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

About this article
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.
View available schools

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. Kaplan University

    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
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master: Psychology/General Psychology
      • MSPY - Industrial/Organizational Psychology Specialization
      • Master of Public Health
    Bachelor's
      • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
    Certificate
      • Psychology
      • Certificate in Human Services
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Online Programs Available
    3. 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
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
      • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
      • Master of Science in Engineering Technology
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
      • Master of Public Health
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Seton Hall University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance
      • Master of Business Administration - Marketing
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Widener University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Dual Master of Jurisprudence in Corporate and Business Law / Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Business Process Innovation
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • Hybrid Dual Master of Social Work/Master of Education, Human Sexuality Studies
      • Master of Social Work
    Bachelor's
      • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Liberal Arts
      • Master of Arts in Science Writing
      • Master of Science in Applied Economics
      • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
      • Master of Science in Bioinformatics
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication - General
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance
      • Master of Business Administration - General
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ph.D. in Literacy
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
      • Ph.D in Literacy: Literacy
    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Science in Taxation
      • Master of Science in Library and Information Science
      • Master of Science in Library and Information Science: Academic Librarianship

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • Master: Legal Studies
  • Undergraduate in Legal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Psychology

Which subject are you interested in?

George Mason University

  • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

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?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
  • Master of Science in Finance
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
  • Master of Science in Engineering Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Seton Hall University

  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management
  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Widener University

  • Dual Master of Jurisprudence in Corporate and Business Law / Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Arts in Science Writing

What is your highest level of education?