Study Health Administration: Associate's & Bachelor's Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in health administration? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and health administration training programs.
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Health Administration Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

A health administration professional manages the daily operations of a medical institution, such as a long-term care facility, hospital or practitioner's office. This can include setting schedules, supervising administrative workers, communicating with medical staff and finding ways to improve delivery of healthcare services. In an entry-level position, you might perform tasks including medical billing and coding, insurance claim processing and electronic health records (EHR) management.

Many health administration careers are expected to experience employment growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical records and health information technicians could see employment grow 21% from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicts 22% growth for medical and health services managers over that same time period.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals seeking entry-level jobs in healthcare environments People interested in a career in medical administration and facility management
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Medical secretary ($32,000)*
- Medical records and health information technician ($36,000)*
- Medical and health services manager ($96,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 4 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements Roughly 60 credits Roughly 120 credits
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

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

Associate's in Health Administration

Associate's degree programs in health administration offer a strong foundation in medical terminology and medical office management. Students gain an understanding of the growing EHR industry. You'll also learn the basics of human anatomy and medical coding. Some programs provide a strong background in the sciences and might require that you spend time in a laboratory environment.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Might be advantageous when competing against individuals with just a high school diploma
  • Credits earned in an associate's program might transfer to a bachelor's program should you decide to continue your education
  • Programs deliver a foundation in business, medical and financial management principles

Cons

  • Advancing to positions in management at larger facilities generally requires a bachelor's degree, at minimum
  • Employers often prefer candidates with relevant certification, which is an added expense
  • A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum requirement for state licensure as a nursing care facility administrator

Courses and Requirements

Associate's degree programs offer a range of courses that prepare students for entry-level medical administration positions. You'll learn the basic skills required to manage daily operations of a range of healthcare facilities. Keep in mind that some programs offer an externship that might require a background check. The following are some common courses offered:

  • Health facility maintenance and sanitation
  • Fiscal management in healthcare
  • Healthcare facility labor practices
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical office management
  • Health records management

Online Degree Info

Online associate's degree programs in health administration are available. These programs offer courses similar to their on-campus counterparts. Some schools offer their online programs in an accelerated format with classes delivered in weekly sessions.

Stand Out with This Degree

Some employers prefer candidates with professional certification. Medical records and health information technicians generally pursue the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Keep in mind that RHIT eligibility requirements include a degree issued by a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Also, consider taking advantage of externships, field experiences or capstone projects to gain experience in your preferred healthcare setting. You should familiarize yourself with EHR systems and other relevant software systems.

Bachelor's in Health Administration

Bachelor's degree programs offer courses similar to associate's degree programs, although many schools deliver advanced coursework and a wider range of electives. You'll learn theories of healthcare facility management through the professional core and major coursework in financial management, organizational behavior and management principles. In addition, elective courses in information systems and community health help students focus their studies.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Might be advantageous when competing against individuals with an associate's degree
  • Typically required for work as a medical or health services manager
  • Programs provide the foundation required to pursue a master's degree in health administration

Cons

  • Competition against master's degree holders will present a challenge for some opportunities in larger facilities
  • Accepting lower-level administrative assistant positions might be required to advance to assistant administrator or managerial positions
  • Pursuing a master's degree for higher-level positions will require additional time and money

Courses and Requirements

Bachelor's degree programs offer the foundation required for management roles through curricula that explore business, medical and technical concepts. Programs prepare students for medical generalist and specialist management opportunities. Some programs offer an internship or capstone project that provides hands-on learning opportunities. Some of the courses you might take include:

  • Law and healthcare management
  • Public health
  • Healthcare informatics
  • Emergency management
  • Healthcare outcomes
  • Medical information systems management

Online Degree Info

Online bachelor's degree programs deliver curricula similar to traditional programs that emphasize the business side of healthcare facilities. Online programs often are designed to meet the needs of working professionals, including those seeking advancement opportunities.

Stand Out with This Degree

Similar to associate's degree graduates, job candidates should possess experience when seeking an entry-level management position. Consider taking advantage of a range of field experiences, including internships and externships. Being knowledgeable about EHR systems also could prove helpful.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DCJ: Education
      • DBA: Business Administration
      • DCJ: Homeland Security
      • EDD: School Leadership
    Master's
      • MEd: Exceptional Student Education
      • MS: Criminal Justice
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Critical Incident Management
      • MS: Criminal Justice - Legal Studies
      • MS: Psychology
      • MA: Creative Writing - Fiction
    Bachelor's
      • BA: Criminal Justice
      • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
      • BA: Liberal Studies
      • BA: Psychology
      • BA: Psychology - General
      • BS: Computer Science
    Associate's
      • AA: Criminal Justice
      • AA: Liberal Arts
      • AA: Business Administration
      • AA: Information Technology
      • AA: Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    2. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
      • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
      • MSHS Clinical Operations & Healthcare Management
      • MSHS in Clinical Microbiology
    Bachelor's
      • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
      • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development
      • Associate of Science in Fire Science
      • AAS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
      • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
      • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Behavioral Health
    Master's
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
      • M.A. in Reading with an Emphasis in Secondary Education
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Economics
      • Master of Public Administration and Policy
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • MS - Game Design (Campus)
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
      • M.S. - Public Relations
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Creative Writing for Entertainment (Campus)
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
    Certificate
      • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Campus Locations:
    7. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Collision Repair and Refinishing
      • Automotive Technology
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
      • Electrical/Electronics
      • Diesel Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Criminal Justice, M.S.
      • Business Administration, MBA
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Communication Studies, B.A.
      • Criminal Justice, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S. - Emphasis in Biblical Studies
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice, A.S.
      • Psychology, A.S.
      • Communication Studies, A.A.
      • General Studies, A.A.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
      • Master of Business Administration - International Business (Spanish)
      • Master of Business Admin - Information Security Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts - Business Administration with a concentration in Transportation and Logistics
      • B.A. - Legal Studies
      • B.A. - Psychology
      • B.A. - Accounting
      • B.S.s - Information Technology Management
      • B.A. - Political Science
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Information Technology
      • Associate of Arts - Criminal Justice
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
      • Associate of Arts - Paralegal
      • Associate of Arts - Homeland Security
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

Featured Schools

Saint Leo University

  • DCJ: Education
  • MEd: Exceptional Student Education
  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • AA: Criminal Justice

What is your highest level of education completed?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AAS in Legal Support and Services
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Master of Arts in Economics

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Lincoln Tech

  • Collision Repair and Refinishing
  • Automotive Technology
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Colorado Christian University

  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Communication Studies, B.A.
  • Criminal Justice, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?