Students interested in online Bachelor of Science degree programs typically need an associate's degree in order to be admitted, and some programs also require prior work experience. Although coursework can be completed entirely online, many schools also expect students to complete in-person clinical practicums. Topics covered include management techniques, budgeting in health care and medical ethics. A bachelor's degree is often required to work in the medical and health services field, although master's degrees are not uncommon.
Bachelor of Science: Health Administration
In addition to general education coursework, an online Bachelor of Science in Health Administration program covers a range of topics within the realm of business and management. Common courses include health care policy, law, finance and research. Public health issues may be covered as well.
Some schools offering online bachelor's degree programs in health administration give students the option to pursue a relevant concentration, such as long-term health care. Other schools may have online Bachelor of Science programs in business administration with concentrations in health care management available.
Information and Requirements
The time commitment for online bachelor's programs in health administration varies depending on students' previously-earned college credits and their enrollment status. Students who begin the program with general education coursework completed beforehand may be able to earn their Bachelor of Science in less than two years.
Some schools offering online bachelor's degree programs expect students to already have an associate's degree as well as some experience working in health care. Although the major coursework is offered completely online, students in these programs may need to finish an internship to apply their new skills in a real health care setting.
Common Health Administration Courses
General education requirements include courses in English, math, science, history and the humanities. Health administration students take several business and finance-related courses, such as human resources, accounting, financial management and marketing.
Health Care Law and Ethics
Students learn about the legal and ethical issues related to the health care industry. In addition to covering laws and regulations regarding management of health care facilities, the course focuses on the legal and ethical issues involved in the relationships between patients and their health care providers.
Health Care Management
This course teaches students key managerial principles needed to be effective administrators in a health care setting. Staff management, human resources, information technology and other business principles are among the topics covered.
Financial Management in Health Care
Students apply fiscal management theories and practices to the health care setting. Key objectives include learning how to plan budgets and manage financial costs in hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities.
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in health administration can pursue entry-level managerial positions in physicians' offices, nursing homes, hospitals and insurance companies. Moving into a higher administrative position, particularly in a large facility, typically requires a graduate degree.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for medical and health service managers is expected to grow 17%, faster than average compared to other occupations, in the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). Although hospitals will remain the largest employers, the demand for administrators in physicians' offices is increasing as well.
As of May 2015, the BLS data shows that hospitals, physicians' offices and nursing facilities were the top employers of health administrators. Those working in hospitals earned an average yearly wage of $114,180, while managers in physicians' offices earned $102,080, on average.
Continuing Education Information
To transition into a higher managerial role, administrators should consider obtaining a master's degree in health administration or a related field such as business administration. Many schools offer these degree programs online, but onsite events or hybrid courses may also be required. Having previous experience in the health care industry is a standard requirement for admission.
Unlike other health care facilities, administrators working in nursing homes must obtain licensure in their state. In addition to having a bachelor's degree, prospective licensees must pass one or more examinations and complete an approved training program. Maintaining the state license requires participation in continuing education opportunities, such as seminars or additional college courses.
In addition to taking general education courses, students in BS in Health Administration programs study the legal and business aspects of the healthcare industry. When they finish, they are prepared for jobs in a wide variety of medical offices.