Top Master’s Degrees in Healthcare Available Online

Find the best online master’s degrees in healthcare, increase your earning potential, and advance your career through an online program.

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Last Updated: 12/01/2020
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If you’re passionate about helping others and interested in pursuing a graduate degree, earning your online master’s degree in healthcare can set you up for rewarding and lucrative work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in healthcare is on track to grow 15% by 2029, a pace that is must faster than the average for all occupations. With an online master’s degree, you’ll not only set yourself up for advanced positions in the field, but you’ll also benefit from the convenience and lower cost of an online education.

To learn the other benefits of getting your healthcare master’s degree online, and to find out which health professions top our list, keep reading.

Benefits of an Online Master’s Degree in Healthcare

Earning an online master’s degree in healthcare can offer you substantial benefits when it comes to furthering your education and advancing career. Whether you need the flexibility to continue working while attending school or want reasonable tuition rates to avoid debt, these programs can help. Check out some of the major benefits below.

Lower Tuition

Studying online allows you to save money in many ways, including on tuition. For instance, at the University of North Dakota, online students pay the same tuition rate as campus-based students regardless of where they live. As an online student, you also save money by not commuting to and from campus multiple times per week. Plan to avoid expenditures on fuel, car maintenance, public transportation, parking, and eating on campus.

Set Your Own Schedule

If you find an online master’s in healthcare that allows for asynchronous learning, you can easily set your own schedule. Because these programs don’t require live lectures and allow you to turn in assignments at times that work with your needs, you can build a schedule around personal and professional responsibilities. Recognizing that many students pursuing an online healthcare master’s work while enrolled, distance learning programs typically prioritize flexibility.

Advance Your Current Career

Maybe you currently work as a registered nurse but desire to advance into a nurse practitioner role, why not enroll in an online MSN program? Or maybe you’ve finished an undergraduate online psychology program and now you want to go onto earn a master’s degree in psychology online while simultaneously working in an outpatient clinic. No matter where you stand and no matter what your future careers goals in healthcare are, an online master’s program is a smart and convenient way to advance your career while taking classes when and where you’re able to.

Become Specialized

Many associate and bachelor’s degrees cover foundational and general healthcare topics, but a master’s programs allow you to specialize in a particular discipline or subfield. This means that while your undergraduate degree gave you the credentials to begin your career in healthcare, a master’s degree can equip you with the knowledge to concentrate it around one particular area of your field. Whether you’re a nurse who wants to focus your care on a particular population or public health professional with a special interest in epidemiology, a master’s degree online is a smart way to specialize.

Open Doors to Further Education

If you have aspirations of working in research, teaching, or working in the most senior levels of administration, you may need to pursue a doctorate degree. Graduating from an online master’s in healthcare puts you one step closer to earning a terminal degree in your chosen area of healthcare. Some schools may even provide dual online programs, allowing you to complete master’s and doctoral studies on a truncated timeline.

Top Master’s Degrees in Healthcare Online

Many different online master’s degrees in healthcare exist, making it possible for you to pursue your perfect job – or advance your current career – without visiting a college campus. With so many degree options now available, it’s more important than ever to understand your options and figure out which path leads to the most lucrative career. If you’re thinking of enrolling, here are the top master’s degree in healthcare that are available online.

Master of Science in Nursing

Online MSN programs build on knowledge gained in a bachelor’s degree in nursing and provide the advanced skills and knowledge needed to work as an advanced nurse leader. These programs usually require two years of full-time study, with the curriculum varying based on your chosen area of focus.

Online Component

Many colleges and universities offer fully online MSN programs, making it possible for busy nurses and career changers alike to pursue advanced education without upsetting existing schedules. While coursework can be done via digital learning, all students enrolled in MSN programs must participate in clinical rotations at an approved healthcare facility to graduate.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Science in Nursing Degree Holders

Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare settings to provide advanced nursing care. In addition to performing standard nursing responsibilities, NPs can also prescribe medications, provide treatment, and make diagnoses in some cases.

Median Salary
$115,800

Growth Rate
45% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: An online pediatric nurse practitioner program teaches students to work with young patients from birth through young adulthood, providing specialized nursing services throughout various developmental cycles. Some nurse practitioners may work in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) while others may work in pediatricians’ offices.

Median Salary
$115,800

Growth Rate
45% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: In an online psychiatric nurse practitioner program, students will focus their skills on helping patients address and heal from psychiatric and mental health disorders by making diagnoses, prescribing medications, and creating treatment plans. Whether working with someone facing anxiety, schizophrenia, or something in between, these professionals can find work in inpatient and outpatient clinics, physicians’ offices, or mental health counseling facilities.

Median Salary
$115,800

Growth Rate
45% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Occupational Therapy

Taking between two and three years to complete, online master’s program in occupational therapy provide the training needed to seek licensure after graduating. Courses commonly taken include structural analysis of human motion, conceptual framework for therapeutic occupation, and neuroscience for occupational therapy. Some programs also provide specializations.

Online Component

Both classes and labs in an online master’s in occupational therapy can be done via distance learning, but all students must participate in two levels of fieldwork to graduate. Level I requirements vary by school and state, but the American Occupational Therapy Association mandates at least 24 weeks of full-time fieldwork for Level II.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Occupational Therapy Degree Holders

Occupational Therapist: Occupational therapists help their patients rebuild, expand, and improve the skills needed to perform everyday activities after sustaining an injury or facing an illness. They create treatment plans, develop appropriate exercises, monitor for progress, and make changes as needed.

Median Salary
$84,950

Growth Rate
16% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Science in Physician Assistant

Online master’s in physician assistant programs take approximately two to three years to complete and allow you to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam after graduating. Topics covered in online physician assistant programs include physical diagnosis and patient evaluation, principles of medicine, and emergency medicine and critical care.

Online Component

The American Academy of Physician Assistants notes that many online programs exist, and online instruction typically includes all classwork. After finishing these, you must complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in various areas of primary and acute care settings.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Science in Physician Assistant Degree Holders

Physician Assistant: Physician assistants possess the knowledge and credentials needed to conduct examinations, provide diagnoses, and create treatment plans for patients. They can order diagnostic tests, treat patients directly, prescribe medicine, and meet with patients to assess their progress over time. They often see patients before the doctor to ascertain the issue at hand.

Median Salary
$112,260

Growth Rate
31% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology 

Online master’s programs in speech language pathology typically require two years of full-time study or three years of part-time study. After graduating from an ASHA-approved program, you can sit for the Examination in Speech-Language Pathology. Required courses include physiologic and acoustic issues in speech science, neuromotor disorders of speech, and assessment and intervention.

Online Component

These days, you can complete all master’s in speech-language pathology coursework requirements online. In your final semester, however, you must participate in an externship. Most programs allow you to choose your setting (e.g., school, hospital, rehabilitative center) based on future career goals.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Degree Holders

Speech Pathologist: Also known as speech therapists, these professionals work with children and adults alike to diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders. They may work in clinics, schools, or other settings to provide evaluations, develop treatment plans, improve communication skills, and improve function over time.

Median Salary
$79,120

Growth Rate
25% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Prosthetics-Orthotics

You can graduate from some online master’s in prosthetics and orthotics in less than two years if studying on a full-time basis. The program covers advanced topics in the field, including prosthetic and orthotic technologies, principles of orthotics-prosthetics practice, and orthotics-prosthetics practice management.

Online Component

The amount of online coursework available to you depends on the school you attend. At Northwestern, for instance, students complete six months of online coursework followed by 12-months of in-person learning and clinical rotations. The final three months of the program are done via distance learning.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Prosthetic-Orthotics Degree Holders

Orthotist/Prosthetist: Working with patients missing limbs, these professionals design and create artificial devices that help them regain motion. Common artificial limbs designed include hands, feet, arms, and legs. They take measurements, fit patients for devices, select materials, create orthotics and prosthetics, and fit them to individual patients.

Median Salary
$68,410

Growth Rate
17% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Science in Genetic Counseling 

You should plan to spend between two and three years working towards your master’s in genetic counseling, though individual schools set specific timelines. Most programs include both science and counseling courses to provide a well-rounded education. Topics commonly explored include advanced clinical genetics concepts, clinical embryology and prenatal diagnosis, and clinical communication skills for genetic counselors.

Online Component

During each year of your studies, you will participate in both online coursework and clinical rotations. Most schools allow you to complete the requirements simultaneously and provide opportunities for experiencing different discipline areas.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Science in Genetic Counseling Degree Holders

Genetic Counselor: Genetic counselors work with patients to ascertain their risks for certain genetically inherited diseases. They take medical histories of the patient and their families, conduct genetic tests based on risk factors and specific illnesses, and provide counseling about the findings.

Median Salary
$81,880

Growth Rate
21% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Science in Nursing-Nurse Anesthesia

Online nurse anesthesia master’s or online certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) programs take between two and three years to complete, with schools offering both full- and part-time learning options. You can expect to take courses in areas such as advanced principles of anesthesia, nurse anesthesia pharmacology, and advanced health assessments and diagnostic reasoning.

Online Component

While no MSN in nursing anesthesia exists fully online, schools such as Drexel University allow you to complete all core and science coursework without ever visiting class. Remaining labs usually take a hybrid format while all practicum and clinical rotations must be done in-person at an approved hospital or healthcare facility.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Science in Nursing-Nurse Anesthesia Degree Holders

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): Working alongside anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists support patients before, during, and after surgery by ensuring they receive the correct type and amount of anesthesia. They may also monitor for pain management and ensure patients come out from general anesthesia without any complications.

Median Salary
$174,790

Growth Rate
14% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Health Administration

Unlike many other programs highlighted above, these programs focus on healthcare administration rather than clinical care. Courses you’ll take in a master’s in healthcare administration online include healthcare marketing and analytics, leadership and professionalism in healthcare, and health policy and economics. Many also provide specializations in different areas of administration to help you concentrate your expertise.

Online Component

Many schools offer fully online master’s in healthcare administration programs, making it easy for busy and working students to advance their careers. While degrees that are clinical in nature typically mandate rotations or a practicum, most health administration programs include a semester-long internship completed at the end of the degree.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Health Administration Degree Holders

Healthcare Administrator: Rather than working on the clinical side of things, healthcare administrators make sure all business functions run smoothly. They may oversee a single wing or an entire facility. Typical responsibilities include supervising staff, managing budgets, creating schedules, hiring new staff, creating training plans, and reporting to board members.

Median Salary
$100,980

Growth Rate
32% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling 

Plan to spend between two and three years completing curricular and practicum requirements for an online mental health counseling degree at the master’s level. Most programs comprise 60 credits and touch on topics such as theories of counseling and psychotherapy, substance abuse and addiction treatment, and introduction to family counseling. Some programs allow you to specialize in a particular type of counseling.

Online Component

All standard coursework of a mental health counseling master’s degree can be done online, but students should understand that in-person experiences are at the heart of these programs. You must complete both a practicum and an internship while enrolled. The number of hours can vary. Students enrolled at William James College, for example, complete at least 360 practicum hours and 600 internship hours.

Healthcare Careers for Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling Degree Holders 

Mental Health Counselor: These professionals work with individuals facing mental health issues, including ADHD, anxiety, depression, or other challenges. They may offer counseling, make referrals to additional services, teach clients how to cope with hardships, and help them work through personal issues or conflicts.

Median Salary
$46,240

Growth Rate
25% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Substance Abuse Counselor: Substance abuse counselors work with individuals facing addiction or abuse related to drugs, alcohol, or other substances to understand the disease and create tools to address it in healthful ways. They may also provide counseling to family members and loved ones and teach them how to support them effectively.  These counselors can even work to help medical professionals deal with the rising problem of substance abuse in healthcare

Median Salary
$46,240

Growth Rate
23% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)

Marriage and Family Therapist: These professionals help individuals, couples, and families address disputes, communicate openly, and express their emotions in healthy ways. Some may work as part of a group while others start their own practices. They may work with people for just a few sessions or on a long-term basis. Students interested in this specialty specifically may consider an online marriage and family therapy (MFT) master’s program.

Median Salary
$49,610

Growth Rate
22% (2019-2029)

(Source: BLS)