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Top 12 Free Online Medicine/Health Courses

Written by College Cliffs Team At, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: February 13, 2024, Reading time: 19 minutes

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Choosing to enroll in a health profession is a huge decision. When you study medicine and other related health care courses, you are committing to at least three full years to develop, train, and learn a new profession.

The healthcare field entails a commitment to make a big difference in other people’s lives and society in general. 

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If you are fascinated by health and science and have the interest and passion for securing a career in the health care industry, your best option is to get a degree in medicine and health science. 

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

The Top 12 Free Online College Courses for Medicine and Health Care

From statistical analysis of medical data to medicine, there are so many online courses covering the massive world of medical subjects. Here are 12 free online college courses for medicine and health care that you may want to consider. 

Disaster Medicine Training

Stanford University Online, via edX

This course was created to teach a solid foundation of disaster medicine knowledge that each health care provider should know to respond to disasters properly.

This free online course was developed through Stanford Emergency Medicine Program for Emergency Response and is self-paced on your time. 

Disaster Medicine Training is a self-paced course that features video lectures. After each module, questions and case scenarios are given.

Before starting the course, however, you must take an overall pre-test, and a post-test is given as well after completing the modules. You need to have a score of at least 80% after the course to earn a Statement of Accomplishment.

The course is handled by Jessica Ngo, Clinical Assistant, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Stanford University.

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Mechanical Ventilation for COVID 19

Harvard University, via edX

Suppose you are a licensed clinician working in a non-ICU hospital. In that case, this course will teach you how to support critical care respiratory physicians, therapists, and nurses in taking care of a patient with mechanical ventilation.

In this free online course, you are provided with general information about mechanical ventilation. This is only for licensed medical professionals and is, in fact, a great primer for non-ICU physicians who are asked to handle critical care areas. This will help you better understand the fundamental concepts of mechanical ventilation.

This is handled by Dr. Susan Wilcox, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Thomas Piraino, RRT, FCSRT, FAARCl St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto. 

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Epidemiology: The Basic Science of Public Health

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – via Coursera

Epidemiology is dubbed as the ‘cornerstone’ of public health. This course is about the determinants of health conditions, diseases, or even among populations and its application to health problem control. When you apply the concepts in epidemiology, you will have a clear understanding of public health issues and how they related to real life. 

In this course, you will explore public health issues like infectious and cardiovascular diseases—both globally and locally, through the eyes of epidemiology.

The course is handled by Dr. Karin Yeatts, Clinical Associate Professor from the Department of Epidemiology, UNC Gillings Schools of Global Public Health, and Dr. Lorraine Alexander, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Distance Learning (North Carolina Institute of Public Health).

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COVID 19 Training for Healthcare Workers

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Stanford University, via Coursera 

Because of the COVID 19 global pandemic, health care providers should be prepared and knowledgeable in recognizing, stabilizing, and treating patients with the infection.

This course is designed for physicians, nurses, and other professionals in the healthcare industry to have a more unified and evidence-based approach on how they should address COVID 19 patients, whether simple or critical cases. 

The learning modules are broken down into short videos. These videos are present in a richly compelling and illustrated manner. Since this free online course is self-paced, you can join the class according to your schedule.

Some topics in the course include COVID 19 signs, how to stabilize a patient, how you can prevent intubation, and managing ventilators. Handouts and simple infographics are handed out to educate you further and help promote the best care across the whole institution.

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Introduction to Dental Medicine

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The University of Pennsylvania, via Coursera

As its name implies, introduction to dental medicine gives you an outlook of dental medicine to educate, engage, excite, and assist you on how you can help improve the oral health of patients and the community.

You will study different areas in dental medicine, like the scope of the program, what you can expect in function, and some ways that dysfunction presents in different patients. Discussions include jaw, mouth, or tooth anatomy, pathology, and overall treatment.

This free online course is suitable for beginners. It also talks about the differences between patients and the specific roles that other members of the dental world play in treatment, depending on the case and patient. Upon starting, you will learn about the basic concepts of dental medicine and learn about research and technology trends. 

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Become an EMT

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The University of Colorado System, via Coursera

This course teaches you how to care for both stable and unstable patients before they reach the hospital. You will determine time-sensitive diseases and traumatic and medical conditions that affect pediatric and adult patients.

In the first part of this 7-month course, you are taught how to assess an emergency, prepare the right care, understand the framework for patient assessment, learn the background of emergency medical services, and distinguish personal requirements to become an EMT.

On the second course, you address breathing, airway, circulation, medication administration, and how you will know if a patient has a diabetic emergency or a stroke.

The third course covers the necessary skills related to CPR performance, toxicology, and wilderness emergency medicine. Course 4 is where you will learn trauma emergency skills, and finally, on the last course, you focus on pregnancy, infants, and pediatrics. 

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Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare

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Northwestern University, via Coursera

Are you a fresh high school graduate, a recent college graduate, or a professional contemplating transitioning into the health care industry for better career options? Then this free online course is perfect for you.

Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare aims to teach you the strategies to help you enter into the health care workforce, as well as in any health-related field.

This course is full of guests, lecturers, and ordinary healthcare professionals sharing their personal stories, journeys, and experiences in their health-related careers. 

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The Science of Health Care Delivery

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Arizona State University, via Coursera

This free online program was developed by the Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care and Mayo Clinic. It introduces scientific methods better to improve the quality of patient care and population health while studying ways to minimize health costs.

The full program explores the critical concepts in the Science of Health Care Delivery and clarifies why it is paramount for future patient care. Health care professionals or aspiring health care providers can take advantage of this free course. 

After this program, you will fully grasp the importance of enhancing the quality of care necessary in health care systems and patients. Most of the lectures are presented in videos, and after each presentation, an expert reflection reinforces the domain’s concepts.

C. Dan Johnson, MD, Professor of Radiology at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, and Natalia Wilson, MD, Clinical Associate Professor from Arizona State University, teach the course.

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Systems Thinking in Public Health

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John Hopkins University, via Coursera

This online course provides an overview of systems models and thinking in public health. Everybody knows how complex and problematic most public health and health policies are because of the many institutions, actors, and risk factors involved.

Systems thinking is very important in public health. This helps health policymakers create policies and programs that they know of and prepares them for any potential unintended consequences. 

The main lesson from this free course is understanding the types and importance of engagements with various stakeholders.

This highly pedagogical course offers you all the critical knowledge and tools to deal with the complexities in public health while leaving behind the linear abstractive way of thinking.

The lectures here are highly informative, analytical, finely structured, and well-focused. This is handled by David Bishai, MD, Ph.D., and Ligia Paina, Ph.D.

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Health Care Innovation

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The University of Pennsylvania, via Coursera 

This course teaches you the basic economic theories behind health care innovation and further teaches you how to improve your health care practice or organization. You will have practical knowledge of operations management and behavioral economics frameworks in the health care setting.

Out of this course, you can apply these frameworks in assessing health care practices and applying innovation while managing risk. 

The Business of Health Care Specialization can be completed in 7 hours to adapt to your busy and committed professional life. What’s great about this course is the expertise of the lecturers and professors.

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Clinical Terminology for International and US Students

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The University of Pittsburgh, via Coursera

Clinical terms and medical abbreviations used during written or verbal communication in US hospitals are very challenging.

This free online course is for students in the health care profession and for international teachers or practitioners and enrollees who wish to become more adept with the language of the US clinical setting. 

This course is also ideal for medical interpreters and caregivers who want to enhance their knowledge of abbreviations and terms used by health care providers. You become more familiar with clinical terms and mobile equipment, diseases, and laboratory tests.

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Palliative Care Always Specialization

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Stanford University, via Coursera

This is a specialized course designed for health care practitioners, caregivers, and patients and is designed to show how palliative medicine incorporates patient care and how you can develop primary palliative care skills. In this five-course, six-month program, you will learn:

In this specialization, five courses are included:

Course 1: Essentials of Palliative Care: This begins your journey of incorporating palliative care into your day-to-day life. You may have a broader understanding of the fundamentals in palliative care, how you can effectively communicate to your patients, how you can show empathy and practice difficult conversations.

Course 2:  Symptom Management in Palliative Care. This is where your primary palliative care skills—psychosocial support and communication, are enhanced. You will learn how to assess, screen, and manage both patients’ psychological and physical symptoms. You will discover common symptoms like nausea, fatigue, pain, and distress.

Course 3. Transitions in Care from Survivorship to Hospice. This continues building your primary palliative care skills—goals of care, communication, psychosocial support, and symptom management.

This also covers spiritual care and teaches you how to screen for spiritual distress. Also, you are taught about the requirements for hospice care and practice discussions difficult conversations at the end of life care.

Course 4. Supporting Families and Caregivers: This discusses the challenges friends and families of a patient suffering from a serious illness face and how you can support and care for them as family friends, social workers, or providers. This especially focuses on the children of a patient and their caregiver and teaches you an ideal way of empowering them to get the support they need. 

Course 5. Palliative Care Always Capstone Course: This now tests your knowledge about palliative and helps others understand the value of palliative care while showing your creative side. You will impact community awareness about palliative care and promote self-care and wellness.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Health Science?

Health science is different from other basic science courses like chemistry, physics, or biology because these areas generally explore topics not related to health. Although these branches of science specifically concentrate on health outcomes and health problems, these are broad interdisciplinary fields that deal with both behavioral and natural science. 

Health science programs combine laboratory science classes with courses necessary for learning population health, reasons why people make poor and unhealthy choices, and other factors outside someone’s control that influence their health. 

Health science programs normally need coursework in health-related social science fields like sociology, psychology, and epidemiology. These degrees also include course works in exercise science, nutrition, and they usually call for many classes in public health. Additionally, programs that fall under this discipline allow students to study business or health policies of health care. 

Medicine and health care programs apply to different health professions. However, some health occupations like physical therapy, medicine, and occupational therapy, need clinical training and graduate education beyond the basic health science bachelor’s degree.

Most jobs in the health care field need certification. Some of the careers in health science include:

According to Karen Dielman, the dean of health sciences of the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, graduates in health sciences are often known as “technologists” in the professional world. However, each profession has a more specific and formal title in its discipline. 

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Why Should You Study Healthcare?

There are many reasons people opt to study healthcare degrees, ranging from their calling to a calculated financial gain. Whether a healthcare degree is your first course, or you consider it your backup degree option, studying programs in this field is a long-term commitment and something that you should not take lightly.

The healthcare industry is a truly rewarding and valued profession that must not be overlooked. Here are reasons why studying for a degree in healthcare is a wise move. 

You, Will, be Employable. Healthcare is one of today’s fastest-growing sectors. Meaning, health courses have the best graduate employability rates since they are very high in demand. As people grow old, more and more need care and support. This assures you that the skills and experience you will gain in health care will always be a huge demand. 

Developmental Opportunities. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is highly valued within the healthcare field for better career improvement and to guarantee that you are up-to-date with the relevant skills and regulations needed in the healthcare field.

When you study a specific healthcare role, you can easily gain further skills in different areas to boost your employability skills. In essence, all staff in the healthcare industry have personal development plans. This gives you a better opportunity to discover new skills, take on new tasks, and progress in areas you enjoy. 

Financial Support. Today, subsidies are no longer readily available to help you cover all the fees for your chosen undergraduate health course. However, there is still other available help you can avail to pursue a career in healthcare. If you have studied a degree before, and you wish to study for a second degree in the field of healthcare, you can apply for scholarships from student finance to help you cover the expenses.   

Job Satisfaction. Every day, your will make create a huge difference to a lot of people’s life. This noble profession will naturally give you that feeling of satisfaction. Caring for other people and seeing your patients get better because of your commitment and work is rewarding and fulfilling. 

Variety. The best thing about working in the healthcare industry is not a ‘dead-end job. There is an unlimited number of roles and places this program can give you.

When you study and train on something, you have many opportunities to gain new skills and get involved in new healthcare industry areas. The rise of technology in the healthcare world means more careers become available, like therapists or technicians. 

Global Opportunities. Every country has its own healthcare needs, so your career opportunities are not limited to the US alone. The healthcare education offered in the US is, in fact, very advanced, so that if you have plans of seeking better opportunities and want to experience it overseas, you are skilled enough to perform your tasks. 

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What are Some of the Best Careers in Medicine and Healthcare?

Physical Therapist. This career is the number one best health career because it is a profitable profession with incredible growth expected in a few years. Physical therapy also provides a relatively comfortable and flexible lifestyle. As of the most recent statistics, the median annual income of PTs was $89,440.

Accordingly, the demand for physical therapists is expected to increase by 18% by 2029. Unlike other health-related careers, PTs have the free hand in choosing their clients, making their hours, and are most likely self-employed. 

Dental Hygienist. From 2021 to 2031, there is an estimated 13,000-strong new dental hygienist jobs available. This is an impressive 6% growth rate, something that is way faster than average. 

Physician Assistants. These are not the same with medical assistants. Physician assistants are intensively trained health workers that have advanced degrees. They closely work with medical doctors in diagnosing and treating illnesses. 

Nurse Practitioners. In many states in the US, nurse practitioners are licensed and authorized to perform medical doctors. Since the demand for health care services is expected to increase in the next decade, nurse practitioners are more in demand by 52%. 

Physician. When you become a physician, you carry a huge task that needs dedication, a substantial investment of time, and many financial resources. However, we all know the tangible rewards physicians get, right? With a median salary of more than $208,000 in 2019, it’s no surprise that physicians are among the top healthcare professionals available. 

Registered Nurse. As of 2019, there are more than three million registered nursing jobs across the US. This number is expected to balloon by 7% through 2029. Nurses have a median salary of $73,300.

Occupational Therapist. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the demand for OTs would grow faster than average, at a rate of 16% by 2029. This expected growth is coupled with a median salary of $84,950 per year, which explains why this is also a very desirable career path. Occupational therapists have at least a master’s degree.

Home Health Aide. Just because one is a health worker doesn’t mean he has to spend most of his days in a clinic or hospital. Home health aides are the ones who assist patients in the patient’s home. These healthcare professionals have a wide employment market, with about 34% projected growth rate.

However, their salary is relatively smaller, with a median figure of $25,280 (at $12.15/hour); the projected job growth that is said to reach 1,159,500 jobs by 2029 gives you so many opportunities field. Becoming a home health aide is quite accessible. The education requirement is simply a high school diploma or an equivalency exam. 

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. These health care professionals closely work with physicians, although they don’t need a lot of training. Meaning they have a faster track of employment. By 2029, the demand for a medical sonographer is expected to grow by 17%, translating to more opportunities, especially for graduating students.

You need to have an associate’s degree and certification to become a sonographer and work in laboratories, hospitals, or medical office settings.

Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse. There’s no denying that the demand for practically all nurse types is very high. Some even say the shortage is a crisis. This is why the demand for licensed vocational or licensed practical nurses is presumed to climb.

There are an estimated 65,700 more jobs for this health care job by 2029. These health care workers work under the supervision of physicians, nurses, and they provide nursing care to people of all ages.

Radiologic Technologist. X-rays and other diagnostic imaging techniques have been used for many years and remain one of the most effective methods to check tumors and cancers up to now. Radiologic technologists will be very in demand in the coming years, with 14,100 expected positions in the coming decade. Rad techs earn a median annual wage of $60,510. 

What qualities will I need for a career in Healthcare?