Proper organization of patient records and medical privacy laws are typically covered in a 2-year associate's degree program, in addition to insurance billing and coding, medical terminology and business management coursework. Along with general education and instruction in basic anatomy and physiology, 4-year bachelor's degree programs include a public health component in the study of disease and social issues facing health care. The curriculum of a 2-year master's degree program offers extensive studies of business principles, such as economics, accounting and human resources, along with a look at critical issues facing the health care industry.
Admission requirements vary by program level. Bachelor's degree programs may give preference to students who have already achieved an associate's degree. Master's programs seek students with bachelor's degrees and work experience.
Associate's Degree in Medical Business Management
Both associate and bachelor degree programs require that a student has a GED or high school diploma. Similar associate degree programs may be found in health care administration or management.
Coursework may be transferred to a 4-year degree program in a related field at a college or university. In addition to health care and business-related classes, this type of program includes general education coursework as well. Course topics may be:
- Medical terms and uses
- Principles of customer service
- Medical coding for diseases and procedures
- Accounting basics
- Medical office administration
Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Administration
Bachelor's degree programs in health care management and health services administration teach effective business practices and skills as they relate to health care. Those who enter this program should have a solid background in math, particularly algebra, since accounting, statistics and health economics make up a large portion of the coursework.
Coursework combines instruction in business administration and health care management and includes general education classes in arts and humanities, math and science. Most programs include an internship or similar work experience. Course topics include:
- Principles of health care management
- Legal issues in health care management
- Financial management in a health care setting
- Decision-making in health care management
- Organizational behavior
Master of Business Administration - Health Care Management
Among the options available at the master's degree level for advanced study in managing a medical-related business, one choice is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with an emphasis in health care management. Many schools offer this program on a part-time basis, as well as partially online, to fit into a professional work schedule. Other options at the master's degree level include a Master of Arts or Science in Medical Business Management or a Master of Public Health. Some of these programs are geared toward physicians who may be operating their own practices.
Like the related bachelor's degree programs, coursework combines business administration and health care management. Most programs include an internship or similar work experience. Course topics may be:
- Health care innovation
- Cost and profit analysis
- Global health management
- Health care economics
- Health care management issues
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Certification or licensing may be needed for some careers in medical management. An associate's degree program prepares an individual for work as a medical records or health information technician The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 11% growth in jobs for this field from 2018-2028, which is much faster than average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for this position was $40,350 as of May 2018.
A master's degree is typically required to be a medical and health service manager, although a bachelor's degree is acceptable for some positions. Managers plan, coordinate and supervise the delivery of health care services. Job openings for this position were predicted by the BLS to increase by 18% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual salary for this position was $99,730 as of May 2018.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Bachelor's degree and master's degree programs in health care management or health care administration are available for those who want to advance in the field. Coursework from associate's degree program may be transferred to a related bachelor's degree program at a college or university. A number of certifications are available for health information technicians that typically require an exam and a certain amount of work experience.
The American Health Information Management Association has a credentialing program called the Registered Health Information Technicians program. To qualify, an individual must graduate from a 2-year accredited associate's degree program and pass an exam. Several other organizations have similar certification programs, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders, the Board of Medical Specialty Coding and the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists.
Most states require nursing home administrators to be licensed, according to the BLS. While licensing requirements may vary by state, they generally include a bachelor's degree, passing an exam, completing an approved training program and pursuing continuing education. The American Health Information Management Association has a Registered Health Information Administrator certification program that generally requires a bachelor's degree or higher from an approved program, along with the passage of an exam.
For students who have master's degrees, they can seek programs in health care management and administration at the Ph.D. level which can be earned in colleges and universities. They are geared toward professionals who want to lead efforts to direct public policy and research in the many areas of health care, such as long-term care and health disparities in certain populations, among others.
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree program in health management or administration prepares an individual for many medical business positions. Among them are:
- Hospital administrator
- Health care sales representative
- Case manager
- Program administrator
Medical administration and management degrees are available from the associate to master's degree levels. These programs equip students with the technical knowledge and skills needed for health care management and supervision.