Standards of Accreditation (SoA); or, at minimum, hold institutional accreditation from an organization such as the Higher Learning Commission. Best Medical Degrees ranked Best Value Online Master’s in Psychology Programs 2015 that will be a good starting point for finding the right online program for you.
With a 14%, projected job growth rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, master prepared psychologists earn approximately $77,030 per year. U.S. News and World Report ranks school psychologists in its #2 in Best Social Services Jobs and #44 in The 100 Best Jobs rankings. Marriage and Family Therapy according to U.S. News and World Report ranks #4 in Best Social Services Jobs and #59 in The 100 Best Jobs. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counseling is rated #10 in Best Social Services Jobs and #100 in The 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News and World Report.
43. Clinical Social Work
The Master in Social Work (MSW) is required to work in a clinical setting directly with patients. Typically two-years in length, online programs will include studies in clinical assessment and management skills, diverse populations, human behavior, social welfare policy,ethics, leadership, child welfare, adult development, organizational theory and social influences. Internships or field experiences are required for most programs. Practicing CSWs require licensure and certification so it’s important to find programs holding accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
This career has a 12% job growth over the next ten years and estimated PayScale annual salary expectations between $38,908-$73,478 for clinical social workers. U.S. News and World Report rates Clinical Social Work #5 in Best Social Services Jobs and #63 in its The 100 Best Jobs.
44. MS Biomedical Engineering
Online master degrees in Biomedical Engineering will offer studies in principles in engineering, bioengineering, physiology, biological physics, materials engineering, mechanical design, data and design for research, statistics, biofluid mechanics, nanotechnology, etc. and will require a capstone project prior to graduation. Some online programs will offer concentration areas in computational genomics, bioinstrumentation, translational tissue engineering, biomaterials and biofabrication. MS programs in this field will typically require an undergraduate degree in mechanical, electrical or biomedical engineering for admission; and, will typically be two years in length. Biomedical Engineering programs should hold Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation.
U.S. News and World Report ranks biomedical engineering #5 in Best Engineering Jobs and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a ten-year job growth rate at 7%. PayScale suggests a salary range of $48,495-$93,406.
45. Health Informatics
This field of study trains students to understand and manage health records while assuring records are maintained and secure. Many online masters programs for the MS in Healthcare Informatics (HIM) will include studies in the application of information technology in healthcare, information technology foundations, administration, health data management, finances, legal requirements for healthcare records and will typically require a capstone project prior to graduation. Programs should be accreddited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). There are no licensing requirements for professionals working as a HIM.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 12% job growth over the next ten years and PayScale estimates salary ranges from $42,993-$118,961 per year.
46. MS Orthotists and Prosthetics
A MS in Orthotists and Prosthetics is usually found in Engineering Management or Industrial Engineering programs; and, there are some available online. However, due to the nature of the discipline, programs may be hybrid in nature and will require clinical, field experiences, working with an orthotist or prosthetist. Coursework may include studies in spinal orthotics, plastics and other fabrication materials, upper and lower extremity orthotics and prosthetics, assessment, treatment plan development, implementation, follow-up, and practice management of orthoses and prostheses, methods and tools of clinical practice as applied to O&P. These programs are typically two years in length and may also require a capstone project prior to graduation. O&P programs should hold accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). MS graduates are required to participate in a year long residency program approved by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE); and, some states require certification from the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) for licensure.
PayScale has determined national salary ranges for this career to be $43,000-$90,005 per year. This particular field will experience a 22% job growth rate between 2016-2026 and has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report #7 in Best Health Care Support Jobs and #81 in The 100 Best Jobs.
Doctoral degrees for many medical professions working with patients are required to work in clinical settings. Typically requiring a masters degree, doctoral programs will result in the PhD designation and represents the final clinical degree in the field. Psychology is an example. Bachelor and masters degrees are available and permit graduates to work with patients under certain limitations. A PhD in Psychology allows practitioners to work directly with patients in a clinical setting, providing psychological counseling and treatments. Online PhD programs tuition costs can range from $4,000 to upward of $50,000 or more.
47. Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Doctors of Physical Therapy work directly with patients and physiatrists (physicians specializing in physical rehabilitation) to assist patients recovering from injury or illness, mobility and pain management. Using various techniques, such as, massage, using specialized exercise equipment, stretching, etc. Online PT programs will offer coursework in biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, and pharmacology, physiology, anatomy, psychology, algebra and a field experience. Some programs will require a clinical residency program in a qualified physical therapy center or hospital department. Programs should be accredited by Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE); and, specialty areas can be achieved by completion of a residency program in an advanced clinical areas. Licensure is in necessary in most states, but all require DPTs to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination provided by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Specialty certification is available through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in areas of physical therapy, including orthopedics, sports, and geriatrics.
Job growth in this field is a faster than average 28% and salary expectations have a median salary of $86,850 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. News and World Report rates this profession #10 in Best Health Care Jobs and #12 in The 100 Best Jobs in its rankings.
48. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Only 1% of nurses hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. However, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations recommends doubling the number of DNPs by 2020 to meet the demands for nursing professors to train BSN and MSN nurses. Online programs will include studies in diagnostics, evidence based practice, nursing theory and research, nursing leadership, healthcare and nursing innovations, disease fundamentals and progression, advanced nursing practices and will typically culminate with a doctoral dissertation or capstone project. Additional studies include research in nursing, evidence based practice, leadership, nursing theory, advanced practice development, healthcare innovations, etc. Online programs should hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Best Medical Degrees has a ranking of 50 Best Value Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Programs that may point you toward the right online program for your goals.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics rates this particular program as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) degree with an estimated job growth of 36% over the next ten years. PayScale publishes a salary range from $72,210-$139,471 for advanced practice nurses.
49. Doctor of Audiology (AuD)
The AuD degree typically takes four years for completion and does not have specific undergraduate degree for admission, although a BS in a audiology is sometimes required. There are some AuD programs available online. Studies for this degree may include coursework in physics, anatomy, genetic, physiology, diagnosis and treatment modalities, pharmacology, normal and abnormal communication development, ethics, audiologic assessment, balance disorders, cochlear implants and assistive technology, counseling individuals with hearing losse, audiologic rehabilitation. Clinical experiences are required. Some programs may require a dissertation or capstone project prior to graduation. Accreditation for AuD programs should be from the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA); and, all states require AuD practitioners be licensed. Certification is available through Council on Academic Accreditation provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASLHA) and credentialed through the American Board of Audiology (ABA).
With a Bureau of Labor Statistics career growth of 21% over ten years, audiologists may expect median salaries of $75,920 per year according to the agency.
50. Clinical Psychology
This is the terminal degree for those wanting to practice psychology. A PhD in Psychology program will typically involve advanced studies in assessment skills, multicultural clinical intervention, basic and advanced research methods, clinical psychotherapy, consultation, cognitive and personality-assessment, biological, affective, social, and cognitive areas of psychology and will usually include a clinical experience working with a licensed clinical psychologists. Programs may also include capstone projects or dissertations. Accreditation is important in choosing an online program so look for colleges or universities which hold American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation and will prepare you to sit for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Licensing varies by state so you may want to check with your state’s regulatory board to see what criteria is required.
The clinical psychology field is expected to grow by 14% over ten years and PayScale ranges salaries from $48,342-$109,714 per year.