Healthcare is Hiring, and Online Courses Can Help Workers Get Started

The healthcare field is growing, and many employers are scrambling to find qualified workers. In addition to an ongoing need for doctors and nurses, hospitals will need medical coders, billers, dietitians, health aides, and other certified professionals. If you’ve considered working in healthcare, online courses can help you get the credentials you need to get started. By comparing options carefully, you can take the first steps towards an exciting (and lucrative) new career.

How Online Healthcare Degrees Help Students Start Careers

Due to an aging population, the U.S. medical sector is expanding. Healthcare workers can expect steady employment over the coming decades, and many careers offer excellent pay and benefits. Overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2019, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes as “much faster than the average for all other occupations.”

Many colleges now offer online healthcare degrees, and students can use these programs to start earning degrees and credentials from home. That can open up opportunities for high-paying employment in a variety of healthcare fields including:

  • Medical Billing and Coding - Medical billers and coders translate patient information into universally recognized codes used by insurance providers. Many work remotely, and most employers require certification, but the career typically doesn’t require a college degree. The 2020 median pay for these professionals was $44,090 per year.

  • Licensed Practical and Registered Nurses (LPNs and RNs) - Nurses work in a variety of environments, providing patients with hands-on care and assistance. The 2020 median pay for licensed practical nurses was $48,820 per year, while registered nurses earned an average of $75,330 per year.

  • Healthcare Administration - Health services managers coordinate business activities for healthcare providers. Most hold bachelor’s degrees. In 2020, their median pay was $104,280 per year.

  • Radiation Therapy - Radiation therapists administer treatments to patients with cancer. Most have an associate’s degree, though some hold advanced degrees. Their 2020 median pay was $86,850 per year.

  • Occupational Therapy - Occupational therapists work with a team to help people develop their skills and recover from injuries or illnesses. Occupational therapists typically hold a master’s degree, and their 2020 media pay was $86,280 per year; occupational therapy assistants typically hold associate’s degrees, and their 2020 median pay was $60,950 per year.

This isn’t a comprehensive list — hundreds of online programs are available, and many allow students to begin new careers within months (or even weeks) of enrollment. To find coursework that works for your goals, you’ll need to do some homework.

Finding Online Programs for Healthcare Degrees & Certifications

Online healthcare degree programs range greatly in terms of their completion timeframes, tuition costs, flexibility, and other important factors. New students should research carefully and keep detailed notes.

The resources on this page can help you compare degrees, learn about licensure or certification requirements, and find a reputable program at a reasonable cost. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Visit a variety of online healthcare schools. Read about the school’s remote learning courses and look for student reviews. In general, students should visit at least 3-4 online schools before making a decision, but if you haven’t decided on a career path, review as many options as possible.

  • Find out about course requirements. Make sure the coursework will fit with your schedule and learning habits. Determine the approximate timeframe to completion.

  • Consider all of the costs of the program. In addition to tuition, schools may charge technology fees, book rental fees, and other miscellaneous fees. Be sure to consider the total cost of the course, especially if you’re applying for student loans.

  • Check your state’s requirements. Some healthcare occupations require state licensure. Make sure that the program will help you earn a license in your state, where applicable; if the program offers a certification or other credential, find out whether the credential is widely accepted by local employers.

By using online courses, you can start working towards your new career while balancing other responsibilities. Since you can complete your coursework from anywhere with an internet connection, you can work another job or take care of your family while studying — but all students should evaluate programs thoroughly before enrolling.

Finding Resources to Research Healthcare Degree Options

Employment in healthcare continues to grow, and if you’re looking for a new career, you’ll want to enroll as soon as possible. However, compare degree programs carefully before making a commitment. That’s particularly important if you haven’t chosen a field of study — by reading about the benefits of different positions, you can plan more effectively and avoid overpaying.

Online courses allow any dedicated student to find fulfilling work in healthcare, often with high pay and excellent benefits. By learning remotely, you can start earning a degree or credential on your own schedule. The right approach can allow you to begin an exciting new chapter in your career.