Guide to Health Administration Programs
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Discover what personality traits and academic skills it takes to succeed in health administration.
Preview the most common courses you will take as you pursue your degree in health administration.
Confirm your program has the right accreditation and find out what additional certifications can further your career in health administration.
Find out which career opportunities in the health administration field are expected to increase by 22 percent over the next decade.
Discover Your Options for Studying Health Administration
You can study health administration at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels through both traditional and online degree programs. Continue reading to compare the pros and cons of each of these options.
Brick-and-mortar health administration programs
Brick-and-mortar schools offer health administration degrees at all levels, ranging from a two-year degree to a PhD. These on-campus programs present some unique advantages, which include allowing students to interact with technological innovations used in today’s healthcare clinics and other medical settings. Because health administration computer systems can be complex, students should study at least initially on campus until they develop a better understanding of these healthcare administration delivery systems.
Online health administration programs
Alternatively, if you pursue a health administration degree program online, you can be confident that from a curricular perspective, your program will be similar to that of traditional programs. In fact, because health administration courses are conducted almost entirely using computers, studying online is a viable option for independent learners. There are a few select courses that do not require a computer component, such as healthcare management strategies and insurance billing; however, these classes are theoretical and can be learned easily through web-based interfaces.
Decide if health administration is right for you
To determine if a future in the health administration field is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I possess excellent technical computational skills?
- Am I detail-oriented with strong organizational skills for managing medical records and patient information?
- Do I possess superior written and verbal communication skills for communicating with patients and other healthcare professionals?
- Do I understand medical terminology and have a desire to further my knowledge of medical concepts?
- Can I multi-task, enabling me to schedule appointments, file medical records, and answer phones simultaneously?
Discover what your health administration degree plan will look like
The study of health administration is concerned with the operational management activities that take place in healthcare and medical settings, so you can expect to take classes that prepare you for roles in management and medical record maintenance. You will take a variety of courses including healthcare operations management, healthcare accounting, financial management, and health information systems. Below is a list of the most common courses in health administration.
Health Services Administration
Ethics in Healthcare
Human Resources in Healthcare Management
Health Information Systems
In addition to these core courses, some health administration degree programs require that you take a capstone course or participate in an internship where you will be able to work alongside professionals in the field. These out-of-classroom experiences not only supplement your education, but also demonstrate to potential employers that you possess supervised experience in the field.
Consider your specialization
There are several areas of specialization you can pursue if you plan on earning a degree in health administration. While some health administration degree programs offer a general course of study, others offer concentrations in areas like health informatics, health management, emergency management, and long-term care administration.
Discover the Health Administration Degree Levels Schools Offer
Look for Accredited Health Administration Programs
When researching health administration programs, search only for schools that hold programmatic accreditation. There are two main accrediting bodies to look for when researching schools. The Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) accredits both undergraduate and graduate health administration degree programs. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accredits only graduate-level degree programs. Additionally, there are various types of certifications available to health administration professionals, such as Certified Patient Account Manager (CPAM) offered by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM).You can also pursue the Board Certification in Healthcare Management, available through the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
Discover the Job Landscape for Health Administration Professionals
Upon earning a health administration degree, <design note: crosslink to careers page>you can pursue a variety of careers such as medical secretary or medical records technician. Additionally, if you pursue an advanced degree, you can anticipate working as a health services or human resources manager in a medical clinic or other healthcare setting. If you pursue a management position without earning an advanced health administration degree, you should plan on working in the industry for several years before working your way up to these more authoritative roles. Regardless of the career path you choose, you should be committed to providing patient-centered service.
Health administration professionals work a typical 40-hour workweek; however, some health administration jobs only require a part-time commitment. Health administration professionals work in office settings within hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare environments.
A health administration degree is a promising choice since career opportunities are vast and demand for qualified professionals is outpacing the rest of the country. The most popular career choices in the health administration field are medical and health services managers, medical records and health information technicians, medical transcriptionists, healthcare insurance underwriters, and medical secretaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers can expect to earn $84,270 per year, and employment opportunities are expected to increase by 22 percent through 2020, which is much faster than all other occupations. Medical records and health information technicians can anticipate earning an annual salary of $32,350 per year and expect 21 percent job growth through 2020.