Health Care Administration Degree Program Options

Oct 13, 2019

Students can receive a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in health care administration. Training at all levels includes a focus on health care ethics, business, finance and human resource management.

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Essential Information

Graduates with a bachelor's degree work in health care administration in a variety of settings or seek a master's degree. With a master's degree in health care administration, graduates are eligible for Nursing Home Administrator certification and state licensure, while those with a doctorate degree may wish to pursue a career as a college professor or hospital administrator.

Some requirements of programs include an internships, thesis or dissertation. Common prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED for the bachelor's program, bachelor's degree and professional experience for the master's program and a master's degree and professional experience for doctoral program.


Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration

Health care administration students learn health care ethics, finance and organization. Business topics include human resources management and marketing. Information technology focuses on the use and management of health care records and databases. Studies in public health teach students about health promotion and disease prevention. Other subjects covered in the undergraduate degree program include medical terminology, epidemiology and health care management.

Students complete liberal arts and science courses in addition to the health care administration curriculum. Business courses consist of business law, project management and strategic planning. Other courses:

  • Health informatics
  • Health care policy
  • Financial management
  • Operations management
  • Community health

Master of Science in Health Care Administration

Master's degree programs in health care administration prepare graduates for greater leadership roles. Students explore the history of the United States health care system, including delivery, policy and reform. Studies in microeconomics introduce students to financial issues in health care administration, including cost analysis, payment systems and the costs of health care policies in the United States. Studies in health care law teach students about ethical issues in health care information systems, including the maintenance and collection of patient records and patient confidentiality.

A Master of Science in Health Care Administration degree program includes core business courses in management and marketing. Health care administration courses include health care law and finance. Other courses might include:

  • Human resources management
  • Health care ethics
  • Financial accounting
  • Health care systems

Doctor of Health Administration

A doctoral degree program in health administration is designed for health administration professionals who hold master's degrees and clinical professionals who hold doctoral degrees. This research-intensive program promotes leadership skills and expounds on strategies for improving health services. Students perform academic research and work with faculty to develop effective health delivery systems and to apply academic research to real-world issues in the health care industry. Other topics in this program include financial planning, public health and issues facing human resources managers. Students attend seminars, take comprehensive examinations and complete a doctoral dissertation to demonstrate mastery in the field of health administration.

Coursework prepares students to effectively lead a health services organization and to implement health care policies that promote public health, ethical medical practices, and the delivery of health care services to the community. Courses in this degree program include:

  • Strategic management
  • Health care information management
  • Financial management
  • Organizational theory
  • Health care leadership

Popular Career Options

Career options for graduates include positions in hospitals, nursing homes, community health organizations and government agencies. Graduates might work as health services managers or administrators. With a Doctor of Health Administration degree, graduates find employment at corporations, government agencies, colleges and research facilities. Popular career choices include:

  • Health information technician
  • Health care public relations or human resource manager
  • Marketing or health information manager
  • Nursing home administrator or chief financial officer
  • Professor
  • Hospital administrator or president

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 18% employment growth is expected for medical and health services managers, which is much faster than average (www.bls.gov) for the years 2018 through 2028. This growth is mainly due to an increased need of medical and health services for the aging population. The BLS reported in May 2018 that the mean annual wage for medical and health services managers was $113,730.

Continuing Education Information

A master's degree program in health care administration enables graduates to obtain higher-level management positions in the health care industry. A Master of Science in Health Care Administration degree program prepares graduates for careers in public health, hospital administration and health informatics.

Graduates with a master's degree in health care administration who have an interest in nursing home administration can obtain state licensure by passing the NHA (Nursing Home Administrator) examination from the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards. All 50 states require licensure for nursing home administrators. Graduates can continue their education by enrolling in a doctoral program in health administration, which prepares graduates for careers in research and teaching at higher education institutions.

Degree programs in healthcare administration are available to students at bachelor's, master's or doctoral levels. Courses in health care policy, health care ethics or financial management will prepare graduates for a career within healthcare administration.

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