Top Doctorate Degrees in Healthcare Available Online

Discover the top online doctorate degrees in healthcare, increase your earning potential, and advance your career with an online degree program.

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Last Updated: 12/01/2020
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If you want to reach the top tier of your profession and are eager to return to the classroom, earning an online doctorate degree can be a smart way to advance your career in healthcare. Not only can an online doctorate in healthcare position you for the highest-earning roles in your field, but it can be scheduled around your existing professional and personal obligations. Whether you enroll full-time or part-time, when you graduate with a doctorate in healthcare, you’ll be ready to fill some of the most crucial roles in the industry.

To find out which degrees top our list and to learn about the advantages of earning your doctorate degree in healthcare online, read on.

Benefits of an Online Doctorate Degree in Healthcare

Whether you’re interested in healthcare policy, dentistry, audiology, education, or administration, earning your doctorate in healthcare online comes with several great perks. Compared to traditional on-campus learning, you’ll find that pursuing your healthcare graduate degree remotely will offer substantial scheduling flexibility, save you time, money, and much more. Here are just some of the major benefits you’ll enjoy when getting your doctorate online.

Fits into Your Work Schedule

Even if you have a demanding job outside of school or daily familial responsibilities, an online doctorate in healthcare is still a feasible option for you. Both part- and full-time healthcare degree-seekers can take advantage of the flexibility that comes with online learning. In fact, many programs today deliver courses in an asynchronous format, which allows you to complete assignments on your own time. Even those healthcare programs with scheduled meeting times allow you can participate remotely from the convenience of your home.

Increase Your Earning Potential

As with any advanced degree, an online doctorate in healthcare will likely increase your earning potential. According to Walden University, professionals with a doctoral degree typically make 13% more per week than professionals with a master’s degree. While doctoral degree-holders may receive similar starting salaries as master’s degree-holders, a doctorate gives you a greater potential to earn more over time. Walden University reports that salaries for doctoral degree-holders can double over the span of 20 years.

Save Money

Earning your degree remotely can also save you some hard-earned dollars compared to traditional on-campus programs. You’ll save money on commuting costs, including public transportation or parking fees, gas, and wear and tear on your vehicle. Since you’ll be working from home, you’ll also avoid spending money on various incidentals that students encounter outside of home, like buying food and coffee at restaurants and cafes. Lastly, most of your learning material will be online, so you’ll probably be able to skip those costly textbook purchases.

Become Specialized

One of the best things about earning a doctorate in healthcare is that you will develop your skills in a specialized area of the field. All doctorate programs are designed to place you in the top tier of a particular area of the field, whether that’s in administrative roles, carrying out particular procedures, or working with a specific patient demographic. Doctoral degrees allow you to further develop your knowledge in this concentration area well beyond what master’s programs can offer you.

Customize Your Study Environment

Working on your degree remotely allows you to control your learning environment, which can lead to more productive study sessions and a level of comfort that’s hard to come by in the traditional classroom. Finding the time to work on class assignments can be tough for anyone with a busy schedule. With online learning, you can set up a workspace at home that’s prepped and ready to go when you need it.

Top Doctorate Degrees in Healthcare Online

There are many areas of the healthcare field that require professionals to possess a doctoral degree. Regardless of where your interests lie, doctoral degrees are just as diverse as the healthcare field itself. Below are just some of the online doctoral degrees that could lead to high-earning careers in the field.

Doctor of Audiology

Doctoral degrees in audiology are typically four-year programs and most schools require applicants to possess a master’s degree in the field when they apply. Doctor of audiology programs are designed for students who wish to work in patient-facing roles, while the PhD in audiology is for those who want to pursue a career in academic or scientific research. All students in these programs learn how to study, assess, and treat hearing problems and hearing disorders.

Online Component

Doctor of audiology programs require some in-person coursework and lab training, but distance students can complete most of their coursework online. Required classes at this level include acoustics, calibration, and instrumentation, child language acquisition, measurements of hearing, and clinical research design.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Audiology Degree Holders  

Audiologist: A doctorate in audiology will prepare you to work with patients directly and conduct interdisciplinary research in laboratory settings as audiologists. Most of them work in specialized doctor’s offices with patients who suffer from hearing and other ear-related issues. Audiologists make a median annual wage of $77,600. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a job growth of 13% by 2029.

Doctor of Chiropractic

Designed to teach you about the diagnosis and treatment of issues with the human musculoskeletal system, chiropractors are often considered to be practitioners of a form of alternative medicine. Chiropractic school consists of extensive coursework and clinical rotations. Some schools may also require students to complete an internship or community-based project.

Online Component

Your coursework in these programs will cover a lot of ground, including biology, physiology, diagnosis imaging, spinal adjustments and manipulation, and diagnosis techniques. Most of the degree requirements can be completed online. Any internships, residencies, or community-based service for-credit will need to be conducted in-person.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Chiropractic Degree Holders  

Chiropractor: These professionals work directly with patients who suffer from issues with their nerves, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones. They conduct tests, make spinal adjustments, advise patients on healthy living habits, and correct patients’ posture. Chiropractors make the median annual wage of  $70,340.  Professionals in this area can expect a 4% job growth by 2029.

Doctor of Science in Dentistry

Most dentistry programs take four years to complete. While the curriculum will vary among programs, you can expect a heavy course load in the biological sciences and clinical education through simulation programs. There are also in-person components where you’ll need to work with patients directly for clinical studies. Dentistry programs ensure that learners are prepared to care for all types of patients, including the chronically ill, those with special needs, geriatric patients, and children.

Online Component

For most Doctor of Science in dentistry programs, the first two years of school is spent completing foundational topics in online courses including biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, anatomy, and oral pathology. The third and fourth year will be a combination of online simulations and hands-on, in-person clinical work.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Science in Dentistry Degree Holders  

Dentist: These doctors practice in tandem with dental hygienists and other professionals to work directly with patients, treating their gums, teeth, and overall mouth health. They repair or replace damaged teeth, apply whitening agents, prescribe antibiotics, make x-rays, teach patients about dental hygiene, and more. These professionals make approximately $159,200 per year. By 2029, BLS projects that the number of available positions in this field will grow by 3%.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Online DNP programs are designed to prepare nursing professionals for leadership roles in healthcare. They typically work in clinical or administrative settings. These programs allow you to develop a specialization in one of these two categories and is required for nurses who wish to work in advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) roles. These programs usually take full-time learners 2-6 years to complete, depending on their level of education when they enter a DNP program. For students have already completed their Bachelor of Science in Nursing, BSN to DNP programs online also exist to help accelerate the process.

Online Component

Most of the coursework requirements for the DNP can be completed remotely while clinical hours are completed in-person in hands-on healthcare settings. Required online classes for these programs include ethical and legal issues in advanced practice, professional leadership and nursing practice, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Remote learners may also need to complete a DNP project that’s either research- or practice-based.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Holders  

Clinical Research Director: These DNPs conceptualize, design, and carry-out clinical research projects that strive to improve the quality of patient care professionals provide on a daily basis. They often work in hospitals, clinics, and research institutions. Clinical research managers make approximately $115,913 per year. BLS projects a 32% job growth for these professionals by 2029.

Clinical Nurse Specialist: These advanced practice registered nurses may specialize in a variety of areas, including women’s health, critical care, rehabilitation, or oncology. Their work often extends beyond patient care to help the healthcare system develop more cost-effective and higher quality treatments. Students interested in this profession can also consider a more focused online clinical nurse specialist (CNS) program. BLS reports their median annual salary at $82,380 with an expected job growth of 10% by 2029.

Nurse Midwife: These professionals are APRNs who specialize in family planning services, gynecological exams, and prenatal care. They often work directly with [patients and deliver newborn babies. They may also serve as maternity care providers and online certified nurse midwife (CNM) programs exist for students who are interested in this specialty. Nurse midwives make a median annual wage of $105,030 per year. BLS projects a 12% job growth by 2029.

Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners (NP) are primary and specialty care professionals and usually train to work with a specific patient population. They may provide care in hospitals and clinics, often in areas including psychiatric and mental health, geriatric health, and pediatrics. BLS reports that NPs make a median annual wage of $109,820 and projects a 52% job growth by 2029.

Doctor of Optometry

This specialized healthcare degree prepares students to become primary eye healthcare providers. The programs typically require applicants to possess bachelor’s degree at the time they apply. Optometry programs are usually four years long. The wide-reaching curriculum covers instruction in contact lenses, vision sciences, practice management, vision therapy, and optics. Learners also need to complete between 1,200-2250 clinical hours in order to graduate, depending on the program and state requirements.

Online Component

Distance students in optometry programs can finish most of their degree requirements online. Remote courses for these programs often include biochemistry for optometry, pathophysiology, ocular physiology, diagnosing and prescribing, and posterior segment ocular disease.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Optometry Degree Holders  

Optometrist: These doctors work directly with patients by providing eye exams, vision therapy, vision rehabilitation, vision screenings, and more. The majority of these professionals work in optometrists’ offices. BLS reports their annual median wage at $115,250 and projects a 4% job growth by 2029.

Doctor of Pharmacy

Doctor of pharmacy degrees take four years to complete. Depending on the program, some pharmacy programs accept undergraduate students who have completed two or three years of the appropriate pharmacy prerequisites. These programs prepare learners to pass the necessary licensure exams and meet state requirements in order to pursue a career as a pharmacist or related role.

Online Component

The Pharm.D. usually takes 60-90 credits for graduation. Aside from the necessary in-person rotations, many schools offer this degree entirely online. Required classes often include pharmacogenetics, medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, non-prescription therapies, pharmacy law, and pharmacy literature analysis and drug information.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Pharmacy Degree Holders  

Pharmacist: With the assistance of pharmacy techs, these professionals work in pharmacies and ensure that individuals receive the correct prescriptions and drugs as prescribed by other licensed healthcare workers. Pharmacists work with prescribers to make sure patients avoid negative drug interactions and take their medications in a safe manner. They make a median annual wage of $128,090. BLS projects that available positions in this field will decrease by 3% by 2029.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Online Doctor of Physical Therapy programs often take full-time students three years to complete, including a clinical internship and capstone project. Some schools offer a BS/DPT program for learners without a bachelor’s degree. These programs take about six years to finish. Learners in this area usually choose a concentration area to focus their studies, including health science, exercise science, natural science, or athletic training.

Online Component

Most of the requirements for the DPT degree can be completed online, including the common prerequisite courses that schools expect incoming learners to complete. Online DPT classes often include life span development, patient/client management, pharmacology, and physiology. Required clinical hours must take place in-person at an approved facility, however.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Audiology Degree Holders  

Physical Therapist: These professionals work directly with patients to help them improve their quality of life and mobility through personally designed exercise regimens, patient education and counseling, and hands-on care in PT facilities. They may work with patients of all ages, including those with injuries, health conditions, and disabilities. These therapists make a median annual wage of $89,440. Professionals in this area can expect a 18% job growth by 2029.

Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

DPM programs usually require applicants to possess at least three years of undergraduate work, including the necessary prerequisites in physics, chemistry, and biology. Online DPM programs often take students 3-4 years to complete, including an in-person podiatry residency. DPM programs will prepare you to obtain licensure, which is required in every state to practice.

Online Component

Most DPM online programs offer the majority of their required courses online, including medical ethics, medical research, practice management, histology, and biochemistry. These classes typically make up the first two years of DPM school. The remaining two years focus on patient care and clinical sciences, which will have some in-person requirements on campus or in approved facilities.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Audiology Degree Holders  

Podiatrist: These doctors offer surgical and medical care for patients’ lower leg issues, feet, and ankles. They also diagnose illnesses and treat all types of foot injuries. Podiatrists make a median annual wage of $126,240 and can expect the available positions in the field to remain about the same in 2029 as they are in 2020.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Full-time students usually need four years to complete a DVN program. The first three years are dedicated to bookwork, laboratory studies, and some in-person exposure in clinical rotations. The last year is often dedicated almost entirely to clinical rotations and other hands-on training scenarios.

Online Component

For most colleges and universities with an online DVM program, the majority of the non-clinical studies requirements can be completed remotely. DVM students can expect to complete classes such as animal clinical pharmacology, animal theriogenology, veterinarians and public policy, infection prevention, and emerging infectious diseases. Even though veterinarians may wish to work with a particular animal population upon graduation, they receive training that allows them to serve most species of animals.

Healthcare Careers for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree Holders  

Veterinarian: These professionals often work in dedicated veterinary facilities alongside vet techs. They care for animals while striving to protect public health and pet owners. In addition to examining animals and diagnosing health issues, they may conduct surgery, prescribe medications, and put down animals with extreme health issues that are unable to be treated.