Changes in national healthcare policies and an aging baby boomer generation are driving unprecedented job growth in the healthcare industry. Since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, almost 1 million healthcare jobs have been created. Between 2014 and 2024, an estimated 3.8 million new jobs will have been added to the rapidly expanding healthcare and social assistance major sector. These job numbers add up to growing career opportunities for professionals who hold degrees — from nurse practitioners and physician assistants to health administrators and public health officials.
Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics
Offered by the renowned Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, the online HealthInformatics@GW program provides students with the opportunity to become innovative problem solvers who have the skills to improve health care systems, patient outcomes and overall public health through the use of data and technology.
Master of Health Administration (MHA)
MHA@GW is the online Master of Health Administration program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. The program is designed to help working professionals, with three or more years experience, develop the skills they need to take on leadership roles across health organizations. The program blends live classes and in-person immersion experiences held in cities across the U.S. and abroad.
Master of Public Health (MPH)
MPH@GW is an online Master of Public Health program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and is designed to help aspiring public health leaders build the core competencies and skills they need to have a positive impact on local, national and global community health. Students can choose from a range of electives to focus their studies on an area of interest.
Health Communication, Health Policy, Program Planning and Evaluation, Global Health
There is an accelerated online one-year program option. Additionally, students can earn their MPH online over the course of 18 months, two years or three years. Students have up to four years to complete the degree.
Start Dates: January, April, July and September
Master of Science Degree in Nursing
The Master of Science degree in Nursing delivered online by Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) blends carefully selected clinical-based nursing experiences and highly interactive online learning. Nursing@Georgetown brings innovative learning to students in their own communities.
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
- Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP)
The Nursing@Georgetown FNP program takes 19 months to complete. The AG-ACNP program takes 23 months to complete. The WHNP program takes 27 months to complete. The NM-WHNP program takes 27 months to complete.
Start Dates: January, May and August
Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner
Designed for licensed registered nurses (RNs), Nursing@Simmons delivers Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences’ (SNHS) renowned Family Nurse Practitioner programs in an innovative, online format that blends online classes and in-person learning experiences. Nursing@Simmons offers two program options for currently licensed RNs: an MSN designed for RNs who have earned a bachelor’s degree and an RN to MSN designed for RNs who have earned an associate degree or diploma in nursing.
The Nursing@Simmons MSN program can be completed full time in an 18–21 month period, or it can be completed part time in a 27–29 month period, depending on your start term. The RN to MSN program can be completed in as little as 30 months full time while the part-time program can be completed in as little as 36 months.
MSN Start Dates: January, March, May, September and November
RN to MSN Start Dates: January, May and September
Master of Business Administration in Health Care
HealthCareMBA@Simmons, the online Master of Business Administration in Health Care from Simmons College School of Management, is designed for working professionals who are passionate about health care and aim to become leaders with health care providers, insurance providers, and providers of products and services to the health care industry.
Master of Public Health (MPH)
Simmons’ online Master of Public Health program, MPH@Simmons, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global scale. You’ll learn core public health methodology, leadership, and advocacy skills needed to improve population health equity. Additionally, you’ll participate in on-ground applied-learning experiences during the program. MPH@Simmons can be completed in as few as 21 months. GRE scores are not required to apply.
Master of Science in Nursing
Nursing@USC is the Master of Science in Nursing program from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Designed for registered nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least one year of experience, Nursing@USC prepares aspiring family nurse practitioners with a curriculum that integrates nursing and social work disciplines. Students are trained to understand the biomedical and social factors that influence patient well-being. While classes are held online, students also attend two on-campus intensives and complete clinical placements in or near their own communities.
The full-time program (five semesters) can be completed in 21 months. The part-time program (eight semesters) can be completed in 33 months.
Start Dates: September, January and May
Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
Speech@NYU is the master of science program in Communicative Sciences and Disorders delivered online by the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The program’s diverse curriculum integrates research and evidence-based clinical practice, preparing students to work in a range of settings with both children and adults who face a broad spectrum of communication and swallowing disorders. Through a unique set of electives and clinical field practicums located in or near students’ communities, Speech@NYU provides a comprehensive learning experience that enables students to personalize their education based on their interests.
Master of Medical Science (M.M.Sc)
The mission of the Yale physician assistant (PA) online program is to prepare PAs to provide compassionate, high-quality, patient-centered care as members of interdisciplinary teams. Graduates of the program will be culturally competent clinicians who are committed to continuous learning and professional development. Yale's PA Online program awards a Master of Medical Science (M.M.Sc) and prepares graduates to seek licensure as physician assistants. The curriculum blends classes with in-person learning experiences, with students required to complete clinical placements and attend immersions on Yale's campus.
Program Start Dates:
The program can be completed in 28 months of full-time study and is delivered through three integrated components.
- Classes – The first 12 months of the program focus on online classes and coursework.
- Clinical Rotations – Students spend the last 16 months of the program acquiring hands-on clinical experience working at sites in or near their communities.
- Immersions – Students are required to attend three weeklong immersion on the Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut.
Growth In Demand 2014-2024
Bar chart showing 2014 employment and 2024 employment by total number of jobs for the occupations of nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, physician assistant, and registered nurse. Nurse Practitioner: 129,900 in 2014 and 171,700 in 2024. Nurse Midwife: 5,300 in 2014 and 6,600 in 2024. Physician Assistant: 94,499 in 2014 and 123,100 in 2024. Registered Nurse: 2,751,000 in 2014 and 3,190,300 in 2024
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Online Healthcare Degrees
Today, more current and aspiring health professionals are turning to accredited, online healthcare degree programs for the skills and credentials they need to seize these opportunities and make a greater impact on patients’ lives.
Business Administration in Health Care (Health Care MBA)
Master of Business Administration in Health Care programs focus on preparing health care administrators to lead and manage medical organizations and programs. Reflecting the need for industry-specific skills, Health Care MBA programs include both foundational courses in business management and specialized courses in health care administration. Foundational business courses cover subjects like analytics, communications, strategy, finance and marketing. Specialized health care courses include health care structures, health care economics, health information systems, quality assurance, and legal and ethical issues in health care service delivery.
In addition to these academic courses, MBA in Health Care programs often include practical, in-person components to foster networking and communications skills. Students not currently employed with health care organizations may also be encouraged to pursue internships for industry experience.
Online graduate nursing programs provide registered nurses (RNs) with a path to more specialized skills and greater autonomy. These advanced practice nursing programs prepare licensed RNs to provide primary care as certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners and nurse practitioners (NPs) specializing in areas such as women’s health, gerontology, acute care or pediatrics.
Accredited online nursing programs ensure that graduates meet the requirements to be eligible to sit for the national certification exams. These requirements include prescribed coursework and minimum clinical training hours. Passing a certification exam is required for licensure in most states.
Online public health programs are designed for students who want to improve people’s health on a community, population or global scale. In these programs, students learn to use communications and marketing techniques to influence healthy behaviors. They gain the expertise in biostatistics and epidemiology required to identify, track and combat diseases across populations and geographic areas. They learn to apply the latest research to develop, evaluate and lead more effective public health policies and programs.
Because online programs draw students from around the globe, students can also learn firsthand from peers how other countries approach some of the world’s most complex public health issues.
Amid growing concerns about healthcare quality and costs, skilled administrators and managers are in demand in hospitals, clinics and throughout the industry. Online healthcare administration and online healthcare management degree programs prepare leaders in these settings to reduce waste, improve overall care and efficiency, manage finances and staff, minimize medical errors and ensure sound ethical practices.
The demand for health informatics experts is at an all-time high and it has become an integral part of health care reform. Information gathered from emergent technologies such as Smartphone applications, wearable devices and electronic medical records (EMRs), is providing more health-related data than ever before. Online health informatics programs help professionals develop the skills they need to analyze and translate this data and use it to drive quality patient outcomes and improve health care delivery.
Students enrolled in health informatics master’s programs study both health information management (HIM) and health information technology (HIT) to equip them with the knowledge needed to solve public health issues and prevent future health care challenges.
The physician assistant (PA) is a “health professional who practices medicine with the supervision of a licensed physician.” Accredited online PA programs prepare students to provide many of the same services as physicians, including performing physicals, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering lab tests, prescribing medicine, taking patient histories, suturing wounds and assisting in surgery.
Speech-language pathologists are dedicated to helping people of all ages manage and overcome communicative disorders. The demand for speech-language pathologists in the United States has been growing since 2014 due to increased awareness among parents and teachers as well as the increase in aging Americans in need of these services.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of speech-language pathologists is projected to grow 21 percent through 2024 — much faster than the average for all occupations. Online speech-language pathology graduate programs are preparing a new generation of speech-language pathologists for meaningful careers in schools, hospitals and treatment facilities, where they can help clients from diverse backgrounds who face a range of communicative and swallowing disorders.
Which Degree is Right for Me?
With so many career choices within the healthcare field, prospective students frequently ask, “Which degree is right for me?” Individuals who want to make a broad impact as healthcare leaders may want to choose between health administration and public health. Those who want to make a direct impact on patient care may want to choose between nurse practitioner and physician assistant.
MHA vs. MPH
- Focuses on the business side of healthcare
- Prepares graduates to lead or manage health-related organizations and programs
- Develops the skills required to improve the efficiency of healthcare organizations and the quality of care within those organizations
- Requires courses in financial management, medical informatics, public health and healthcare law
- Focuses on the science of public health
- Prepares graduates to address public health issues through policies, programs and public outreach
- Develops the skills required to identify and respond to patterns of disease in communities and populations
- Requires courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health and the behavioral sciences
NP vs. PA
While NPs and PAs share some similarities, the two professions have important differences in the level of autonomy, philosophical approach, and education and licensing requirements.
- Attends nursing school
- Follows patient-centered model
- Specialized education
- Minimum 500 clinical hours required for certification
- Fully autonomous in some states
- Median salary $108,643
- Attends medical school
- Follows disease-centered model
- Generalized education
- Average 2,000 clinical hours required for state licensing
- Physician supervision required
- Median salary $95,820
MHA vs. Health Care MBA
Prospective students may be uncertain whether a Master of Health Administration (MHA) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare is the degree that will best help them meet their professional goals. With a dedicated focus on the management of health-related organizations and programs, an MHA is a strong option for those pursuing careers exclusively in the healthcare field. Students who are interested in the business of healthcare may want to pursue their Healthcare MBA, which covers general business concepts and practices before progressing into specialized health-specific content.
- Focuses entirely on healthcare
- Prepares graduates to lead or manage health-related organizations and programs
- Develops skills necessary to improve the efficiency and efficacy of medical organizations
- Requires courses in healthcare-specific subjects such as healthcare management, medical informatics and public health
Health Care MBA
- Focuses on business through a healthcare lens
- Prepares graduates to lead or manage diverse corporations and other business organizations, including medical institutions
- Develops the skills required to direct teams, improve operations, identify opportunities and persuade stakeholders
- Requires courses in foundational business subjects such as analytics, finance and marketing, as well as specialized topics in healthcare-related management
Choosing the Best Online Healthcare Degree Program
When comparing programs, applicants will want to consider the key factors that set apart the nation’s top online healthcare programs:
Accreditation: Program and university accreditation ensures that the program meets rigorous standards for the profession and that its degrees will be recognized by current and prospective employers. In the healthcare field, program accreditation is especially important since it ensures graduates have the requisite training to provide quality care and that they meet the eligibility criteria for taking the certification exams/boards required for licensure in their field.
Before applying, candidates should check the licensure requirements for the state and field in which they intend to practice and ensure the program they are interested in has the appropriate accreditation. The university should be accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting body.
Dedicated Clinical Placement Team: Clinical training is a critical part of any healthcare program. Because they educate RNs across the country, top online healthcare programs have clinical placement teams dedicated to placing students in healthcare settings aligned to their career interests and located in or near their own communities.
Rankings: Applicants may find that rankings can be useful, if not definitive, tools for understanding the relative strengths of a program. In reviewing rankings, applicants should note whether the ranking is for the school as a whole or for the individual program. Some rankings specifically rate online programs. While many online programs are identical to on-campus counterparts, some are not, and the on-campus ranking may not apply. Applicants should also be aware that healthcare programs do not all offer the same specializations.
Platform: An effective technology platform and engaging, flexible format are essential to the online graduate school experience. When evaluating a program, applicants should consider whether it offers:
- The flexibility to earn a graduate healthcare degree while maintaining career and family commitments.
- Innovative technology that connects students and faculty through live classes, social media and online collaboration tools.
- On-campus immersion experiences where students gain hands-on experience working with expert faculty who are active clinical practitioners and researchers.
2U-Powered Healthcare Programs
2U partners with top universities to offer their degree programs online, including master’s programs in nursing, public health and health administration. Students in 2U partner programs benefit from the highest-quality online learning platform available, with access to an online campus from anywhere they have an Internet connection. University faculty lead all academic initiatives related to programs, including instruction and curriculum development. 2U-powered programs feature:
created by faculty and available 24/7.
in a collaborative online classroom.
between students and universities.
at field placements or immersions.
from application through graduation.
2U powered healthcare programs have delivered incredible outcomes, including:
by nurse-midwifery students enrolled in the Nursing@Georgetown NM/WHNP Program
First-Time Board Rate Pass
for Family Nurse Practitioner students in 2012 and 2013
from Nursing@Georgetown impacting the field of nursing