Online Healthcare Finance Certificate Programs

May 06, 2020

Overview of Online Certificates in Healthcare Finance

As the relationship between health and economic development becomes more important, learning the ropes of healthcare finance is a viable path for individuals who work in healthcare administration, finance, and accounting. The study of healthcare finance aims to put a balance on the cost and quality of healthcare, where people can be provided alternative payment modes in an overall improved healthcare system. In a healthcare finance certificate program, key topics are tackled: finance, hospital or healthcare management, and economics. Many healthcare finance careers are available in the government, hospitals, nursing homes, and physician's clinics.

Depending on the school, a bachelor's degree may or may not be needed to qualify for an online healthcare finance certificate program. Generally, coursework and exams must be finished to graduate; however, programs that are not credit-based may require completion of the course and a hands-on project.

Healthcare Finance Certificate Requirements

Through this program, students learn how the study of finance and economics can improve the healthcare system. This certificate can be earned completely online.

Information and Requirements

The lengths of online healthcare finance certificate programs vary. Some can be completed in a few months, while others take a year or two. Courses are mostly scheduled around the providing school's academic calendar, although a few are self-paced. Many of these programs grant university credits, and students need to earn 12 to 18 credits to graduate. A grade requirement may also exist for some schools.

Since these classes are delivered online, students need a laptop and a stable, high-speed internet connection. They might also need access to exam proctoring software to complete tests.

Course Topics

Finance

Finance courses cover considerations for financing healthcare institutions or systems, including pooling, and purchasing. Students also learn to manage and optimize the use of a budget with the help of analytical tools like benefit-cost ratio analysis, benchmarking, and process flow analysis. Case studies may be employed to help students apply what they've learned in real-world situations.

Management

A management course allows students to learn systems behavior in hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Students can also examine organizational restructuring, effective communication, group decision making, and performance improvement tools designed to help an organization work efficiently internally and externally. Schools have unique methods of delivering this course, from group simulations to self-evaluation surveys. Students end this course with skills organizing and motivating people in their organizations.

Economics

Generally, an economics course in healthcare finance focuses on American public health, examining questions like how the government can mitigate or avoid market failures in healthcare. Students are expected to think critically in this course, as class requirements may revolve around designing alternative systems for American healthcare. Assignments and projects are given to evaluate students' understanding of the demand for health services and insurance, as well as production and supply for health professionals and related technology.

Career Outlook for Healthcare Finance Certificate Holders

While healthcare finance may sound like a very specific field, many professions can participate in it, such as financial analysts, financial managers, accountants, and auditors.

As of May 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the yearly median salary of these occupations was $71,550 for accountants and auditors, $85,660 for financial analysts, and $129,890 for financial managers. Accountants, auditors, and financial managers were expected to see a 6% employment growth over the 2018-2028 decade. Financial managers could see a 16% employment growth) over the same 10-year period.

Online healthcare finance certificate programs are available in as both credit-granting and non-credit continuing education programs to accommodate the needs of professionals. Course requirements can include 12 to 18 credit hours of classes, and the certificate can be earned in two years at most.

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