Medical office management associate's degree programs and healthcare management bachelor's and master's degree programs are available online, whether as fully online programs or hybrid programs with some on-campus classes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers typically need a bachelor's degree and often have a master's degree, but specific requirements vary by facility. Professional licensing or certification is typically not needed for this field, except in the case of nursing care facility administrators.
Associate's Degree in Medical Office Management
An online associate's degree program in medical office management develops the knowledge required to run a medical office efficiently and meet its day-to-day business needs. Students learn standard office skills related to computers, communication and organization, and they become acquainted with healthcare-specific issues touching on ethics, medical billing and federal regulations. Alternatively, schools might refer to their degree programs in this area as medical office administration. Applicants need to have completed high school or earned a GED (and, in some cases, passed an admissions exam) to enroll in an online associate's degree program.
Program Information and Requirements
Students may complete courses in an associate's degree program in medical office management entirely online or through a hybrid online and traditional classroom format. An associate's degree is typically earned in two years. Access to readings, lectures, presentations and assignments is managed through a school's website, as is the submission of completed assignments and exams. Communication with instructors and other students can be conducted through online forums, e-mail and the phone.
A relatively recent Windows or Mac personal computer and Internet access are the minimum technical requirements for participation in an online program. Some schools may provide productivity software, such as MS Office.
Associate's degree programs generally include a core curriculum of liberal arts courses along with the medical office coursework. Communications, the humanities and mathematics are among the possible areas of study.
This course examines the duties of an office manager and the common procedures used in running an office, with emphasis on those most relevant in a medical setting. Topics covered include medical office software and patient information management.
Insurance and Billing
Students learn general concepts, theories and practices for billing patients and processing health insurance forms. Billing methods, medical coding, reimbursement and rules for third-party insurers are considered.
Medical Records Management
This course covers the traditional and electronic formats used to store patient information; students also learn the practices for information storage and retrieval. Coursework emphasizes the importance of ensuring the accuracy, reliability and security of patient records.
Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Management
An online bachelor's degree program in healthcare management develops the communication, management and organizational skills that enable personnel to deliver healthcare services with maximum efficiency. Students learn about information systems uniquely designed for the healthcare industry and standard practices in the U.S. healthcare system. They also acquire the capacity to identify current and future trends in the medical industry and formulate new business and operational strategies. Enrollment in a bachelor's degree program requires a high school diploma or GED.
Program Information and Requirements
All course content in an online bachelor's degree program in healthcare management is accessible via a school's website, and all completed assignments and exams are submitted the same way. An online program may be completed entirely online or as a hybrid of online and conventional instruction. Students need a relatively recent personal computer and Internet access. A bachelor's degree is typically earned in four years.
The general education component of a healthcare management bachelor's degree program may be adjusted to support the major topic. Coursework might include relevant subjects such as accounting, biology, economics, statistics and psychology.
Healthcare Management Introductory
Students learn fundamental management concepts and their adaptation and application to healthcare organizations. Coursework gives particular emphasis to aspects of the U.S. healthcare system unique to this country.
Healthcare Organization Leadership
This course surveys general concepts of leadership and their specific application to healthcare organizations. Course content addresses professional development, interpersonal communication skills and strategic management.
Health Research Methods
Students learn methods of gathering data and using it to improve operations and develop programs in a healthcare setting. Data analysis and interpretation receive particular emphasis in the course.
Master's Degree in Healthcare Management
Online master's degree programs in healthcare management are often offered as an MBA with a specialization in healthcare management. Programs help students acquire a base of knowledge about administrative processes at institutions that provide medical services while developing the analytic and critical thinking skills needed to manage such facilities. Communication and negotiation, law, ethics and healthcare finance are among the areas where students may receive industry-specific training. Admission to a master's degree program requires a bachelor's degree, preferably in a business- or healthcare-related area.
Program Information and Requirements
Coursework in an online master's degree program in healthcare management may be completed entirely online, though students near campus may choose to take some classes in a traditional format. Students can access all readings, lectures and presentations online through a school's website at their scheduling convenience. Some programs have deadlines to complete class assignments, but others allow students to set their own pace. A master's degree is typically earned in two years. Technical requirements for participation in an online program include a personal computer and Internet access.
The structure of a master's degree program in healthcare management can vary somewhat. Some schools take a traditional approach organized around a set of core courses and a set of electives. Others use a competency approach that requires students to demonstrate proficiency in particular subject areas, such as leadership and customer relations.
Healthcare Administration Introductory
This course discusses the components of the U.S. healthcare system and the interrelationships between them. The history of healthcare delivery, organizational models, contemporary issues in healthcare reform and policy implementation are among the topics considered.
Healthcare Information Management
Students in this course are exposed to the information systems used by healthcare organizations and the supporting role they play in medical decision-making and operational efficiency. Technical topics engaged include applications of artificial intelligence to medicine, distributed computing networking and telemedicine.
Healthcare and Public Policy
This course examines the relationship between public policy and the economics of healthcare delivery. Topics considered include healthcare supply and demand, labor market issues, choke points in healthcare delivery and identification of inefficiencies.
Graduates of an online associate's degree program in medical office management or medical office administration are prepared for entry-level positions as office managers in nursing homes, other long-term care facilities, physician's offices, hospitals and clinics. The BLS (www.bls.gov) projected employment of office managers and supervisors to grow 6% (about as fast as the average for all occupations) from 2014-2024. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $52,630 for office supervisors as of May 2015.
People who graduate from an online bachelor's degree program in healthcare management are qualified for a range of support positions in the medical care industry. Medical office manager, medical staff representative, human resources manager and patient care representative are among the possible job titles. Most fall into the category of office and administrative support worker supervisors and managers. According to PayScale.com, medical office managers with 5-9 years of experience earned median salaries of $33,409 - $64,202 as of July 2015.
Graduates of an online master's degree or MBA program in healthcare management are qualified for mid- and high-level administrative positions with public and private medical institutions, group physician practices and government agencies. The degree is particularly useful for leaders trained in other industries who are moving into the healthcare field, as well as existing healthcare management professionals seeking to advance their careers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), from 2014-2024 employment of medical and health services managers as a broad category was projected to increase 17%, faster than the average for all occupations. As of May 2015, the median salary of medical and health services managers was $94,500.
Continuing Education Information
Credits earned in an online associate's degree program can be applied towards a bachelor's degree in a number of other related subjects, including business administration and healthcare management. Both programs are also available online.
Students who earn a bachelor's degree in healthcare management are eligible to pursue a master's degree in the subject or an MBA with a specialization in healthcare management. Both are available online from a few schools.
Medical office management programs are available online at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs focus on a wide range of medical administrative topics, such as insurance and billing, medical records management, organizational leadership, public policy and information management.