Medical Management Degrees: Associate, Bachelor & Online Course Info

About this article
What kind of job can you get with a degree in medical management? Find out program requirements, online options and info on medical management undergraduate degree programs.
View available schools

Studying Medical Management: Degrees at a Glance

Medical management studies can teach you about the business, policy and leadership aspects of the health care industry. An associate's or a bachelor's degree program in medical management can lead to a career in a variety of medical settings, including medical offices, nursing homes and other health care organizations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that medical and health services managers would see a 22% increase in jobs from 2010-2020, which was faster than the average for all occupations. Many different sectors in the health care industry were expected to see growth, especially medical offices and group practice facilities.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? People seeking entry-level positions supervising or managing a medical office Individuals pursuing mid-level management positions in health care administration
Common Career Paths (with approximate median salary) - Medical records administrator ($68,000)*
- Medical records coding manager ($69,000)*
- Medical and health services manager ($86,000)**
- Home care office manager ($43,000 - with 5 years of experience)*
- Health care business office manager ($61,000 - with 5 years of experience)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full time 4 years, full time (2 years for associate's degree holders)
Common Requirements - Roughly 4-6 business courses
- About 6-8 medical administration courses
- Medical office practicum
- About 7-10 courses covering medical management concepts
- Anywhere from 5-10 courses focused on business concepts
- Internship, capstone or practicum (depends on the program)
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent (associate's degree may be required for some programs)
Online Availability Yes, but mostly from for-profit schools Yes

Sources: *Salary.com (December 2012 figures), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Medical Management

Associate's degree programs in medical management are designed to give students basic medical administrative skills and business operations knowledge. You may also learn about medical coding and how to process insurance claims. Most programs are designed to give you a broad education that is useful for careers in a number of different health care sectors. You may find that some schools include courses that can prepare you for certain coding certification exams after you graduate.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Curriculum covers a broad range of concepts that can be applied to different types of medical facilities and organizations
  • Some programs include exam preparation courses that could lead to various coding certifications
  • Can lead to high-paying careers; the national median salary of associate's degree holders was about $40,000*, while medical records administrators earned a median salary of roughly $68,000**

Cons

  • Many mid-level management positions require a bachelor's degree
  • Programs provide an overview of many subjects, but don't establish great expertise in any particular medical topic
  • Programs don't typically include work experience opportunities, so you must find one on your own if you wish to gain experience while still in school

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Salary.com (December 2012 figures)

Courses and Requirements

The associate's degree program includes business-related courses like accounting, business law, management principles and word processing. Some of your medical management classes might include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical office billing
  • Medical ethics
  • Health care law
  • Medical coding
  • Medical office insurance procedures

Towards the end of your program, you may need to complete a medical office practicum, but this is not a requirement of most medical management associate's degree programs.

Online Options

Although some schools offer a medical office management associate's degree program completely online, keep in mind that these are typically for-profit institutions. If you're planning on attending a public or non-profit school, you might need to opt for an on-campus program. The curriculum of an online program is roughly the same as an on-campus one, and you may even be able to complete an online program in as few as 17 months. Online programs typically come with specific technical requirements, which might include broadband Internet, speakers and specific hard drive space.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Obtaining a certification could give you an advantage over other applicants who have similar experience and education. The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) offers the Certified Medical Manager designation to qualified candidates, which can show employers that the holder has met a certain set of standards and is committed to providing proper health care management. You'll need 3 years of relevant experience and at least 12 credit hours of postsecondary education before you can take the exam. You need to be a member of PAHCOM before you can become certified, but you'll also have access to conferences and Webinars as a member of this organization.

Bachelor's in Health Care Management

Medical management programs at the bachelor's degree level are rare; students can instead enroll in a very similar health care management program. Health care management bachelor's degree programs combine business training with specific instruction in health care operations. Some schools may offer various concentration options, such as health care policy, long-term care and community health.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many employers prefer to hire entry-level medical managers who have a bachelor's degree
  • Combination of business and health care training can be useful for managing a medical facility
  • Programs often include internships and hands-on learning opportunities that can prepare students for work

Cons

  • A master's degree may be required for advanced management positions
  • The broad curriculum of these programs usually doesn't give you a chance to become an expert in any particular sector of health care management
  • Some facilities may hire health care managers who have experience rather than a degree

Common Requirements

Health care management programs require the completion of some business courses, which may include marketing, accounting, financial management, business law and human resources management. Some programs may combine business concepts with the rest of the required health care management courses, while others might require a standard core set of business courses, in addition to health care studies. Some of your classes can include:

  • Health care law
  • Health care policy
  • Health promotion
  • Medical terminology
  • Health care reimbursement systems
  • Health service management

Unlike associate's degree programs, you'll generally have more hands-on learning opportunities during a bachelor's degree program. Some programs include internship opportunities, and most programs require the completion of a capstone or practicum course.

Online Options

A health care management bachelor's degree can be obtained completely online. Health care management online programs are similar to on-campus programs, but you may miss out on some hands-on learning opportunities if you opt for a distance-learning program. Some on-campus programs offer a selection of their courses online, so you have a variety of options if you're considering distance learning.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Depending on which sector of the health care industry you wish to work, you may need to obtain a license. Most states require nursing home administrators to be licensed before they can work. State requirements vary, but you'll typically need to complete a bachelor's degree program or finish some required coursework before you can become a licensed nursing home administrator. Learning about the licensing requirements for your career path can give you an idea of what you'll need to do while you pursue a bachelor's degree. Earning a bachelor's degree and participating in an internship can also count towards licensure experience requirements in some states, so you may want to conduct some research.

You might also be interested in obtaining a professional certification after earning your bachelor's degree. For example, you could become a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). This credential requires a postgraduate education and at least 5 years of health care management experience.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate: Medical Office Admin.
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Health Services Admin
      • Associate of Science - Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
  • Cedar Rapids, IA

    Kirkwood Community College

  • Jackson, MI

    Jackson College

  • Dearborn, MI

    Henry Ford Community College

  • Neosho, MO

    Crowder College

  • Perrysburg, OH

    Owens Community College

  • Plantation, FL

    Allied Health Institute

Featured Schools

Herzing University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • A.S. General Studies - Life Sciences

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Associate: Medical Office Admin.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Keiser University

  • Associate of Arts - Health Services Admin
  • Associate of Science - Medical Administrative Billing and Coding

What is your highest level of education?

Kirkwood Community College

Jackson College

Henry Ford Community College

Crowder College