Distance learning associate's degree programs in health services administration may be offered fully online or as hybrid programs combining on-campus and remote study. Courses cover medical office management, health records storage, anatomy, medical terminology and coding. The program may prepare individuals to take medical assistant positions at hospitals, insurance companies and other health organizations. Applicants typically need a GED or a high school diploma.
Associate's Degree in Health Services Administration
An online associate's degree program in health services introduces the basics of administrating and managing health care services. Coursework touches on both medical concepts (like terminology) and business principles. Students learn about the financial issues facing the health care industry and how they affect medical ethics, access to care and the provision of care. At a minimum, students need to have earned a high school diploma or GED to enroll in an associate's degree program.
Information and Requirements
An associate's degree program in health services is typically completed in two years. Assignments, video or audio lectures, readings, presentations and any other course-related materials are distributed through a school's website. Students have flexibility to access materials, but they must return completed assignments within specified deadlines.
Students need a personal computer, Internet access and productivity software to participate in an online program. Schools may use Blackboard or other educational Web-based content management systems.
List of Common Health Services Courses
An online associate's degree program in health services includes a general education component that may feature classes in mathematics, the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Core courses for the major often include the following:
Health Systems Introductory
This course examines the structure and operation of the U.S. health care system. Topics covered in the course include health care history, health care philosophy, public health and government policy.
Health Services Ethics
Students receive an overview of the ethical principles governing the provision of health care in this course. The effects ethical considerations have on regulation and health care law are among the topics considered.
Health Facilities Management
This course surveys the operational structure of adult care centers, nursing homes, hospitals and other health-related facilities. Students review various management systems and how they meet their responsibilities to patients.
The financing of health services from both the patient and the provider perspectives is the subject of this course. Students examine reimbursement systems, health insurance, health care budgeting and cost containment.
Career Information for Health Services Graduates
An online associate's degree program in health services administration prepares students for entry-level support positions in a medical office, hospital or health insurance provider office. Degree holders might become administrative assistants, human resources assistants or billing clerks.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) projected that for the years 2014-2024, employment of administrative assistants would increase 3%, employment of human resources specialists including assistants would increase 5% percent, and employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, which includes billing clerks, would decrease 8%. As of May 2015, the median annual salary of administrative assistants was $36,500, the median salary of human resources assistants was $38,100, and the median salary of billing clerks was $35,050.
Continuing Education Information
Health services associate's degree holders can improve their employment prospects if they transfer their academic credit into a 4-year program and earn a full bachelor's degree. Although most programs are traditional, some online bachelor's degree programs in health services are available.
Online associate's degree programs in health services administration cover the basics of administration and managing services, such as health facilities management, health finance and health ethics. Graduates may continue their education at the bachelor's degree level, or find entry-level work as administrative assistants, human resources assistants or billing clerks.