According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the American health care industry should gain 3 million new jobs between 2006 and 2016. Keeping pace with the increase in healthcare jobs, online education is also on the rise. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), during the 2006-2007 academic year, 66 percent of all 2- and 4-year degree-granting institutions already offered distance-learning education on some level (compared to 56 percent during the 2000-2001 academic year).If you’ve ever considered pursuing a career in health care, the rapid expansion of the health care industry provides you a wealth of career options. Although many associate a lucrative health care career with becoming a doctor, you don’t need seven years of school in order to find a satisfying and supportive health care career. According to the BLS, most health care workers have less than 4 years of college education.For example, phlebotomists and other clinical lab technicians can learn on the job or through a certificate phlebotomist program. If you’re interested in a career as a radiologist, you can earn a certificate in up to a year. If you want to become a nurse, you can earn a nursing degree in two years as a full-time student.Online Health Programs: Ideal for Busy AdultsOf course, if you’re already working full-time, it can be difficult to pursue a full college schedule. Between the daily commute, elusive and expensive parking spaces, the hunt and scramble for the right lecture hall, dodging games of Frisbee in the quad, and the dreaded dining-commons meatloaf, campus life can be a full-time job in itself. Add parental or other family responsibilities to the mix and you may be headed on the road to burnout.Before you decide to abandon your plans, you might consider attending an online healthcare program. Online health schools and online medical programs can eliminate many of the hassles of campus life in favor of an online interface. Although programs vary from one institution to the next, many online degree interfaces include features like discussion boards, where classmates can pose questions and interact with one another, email systems for submitting assignments and taking exams, as well as questions for discussion and email access to the instructor.Online Health Schools: A Convenient AlternativeOne of the major benefits of pursuing your degree through online health schools is the wide variety of available programs. You can find online medical programs in nursing, phlebotomy, physical therapy, even health information technology and dental assistant programs. Perhaps the biggest selling point, however, is the convenience of studying where and when it’s convenient to you–an advantage that the brick-and-mortar classroom lacks. Of course, you may be wondering what an online healthcare program will require of you. Depending on the particular online health program you choose, you can expect different coursework. Among institutions offering online courses, 62 percent reported that 100 percent of the instruction in those courses must be online (according to the NCES). However, since most health care careers require hands-on medical training, your online medical program may likely require you to supplement with practical experience.For example, if you were going for a certificate in phlebotomy, you may attend brick-and-mortar classrooms for training in how to handle blood samples, tourniquets, and lab equipment. Online health care programs in nursing may consist of online coursework in human anatomy and physiology, combined with on-site practice in hospitals, clinics, or doctor’s offices.Whatever your healthcare career ambitions, it’s likely that you can find an online medical program that fits your needs. Check out available programs today.