Hospital Management Degree Programs and Majors

Hospitals and other health services centers are complex operations that require capable managers to oversee their many departments and affairs. Generally, students interested in becoming a hospital manager earn a degree in health administration. While degrees are available at the bachelor's level, a master's degree is typically required for administrative positions at many healthcare facilities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Essential Information

Bachelor's-level studies tend to focus on business areas such as finance, accounting and marketing that are applicable to healthcare settings. Graduate students will learn more about health-related topics such as epidemiology and healthcare information systems. They will also have the opportunity to participate in an internship at a hospital or medical center.

  • Program Levels in Hospital Management: Bachelor's, master's.
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; undergraduate degree and GRE scores are required for admission to the master's program.
  • Online Availability: Occasionally available as a hybrid program; some in-person training and instruction is required.
  • Program Length: Four years for bachelor's programs; two years for master's programs.
  • Other Requirements: An internship or other practical experience may be required.

Bachelor of Science in Health Administration

A bachelor's degree in health administration prepares students for administrative positions in healthcare settings from hospitals to private practice. Students learn about managed care, community health, research and management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graduates may find job opportunities as administrative assistants or assistant managers in hospitals (www.bls.gov). Those planning on applying to a bachelor's degree in healthcare management need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may require incoming students to have a minimum GPA.

Coursework in a hospital management bachelor's degree program teaches students about the functions of administrators in healthcare settings from using technology to long-term healthcare plans. The following are some of the typical courses found in these bachelor's degree programs:

  • Healthcare delivery
  • Marketing for healthcare
  • Accounting
  • Healthcare finance
  • Healthcare planning

Master of Health Administration

While the Master of Health Administration (MHA) or Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) are the most common degrees for hospital managers, graduates with public health and business administration degrees may also be qualified for health administration careers. New graduates may also find internships and fellowship opportunities at hospitals or other healthcare facilities to gain experience. Students applying for entrance into a master's degree program in health or hospital administration typically need a bachelor's degree. Additionally, they may need to submit GRE scores and transcripts with an application in order to be considered.

This graduate program in hospital management teaches students the skills to assess and formulate plans for hospital facilities, financial systems, information systems, policies, marketing campaigns and human resources. The following are some of the courses offered in a master's degree program in health administration:

  • Financial management
  • Quantitative analysis for healthcare administration
  • Epidemiology in health planning
  • Strategic marketing in healthcare
  • Health information systems
  • Ethical issues in healthcare

Continuing Education Information

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in health administration who want to work in health information management can become certified as a Registered Health Information Administrator from the American Health Information Management Association. Others can choose to pursue master's degrees.

Those who pursue careers as administrators in nursing care facilities will need to complete a training program and receive licensure from the state. Licensing may also be necessary for some assisted living facilities.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Job opportunities for medical and health services managers are expected to grow at a rate of 23% between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS. The median salary for health service managers as of May 2014 was $92,810, while the top-earning ten percent in the field earned $161,150 or more.

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