Distance Learning Parasitology Degrees and Training Information

Dec 03, 2019

Essential Information

Parasitology degree programs are not available online because this is a very practical field of study requiring research and laboratory work. Students who want to focus on this field may complete a campus-based program at the graduate level. Examples of on-campus programs include an MS in Public Health in Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, MS in Applied Entomology and Parasitology and a PhD in Parasitology.

Students who would like to learn about parasitology but need to complete their program through distance learning may enroll in a broader program. Two examples of online degree programs that include parasitology training are a bachelor's degree program in veterinary technology and a master's degree program in biology. Such programs may offer the majority of coursework online, but they may require students to attend campus for clinical or research work.

Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Technology

An online bachelor's degree program in veterinary technology covers the anatomy and physiology of animals, the diseases to which animals are prone and the parasites that afflict them. Students also learn lab procedures and animal care, treatment and diagnostics. Enrollment in a bachelor's degree program requires a high school diploma or GED. Applicants who focus on math and biological science courses in high school may receive admissions preference.

Program Information and Requirements

The academic portion of an online bachelor's degree program in veterinary technology may be completed entirely online. However, programs may require students to be employed at a veterinary clinic to gain hands-on experience working with animals. Course materials are accessed through a school's website. Interaction with instructors takes place in online forums and via email. Bachelor's degrees are typically completed in four years.

A newer personal computer, word processing software and Internet access are necessary for participation in an online program. Schools recommend a broadband connection for graphics-rich and video content.

Course Topics

Bachelor's degree programs include a general education component. General education courses may fall into such areas as communications, history and social science.

Veterinary Microbiology

This course emphasizes the identification of microorganisms found in animals and the diseases some of them cause. Course work addresses lab procedures and testing methods.

Veterinary Pathology

Students learn the biological processes behind red and white blood cell production and common terminology used in clinical pathology. Blood collection techniques, leukocyte evaluation and immunology are among the topics considered.

Veterinary Parasitology

Common parasites that inhabit animals and their identification are the focus of this course. Parasite life cycles, transmission and control methods are a primary emphasis.

Master's Degree in Biology

An online master's degree program in biology may address a range of subject areas, such as ecology, genetics, mammology or public health while allowing students to focus on an area of interest. Areas of interest might include microbiology, parasitology or biotechnology. Courses related to parasitology are likely to emphasize the aspects of the subject related to humans. Master's degree programs require a degree in biology or undergraduate course work in biology for admission.

Program Information and Requirements

The format of classes in an online master's degree program may be based on asynchronous message board discussions. Most course readings, lectures and presentations are accessible through the school's website on a 24-hour basis. However, some multimedia-intensive materials may be distributed on CD or DVD via mail. A program may be completed entirely online. Master's degrees are typically earned in two years.

Schools may use a home-grown content management interface. Coursework can generally be run on a Windows or Mac personal computer, and students should have a broadband Internet connection and Microsoft Office or other productivity software.

Course Topics

Master's degree programs may be structured to offer thesis and non-thesis options. The thesis option requires students to complete a major research project.


This course examines the structure, genetics and function of viruses, particularly those pathogenic to humans. Gene transfer and immune response are also among the topics covered.


Students in this course learn the taxonomy, metabolism and structure of bacteria. Course work emphasizes the range of bacteria that live on and in humans and their roles in maintaining health or causing disease.


Infectious diseases and the epidemiologic procedures used to investigate them are the focus of this course. Students consider the relationship between a parasite, its host and the wider environment.


This course surveys the range of insects, worms and protozoans that are parasitic to humans. Course content examines parasite morphology and modes of transmission as well as immune response and treatment approaches.

Career Information

Graduates of the associate degree program are qualified to work as veterinary technologists, possibly specializing in parasitology. They are instrumental in controlling parasites in animals used in various types of work and for food as well as domestic animals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that over the years 2018-2028 employment of veterinary technologists will increase 19% (www.bls.gov). Veterinary technologists earned a median salary of $34,420 as of May 2018.

People who focus on parasitology in the course of earning an online master's degree in biology can pursue careers with pharmaceutical companies, health care providers and agriculture firms as researchers and in wildlife management. The degree may also supplement an existing teaching career.

According to North Carolina's Bioscience Clearinghouse, parasitologists make annual salaries in the range of $31,250 (entry-level) to $87,060 (www.aboutbioscience.org). The average yearly salary is $51,020.

Continuing Education Information

Veterinary technologists who want to become veterinarians need to earn a 4-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Students may have the option to structure a program so that it emphasizes parasitology. Programs at this level are rarely if ever offered online.

Master's degree holders can pursue a doctorate in biology that is tailored to emphasize parasitology. They may also consider entering medical school. Medical degree programs and doctorate programs in biology are generally not available online.

Parasitology online degree programs do not exist because of the hands-on laboratory and research components that are a necessary part of the degree. Students can instead get a veterinary technician bachelor's degree or a Master's in Biology degree that includes courses such as veterinary pathology, veterinary parasitology, virology and bacteriology.

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