Hospital managers must be conscious of healthcare laws, regulations and technology. Degree programs that train graduates to work as managers in hospitals and other health services facilities are available at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Most health care administrators have at least a bachelor's degree, although master's degrees are also very common in this field.
A bachelor's degree requires a high school diploma or equivalent, while a master's degree requires a bachelor's. Master's programs also require a minimum GPA, GRE scores, a resume and some require prerequisite courses. Doctoral programs require that applicants have a master's degree in a related field, prerequisite courses and some programs require prior work experience. Students may find specializations in health policy and management, health administration or health sector administration. Some programs may require internships, dissertations, qualifying exams, and practicums.
Bachelor's Degrees in Hospital Management
Students interested in undergraduate degrees related to hospital management can look for programs in health care management or health administration. In some cases, a concentration in hospital management may be available. These programs commonly lead to a Bachelor of Science degree, and many are part of a broader business administration major. Bachelor's programs in this field offer a multi-disciplinary approach, with training in business principles, leadership, finance, information systems, and legal aspects, as well as health care principles and health policies.
Courses in these programs offer students both theoretical and practical training in hospital management. Students can acquire knowledge of public health, insurance, and risk management. Programs generally include an internship as part of the curriculum, in which students have the opportunity to put into practice the tools and principles learned in the classroom. Some common courses include:
- Legal and ethical issues in the health care system
- Community health administration
- Health systems planning
- Health care management
- Human resources in health care
Master's Degrees in Hospital Management
Students interested in advanced training in hospital management can choose from programs in health policy and management, health administration, or health sector administration, among others. Some of these programs award a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in one of these areas. Professionals already working in the field of health service administration or hospital management can benefit from the additional training provided in these programs; however, these programs are also designed for students without experience in this field. Similar to the bachelor's programs, master's programs in this field offer a multi-disciplinary approach, emphasizing both business and health care fundamentals, as well as practical skills application.
Students need to submit a resume. Some programs require completion of a statistics course prior to enrollment.
Courses in these programs cover health systems, epidemiology, and health care delivery systems. A variety of opportunities are available for students to get practical experience in this field, including internships, field placements, and team projects. Common courses include:
- Health information technology
- Health care financial applications
- Health policies
- Health care organization design and start up
- Health care quality
Doctoral Degrees in Hospital Management
Doctoral programs in this field generally combine health management with health policy and are designed for individuals seeking high-level research positions at colleges and universities or with private research firms. These programs could also be a good fit for those considering executive-level positions with hospitals or major health care systems. Students acquire skills in health care, experimental and observational study, development of research protocols, hypothesis testing, and data analysis using quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Students entering one of these programs need a master's degree in health management or a similar field. Prerequisite courses in areas like statistics, health delivery systems, and health care finance could also be required. Programs may also require students to have prior work experience in the field of health management.
Doctoral programs are heavily focused on research methods and require a dissertation. Qualifying exams and capstone courses or practicums could be included in the curriculum. Some common courses include:
- Health services research methods and design
- Applied regression
- Health systems
- Health care information systems
- Health policy
Popular Career Options
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree in this field. However, graduates of bachelor's degree programs may start out at entry-level positions. Students who complete these programs may pursue positions as:
- Assistant hospital department heads
- Assistant hospital administrators
- Hospital department heads
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of these programs are prepared to assume management roles in hospitals and other health care agencies and institutions. According to the BLS, the job outlook for medical and health services managers indicated growth of 17% between 2014 and 2024. This faster-than-average growth is due, in part, to a more active senior population, the BLS reports. Medical and health services managers earned a median annual wage of $94,500 as of May 2015, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).
Graduates of hospital management degree programs are ready to explore a plethora of careers in hospital and medical facilities. These programs provide students with extensive training to be leaders in healthcare management and administration.