Distance learning certificate programs in healthcare management -- especially those at the graduate level -- are primarily designed for current healthcare professionals seeking advanced knowledge and skills necessary for moving into management. Some schools offer undergraduate certificate options in this field of study as well, which provide more of a foundational knowledge of healthcare administrative issues.
Certificate programs in this field are typically offered totally online, although some schools require a few campus visits for on-site learning experiences. Depending on the program requirements and a student's enrollment status, certificates can typically be completed in a year or less.
Distance learning certificates in health management offered at the undergraduate level may require students to have an associate's degree or a minimum number of earned college credits to be eligible for admission. Many programs, particularly graduate certificates, require that prospective students have relevant professional experience in management or in another healthcare position. Individuals seeking a graduate-level certificate must have a bachelor's degree to be accepted into a program.
Coursework in healthcare management programs is usually the same whether they are offered on campus or online. In addition to leadership and motivation, students are exposed to principles of organizational behavior, economics and finance, and legal and ethical issues. Subjects covered include the following:
- Introduction to healthcare services
- Human resources development and staff relations
- Communication for healthcare services
- Diversity issues
- Leadership for the first-time supervisor
- Management ethics and legal issues
- Finances and accounting for the non-accountant manager
Although working asynchronously, distance learners studying healthcare management are expected to finish the required courses within set time limits. Students communicate regularly with professors and classmates through weekly online live discussions, chat rooms, message boards and e-mail. Virtual classrooms contain lectures, videos and assignments that students complete when convenient for them.
Other Distance Learning Options
Many schools offer distance learning degrees in healthcare management, particularly at the master's level. Some schools offer a Master of Science in Health Management, while others offer a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare. Programs are usually designed for professionals in the field who want to advance their leadership or administrative abilities.
Online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in healthcare management are multidisciplinary, giving students the opportunity to explore the relationships between healthcare, economics and law and helping them build organizational and management skills. Even though coursework is completed in virtual classrooms, the training is just as comprehensive as it would be in an on-campus program.