Although some associate degrees in health care administration are available, most students interested in a career in health care management begin with a bachelor's degree in the field. Most hospital management careers require a master's degree or higher in health care management; however, some positions may be available to graduates of associate or bachelor's degree programs in the field. Ph.D. programs are also available and usually require a thesis.
Associate of Science in Health Care Administration
The Associate of Science (A.S.) in Health Care Administration is a 2-year, undergraduate degree that provides students with an introduction to the field. General education courses may be required to graduate. This degree is a way for students to enter the formal study of health care management in a relatively short amount of time. Some course topics might include:
- Community health
- Medical law
- Managed health care
Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management
A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Care Management is a 4-year, undergraduate degree program that combines core, health care management courses and general education requirements. Students may take classes on a variety of health administration-related topics, such as:
- Health care economics
- Managerial ethics
- Health care politics
Master of Science in Health Care Management
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Care Management is a graduate degree program designed to build upon the theoretical and practical skills gained in undergraduate health care programs. Most M.S. programs can be completed in two years and offer students the chance to study advanced topics in the field, such as:
- Information management in health care
- Health care organization marketing
- Health care negotiation
Doctor of Philosophy in Health Care Management
A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Care Management is an advanced, graduate degree program that is geared towards students interested in pursuing an academic career in the field. Graduates may also pursue leadership roles in a hospital setting. Ph.D. students spend about half of their time studying advanced health care topics. The other half of the program is spent researching and writing an original doctoral thesis. Some course topics in these programs might include:
- Innovation implementation
- Cost-effective analysis
- Economics of the medical device industry
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS reports that medical and health services managers make a mean annual wage of $106,070 as of May 2015. The employment for this career from 2014-2024 is expected to grow 17%, which is much faster than average.
Hospital managers can take part in a wide range of available workshops and seminars. Many current seminars deal with controlling health care administration costs in a challenging economic climate. Other courses may help managers stay up to date on current health care trends or administrative technology. Postgraduate fellowships and residencies may be available at many hospitals and health facilities. These staff opportunities allow professionals to advance within the field and learn new skills without leaving their position.
Hospital management degree programs will train students for the growth in healthcare jobs over the coming years. Each education level will prepare students for a variety of different jobs, so it's important to know career goals before enrolling in a program.