medical terminology 1 credit online course

Last Updated on August 8, 2022 by Team College Learners

Are you looking to improve your knowledge of medical terminology? Medical terminology is one of a physician’s most important tools, but it can also be one of the least understood. Without mastered medical terminology skills, you might not understand a doctor’s instructions, which can put you at risk during an emergency situation. That’s why we created this course to help you gain the basic knowledge needed to understand and speak medical terminology.

One of the most important aspects of working in the medical field is getting used to the jargon. Like other fields, such as coding, for example, you need to become familiar with the specific language used by others in your domain. 

In order to get better acquainted with the language, it’s a good idea to take an online medical terminology course. This type of course won’t teach you how to become a doctor or land you a job in medicine, but it’s essential to help you navigate your other medicine classes so that you can keep up to speed with the language being used.

That being said, it’s not always easy to find a good online medical terminology course. Here, we’ll go over different aspects of this type of course, including the benefits, and direct you to a few of the best online courses you can take.

Student on laptop studying medical terminology

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

What is Medical Terminology?

Medical terminology refers to the language used by people in the medical field to describe things like diseases, the body, procedures, disorders, and more. It’s a specific set of vocabulary that’s common among medical professionals that helps specifically describe treatments, the body, and functions of the body.

The language itself is made up of words that often use prefixes, suffixes, and root works. When combined, they create terms that refer to specific conditions that help medical professionals pinpoint an exact function.

The medical terms we use today can trace their origins back to ancient Latin and Greek. Much of the vocabulary originated from early Latin and Greek scholars and doctors. 

Some of the terms may seem complicated, but when you break each word down into its individual components, we can see how the prefixes, suffixes, and root words work to use an individual word to describe multiple things. 

For example, pancreatitis can be broken down into pancreas (the root word), which indicates the organ being referred to, and itis (the suffix), which means inflammation. This is a relatively simple example, and it gets more complicated once you attach more terms to a condition.

What Makes an Online Medical Terminology Course Great?

When considering an online medical terminology course, it’s important that you know what to look for. 

Just like any class or certification you sign up for, there are a number of things to take into consideration before registering, such as:


The course shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive. Since this isn’t exactly a medical class or part of a degree necessarily, it should be affordable. Look for a class that fits your budget.


You don’t have to have to take multiple courses or still feel lost after having invested in a course. Check out the syllabus beforehand to see if it covers everything you need to learn.


Depending on your timeline, you might prefer a course that can be done in your own time as opposed to with set classes or on a deadline. Consider the pacing of the course before signing up.


Who Needs a Medical Terminology Online Course?

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of medicine can benefit from taking an online medical terminology course. That means whether you’re studying to be a doctor, nurse, or any other career in medicine, a course covering medical terminology can simply make your life easier. 

Throughout your studies, you’ll come across many different medical terms, and while some may become familiar over time, there are others that are more rarely used but are still equally important to understand. A medical terminology course simply allows you to strengthen your base of knowledge on medical terms so that you’re ready for anything.

doctor looking at an x-ray

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash 

What are the Benefits of an Online Medical Terminology Course?

There are a number of ways that an online medical terminology course can benefit you, your studies, and your future career. How can it be of help?

Improve Your Grades

By studying the medical terms you need to know and familiarizing yourself with them, you can improve important test scores.

Strengthen Your Weaknesses

It can be difficult for students to memorize all the different medical terms, so taking a course allows you to dedicate more time to this in order to focus on strengthening the areas in which you’re struggling. 

Work with Top Instructors

 Some medical terminology courses are taught by quality instructors in the medical field or even doctors. Networking as much as possible is always positive throughout your education.


5 of the Best Medical Terminology Online Courses

When looking for a class to take, it doesn’t have to be an online medical terminology course accredited by a university. In fact, there are online courses you can take from platforms such as Udemy which do a good job at teaching you all the basics you need to know at an affordable price and good pace.

These five courses offer you just that. Here are our recommendations for the best online medical terminology courses:

1. edX

As the online learning child of Harvard and MIT, you know that this course will cover all you need to know. The edX online medical terminology course is provided by Doane University. There is a $99 charge to get the certificate of completion in order to transfer credits, but if you don’t need this then the course is free. You can expect to spend 5-10 hours a week on this course for a total of 8 weeks. 

2. Coursera

Coursera provides online e-learning with thousands of different courses. The medical terminology class is run through the University of Pittsburgh. The course is 34 hours long, you can start as soon as you sign up and study at your own pace, and it’s taught by professors with PhDs. The cost is only $49 to receive a certificate of completion, and you can transfer the credits to your college if applicable. 

3. Udemy

There are thousands of courses on Udemy for you to choose from in a huge variety of subjects. Udemy’s medical terminology course is $49.99, and you get to access it forever without any limits, which can be very helpful when studying for tests. You get downloadable resources, hours or video, and a certificate of completion. Unlike Coursera and edX, this course isn’t taught through a university. 

4. ExpertRating

You can get a certification in medical terminology from ExpertRating for $99. In this course, there are 10 lessons and a final exam that leads to a certificate of completion. In each lesson, you’ll use word association to learn medical terms, which is a great way of retaining the information. The course also gives you extra information for each term, so ExpertRating is a good choice if you really want to deepen your knowledge.


Similar to Udemy, offers plenty of online courses. You can try a course for 30 days at no cost, but after the trial, you need to dish out $199.99/month to continue. There are 22 chapters including videos, practice tests, and other learning materials. Each lesson is short, lasting just a few minutes, and you can do them at your own pace. You can also transfer college credit once you complete the course.

In Conclusion

Taking an online medical terminology course is a really good way to complement your medical studies and get a better understanding of the terms you’ll use regularly throughout your education and career. 

If you’re still looking for a place to complete your main degree, then consider University of the People. We offer a fully online health science degree that is entirely tuition-free. You can take this degree in conjunction with any other online courses or even while working, making it a really flexible option.