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Our top pick for the best online pharmacology course, is HMX Fundamentals of Pharmacology, largely because of the very impressive tutors in Harvard Medical School.
We also love just how thorough the course this, covering everything you need to know.
Length: 10 weeks
Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.
The human body can be incredibly fascinating, especially when you get down to the cellular level. But more imperative than learning how the body works, is learning how to heal it.
Pharmacology is the study of how medicines work in the body, and as time goes on, people are becoming increasingly concerned about just how medicines work and what do they actually do to the body.
A basic understanding of pharmacology can be of great potential value across the gamut of health care professions, where having an appropriate dosage can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.
Pharmacology is quite an integrative field of study, combining, for example, the nervous system, the immune system, the circulatory system, and so on.
And when it comes to the theory behind pharmacology, there’s no reason why you can’t learn it all online.
In fact, there are some great online pharmacology courses out there. Coming up, we’re going to give you our honest reviews of our top 5 favorite online pharmacology courses, before giving you a brief guide on how to choose the best online pharmacology course.
Then we’re going to top that off with a section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject.
This is hands down one of the top online pharmacology courses out there, taught by the Harvard Medical School faculty, no less. Here’s why we think it’s such a good course.
Reason One: The top reason for choosing this course, is the impressive tutors. There are three tutors, including Kate McDonnell-Dowling, PhD and David E. Golan, MD, PhD, who both teach Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in Harvard Medical School, and James P. Rathmell, MD, Professor of Anesthesia in Harvard Medical School.
Reason Two: Although the course is entitled HMX Fundamentals of Pharmacology, it does so much more than cover the basics of pharmacology. It has two whole modules dedicated to pharmacokinetics, and it covers pharmacodynamics, drug toxicity, and drug discovery and development.
And it’s way better than using a textbook, you get video animations of what actually goes on inside the body when someone takes medicine.
Reason Three: The other thing we like about this course is the ongoing and rigorous assessments. So when your prestigious certificate arrives, you’ll know that it’s well earned.
The main drawback to this course is that it is quite time-consuming. It takes a full 10 weeks to complete – that’s nearly 3 whole months. And, you’re expected to spend 3 to 6 hours on the course week in week out.
And while spending 3 hours a week doesn’t sound that bad, spending 6 hours on it a week, alongside working full time and family life, might prove to be a struggle for some.
This online pharmacology course has been together as a more affordable and convenient way for students to meet any prerequisites for their nursing or other health care degree programs. Let’s take a closer look as to why you might be interested.
Reason one: This course is specifically tailored to cover the kinds of scenarios most often faced by health care professionals when it comes to pharmacology.
You will learn how drugs can work in the body and will study anesthetics and pain medication. And you get real college accreditations too.
Reason two: This course is very affordable and available at a fraction of the cost that you would pay for any face-to-face tuition. Plus, you don’t have to wait for months on end for your application to go through, and you can get signed up and started in minutes.
Reason three: You get a top-quality eTextbook included entirely for free. And it’s normally worth over $100.
There is a drawback to this course, and it’s in how time-consuming it is. It’s estimated to require approximately 75 hours of study time.
And yes, that is a lot for an online course. But you’ve got to remember that you get three college credits for it, so if that’s what you’re aiming for that’s great.
That said if you were able to dedicate 17 to 20 hours per week to it, you should be able to finish it within a single month’s subscription.
This course is aimed at a wide range of potential students, whether they’re pre-nursing, nursing, pre-med, pre-pharmacy, pre-physician assistant, or other pre-health professional students.
Let’s take a look at why you might be interested.
Reason one: You don’t already need to be a student at the college to take this course, you can apply as a guest. And better yet, the application process is entirely free.
Reason two: you’ll never have to wait an entire academic year to apply, the course runs in three out of four seasons, fall, spring, and summer.
Reason three: You get a great tutor. The course is run by Dr. Tony Guerra, who has been teaching at the college for over 10 years and is still a practicing pharmacist.
This means he is always up to date on his knowledge in pharmacology and pharmacy, and actively prescribes medications on a regular basis, checking for any errors or potential toxicity.
The drawback to this course is that it is limited to the first 25 students who apply, so if you happen to apply a little late, you may not be able to get in and will have to wait another semester.
This course has attracted well over 2000 students and is available at a great price too. And it has a lot going for it. Let’s zoom in on why you might be interested.
Reason One: This course is aimed specifically at those learning to become a nurse, or related health care professional. More specifically, it’s a very thorough pharmacology for nurses practice test, before you sit the actual test.
And as such, it’s brimmed with the kind of real-world scenarios that you’re most likely to run into day to day as a nurse or health care professional.
Reason Two: Practice before a test is essential, and this course goes to achieve just that. It covers the most asked questions and provides full answer explanations.
This way, if there was anything you weren’t too sure about or didn’t quite understand, you should be able to understand it following completion of the course.
Reason Three: The other thing we love about this course is its affordability – anyone can afford it, including student nurses.
Of course, there is a drawback to this course, in that it’s purely just practice for your pharmacology test. And because it’s designed to be so similar to the actual test, the test is timed, which of course means that you can’t take your time with it or look things up as you go along.
This course, developed by the University of California San Diego, has attracted over 110,000 students.
Better yet it’s had some great feedback, with students rating it at 4.6 stars out of a possible 5 stars. Let’s take a look at why it might be so popular.
Reason One: It may not have the word “pharmacology” in the title, but it can teach you more about the pharmaceutical industry itself than any online pharmacology course.
It’s a great set of courses for anyone who wants to get into the industry without ever having to go into a laboratory. And as far as online courses in such subjects go, this is one of the best ones for career progression.
The specialization is accomplished by the completion of 3 separate courses. These are Drug Discovery, Drug Development, and Drug Commercialization.
On completion of these three courses, you will be eligible to enroll in a Master of Science in Drug Development & Product Management.
Reason Two: If you don’t have any real background knowledge in biology or chemistry, you don’t have to worry. You could still be accepted on this course. There are no prerequisites. It’s taught at the beginner level, and no laboratory experience is required.
Reason Three: With this specialization being made up of three closely related but separate courses, you may be concerned about whether you have time to do it all, fitting it in around your work and family life, and so on…
However, you’ll be pleased to hear that it has a very flexible schedule, whereby you can learn at your own pace and set and maintain flexible deadlines.
As good as this course sounds, however, it does not feature as much of the actual science that you would normally come across in a more traditional pharmacology course.
Online pharmacology courses tend to be very few and far between, and there’s a valid reason why. While there’s plenty of theory to be learned online, no online course can provide you with actual laboratory skills.
So unless you’ve already acquired such skills, you may not necessarily be able to get a job as a pharmacologist from having taken an online pharmacology course.
There are any number of reasons why someone might want to study pharmacology. As we have covered already, an online pharmacology course is insufficient to prepare you for a career as a pharmacologist.
However, that doesn’t mean an online pharmacology course can be of no use to you.
The most common reason for studying pharmacology for those who don’t wish to become pharmacists is for those in the caring and healthcare professions, who want to be more aware of the benefits and potential dangers of medicinal drugs, especially if they are to be administering them to patients.
If this is why you want to study pharmacology, then we can recommend the courses Pharmacology for Nurses Practice Test via Udemy, or Online Pharmacology Class via DMACC, or Online Pharmacology Course via StraighterLine.
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the biggest global industries, second only to perhaps agriculture and food. The pharmaceutical industry requires people with a wide range of skill sets and background knowledge.
And there are career paths here to be tapped into, unrelated to the healthcare professions.
If this is of interest to you, then we can strongly recommend the Drug Development Product Management Specialization by Coursera, which is taught 100% online with no lab work necessary, and covers everything from drug discovery, drug development, and drug commercialization.
Or you may simply have fallen a little short on your college or university credits, and are looking for a way to top them up.
If this is what you’re looking for, then we can recommend the Online Pharmacology Course via StraighterLine, which gives you a total of three college credits on successful completion of the course.
Or maybe, you don’t necessarily have a career goal in mind, and just want to learn a little more about how medicinal drugs work.
In which case, there’s no need to pay over the odds for a really in-depth course. Instead you might want to consider one of the more affordable courses, or even perhaps a free online course.
The background of the course tutor can have a considerable impact on the nature of the material covered.
For example, the HMX Fundamentals of Pharmacology course from Harvard Medical School is taught by Kate McDonnell-Dowling, PhD and David E. Golan, MD, PhD, who both teach Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in Harvard Medical School.
So you can expect this course to be purely about the nitty-gritty of pharmacology, and not go off on any unnecessary tangents.
And as a further example, the Online Pharmacology Class via DMACC is run by Dr. Tony Guerra, who is still a practicing pharmacist.
So you can expect this course to be more centered around more real world applications and the prescribing and administration of medicinal drugs.
Online pharmacology courses can vary quite considerably in teaching style.
In our view, any online course worth its salt will have some kind of assessment either at the end or all throughout the course at pertinent points.
A course certificate is pretty much meaningless if all you have to do to achieve it is sit through a few online videos.
In fact, one of the online pharmacology courses that made a shortlist was the Pharmacology for Nurses Practice Test via Udemy, which as the name suggests, is purely a series of practice tests.
However, we get that if you’re studying pharmacology purely out of interest rather than as a career move, then maybe you don’t want to be tested regularly if at all.
Online pharmacology courses can vary quite considerably in price. You can get easy ones that are free to take, or as good as free, and these often don’t require any prior background knowledge and can be over in as little as 2 hours.
On the other hand, however, you can get some aimed at graduates or med students. These types of courses are much more in-depth and are more rigorously tested.
They are taught by official colleges and universities, and as such, they are at liberty to charge much more money for their course, than you would expect to pay for some 2 hour series of videos.
Online pharmacology courses can vary quite considerably in length. Moreover, some are very time-constrained. Not all online courses are flexible ones that you can work on at your own pace.
So this is something that you should consider to help you decide which course is the right one for you.
You can study a lot about pharmacology online, as our reviews earlier have clearly shown. But there is a caveat. Online pharmacology courses are unable to provide you with the skills you would need to work in a laboratory.
And it is this lab-based experience that is most valuable in getting a career in pharmacology.
That said, however, as we mentioned in our introduction, a basic understanding of pharmacology without any practical experience can certainly be of benefit to those studying nursing, or other health-related professions.
Many students get concerned that online certificates don’t carry as much weight as a regular college or university certificate. But the key to arguing the case for your online certificate is about its relevance to the job being applied for.
If you can convince a potential employer of your acquired knowledge and skills you are putting yourself in with a great chance, regardless of exactly what certificate you may have.
In order to succeed in any pharmacology course, it is highly recommended that you have some good background knowledge in both biology and chemistry.
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.