A master's degree in hospital administration is often required to be employed as a hospital administrator. Minimum admission requirements include a high school education at the undergraduate level and a bachelor's degree for master's and doctoral programs, among others. Specializations and/or concentrations are often offered by graduate programs. Seminars and a dissertation are typical components of a doctoral degree program in hospital administration. Some online courses and programs are available.
Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration
Bachelor's degree programs in healthcare administration, or health administration, can introduce students to general management and business concepts, as well as procedures that are specific to healthcare settings. These programs can prepare students for entry into management positions or graduate programs in one of a variety of fields. In order to enter such a program, a prospective student must have at least a high school diploma or GED.
A healthcare administration program includes coursework that helps students understand both the healthcare procedures and the management strategies necessary to work as an administrator in a medical setting. Coursework can include subjects such as:
- Healthcare law and ethics
- Healthcare marketing
- Medical billing and medical reimbursement
- Patient care
- Financial management
Master's Degree in Health Administration
Master's degree programs in this field may be offered under the titles of health administration, healthcare administration or health systems administration, among others. These programs commonly allow for some level of specialization, which may be available in areas such as health policy, operations and management, or healthcare leadership. A health administration program may also be offered as a dual option in conjunction with a program in a related area of study, such as business administration, public health or public administration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics a master's degree is a common requirement for healthcare administrators.
In addition to specific areas of focus within the program, master's degree students can study broad administrative and healthcare subjects such as hospital organization, quality care and leadership. Some areas of study can include:
- Healthcare service reimbursement
- Public policy analysis
- Healthcare research
- Public administration
- Long-term care administration
Doctoral Degrees in Health Administration
Doctoral programs commonly focus on research in the field, and may be available under the titles of health and policy management or health administration. Typically, a doctoral student selects a specific area of research, such as long-term care, health system improvement or health disparities in select populations. Programs may be completed in various formats, including executive, interprofessional or information systems programs. A dissertation must typically be completed as part of such a program.
Courses at the graduate level may are commonly dictated by the area of study, which may be determined through a concentration option or a minor. Areas of study can include health policy, economics, financial management or decision science. Seminars in health management are commonly included at this level. Courses in a doctoral program can include:
- Research methods
- Analysis of healthcare data
- Healthcare technology
- Health services management
- Linear regression
Popular Career Options
Medical and health service managers can work in a number of healthcare facilities, serving under multiple professional titles. Varying by facility, career titles for healthcare administrators may include:
- Health information manager
- Nursing home administrator
- Clinical manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers are expected to see a 17% increase in employment from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations nationally. This rate of increase may be attributed to the general growth of the field, including a growing number of facilities overall, as well as an increase in the number of both doctors and patients. In May 2015, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $94,500, according to the BLS.
A graduate of a bachelor's degree program in healthcare administration may choose to pursue graduate studies in the field, or in one of several related fields. Degree programs in public health, health law or public administration may also appeal to individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration. Graduate certificate programs in healthcare administration are also available.
Students looking to enter the hospital administration field can find relevant degree programs offered at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. These programs may go over topics such as healthcare laws and ethics, public policy, healthcare technology, and more. Master's degrees are usually required to become a hospital administrator.