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Your Guide to Accelerated Health Science Degrees Online

An online health science certificate opens doors to opportunities in a wide array of allied healthcare specialties. Discover the right one for you below.

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Are you interested in a healthcare career but unsure if a four-year degree is right for you? Or maybe you’re an experienced healthcare professional who wants to add to your skillset and take on new roles.

If you don’t have the time or money to commit to a health science degree, earning a health science certificate online may be the perfect solution. It typically costs much less than a traditional degree and can be done in a shorter time period. Some can be completed in just a few months, while others take about a year.

This option lays the foundation for entry-level healthcare jobs where you can get valuable hands-on experience that future employers will appreciate. It also allows you to build on previous experience and expand your area of expertise, which will make you a likely candidate for more advanced positions.

In this guide, you will learn about various online health science certificates and their objectives. We spotlight a school for each one, breaking down the need-to-know program information, such as cost, student support, coursework, and duration. To help you choose the best health science certificate online program, we look at factors to consider and why they’re important.

Health Science Certificate Options: Which is Right for You?

Online health science certificates encompass a broad range of healthcare roles, from billing and coding to nutrition to nursing. Although this makes it easier to find one that matches your needs, it can also be overwhelming. Below, we give an overview of each with their related job skills to help you determine which is right for you.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certificate

An online Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate allows you to work in home health, long term care facilities, assisted living facilities, schools, hospitals, and doctor’s offices. It can take anywhere from four to eight weeks to earn this certificate of health science online, after which time you will be able to take a person’s vitals and assist them in bathing, eating, dressing, transferring, and ambulating—also known as activities of daily living (ADLs). Licenses must be renewed every one to two years, depending on the state you’re in.

The Certified Nurse Aide online program at South Denver School of Nursing Arts is designed for high school students and adults who need a flexible program and quick certification. In just four weeks, students aged 16 and up complete online coursework, four days of in-person learning, and two days of clinical experience.

Applicants must pass a background check, drug screen, application exam, TB test, and have CPR certification. Tuition costs $1,600 for high school students and $1,800 for adults. The course teaches 22 nursing skills and has a 95% pass rate for the license exam.

Dental Assistant Certificate

An online dental assistant certificate prepares students to perform a variety of roles in a dental office, including handling patient insurance, making appointments, taking blood pressures, and developing x-rays. Earning a dental assistant certificate online can take anywhere from three months to two years, depending on each state’s requirements and the chosen course. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental assistant jobs are expected to increase by an above-average rate of 7% by 2032, making an online dental assistant certificate the doorway to a promising career.

This 48-week online health science certificate program includes three weekends of hands-on training at one of six Texas campuses. The course consists of six modules that covers tooth and oral anatomy, office software and equipment, dental procedures and staff, radiology, and dental specialties. Each student has a Student Services Advisor and access to 24/7 IT support. At the end of the program, students can take part in an externship to put their learning into practice at a dental office. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and pass the Scholastic Level exam to be eligible for the course.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certificate

When you earn an Emergency Medical Technician Certificate, you will be equipped to stabilize and transport people from emergency scenes to the hospital using standard equipment in an ambulance. Online EMT courses are at least 170 hours and typically have a hybrid format that includes scheduled skill labs. You will learn how to quickly assess a situation and administer emergency treatments such as oxygen, CPR, and splints. No prior medical experience is required before taking an Emergency Medical Technician Certificate course online.

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a hybrid program for students looking to earn an Emergency Medical Technician Certificate. All coursework is online, and skills labs take place on specified days. This program costs $550 and is suitable for fire/rescue personnel, emergency responders, coaches, nurses, and athletic trainers. Applicants must pre-register, complete a criminal history form, carry malpractice insurance, pass a TB test, and be up to date on their measles and Hep B immunizations. Class spots are on a first-come, first-serve basis, and students must provide their own computer.

Health Information Technology (HIT) Certificate

A Health Information Technology (HIT) Certificate program focuses on the digital side of healthcare that involves compiling, analyzing, and maintaining patient’s medical records. It teaches students management and leadership skills, as well as clinical skills. While earning this health science certificate online, they will learn how to verify data accuracy and completeness, analyze data to save costs, and participate in the release of information to authorized parties. They may also specialize in coding procedures for research.

This fully online Health Information Technology Certificate program teaches students how to improve healthcare processes by using the latest technology in medical records management and analytics, including mobile health and smart health. Classes are taught by on-campus faculty and can be attended anytime. Students have access to a personal tutor and can participate in field exercises, such as internships and clinical placements. They can also take advantage of several types of financial aid using Suny Smart Track, Crash Course, and a cost calculator. Part-time students are eligible for a tuition assistance program through the state of New York.

Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate

A Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate equips students for hands-on, patient-focused tasks like taking vitals, giving medications, and performing lab procedures, as well as administrative duties such as taking a patient’s history, maintaining health records, and checking patients in and out. This online health science certificate opens the door to significant job opportunities, considering the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that Medical Assistant positions would grow at a rate of 14%, far above the average.

Western Nevada College offers a fully online Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate program designated by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). It prepares students for work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and outpatient clinics by teaching them medical terminology, ethics, clinical procedures, pharmacology, communication, infection control, and risk management.

This open-enrollment program costs $2,795 and gives students 12 months to complete all coursework before taking the national certification exam. Tuition includes the exam fee. There are no prerequisites needed. Course instructors include four teachers with decades of experience who can be reached by email to answer any questions. Students receive a certificate of completion after finishing the program.

Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

For those who want a healthcare job that is not patient-oriented, a Medical Billing and Coding Certificate may be the answer. In this health science certificate online program, students learn how to ensure healthcare providers receive proper payment and patients receive their full insurance benefits. This certification opens the door to jobs in hospitals, doctors’ offices, insurance companies, and even government agencies like Medicaid. These positions often involve a predictable schedule, good pay, and remote work options.

Purdue Global’s online Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program consists of 10 courses that cost $371 per credit and takes about 11 months to complete. Most students put in 15 to 18 hours of work per week. Coursework includes anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, medical billing, coding, insurance billing, and medical office management, organized into user-friendly online classes that are easy to navigate any time of day or night. Students get hands-on experience during a 40-hour practicum at a health care facility and finish the program with a virtual proctored exam. Several forms of financial aid are also available, including loans, grants, and tuition assistance.

Nutrition Certificate

After earning this certificate of health science online, students can perform health assessments, educate patients, and develop holistic wellness plans for clients to improve quality of life. They can work in hospitals, long term care facilities, sports nutrition, pediatric nutrition, or build online coaching businesses. Due to a growing awareness of the importance of good nutrition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7% job growth rate for dieticians and nutritionists.

This online health science certificate course provides students with thorough knowledge of nutrition, the digestive system, energy expenditure, weight management, and how nutrition is linked to chronic conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis, and hypertension. The entire program lasts six months, includes three weeks of coursework, and costs $2,999. It requires three to five hours a week, and classes typically have less than 35 students.

Students not only learn about body mechanisms, they also gain an understanding of how biochemistry and psychology affect a person’s nutrition habits and overall health. Armed with this information, they can effectively guide and educate patients on how to live healthier, happier lives.

Pharmacy Technician Certificate

A Pharmacy Technician Certificate is a necessity for people who want to begin a healthcare career in a pharmacy setting. They are responsible for ordering and stocking medications, filling prescriptions, and educating customers under the supervision of a pharmacist. Students typically earn an online Pharmacy Technician Certificate in a year or less. Although individual state regulations vary, most require pharmacy techs to have some type of certification, registration, or licensure.

The University of Texas at San Antonio offers a fully online Pharmacy Technician Certificate program for $3,195. It consists of 400 course hours that cover pharmacology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy law and ethics, insurance and inventory procedures, and more. All work must be completed within 12 months, at the end of which students will be ready to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification exam. Afterwards, they can participate in an externship and get valuable hands-on experience at a national pharmacy chain. Registration can be done online, and there is an exam voucher available as well.

Phlebotomy Technician Certificate

Phlebotomists, those with a Phlebotomy Technician Certificate, play an important role in healthcare by interacting with both patients and doctors in hospitals, labs, and blood donor centers. Their job primarily involves drawing blood from patients, as well as taking vitals, checking blood glucose levels, preparing blood and urine specimens for the lab, educating patients on the blood-drawing procedure, and maintaining medical equipment. They are often in higher demand during emergencies that require blood collection.

With this 100% online certificate of health science program, students are equipped to take the provisional Certified Phlebotomy Technician Specialist exam. Provisional certification is good for six months until the required clinical skills are completed. No prerequisites are required to take the course or exam, other than a high school diploma or equivalent. Students can enroll anytime and have up to 12 months to complete the program, which covers infection control, anatomy, medical terminology, phlebotomy equipment and procedures, and labs. An Externship Coordinator offers job assistance to students upon successful completion of the course.

Surgical Technologist Certificate

A Surgical Technologist Certificate prepares students to step into an operating room or doctor’s office with the skills to maintain a sterile environment and assist doctors and nurses during surgeries. Their role includes preparing patients for surgery, counting and organizing surgical tools, and keeping everything sterile before, during, and after the procedure. They also hand implements to the doctors and nurses as needed. Surgical technologists may also have the option to specialize in an area such as pediatrics surgery, plastic surgery, and neurosurgery.

Franklin University offers an online Surgical Technologist Certificate program that takes just two to three months to complete and costs $4,000. It consists of three courses: 1) Professionalism in Allied Health (32 hours), 2) Introduction to Human Anatomy and Medical Terminology (96 hours), and 3) Surgical Technology (96 hours). The coursework is self-paced and prepares students for the Tech in Surgery Certified (TS-C) national certification exam. The resulting certification is accepted anywhere in the U.S. and can also earn college credit. Each student has a Personal Student Success Advisor, as well as access to Career Coaches.

The Ultimate Certificate Checklist: Features to Look For

With so many online health science certificate programs to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which one is best for you. To streamline the process, we share top factors to consider and how they can affect your education and future career.

Accreditation

Accreditation denotes whether a school’s curriculum meets quality standards set and upheld by governmental and non-governmental organizations. To qualify for federal financial aid, you must attend an accredited university. Earning a certificate of health science online from an accredited institution shows employers you have received a sound education that has adequately prepared you for your job.

Cost and Financial Aid

Cost is often a determining factor when it comes to choosing an educational program, and financial aid is a critical part of finding an affordable school. Scholarships, grants, and tuition assistance are a few ways you can pay for your education without going into debt when earning your health science certificate online.

Facilities and Resources

When earning an online health science certificate, you won’t be using on-campus facilities, but it’s important that there are resources in place to resolve any problems and questions. Because online learning is typically done outside of traditional business hours, you’ll want a school that offers 24/7 tech support, asynchronous learning, and an easy way to communicate with your instructors.

Job Placement Support

Beginning a healthcare career can be challenging, so many schools have systems in place to help you find externships and jobs in your chosen field. This provides much-needed hands-on experience that paves the way to future positions. In some online health science certificate programs, you may have an individual advisor assigned to you for one-on-one guidance.

Program Reputation

A reputable program boosts your credibility in the eyes of potential employers and gives assurance that you are receiving a high-quality education. When looking at top health science certificate online programs, you can look up faculty credentials and find out what former students have to say about their experience.

Transferability of Credits

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 1.2 million students transferred to new schools in 2021, making transfer credit a high priority in education because they save time and money. Credit transfer policies vary from school to school. In some cases, an online health science certificate can convert into credits that can be put towards a future degree.

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