Online Degrees in Health Administration: Program Options

Learn about online degree programs in health administration. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

Online programs in healthcare administration are available at the bachelor's and master's levels, though undergraduate programs can be hard to find. The coursework trains students in healthcare management so they can find careers overseeing the business aspect of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, mental health clinics and long-term care centers.

A few online healthcare administration degree programs are available at the bachelor's level; these programs are more common at the master's level. Health administration programs may be completed totally over the Internet, though some may give students the option of on-campus residency work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum educational level required to work as a medical and health services manager varies by the type of facility in which one works. Some positions require at least a bachelor's degree, but a master's degree is required for other positions.

Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration

Through the online bachelor's degree program in healthcare administration, students study concepts pertaining to the organization and effective management of healthcare facilities. They gain leadership skills that enable them to ensure necessary tasks are accomplished so the facility has sufficient supplies and personnel.

Online 4-year programs in healthcare administration are relatively rare, with only a couple available. Enrollment requirements typically include a high school diploma, though some programs may require an associate's degree. Degree completion options, which are accelerated programs that build on students' previous education and work experience, are also available online.

Program Information and Requirements

The bachelor's degree in healthcare administration can be completed in 18 months to four years, depending on whether the program is a degree completion program or not. The program is available entirely online. Although there are no in-person requirements, some programs offer the option to complete summer residencies.

To participate in an online class, students log onto a Web-based application that allows them to communicate via e-mail, videoconferencing and audio lectures. They can follow lectures and turn in assignments on a pre-determined timeline or through a self-paced schedule.

Bachelor's-Level Courses

General education classes are required for this bachelor's degree, in addition to core courses and major courses related to healthcare and management.

American Healthcare Systems

This course introduces students to the way healthcare systems work in the United States, examining topics such as financing and health insurance coverage. Students study the legislative and legal domains with regards to issues like the approval of new healthcare technology and drugs.

Healthcare Organization Management

Students learn about the process of making decisions pertaining to the management of various healthcare facilities. Core management topics like goal-setting, strategic planning and employee interaction are discussed in the context of a healthcare service organization.

Serving Diverse Populations

Providing quality care to patients from diverse backgrounds - whether racial, religious, socioeconomic or otherwise - is the focus of this course. Students often examine case studies to understand how to identify and address the needs and concerns of patients in a culturally considerate manner.


Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although a master's degree is usually required for employment in healthcare administration, entry-level positions could be available to individuals with a bachelor's degree. The median annual salary for all medical and health services managers as of May 2015 was $94,500 (www.bls.gov).

Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration

Through the master's program, students further develop their leadership skills and attune them to the demands of the healthcare industry. They study concepts in managing the business side of public and private healthcare organizations. Enrollment requirements include a bachelor's degree in a related area. Many master's-level programs are available online in this field and in healthcare management.

Program Information and Requirements

The 60ish-credit online program takes about two years to complete. Available entirely online, these programs have no residency requirements, although some provide the option to take on-campus courses at different times during the year. The self-paced online classes are accessible around the clock. Through the Web-based application, students can watch lectures, access professor's notes, interact with classmates and complete assignments.

For the online program, students must have a working computer and reliable Internet access. Plug-ins used to watch lectures and download assignments include Adobe Flash, Acrobat Reader and Quicktime, and students should have a word processing program.

Master's-Level Courses

In addition to the healthcare administration core, students in a master's-level program often take electives in areas such as health policy, community health and healthcare for specific populations, especially geriatric healthcare.

Healthcare Marketing

Students analyze marketing strategies applicable to the healthcare industry, such as promotion methods, techniques for setting prices and ways to build business. Responding to consumer interests is also discussed, such as how to address the increasing demand for complementary and alternative medicine.

Managed Healthcare

This class introduces students to systems like Medicare and Medicaid, with consideration to the roles of both the provider and the client. Students learn about different managed care options, their benefits and their limitations.

Public Health

In this course, students analyze the health of human populations overall, both in the modern day and throughout history. Some topics pertain to the treatment of epidemics and global healthcare management.


Career Information

According to the BLS, most healthcare administrators have at least a master's degree in healthcare administration. Medical and health services managers working in hospitals had some of the highest salaries as of May 2015, making $114,180 annually on average, as reported by the BLS. Managers in doctor's offices made $102,080 on average as of May 2015, and those in nursing care facilities made $87,970. The anticipated career growth for health services managers is expected to be faster than the average at a rate of 17% between 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).

Online degree programs in health administration are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels and teach students how to manage and organize healthcare facilities. Employers prefer to hire graduates with master's degrees, and career growth and salary prospects in the health administration field are high.


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