Online certificates in health administration expose students to the many components involved in managing a health care or medical facility. These programs are available fully online.They are usually graduate-level programs and are therefore designed for working adults with a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Depending on the online program, these certificates may be designed for students who already have degrees and experience in the health care industry or for those with an administrative background but no health care experience.
In addition to health or health care administration, online graduate certificates with similar program content may be found in the fields of health care management, health services administration or health care informatics and management.
Online health administration certificate programs focus on the health care system and health services management from multiple perspectives. The coursework is usually designed to mirror that of traditional, on-campus classes. These online programs may take anywhere from 12-18 semester hours to complete and could be completed in one to two years. Students can expect to take courses in the following subjects:
- American health care system
- Health care economics and finance
- Health care legal & ethical issues
- Health care information technology
- Organizational management
Online certificate programs utilize e-mail and Blackboard to distribute class notes and assignments. Virtual discussion boards, chat rooms and video conferencing software allow teachers and students to interact and carry on conversations about course material. With online certificate programs, students can log on when it is convenient for them. That said, teachers still typically have a course schedule to follow, so assignments need to be completed by specified due dates. Additionally, some courses that utilize video conferencing technology could require students to participate in online class meetings at a certain time.
Health administrators work in health care management and informatics and ensure that health care facilities use proper procedures and systems. Health administration is part of every health care setting, including hospitals, clinics and assisted living facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of health services managers will increase at the fast rate of 17% in 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). May 2015 wage data from the BLS shows that the average yearly salary for these professionals was $106,070. Those working in general and surgical hospitals tend to make higher earnings than those managing physicians' offices or other outpatient facilities.
Earning an online graduate certificate in health administration and related subjects can boost the skills of healthcare professionals or provide training for professionals in other fields who want to redirect their careers toward management in medical institutions. These programs are typically more flexible than on-campus programs, so they are ideal for working professionals, but prospective students should still be aware that some courses may require certain scheduling commitments.