Health Services Administration Degrees: Associate, Bachelor & Online Info

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What will you learn in a health services administration degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Studying Health Services Administration: Degrees at a Glance

With the health care industry growing as rapidly as it is, there is a need for leaders and administrators in the field. By earning a degree in health services administration, you will be well on your way to working up to a senior-level position within the health care and health service industries. These degree programs will teach you key health services and administration skills.

The health care and health services industry is projected to see great growth in employment opportunities from 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is partially because of the aging baby-boom generation. The majority of growth will be seen in private offices rather than hospitals, because as medical technology is advancing, more procedures can be done in an office.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who wish to begin entry-level positions in a medical office setting or who intend to go on to earn a 4-year degree Students who wish to work in entry-level management jobs in health services or who wish to continue on to earn a graduate degree
Common career paths (with approx. mean salary) - Secretary and administrative assistant ($33,000)*
- Medical assistant ($30,000)*
- Administrative services manager ($87,000)*
- A bachelor's degree can help you advance in any career listed under associate degree
- Medical and health services manager ($96,000)*
Time to completion2 years, full time4 years, full time
Common graduation requirements - Major courses
- General education courses
- Major courses
- General education courses
- Electives
- Internship
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED- High school diploma, GED or associate degree
Online availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011 figures).

Associate Degree in Health Services Administration

A health services administration associate degree gives you a great overview of the industry. Your skills will be general and easy to enhance as you continue your schooling or career in the field. You might develop skills that center around communication, management, computers and strategic planning. You can also expect to take business courses, which can prepare you for managerial positions. These programs train you for both entry-level positions in health services administration and for entry into a bachelor's degree program upon graduation.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A general education gives you an excellent foundation in health services administration
  • You'll be prepared to either begin your career or continue your education
  • The health care and health services industries are expecting to see an increase in employment, so job opportunities should be readily available

Cons

  • To move up in your career, a bachelor's degree might be required
  • Some entry-level positions, such as a medical assistant, only require a high school diploma and on-the-job training
  • Employers might require additional certification

Courses and Requirements

General education courses such as math, English and science are required at any liberal arts college as part of an associate degree program. You can also expect to take business courses, such as principles of management and business organization. Core health services administration classes might include:

  • Introduction to health care
  • Medical office management
  • Medical office procedures
  • Health communications
  • Issues in contemporary health

An internship might also be one of your program requirements.

Online Degree Options

You might choose to earn an associate degree in health services administration from the comfort of your own home. Online programs allow you to work towards your degree on your own time and are ideal for those with a full-time job or stay-at-home parents. You can expect to complete the same courses and requirements as on-campus programs.

Stand Out with This Degree

Any computer training can help you stand out with this degree. Some associate degree programs require you to take computer classes to learn the software applications used in medical offices to help them stay organized. Such applications can include billing and coding software as well as general word processing programs. Additionally, taking courses that teach strong management and business skills coupled with gaining experience and earning additional degrees can enhance your employment opportunities as well.

Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Administration

The bachelor's degree in health services administration prepares you for a career in the health care industry. This degree program teaches you all you need to know to start in an entry-level position in health services administration. You will learn about administrative duties in a variety of health care settings, and an internship can help you in getting your foot in the door. Because of the growth of the health care industry, your job prospects should be favorable upon completion of your degree.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The health care industry is expected to see significant growth from 2010-2020
  • Elective courses can enhance your education and might help you work towards additional certification
  • A bachelor's degree can help you advance your career into management positions

Cons

  • Some entry-level position may require only a high school diploma or an associate degree
  • You may be required to work nights and weekends as a result of the potentially urgent nature of the job
  • Some employers may require on-the-job experience rather than formal education

Courses and Requirements

In a bachelor's degree program, you will be required to complete general education courses, much like those from the associate degree programs, as well as business courses, such as economics, accounting and statistics. Additionally, you will be able to choose from elective courses, such as medical terminology, managing diversity, marketing management and consumer psychology. Your core major courses will often include:

  • Health services research
  • Health organizational behavior
  • Human resource management
  • Health law
  • Issues in health care

Online Degree Options

Fully online bachelor degree programs in health services administration are available. You are generally required to complete the same coursework as that which is required for on-campus students. However, one downside is that you might be responsible for finding your own internship opportunity if you opt for the online option.

Stand Out with This Degree

Depending on the area of health services administration you choose, your state might require that you be licensed. Seeking licensure before applying for jobs could provide you with an advantage over other job candidates. Licensure typically requires that you have a bachelor's degree, complete a training program and pass an exam. Technical skills are also important for health care service administrators, because coding software and electronic health record systems are being used throughout the field.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Fremont, OH

    Terra State Community College

  • Bethany, OK

    Southern Nazarene University

  • Lincoln, NE

    Southeast Community College Area

  • Dayton, OH

    Sinclair Community College

  • Gainesville, FL

    Santa Fe College

  • Palatka, FL

    Saint Johns River State College

  • Danielson, CT

    Quinebaug Valley Community College

  • Oklahoma City, OK

    Oklahoma State University

Featured Schools

Colorado Christian University

  • Health Care Administration, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • Associate: Healthcare Management
  • Associate: Health Information Management
  • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist

What is your highest level of education?

Terra State Community College

Southern Nazarene University

Southeast Community College Area

Sinclair Community College

Santa Fe College

Saint Johns River State College