Guide to Online Allied Health Care Education

by W. Randy Hoffman
Guide to Online Allied Health Care Education

While you still can't get a legitimate M.D. online, you can study over the Internet for numerous other degrees and certificates in the allied health fields. Modern medicine and fitness are supported by vast amounts of technology, administration, and professional assistantship.

How Online Programs Work in Allied Health

Universities and colleges are the primary institutions providing this kind of training. By and large, you can get into a net-based allied health program just as you would any campus-based program: register, enroll, and so on. Cindy Glewwe, the Health Information Technician (HIT) Programming Coordinator at Rasmussen College asserts that when it comes to institutional procedures, “everything is identical from admission to graduation” for both online and campus students.

“Along with an undergraduate degree,” prospective students for the online Health Administration MBA at Benedictine University “must have at least two years of work experience,” says Sharon Borowicz, Ph.D., Chair of Benedictine's MBA programs. “Our average student has seven.”

Beyond that, courses and programs will vary based on how much of content is available over the Internet and how you access it.

Michael Rogich, Ph.D., Director for the Center of Online Learning at Saint Leo University, states that all of their B.A. in Business Administration for Healthcare course content, except textbooks, is online, including “video lectures, discussion questions, and homework assignments,” and students' progress is “evaluated through [online] tests, projects, or papers. Each class is as interactive as possible through our message boards.”

John Ryan Cottam, Instructional Developer for the Rueckert-Hartman School of Health Professions (RHSHP) at Regis University (which offers a highly unusual Transition Doctorate of Physical Therapy online) touts their courses' “media-rich enhancements,” citing as an example “video of faculty performing manipulations on patients.” Borowicz says the Benedictine MBA is “fully online; yes, books are needed, but several courses use eBooks.” She goes on to state that students have “no necessity to visit the campus, although we welcome you to stop by if you're visiting the area.”

While Borowicz avers that their degree requires “no practicum and no thesis,” this is very much the exception to the rule. Most online allied health programs will understandably require, or at least encourage, some kind of internship, practicum, or other field work at a clinical site. Rogich says that “if a student wants to arrange an internship, we can substitute that for one of the standard classes.” Glewwe highlights the “internship portion” of the Rasmussen HIT degree, which takes “sixty hours toward the end of the program.” Their students intern at “hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, veterans' clinics, and insurers such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield.”

Paying for an Online Education

For the most part, qualified students can get the same types of financial aid for studying allied health subjects online as you would for studying on campus.

Benedictine students can get the “standard loans and grants through FAFSA,” reports Borowicz; the university offers “no scholarships [of its own], but the program is exploring that.” At Saint Leo, Rogich points out that “Florida students can get the Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG),” and he also mentions that many students, no matter where they're from, can take advantage of “tuition reimbursement from employers and military educational benefits.”

Besides the scholarships listed at Medical and Allied Health Financial Aid & Scholarships and at, you should explore aid from all kinds of sources, including:


“As the population ages, this field is going to expand,” observes Rogich. This is all too true. The proportion of the population that is elderly and needs more medical services will be increasing for years to come. If you want to be one of the people who provides those services, online study may be the path to that goal. Borowicz muses that its “primary benefit is flexibility; it's not less time, it's flexible time.” Cottam agrees, and adds, “it's an ideal environment for all types of learners and accommodates to your schedule.”

Related Articles