How Do I Choose the Best Online Anatomy and Physiology Classes?

J. Beam

Anatomy and physiology classes are biology courses that provide in-depth study of the human body, including its systems and disease processes. Typically, students pursuing a degree, or occasionally a certificate, in the health care field will be required to take anatomy and physiology classes as part of their required curriculum. Many degree programs offer online anatomy and physiology classes, in addition to other online course offerings. Some degree and certificate programs in the health care field are offered entirely online, while others use a hybrid model to include some campus-based course work and labs. Choosing online or distance learning options can be a bit daunting with all the variances, but there are some basic considerations.

The more interactive an online anatomy and physiology class is, the better the learning outcome.
The more interactive an online anatomy and physiology class is, the better the learning outcome.

Regardless of your educational goals, always choose accredited programs; otherwise, the time and effort spent obtaining course credit may be wasted if the credit cannot be transferred to another institution later. You may also find yourself with an education that doesn’t qualify you for certain certification levels from issuing agencies. For instance, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) only allows graduates from institutions with their accreditation to sit their certifying exams.

Students enjoy convenience and flexibility when they enroll in online classes.
Students enjoy convenience and flexibility when they enroll in online classes.

If you are interested in taking online anatomy and physiology classes as part of an undecided health care major or as a way to begin a health care major to transfer to a specific health program at another school, be sure to ask both institutions about transfer options. Many for-profit learning institutions and technical schools are not outspoken about the likelihood of credits not transferring from their school to another. If you don’t ask, they may not tell.

Whether you take online anatomy and physiology classes or traditional on-campus classes, the course material will include the body’s major systems, including respiratory, muscular-skeletal, circulatory, digestive, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. A thorough course will teach students to identify the parts of the body, anatomical structures, and their functions.

The nature of anatomy and physiology is somewhat complex and may be difficult for some students to grasp. There is no evidence that suggests online classes are more or less effective than traditional classes, but some research by the Sloan Consortium does indicate that the more interactive an online anatomy class is, the better the learning outcome.

If you are a health care professional, especially one that provides indirect care such as information management or registrar service, and need a refresher course in anatomy and physiology to gain additional credentials, look for open-source online modules and learning resources or ask your workplace about career development or tuition reimbursement before investing in a class on your own.

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Discussion Comments


@spotiche5- If you are taking anatomy and physiology as basic courses though they do not have a lot to do with the degree you are pursuing, I think it would be fine to take them online. However, if you are planning a career in the medical field, in-class coursework is vital to help prepare you for your future real-world career.


Though online courses are very convenient to take, I think that is it also important to spend some time in the classroom. In addition, anatomy and physiology are courses that often require lab work to get a full understanding of coursework. There would possibly be a lack of important information available if you take these courses online.

The best strategy is to find a school that offers both online and traditional classes. The faculty of a school that has this type of curriculum typically makes sure that students take difficult classes or courses that require extra lab time in the classroom while offering other basic courses online.

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