Most Common Healthcare Programs

 

The healthcare field is growing faster than most and demand for qualified healthcare professionals has risen in preparation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the healthcare field are projected to grow 18% through 2026. To get training ahead of your competition, consider studying for a healthcare degree online.

Why Get a Healthcare Degree Online?

From certificate programs to 4-year and advanced degrees, online healthcare programs provide the convenience of studying on your schedule from anywhere with an internet connection. That means if you’re working, managing a family, or traveling, you won’t miss an assignment or test. Plus, online degree programs typically offer valuable tools, like electronic textbooks, digital tutoring, and virtual library or journal databases designed to help you succeed.

There are many types of healthcare degrees out there today, how do you decide a specific area of focus? Here are some of the most common healthcare positions in today’s world…

1. Medical Assistant

2. Medical Billing

3. Nursing Assistant

4. Home Health Aide

5. Physician

6. Therapist

7. Registered Nurse (RN)

8. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

9. Pharmacy Technician

10. Dental Assistant

What Is A Medical Assistant?

Are you thinking about becoming a medical assistant? Do you want to become a medical assistant, but not entirely sure what they do or how much schooling you need? You’re not alone. These are questions constantly asked by many. A medical assistant is an individual who works alongside a physician, that carries out procedures typically for outpatient care either in an office or hospital.

What Do Medical Assistants Do?

Medical Assistants are responsible for many things, but their primary role is to handle the administrative and clinical tasks within the physicians office or in a hospital setting. Other duties may include:

– Administering medications
– Obtaining test results from labs
– Monitoring of patient life support equipment
– Assisting with minor diagnostic procedures
– Record the patients’ vitals
– Many more

Education for Medical Assistants

Most medical assistant programs are offered at vocational schools, community colleges, technical colleges and online programs. Once the program is completed, they are required to have a certification, usually from the American Association of Medical Assistants or American Medical Technologists. There are two main types of certifications: Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). The schooling and certification typically take around 1-2 years, depending on the program.

What Is A Medical Biller?

A medical biller or coder is responsible for processing health insurance claims for hospitals, doctors’ offices and other healthcare facilities. Typically, they work in the office at a desk on a computer or even work remotely. The ideal traits of a good medical biller is their organizational skills and attention to detail, to ensure all claims are handled properly and accurately.

Main responsibilities of a medical biller:

– Use a special coding system to enter procedure codes
– Enter correct codes into patients’ electronic health records
– Review claims and coding for accuracy
– Enter insurance claims into billing program
– Track payments to make sure received on time

Education for Medical Billing

To become a medical billing specialist, there are a variety of programs offered to achieve this, just depends on the level of education you want to receive. To become certified as a medical biller, there are programs that can be completed within a year. Other programs may include a 2 year Associate’s degree or a 4 year Bachelor’s degree. Most positions available only require a certification, but others may require a 2 or 4 year degree. Do your homework and research what kind of jobs you could get with either just a certification or a degree.

 

Other Types of Online Healthcare Degrees

There are two types of online healthcare degrees available to prospective students: 100% online degrees and blended degree programs.

100% Online Healthcare Degrees

Typically requiring a final paper or capstone project instead of an internship, healthcare degrees that are fully digital focus on administrative or research-based healthcare specialties. If you’re interested in healthcare administration, health information management, gerontology, or public health, degrees in these fields can be attained completely online.

Blended Online Healthcare Degrees

For degree programs in nursing, therapy services, physician assisting, or other professions requiring direct patient care and licensure, blended online healthcare degrees offer the best of both worlds. With this type of program, most if not all coursework is completed online, but practicums, internships, and clinical rotations are completed in the field. This is a great option for students who want the flexibility of completing classes online before or while attaining practical experience.

Online Healthcare Degree Programs: What to Look For

A simple internet search for online healthcare degrees will likely result in being overwhelmed with options. Every school wants you to pay attention to them in the valuable real estate that is the first page of the search results. But, don’t fall for the hype. Learn what you need to know about online healthcare degrees before choosing a handful of schools to research further.

Accreditation

An important factor to consider, accreditation requires schools to meet specific scholastic criteria before becoming approved. Review the U.S. Department of Education’s Accreditation Database to ensure each school you evaluate is accredited. When it comes to transferring programs, applying for advanced degrees, and even applying for jobs, accreditation matters.

Financial Aid

In general, online healthcare degrees are no more costly than traditional programs once you factor in housing, food, commuting, and disruptions in work or life. To ease the financial burden of any degree program, apply for financial aid by completing a FAFSA. Qualifications for federal financial aid to pay for online degree programs require the school to be accredited.

Post-Graduate Placement

Competition in the healthcare job market increases every year, so attending a degree program that offers placement assistance is a valuable advantage. Discuss post-graduate placement options with your recruiter or admissions counselor. Determine which companies, facilities, or organizations have a good relationship with your degree program before making your decision.

Short and Long-Term Plans

Are you planning to move, get married, or start a family in the next 5-7 years? Your short and long-term plans should be a factor to consider when researching degree programs. Consider an online healthcare degree offered by a local college if you’re not planning to move. If you’re unsure what the future holds, an online degree program from a nationally recognized school may offer more flexibility.

The Future of Learning is Online

Virtual healthcare is growing as a sector of the medical field with healthcare companies offering virtual doctor visits and counseling, but there will always be a need for individuals trained to provide direct patient care. Whether you want to work in a hospital, rehab, nursing home, school, or the community, a career in healthcare can make your dream a reality.