There are few online Associate of Arts in Business Administration programs with concentrations in Healthcare Administration. However, online Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degree programs in healthcare administration or health administration services are similar. In these online programs, students can download archived lectures and course materials at their convenience.
Associate's degrees in healthcare administration can train graduates for careers as medical secretaries, office managers or receptionists. Core courses typically cover medical terminology, insurance billing, anatomy and physiology.
Graduates of these programs may qualify to pursue certification through third-party professional organizations. Most bachelor's degree programs in healthcare management will accept the credits they've earned as well.
AABA in Healthcare Administration
Associate of Arts in Business Administration (AABA) degree programs with concentrations in healthcare administration are not readily available. However, similar programs, such as Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Arts (AA) degree programs in health administration services or healthcare administration, may be found. The only difference would be the title of the degree program. Students in these programs still learn the basics of healthcare office administration, including business fundamentals and computer applications.
These programs are particularly useful for students interested in careers as administrative medical assistants or in transferring to bachelor's degree programs in healthcare administration. Job duties that an administrative medical assistant may perform include maintaining electronic health records, ordering supplies, filling out insurance forms and coding patient information. Though formal training is usually not required to become a medical assistant, employers may prefer it.
Program Information and Requirements
Typically, associate degree programs in healthcare administration can be completed fully online in two years. Some programs may offer a billing and coding concentration for students specifically interested in this area of healthcare administration. Students taking online classes need a broadband Internet connection and access to a computer.
Students are required to complete general educations courses, such as English composition, math and social science. Anatomy and physiology courses may also be required. Students take core business courses tailored to the healthcare field, such as finance, communication and marketing. Typically, the healthcare management core includes the following courses:
Students train in the fundamentals of healthcare administration and develop skills in planning, staffing and organizing for medical offices and healthcare facilities. Students are also exposed to the history and development of healthcare systems.
Students learn proper medical definitions, records accuracy and proper formatting. Further, students learn about laws governing medical records. Some programs combine medical terminology with medical insurance coding, in which case students also train in medical coding, insurance pricing and medical claims processing.
Students learn important concepts and methodologies in medical records information management and database administration. Students also gain exposure to electronic medical records and electronic claims handling and processing.
Students completing their associate degrees in healthcare administration can seek employment as administrative medical assistants in dental offices, physicians' offices, clinics and hospitals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 23% increase in the number of medical assistant positions to occur over the 2014-2024 decade. Medical assistants will be needed to perform administrative duties, allowing doctors to use more of their time to see patients. Furthermore, the BLS reported that as of May 2015, the average annual salary for roughly 600,000 medical assistants employed nationwide was $31,910 (www.bls.gov).
Several professional healthcare organizations offer voluntary medical assistant certification programs, which can sometimes lead to more job opportunities or higher salaries. For example, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offers the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) designation. Individuals seeking this designation will need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, as well as proof of completing a training program in healthcare administration or accruing one year of experience in the field. After meeting these eligibility requirements, individuals may sit for the certification examination.
In online AA and AS programs in healthcare administration, students get a general education and build the basic medical knowledge and secretarial skills they need for work in the offices of healthcare institutions. Organizations such as the CMAA and NHA, offer certification, which may boost job prospects for graduates as well as income levels.