Individuals who want to become healthcare managers and administrators have several options for postsecondary education including associate's and bachelor's degree programs in healthcare management and health services administration, which can lead to entry-level management positions. A master's degree program in healthcare administration prepares students for executive healthcare management positions.
These programs include courses in business practices and principles that apply to the healthcare industry as well as training in regulations, ethics and information technology needed in this field. Many programs include internships in healthcare facilities. Graduates of some programs may qualify for licensing as nursing home administrators or for certification from professional organizations.
Associate of Science in Health Care Management
The professional practice specialization in an Associate of Science in Health Care Management degree program prepares students for lower-level supervisory positions. Students learn to utilize information technology systems to determine the efficiency of healthcare systems and apply this information to the areas of risk management and quality improvement.
Studies in business communications encourage interpersonal and organizational skills and a healthcare finance course introduces students to the economic facets of healthcare delivery and policies. Admittance to this program requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Coursework prepares students to demonstrate efficiency in healthcare information systems, management and the delivery of healthcare services. Courses in the degree program include:
- Medical terminology
- Medical coding
- Managed care
- Human resource management
Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration
This program focuses on the history of the United States healthcare system, the application of management principles to healthcare issues and clinical decision-making. Cultural studies explore workplace diversity and limitations on healthcare which result from language barriers and ethnocentrism. Students receive hands-on training during an internship at a healthcare facility towards the end of the program. Admittance requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Coursework prepares students to be effective leaders and administrators in a variety of healthcare roles, including financial, managerial and patient care. Courses that are common to this degree program include:
- Quality management
- Healthcare informatics
- Human resource management
Master of Science in Healthcare Administration
This program includes substantial coursework in healthcare management, policy, planning and leadership. Studies in information technology introduce students to the advanced use of healthcare information systems, including databases and systems analysis and design. Students study healthcare administration law and apply management theories and models to assess and improve the delivery of healthcare services in the United States.
Admittance requires a bachelor's degree and satisfactory scores on the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or GRE (Graduate Records Examination). Other requirements include letters of reference, a personal essay and resume.
Students take fundamental business management courses combined with the healthcare administration curriculum, including coursework in communication, leadership and financial management. Other courses include:
- Healthcare information technology
- Marketing management
- Strategic management
- Community health administration
Popular Career Options
Graduates go on to careers in a variety of settings, including physician's offices, hospitals, insurance companies and more. Popular career choices for graduates include:
- Medical secretary
- Medical office manager
- Medical coder
Career options for graduates are varied and might include both management and administrative positions. Many graduates go on to careers in:
- Healthcare organizations
- Long-term care facilities
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers held about 372,670 jobs in the U.S. in 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that jobs in this profession were expected to grow by 18%, faster than the average for all occupations, between the years 2018 and 2028. The median salary for medical and health services managers as of May 2018 was $99,730.
Continuing Education Information
Associate's degree graduates can enroll in a variety of bachelor's degree programs in healthcare to enhance their careers. Degree options include a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, Healthcare Administration and Health Services.
Bachelor's degree holders can enroll in post-bachelor's certificate programs and master's degree programs in many areas of healthcare. Master's degree options include a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration, Healthcare Management and Health Care Policy and Management.
Graduates who are interested in a career in research or teaching at the college level can enroll in a doctoral degree program in healthcare administration or public health. Graduates are also eligible to sit for the Nursing Home Administrator (NHA) exam, offered through the National Association of Long-Term Care Boards (NAB). Individual state boards have different licensing requirements.
Students interested in studying towards a degree in healthcare administration can do so at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Careers within industries such as government or healthcare organizations are often popular with graduates.