While there are no degree programs specifically in healthcare economics, students in bachelor's and master's degree programs in healthcare administration study economics as a part of their coursework. A high school diploma or GED with SAT or ACT scores is required to enroll in the bachelor's program, while a bachelor's or employment as a business professional is needed for the master's degree. Most programs require internships in healthcare facilities. Graduates may qualify to apply for professional certification, which is not required, but can help with career advancement.
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration
The primary purpose of a bachelor's degree program in healthcare administration is to provide students with a background in the healthcare industry while at the same time providing them with an understanding of management principles and skills. Students learn about basic anatomy, biology, medical procedures, medical ethics, and healthcare treatments. They also study managerial skills, finance, economics, business communications, marketing, policies, and regulations.
Degree programs in healthcare administration and management are interdisciplinary programs. Course topics cover areas in business, finance, communication, and health sciences. Some examples of specific courses include:
- Principles of business
- Business communication
- Human resource management
- Introduction to community health
- Managed healthcare
- Health and illness
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Master of Science in Healthcare Administration
Graduate degree programs in healthcare administration are designed for individuals who have a baccalaureate degree in a different subject or who are working professionals looking to make a career move into healthcare management. The curriculum focuses primarily on business principles and the U.S. healthcare system. Students are often allowed to choose a particular area of focus, such as long-term care administration, hospital administration, or health information technology management. Graduate programs in healthcare administration feature courses that focus on advanced financial management as well as specific healthcare policies. Some of these include:
- Management and finance
- Decision-making and leadership skills
- U.S. healthcare system
- Information technology for healthcare management
- Economics and healthcare management
- Public health administration
Popular Career Options
Individuals who graduate from a degree program with an understanding of healthcare administration, management, economics, and policy can go on to earn several leadership positions within the healthcare management field. Some of these include:
- Healthcare administrator
- Clinical manager
- Health information manager
- Long-term care facility manager
- Hospital department director
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job employment for healthcare administrators is expected to grow 17% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that the average salary for healthcare administrators as of May 2015 was over $106,070 per year.
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) offers certification options for professionals in the field of healthcare management. While certification is not required, it does prove to potential employers that applicants have a level of competence in the field. Individuals must pass an examination before they are eligible for certification.
Managers and administrators of hospitals and other medical facilities often hold either a Bachelor of Science or a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and have studied healthcare economics as part of their training. Following graduation, students can earn professional certification from the AAHAM.