Allied Health Degrees: Online Degrees in Therapy and Health Care

Allied health care is a broad field that encompasses professions providing assistance to medical practitioners in terms of allied therapy, medical billing, laboratory testing, nursing administration, and medical informatics. They are part of the medical team and have crucial roles in maintaining the over-all healthcare program of any medical institution. Allied health experts have specialized skills appointed to give fast and reliable assistance, the absence of which would be detrimental to the whole medical field. Just imagine a hospital without people assigned to do the laboratory tests or to provide physical therapy for those in need; a doctor’s expertise can only cover so much.

There are so many sub-specializations in the allied health profession so we’ll try to discuss the most popular online degrees of the field. The first on our list are the therapeutic health care degrees.

Allied Health Degrees in Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists work to adapt occupational and fine-motor tasks to people’s needs so that they could promote the well-being of a person. They are concerned primarily with developing clients’ daily living skills, enabling patients to live a fuller life. Clients of occupational therapists usually include children with special needs, older people with occupational needs, and people who need to be rehabilitated due to illnesses or accidents. Occupational therapy can also be considered a broad field due to its applications in physical health, mental health, and community therapy.

There are a lot of options in online allied health degrees in occupational therapy. For example, one could first take an Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies to start as a therapist’s assistant, but to be a practicing and accredited occupational therapist, one must get a Bachelor’s degree first then follow it through with a MS in Occupational Therapy or Occupational Therapy Studies to really start a career in the field. Some programs offer direct Bachelor’s-to-Master’s degrees, making the completion of the course requirements much easier. Given the degree of physical contact needed to complete one’s studies, it is also suggested that students go under internship while doing their online studies to complement their learning. Further studies in sub-specializations in autism and old age are also offered, making online studies a viable option for those who want to specialize in those fields.

Quick Reference for Occupational Therapy

  • Associate’s Allied Health Degrees: Associate’s in Occupational Therapy

  • Undergraduate Allied Health Degrees: Any pre-med major or a direct Bachelor’s-to-Master’s program

  • Graduate Allied Health Degrees: MS Occupational Therapy, MS Occupational Therapy Studies

Allied Health Degrees in Physical Therapy

If occupational therapy deals mostly with rehabilitating activities that require fine-motor skills, physical therapy deals with gross-motor movements, e.g. walking, sitting, standing, etc.  Physical therapists also cater to a broad list of clients: athletes, individuals with special needs, very young children, older adults, and people with debilitating conditions either from accidents or illnesses.

An Associate’s degree is offered for those who want to start out as a physical therapist’s assistant, but being a licensed professional in the field would require a Bachelor’s degree in a science-oriented major (or at least with science-oriented subjects) and a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy. The same internship requirements also apply to complete an online degree because of its allied health orientation. Direct programs are also available (i.e. combination of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees).

Quick Reference for Physical Therapy

  • Associate’s Allied Health Degrees: Associate’s in Physical Therapy

  • Undergraduate Allied Health Degrees: Any pre-med major or a direct Bachelor’s-to-Master’s program

  • Graduate Allied Health Degrees: MS Physical Therapy

This is just the first in our series about allied health degrees – there is still more to come. If you have any questions, or are interested to know more about allied health degree programs, be sure to post them in the comments. We’d love hearing from you!

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