Hospital Administration Certificate and Diploma Program Options

Students pursuing a career in hospital administration can start with a certificate or diploma program in medical office administration. These programs teach students to provide front-office and back-office support to medical and administrative staff.

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Essential Information

In hospital administration certificate and diploma programs, students learn about medical terminology, billing and coding, ethics, and general office practices. These programs can generally be earned in one year or less and require students to be high school graduates or have earned a GED (though diploma programs may wave this in favor of a skills test). Familiarity with computers is also expected. Certificate programs have certain specializations available, like billing and coding or health record administration. Program graduates can pursue professional certifications, such as in medical transcription or coding.

Certificate Programs in Medical Office Administration

Certificate programs generally last a few months and require around 30 hours of coursework. Students learn management skills, common office procedures and how to work with computer systems, such as those used for billing or maintaining records.

Program coursework varies somewhat depending on the focus of the program. For example, a program geared towards medical coding will include more coursework in that area. Coursework might include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical coding
  • Medical billing
  • Medical legal and ethical issues
  • Office management
  • Medical office procedures

Diploma Programs in Medical Office Administration

Diploma programs, such as the Medical Administrative Assistant Diploma or Medical Office Specialist Diploma, prepare students for administrative positions within hospitals, clinics, physician's offices and other health care centers.

Programs focus on skills such as common administrative procedures, billing and coding, and basic medical terminology. Diploma programs in medical office administration require approximately 180 hours of coursework. Students learn:

  • Hospital administrative procedures
  • Computer skills
  • Clinical procedures
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Medical billing

Popular Career Choices

A diploma in medical office administration provides preparation for a variety of entry-level administrative careers. Some popular choices include:

  • Medical coder
  • Medical biller
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Hospital admissions coordinator
  • Medical administrative assistant
  • Medical records clerk

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted faster-than-average job growth of 15% for medical records and health information technicians and a decline of 3% for medical transcriptionists from 2014 to 2024. As of May 2015, mean salaries were reported by the BLS at $40,430 for medical records and health information technicians and at $35,720 for medical transcriptionists.

Continuing Education Information

Those who start off in entry-level medical administrative positions may choose to continue their education to become medical or health service managers. To move up the career ladder in hospital administration, a bachelor's degree or higher is generally required.

Certification Information

Certifications are available for several occupations within this field. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (formerly the American Association for Medical Transcription) certifies medical transcriptionists. Medical coders can seek certification from the American Academy of Professional Coders or the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialist.

A certificate or diploma program in hospital administration gives students the skills to support hospital staff in a multitude of ways in action and behind the scenes. There are many entry-level careers open to graduates, though many go on to pursue traditional degrees or earn professional certification to increase their options.

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