Online Diploma and Certificate Programs in Healthcare

Find out about online healthcare courses and in which diploma and certificate programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Because the field is so broad, there is no diploma or certificate in healthcare as such. However, many institutions offer online certificate and diploma programs in a variety of healthcare disciplines, such as home health aide, medical assisting, pharmacy technology and practical nursing. Some programs are available entirely online, while others may require hands-on training or clinical experiences that must be completed on-campus or arranged in a student's locality.

Online Home Health Aide Certificate

Home health aides are residential caregivers who help individuals with health-related and personal care needs in their home. Online certificate programs generally take 4-6 months to complete, although students are given a year to finish. While lectures and assignments are available online, the distance-learning programs often require students to complete a clinical experience at a nursing home or patient house.

Course Topics

  • How the body works
  • Working with disabled and ill people
  • Making a safe and healthy home
  • Nutrition
  • Home care procedures

Online Medical Assistant Diploma

Medical assistants help physicians in both clinical and administrative venues. They often assist with physical examinations and should have some medical knowledge. Distance-learning training programs in medical assisting often include on-campus laboratory courses as often as once a week.

Course Topics

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical administrative procedures
  • Health and disease in humans
  • Allied health pharmacology
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Clinical procedures

Online Pharmacy Technology Diploma

Pharmacy technicians help registered pharmacists by handling routine clerical and technical duties such as filling prescriptions. Their responsibilities are clearly defined standard procedures. Most online programs in pharmacy technology require about 18 hours in a pharmacy. Additional class work, lectures and tests can be completed online.

Course Topics

  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmacy principles
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy principles
  • Math for pharmacists

Online Practical Nursing Diploma

A practical nurse assists doctors and registered nurses in the bedside care of patients. Duties include applying wet dressings, giving shots, passing out medications and filling out paperwork. The practical nursing diploma is a 1-year program, generally equivalent to the first year of a regular nursing program. Online programs may have prerequisites, such as courses in medical terminology and biology, or a nurse assistant certificate. After completion of the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN licensing exam to become licensed practical nurses (LPN).

Course Topics

  • Communication
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nursing principles
  • Pharmacology
  • Nutrition

Students can prepare for a variety of entry-level health care positions through online diploma and certificate programs. These career-focused programs give students significantly more scheduling flexibility than on-campus alternatives.

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