All accredited MD degrees in the United States are granted by traditional schools.
Physician training requires hands-on experience and in-person interaction with instructors; consequently, no online programs exist to achieve an accredited Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. Nevertheless, a variety of online programs to prepare for or supplement an MD degree are available.
Accredited For-Profit Courses
Medical professionals or aspiring health-care workers can take accredited, for-profit online courses. The goal in such programs is to expand students’ educational background and career opportunities. Courses for specialized positions, such as clinical lab assistants, medical assistants and surgical technicians, are available through for-profit universities, such as the University of Phoenix and DeVry University.
Many traditional colleges offer online undergraduate and master’s degrees for students pursuing a medical career. Ashford University, for example, is located in Iowa but offers an online master’s degree in Healthcare Administration. Similarly, Western Governors University, now a for-profit institution, offers online degrees in nursing and health informatics.
Supplementary Courses for Physicians
Online courses also exist for physicians already holding an MD but seeking to expand their knowledge and skills. The Harvard Medical School, for instance, offers “multimedia enriched, comprehensive, and interactive courses” on major topics such as behavioral health, cardiovascular medicine and risk management.
Any online program offering degrees, especially advanced degrees, in medicine, should be treated with caution. Real-life experience remains a cornerstone of health-care education, so online courses typically supplement rather than replace traditional degree programs.