Hospital Administration Certificate and Diploma Program Options

Students considering a career in hospital administration might want to start with a certificate or diploma program in medical office administration. These programs teach students how to provide front-office and back-office support to medical and administrative staff.

Essential Information

In hospital administration certificate and diploma programs, students learn about medical terminology, billing and coding, ethics and general office practices. A certificate or diploma can generally be earned in one year or less. Professional certifications, such as in medical transcription or coding, are offered in this field.

  • Program Levels in Hospital Administration: Certificate, diploma
  • Program Length: 30 credit hours of coursework for certificate, 180 credit hours of coursework for diploma
  • Program Specializations: Billing and coding or health records administration at the certificate level
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED

Certificate Programs in Medical Office Administration

Certificate programs in medical office administration tend to focus on specific areas, such as billing and coding or health records administration. Certificate programs generally last a few months and require around 30 hours of coursework. Students learn management skills, common office procedures and how to work with computer systems, such as those used for billing or maintaining records. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required. Familiarity with computers is also expected.

Program coursework varies somewhat depending on the focus of the program. For example, a program geared towards medical coding will include more coursework in that area. Coursework might include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical coding
  • Medical billing
  • Medical legal and ethical issues
  • Office management
  • Medical office procedures

Diploma Programs in Medical Office Administration

Diploma programs, such as the Medical Administrative Assistant Diploma or Medical Office Specialist Diploma, prepare students for administrative positions within hospitals, clinics, physician's offices and other health care centers. Programs typically last less than one year and focus on skills, such as common administrative procedures, billing and coding and basic medical terminology.

A high school diploma or equivalent is required for most diploma programs. Some programs allow admission to students who do not have a high school diploma or GED if they pass a basic skills test. Many schools administer an admission examination to measure a student's readiness for the program. Diploma programs in medical office administration require approximately 180 hours of coursework. Students learn:

  • Hospital administrative procedures
  • Computer skills
  • Clinical procedures
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Medical billing

Popular Career Choices

A diploma in medical office administration provides preparation for a variety of entry-level administrative careers. Some popular choices include:

  • Medical coder
  • Medical biller
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Hospital admissions coordinator
  • Medical administrative assistant
  • Medical records clerk

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted faster-than-average job growth of 22% for medical records and health information technicians and slower-than-average growth of 8% for medical transcriptionists from 2012-2022. As of May 2014, mean salaries were reported by the BLS at $38,860 for medical records and health information technicians and at $35,580 for medical transcriptionists.

Continuing Education Information

Those who start off in entry-level medical administrative positions may choose to continue their education to become medical or health service managers. To move up the career ladder in hospital administration, a bachelor's degree or higher is generally required.

Certification Information

Certifications are available for several occupations within this field. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (formerly the American Association for Medical Transcription) certifies medical transcriptionists. Medical coders can seek certification from the American Academy of Professional Coders or the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialist.

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