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. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. 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 of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
      • MBA: Health Care Management
    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
      • AASBA in Food/Hotel Management
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
      • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting 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
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor Of Education - Leadership
      • Doctor of Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • DBA: Healthcare Management
      • DBA: Marketing
      • DBA: Project Management
      • DBA: Human Resources
    Master's
      • MA: Communication
      • MA: Professional Counseling
      • Master of Arts in Public Policy - Public Administration
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Developmental Psychology
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Industrial Organizational Psychology
      • MA: Human Services Counseling: Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Walden University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
      • PhD in Criminal Justice - General
      • PhD in Criminal Justice - Online Teaching in Higher Education
      • PhD in Education - Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment & Evaluation
      • PhD in Education - Learning, Instruction & Innovation
      • PhD in Psychology - Teaching
    Master's
      • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
      • MS in Education - Self-Designed
      • MS in Education - Elementary Reading & Literacy (Grades PreK-6)
      • MS in Education - Elementary Reading & Mathematics (Grades K-6)
      • MS in Education - Mathematics & Science (Grades K-8)
      • MS in Education - Mathematics (Grades 5-8)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Trident University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Business Administration (Ph.D.)
      • Health Sciences (Ph.D.)
      • Doctor of Business Administration
      • Educational Leadership (Ed. D.)
      • Educational Leadership (Ph.D.)
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education
    Bachelor's
      • Computer Sciences (BSCS)
      • Business Administration (BSBA)
      • Human Resources Management (BSHRM)
      • Homeland Security (BSHLS)
      • Information Technology Management (BSITM)
      • Leadership (BSL)
    Associate's
      • Professional Studies (ASPS)
    Certificate
      • CMCB - Certificate in Medical Coding and Billing
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. The Chicago School

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ed.D. Educational Psychology and Technology
      • Ph.D. Business Psychology, Consulting Track
      • Ph.D. Business Psychology, I/O Track
      • Ph.D. International Psychology
      • Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis
      • Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis, Credential Track
    Master's
      • M.A. Psychology
      • Dual Enrollment: Master of Health Service Administration and Master of Public Health
      • M.A. Behavioral Economics
      • M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling
      • M.A. Forensic Psychology
      • M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: ARP Track
    Certificate
      • Certificate in Forensic Psychology - M.A. Non-Licensure Track to Licensure Bridge Program
      • Child and Adolescent Psychology Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
      • Instructional Design Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.Ed. in Educational Administration
      • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
      • M.Ed. in Secondary Education
      • M.Ed. in Special Education: Cross-Categorical
      • M.Ed. in Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education-ITL
      • M.A. in English with an Emphasis in Education
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
      • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)
      • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education
      • B.S. in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Christian Education
      • Bachelor of Arts in History for Secondary Education (ITL)
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in English as a Second Language
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Visionary Leadership
    Master's
      • Criminal Justice, M.S.
      • 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
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
    Bachelor's
      • Psychology, B.S.
      • B.S. Applied Psychology: Biblical Studies
      • B.S. Accountancy
      • B.S. Business: International Business
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice, A.S.
      • Psychology, A.S.
      • Communication Studies, A.A.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
      • Human Resource Management, A.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies
      • Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Biblical Counseling
      • Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Grief Counseling
      • Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Human Services Counseling
      • Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - Human Services/Student Affairs
      • Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies - International
    Master's
      • Master of Divinity - Interdisciplinary Studies
      • Master of Divinity - Old Testament
      • Master of Divinity - Christian Theology
  • Online Programs Available
    10. 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 Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Human Resource Analytics and Management

Featured Schools

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

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?

Liberty University

  • Doctor Of Education - Leadership
  • Doctor of Education - Curriculum and Instruction
  • MA: Communication
  • MA: Professional Counseling

What is your highest level of education?

Walden University

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - General
  • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
  • MS in Education - Self-Designed

What is your highest level of education completed?

Trident University

  • Business Administration (Ph.D.)
  • Master of Arts in Education
  • Computer Sciences (BSCS)
  • Professional Studies (ASPS)
  • CMCB - Certificate in Medical Coding and Billing

What is your highest level of education completed?

The Chicago School

  • Ed.D. Educational Psychology and Technology
  • M.A. Psychology
  • Certificate in Forensic Psychology - M.A. Non-Licensure Track to Licensure Bridge Program

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.Ed. in Educational Administration
  • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Visionary Leadership
  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Psychology, B.S.
  • Criminal Justice, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?