Bachelor of Science (BS): Healthcare Administration Degree Overview

Examine a bachelor's degree program in healthcare administration. Review the educational requirements for admission, along with examples of common core courses. Check career options that students might consider, and get info about continuing education and licensure in this field.

Essential Information

A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in healthcare administration spans four years. It prepares students to oversee the finances, human resources, community services and business operations at hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities. Applicants to these programs typically need a high school diploma or GED.

Health administration bachelor's degree programs are offered at public and private colleges and universities, some of which may feature online-study opportunities and flexible scheduling for currently employed individuals. Programs may also feature internships and capstone course requirements.

Education Prerequisites

For some health administration bachelor's degree programs, first-time college students with a high school diploma or equivalent can qualify for acceptance. However, some programs mandate that applicants have a specified number of college credits with a minimum grade point average from an accredited school and relevant work experience. Completing certain prerequisite classes may also be necessary.

Course Topics

Students are expected to learn business fundamentals while also picking up specialized skills that will help them to coordinate technology, people and resources efficiently in health care facilities. They should develop managerial, computer technology, critical-thinking and effective policy-making skills. Programs teach public health regulations, accounting, marketing, communication and personnel management They also learn how health care systems are structured and operated. Typical classes include:

  • Personnel management
  • Healthcare law
  • Healthcare economics
  • Public relations
  • Medical ethics
  • U.S. healthcare system
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Operations management
  • Medical records management

Popular Career Options

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in health administration usually obtain entry-level positions as administrative assistants at large healthcare organizations, or may acquire more advanced positions at smaller organizations. Mainstream employers include hospitals, home health businesses, community health organizations and nursing homes. Some career choices include:

  • Assistant administrator
  • Health information manager
  • Nursing home administrator
  • Assistant department head

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for all medical and health services managers could increase by 23% between 2012 and 2022. These individuals had a median salary of $88,580 as of May 2012, according to the BLS, though the lowest-paid 10% earned $53,940 or less.

Continuing Education and Licensing Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that master's degrees are the norm for many healthcare administrator jobs and are often necessary for advancement (www.bls.gov). A bachelor's degree and possibly work experience are required to gain entrance into a healthcare administration master's degree program. All states mandate that health administrators working at nursing homes obtain licensure. Those in assisted living services are also required to obtain licensure in some states.

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