The article concerns the question – Can I Become a Real Doctor in an Online University? The short answer to this question is, no. Most jurisdictions impose stringent requirements, which must be met, before an individual is allowed to practice medicine. Unlike most tertiary fields, medicine is highly regulated, due to the higher stakes involved (peoples lives are on the line), and laws are in place to prevent individuals, with insufficient qualifications, from practicing medicine, and potentially harming their patients. To this end, only medical programs that are complete, i.e. involving theory, and practical, instruction, are satisfactory. Given the absentee nature of an online university, practical instruction is, of course, impossible, and any online university claiming to offer medical degrees, entirely online, is a scam.
For students to attain an accredited medical degree, they must, of course, master the theory – which involves large volumes of academic work. In addition, however, they must do practical exercises, including surgery, as well as internship. Internship places medical students in a real life hospital setting, where they work, as volunteers, on a number of cases. These cases become increasingly challenging as their education progresses, with the goal of giving them as much work experience as possible, before putting people’s lives in their hands. For obvious reasons, this is impossible to do online and is necessary to earn an accredited medical degree.
For a medical student to be licensed, by the government, to practice, he/she must pass a number of exams, usually in the final year of medical school. These exams must be done on-site, and are not offered via distance learning programs. This is partly due to the hands-on nature of some of the examinations. Student skill, in a real life setting, cannot be properly assessed over the internet. This is another factor that makes online medical programs unworkable.
The internet has come a long way and new possibilities have opened up for online learning. Unfortunately, it has not grown sufficiently to handle the requirements of obtaining a medical degree and thus becoming a doctor. Technology is in-development that could make virtual reality simulations of medical procedures a possibility. Further advancement of 3D simulation technology may make the internet a satisfactory medium for studying medicine. So far, however, no online university can qualify you as a real doctor without, at least, some practical study being done in-person.
A wide array of medicine-related programs can be done online, however, including nursing, medical technicians, lab assistants etc. These online programs can get students into the field of medicine and may, after some time working in the field, make it possible to study medicine and achieve the dream of become a doctor via consequent changes in situation (financially, location, etc.).