Students wishing to study hospital management online can do so through either a Master of Health Administration (MHA) or a Master of Science in Health Services Management program. Some of these degree programs are offered entirely online. Others combine online and in-person learning with schedules designed for working professionals, including weekly classes or yearly campus sessions that span several days. Graduates may work as managers or administrators at hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
In order to apply, prospective students must have prior experience in the field. Students may also need to ensure that their computers are equipped with anti-virus software or have a specific browser type.
Master's Degree in Hospital Management
Students learn skills in strategic and financial management, ethical and professional conduct, systems operations, public health and leadership. Some schools offer a combined MHA and executive health informatics degree program, or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and MHA program for nurses aspiring to become managers. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree and experience in the field.
Program Information and Requirements
Classes for online programs are conducted in a virtual classroom, and students complete assignments, participate in live chats, attend classes and communicate with peers and faculty via e-mail. Some specific software requirements may apply such as anti-virus software or a specific type of browser.
Many topics in hospital management are covered in online programs, such as laws, ethics, health service systems, managed care and policy. Other required classes are determined by school and specialty.
Health Administration Laws and Ethics
This course teaches the application and theory of health ethics and laws. Issues are explored in patient informed consent, life support systems and clinical issues. The roles of the manager in anticipating, responding to, and preventing legal issues are also explored.
Health Care Systems
Trends, status, practices and issues such as quality of care are explored in the current U.S. health services system. Students examine a hospital's role in biological, cultural, behavioral and organizational issues related to health care systems.
Managed Care and Health Care Reimbursement
Payer and provider responsibilities in managed care and reimbursement are the concentration of this class. Students study the history and processes related to managed care, as well as different types of plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Health Care Policy
This class focuses on the skills used in formulating and adopting health care policies. Students also explore how society, cultural values and political choices affect the policy process. This course may include a heavy concentration in research and a written report requirement.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical and health service managers' yearly median wages were $94,500 in May 2015. The highest level of employment in the occupation was in general medical and surgical hospitals (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Health care managers who pass an exam and possess a bachelor's degree or higher from an approved program can earn certification through the American Health Information Management Association as a Registered Health Information Administrator.
Hospital managers must deal with a wide range of issues, including legal, policy and financial concerns, so online master's degree programs in the field are usually highly interdisciplinary. These topics are covered through lectures, readings, assignments and class discussions, all of which can take place within a virtual classroom environment.