The medical field is filled with endless career possibilities and opportunities for growth. Each medical degree offers a variety of benefits and leads to a different career path. From patient care and scientific research to healthcare administration, you will find a medical degree that aligns with your interests and goals. Therefore, understanding the main medical degrees can help you make a well-informed decision that will shape your future. 

So, join us as we go through a comprehensive list of medical degrees and explore various medical field majors that can pave the way for a fulfilling career in healthcare. 

What Is a Medical Degree?

A medical degree is a postsecondary qualification obtained after completing an accredited program in medicine. A medical degree is of immense importance in the healthcare field as it showcases your expertise and competence to provide high-quality healthcare services to patients and serves as a gateway to becoming a medical professional. Moreover, a medical degree allows you to specialize in various areas of medicine and drive innovation within the field. 

Now, let’s briefly explain the different types of medical degrees:

  • Associate’s Degree: Typically a two-year program, an associate’s degree in healthcare provides you with the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level positions.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree is a four-year undergraduate program that involves the study of several disciplines related to human health.
  • Master’s Degree: A master’s is a postgraduate degree that can take two to three years to complete. It serves as a building block for undergraduate education and provides specialized training in clinical skills and patient care.
  • Doctorate Degree: Doctorate degrees in medicine can take three to eight years to complete and are the pinnacle of medical education. They provide you with in-depth knowledge, research opportunities, and expertise in your chosen area of medicine. 

Associate Degrees

Associate degrees in medicine include: 

Associate degree in Health Information Management

An associate’s in Health Information Management will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills for a successful health information management and technology career. You’ll learn about federal and industry-standard guidelines, diagnostic and procedural coding, data management, and the healthcare reimbursement revenue cycle. After graduating, you can seek out positions as:

Associate degree in Medical Laboratory Technology

Average salary: $57,380

An associate’s in Medical Laboratory Technology is a postsecondary degree that provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills required to become a medical laboratory technician. During your training, you’ll learn how to properly acquire, prepare, and analyze samples and maintain laboratory instruments. 

Medical laboratory technicians find employment in hospitals, doctor’s offices, fertility centers, research facilities, blood and organ banks, reference laboratories, and medical and diagnostic laboratories. 

Associate degree in Pharmacy Technology

Average salary: $43,330

An associate’s in Pharmacy Technology will prepare you for a future career as a pharmacy technician. Typically, the curriculum is designed to teach higher-level pharmaceuticals, management skills, and laboratory skills to assist pharmacists in providing patients with medication and other healthcare products. As a pharmacy technician, you can work in hospitals, nursing homes, drug manufacturers, health maintenance organizations, assisted living facilities, and retail stores. 

Associate degree in Physical Therapy

Average salary: $65,860

An associate’s degree in Physical Therapy will prepare you to work as a physical therapy assistant under the guidance of physical therapists. Physical therapy assistants can work in various settings, such as rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, extended care facilities, sports training facilities, hospitals, and fitness centers. You can also become an occupational therapist assistant and help patients in hospitals and private occupational therapist’s offices re-learn the skills they need to live independently. 

Associate degree in Respiratory Therapy

Average salary: $70,540

An associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy is designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and clinical training required to work as a registered respiratory therapist. You’ll learn how to treat various respiratory-related issues, manage life support equipment, develop patient treatment plans, and resuscitate patients. After becoming a respiratory therapist, you can work in multiple settings, including hospitals, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, and cardiopulmonary diagnostic labs. 

Bachelor’s Degrees 

Here are some bachelor’s degree options for a career in medicine. 

Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Sciences

A bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills required to take on technical positions in academic, industrial, or other research settings. Moreover, you’ll become prepared to pursue pharmacy, medicine, or pharmaceutical sciences at a graduate or professional school.

Although graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences won’t qualify you for licensure as a pharmacist, you’ll still be able to assume roles as a:

Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

A BS in Health Information Management program will help you develop the skills to manage health information systems that collect and store patient data to support healthcare facilities’ clinical and business decision-making. Moreover, you’ll be able to ensure the security and integrity of confidential patient information. 

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management, you’ll be prepared for a variety of health information professions, such as: 

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science

A BS in Exercise Science is a postsecondary degree designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills required to address the health and wellness needs of the population. You’ll learn how to use your understanding of movement and exercise to support health and improve performance. A bachelor’s in Exercise Science is a gateway to various career paths, such as:

Bachelor of Science in Health Science

A BS in Health Science is an undergraduate degree that combines scientific coursework in the natural and social sciences with hands-on training to prepare you for entry-level administration roles in healthcare or pursuing higher education.  

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Health Science, you’ll be able to pursue various roles, such as:

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

Average salary: $66,450

A BS in Nutrition and Dietetics is a postsecondary education degree that will teach you how and why nutritional habits affect the human body and how to improve your patient’s health. You’ll also take biology, chemistry, and statistics courses, as well as master normal nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, energy and exercise, community nutrition, and food technology. Moreover, this degree will prepare you for a rewarding career as a nutritionist, dietitian, wellness expert, community counselor, and food service manager. 

Master’s Degrees

Some of the postgraduate paths you can take after finishing a bachelor’s degree include: 

Master of Science in Clinical Research

A master’s in Clinical Research is a postgraduate degree that will provide you with the necessary formal training in clinical research, epidemiology, and biostatistics to enhance your research skills. Moreover, you’ll learn how to conduct clinical trials, investigate disease mechanisms, conduct epidemiological and behavioral studies, and translate your findings into practice. After graduating, you can pursue various career paths, such as:

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Average salary: $84,140

A master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology is a graduate degree that prepares you for a career as a clinical speech-language pathologist. During your studies, you’ll learn how to identify, assess, and manage speech, language, swallowing, and cognitive disorders and create treatment plans for patients with communication disorders across their lifespan. This credential allows you to become a speech-language pathologist and work in various settings such as schools, hospitals, private health facilities, clinics, rehabilitation centers, private practices, and nursing homes. 

Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

A master’s in Healthcare Administration is an advanced degree that prepares you to manage hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Moreover, a graduate degree will help you ensure that medical facilities run smoothly and become a leader in the industry. Some of the positions you can get with a master’s in Healthcare Administration include:

Master of Science in Public Health

A master’s degree in Public Health is a graduate-level degree that provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills required to protect and improve the health of communities. During your studies, you’ll learn about the best wellness practices and take classes in nutrition, population health, epidemiology, and public health policy. 

With a master’s in Public Health, you can pursue various roles with high salaries, such as:

Master of Science in Nursing

Average salary: $125,900

A master’s in Nursing (MSN) is a postgraduate degree that equips you with advanced skills and training in nursing practices. This degree allows you to pursue more advanced jobs with greater responsibilities. An MSN will open many clinical and nonclinical doors for you, such as:

  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse: Nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and clinical nurse specialist;
  • MSN Generalist: Clinical nurse leader and public health nurse;
  • Nonclinical MSN path: Nurse educator, executive nurse leader, and clinical genetics nurse. 

Doctorate Degrees

Let’s explore some terminal degrees in medicine. 

Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Average salary: $229,300

A Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O) are medical degrees that give you the opportunity to focus your expertise in various specialties and become a surgeon, cardiologist, orthopedic surgeon, dermatologist, neurologist, etc.

Doctor of Nursing Science

A Doctor of Nursing Science is an academic research degree that allows you to advance your career into research, teaching at a postsecondary level, or management roles within a healthcare facility. After completing your training, you can seek opportunities for employment within areas such as:

Doctor of Pharmacy

Average salary: $132,750

A Doctor of Pharmacy degree is a graduate-level professional degree that provides you with opportunities in research, teaching, clinical practice, and a multitude of other areas. It also provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills to practice independently. After earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, you can become a chief pharmacist, retail pharmacist, pharmaceutical consultant, analytical chemist, drug inspector, medical writer, etc. 

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Average salary: $97,720

A Doctor of Physical Therapy is a clinical doctorate that showcases your expertise in human physical functions, particularly in relation to movement. Earning this terminal credential allows you to properly treat pain, injuries, and movement impairments that affect a patient’s daily life. After becoming a physical therapist, you can work in:

  • Acute care;
  • Rehabilitation hospital;
  • Skilled nursing facility;
  • Outpatient clinic;
  • Sports/Fitness;
  • Hospice;
  • Education;
  • Research.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Average salary: $103,260

A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is a professional doctorate that offers in-depth animal science training. During your training, you’ll learn how to identify, assess, treat, and prevent diseases affecting different animals. After completing your training to become a veterinarian, you can become a:

  • Companion animal veterinarian; 
  • Food animal veterinarian;
  • Food safety and inspection veterinarian.

Conclusion

From associate’s degrees opening the doors to entry-level jobs in healthcare to doctoral degrees allowing you to make substantial advancements in the field, the journey toward a career in healthcare is as varied as it is exciting. So, as you contemplate your next step in your medical career, we encourage you to explore what the medical field has to offer and envision the impact you aspire to make. Start your journey today by exploring our M.D. program and take the first step toward your dreams! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest medical degree to get?

The fastest medical degrees to get are associate degrees, which you can earn in two years, such as an associate’s degrees in health information management, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, and medical laboratory technology. 

How long does it take to earn a medical degree?

Earning a medical degree can take two (associate’s degree) to eight years (doctoral degree). 

How much does it cost to earn a medical degree?

Unfortunately, we can’t give you an exact amount of the cost of earning a medical degree as it depends on different factors, such as the institution you’re studying in, whether you can receive financial aid, your country, and your post-secondary education level. In general, associate and bachelor degrees cost less than master’s or doctoral degrees.