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The healthcare industry is experiencing growth at an unprecedented rate, and there is currently a high demand for qualified healthcare professionals. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade, and pursuing a career in this field can be an excellent way to positively impact people’s lives. Accelerated healthcare programs are a great option for those looking to get started quickly. With the added availability of online programs, students can earn their degrees in less time while maintaining their current work and personal commitments.

This article will examine some of the best online accelerated healthcare programs, considering program reputation, flexibility, affordability, and job prospects. By the end, you will have a better understanding of the many online healthcare programs that can help you achieve your goals and thrive in this meaningful field.

How Do Accelerated Degree Programs Work?

Accelerated degree programs are designed to help students earn their degrees faster than traditional programs by compressing the coursework and eliminating some of the breaks between semesters. As a result, these programs are completed in less than the four years typically required for a bachelor’s degree.

One way accelerated degree programs allow students to earn their degrees faster is by offering more intensive courses that cover the same material in a shorter time. For example, instead of taking a semester-long course that meets once or twice a week, students in an accelerated program may take a class that meets several times a week to cover the course material faster. Students enrolled in these programs often take courses during the summer or winter breaks when traditional programs are not in session.

While accelerated degree programs offer many benefits, they can also be challenging for some students. For example, the compressed timeline means that students may need to juggle more coursework and have less time for extracurricular activities, part- or full-time jobs, and family responsibilities. This can be incredibly challenging for students who need to balance earning their education with work or family commitments, such as parenting or caretaking.

These programs are best suited for students who are highly motivated, disciplined, and able to handle a rigorous academic schedule. They may also be ideal for students who want to enter the workforce as soon as possible or who are looking to save money on tuition by completing their degree more quickly.

What Are the Best Career Options in the Healthcare Industry?

The healthcare industry is booming, and with a projected job growth rate of 13% over the next decade, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking to pursue careers in this field. In addition to the high job growth rate, the healthcare industry also offers above-average salaries and a wide range of career options.

Advanced practice registered nurse

Median salary (May 2021): $123,780
Projected job growth rate (2021-2031): 40%

An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is a highly trained and specialized nurse who has completed a master’s or doctoral degree program and has advanced clinical knowledge and skills beyond that of a registered nurse. APRNs are licensed healthcare providers who work independently or in collaboration with physicians to provide comprehensive patient care.

APRNs can have a wide range of job responsibilities depending on their specialization. For example, nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries, prescribe medications, and order and interpret diagnostic tests. Certified nurse midwives provide prenatal care, deliver babies, and offer gynecological and reproductive health services. Clinical nurse specialists focus on a particular area of nursing, such as oncology or critical care, and provide advanced care in that specialty.

APRNs can work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, nursing homes, or schools. Some work in non-clinical roles, such as teaching or research.

As of May 2021, the median salary for APRNs was $123,780. The field is expected to grow exponentially over the next ten years, with a projected job growth rate of 40%, significantly faster than the average for all occupations.

To become an APRN, you must complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). However, many high-quality, reputable accelerated degree programs allow aspiring APRNs to achieve their educational goals faster. These programs typically require a bachelor’s degree in nursing as a prerequisite and can take one to three years to complete.

Physician assistant

Median salary (May 2021): $121,530
Projected job growth rate (2021-2031): 28%

A physician assistant (PA) is a licensed healthcare professional who collaborates with physicians and other healthcare providers to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative healthcare services. Their responsibilities include:

  • Conducting physical exams.
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests.
  • Developing treatment plans.
  • Prescribing medications.
  • Performing minor surgical procedures.

PAs also provide patient education and counseling and may make rounds in hospitals or nursing homes to check on patients.

PAs can practice in various settings, as their work environment often reflects their specialization. For example, they usually practice in hospitals, clinics, and private practices but may work in non-clinical settings, such as research centers or public health agencies.

The median annual wage for physician assistants was $121,530 as of May 2021. In addition, the projected job growth rate is 28% over the next ten years, considerably faster than the average for all occupations.

To become a physician assistant, you must complete an accredited PA program, which typically takes two years. For those interested in taking the fast track, many accelerated PA programs allow students to complete their training in a shorter amount of time than traditional programs. These programs typically require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree and some healthcare experience.

Occupational therapist

Median salary (May 2021): $85,570
Projected job growth rate (2021-2031): 14%

An occupational therapist (OT) helps people of all ages with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses to develop, recover, or maintain their ability to perform daily living and work activities. In addition, OTs work with patients to develop treatment plans that help them achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. Their typical job duties include:

  • Teaching patients new skills or adapting old ones.
  • Providing hands-on therapy.
  • Working with patients’ families and caregivers to promote patient independence and well-being.

OTs also collaborate with physicians and social workers to coordinate patient care.

Many occupational therapists find employment in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, schools, and nursing homes. They may also provide care in patient’s homes or community-based settings, such as schools or community centers.

As of May 2021, the median annual wage for occupational therapists was $85,570. Like other healthcare occupations, the field is expected to increase over the next decade, with a projected job growth rate of 14%.

An accelerated occupational therapy program is a good option for those interested in launching their career quickly. These programs typically require a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite, and they may take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to complete, depending on the program and the student’s prior education and experience.

Healthcare administrator

Median salary (May 2021): $101,340
Projected job growth rate (2021-2031): 28%

Healthcare administrators are critical in ensuring that healthcare organizations run smoothly and efficiently and comply with all relevant laws and regulations. Their job responsibilities can vary widely depending on their role and the size of their organization. Typically, they are responsible for managing budgets, overseeing staff, developing policies and procedures, coordinating patient care, and ensuring the organization meets its goals and objectives.

They can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and insurance companies. They may also work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or consulting firms.

The median annual wage for healthcare administrators was $101,340 as of May 2021. This field’s projected job growth rate is 28% over the next decade, notably faster than the average for all occupations.

To become a healthcare administrator, you must complete an accelerated bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, although some employers may require a master’s degree. In addition, there are many accelerated online degree programs to help you achieve either goal at a faster pace.

Our Research

This list features some of the country’s best online accelerated healthcare programs in the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution, either public or private, with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of the best online accelerated healthcare programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The 50 Best Online Accelerated Healthcare Programs

Best Accelerated Online Healthcare Programs Badge 2024

Arizona State University

Concordia University Chicago

Champlain College

Charter Oak State College

The College of St. Scholastica

CSU Global

Dallas Baptist University

Drexel University

Old Dominion University

East Carolina University

Florida Tech

Liberty University

King University

Mercy College of Ohio

Western Governors University

Midway University

Nebraska Methodist College

Ottawa University

Park University

Purdue University Global

Regis University

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Southern New Hampshire University

CUNY School of Professional Studies

Saint Leo University

George Washington University

University of Central Florida

University of West Florida

Florida International University

University of Minnesota Crookston

Thomas Jefferson University

University of St. Francis

Trine University

University of Virginia