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What Are the Different Types of Online Healthcare Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: A. Reed
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Healthcare degrees train students for work in various fields concerned with the wellness. Different types of online healthcare degree programs are available for interested individuals in a variety of areas, including nursing, medical transcription, and holistic medicine. Certain specialty schools provide medical training in complementary healthcare, offering degrees in naturopathy and herbology. While naturopathic medicine involves the study of all methods of natural medical treatment, herbology concentrates on learning about the use of herbs specifically. For those considering administrative careers overseeing hospital operations or managing departments, master's degree programs in healthcare administration are obtainable online as well.

Online healthcare degree programs in nursing permit students to complete a nursing education without ever attending campus courses, but completing clinical rotations may also be necessary, particularly as part of certain pre-licensure programs. Courses offered online in nursing are typically for those with prior nursing experience either as a nursing assistant or practical nurse, for example. Most online nursing degree programs award a two-year associate's or four-year Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). Credit is often available by either challenging an examination or taking an online course. Advanced practice nursing online programs are also offered to registered nurses who have already completed an accredited BSN.

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​There are many online healthcare degree programs in medical transcription offered by colleges. Medical transcription training programs teach students how to convert voice recordings of healthcare professionals such as doctors and physician assistants into typed documents, including patient health summaries and histories. Depending upon the school, programs in medical transcription may last anywhere from a few months to approximately two years, and a typical course of study might include courses in medical terminology, transcription, and anatomy. Most students are prepared for employment after completion of the certificate or degree and may qualify to receive additional certification after a period of obtaining relevant work experience.

Schools offering online healthcare degree programs in alternative medicine provide training and education in areas such as holistic health, naturopathic medicine, and herbology. Awarding healthcare certificates, as well as both undergraduate and graduate degrees, holistic health programs cover nutrition, Oriental medicine, and spirituality. Naturopathy deals with making the whole person well, including mentally, physically, and even spiritually, which might encompass several alternative methodologies like homeopathy, massage therapy, and healing touch. Qualifications in herbal medicine generally require completion of courses in chemistry, bacteriology, and botany.

Degrees in healthcare administration prepare graduates for a wide variety of positions, including ward clerk, hospital administrator, and hospital officials such as chief executive and financial officers (CEO and CFO). Undergraduate qualifications are available through online healthcare degree programs, but the Master's in Health Administration degree (MHA) provides the most versatility as it qualifies students to assume hospital officer positions as opposed to that of hospital clerks. Master's degree curriculum requirements include research methods and courses in healthcare policy and economics.

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