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. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Elementary Education (Online)
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Middle Grades Education (Online)
      • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Secondary Education (Online)
      • Doctor Of Education - Leadership
      • Doctor of Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • Doctor of Business Administration: International Business
    Master's
      • MA: Communication
      • MED: Curriculum and Instruction: Urban Education
      • MA: Professional Counseling
      • Master of Arts in Public Policy - Public Administration
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Developmental Psychology
      • MA: Applied Psychology: Industrial Organizational Psychology
  • 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
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice
      • Doctor of Criminal Justice - Policing
    Master's
      • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • M.Ed. - General Education
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Criminal Justice
      • Master of Legal Studies
      • MPA - Criminal Justice
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    5. 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 Psychology - General
      • MS in Psychology - Self Design
      • MS in Developmental Psychology - Administration & Leadership
      • MS in Developmental Psychology - General
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Psychology - MS AIM Track
      • BS in Criminal Justice - Advanced Topics Criminal Justice AIM
      • BS in Criminal Justice - Self-Designed
      • BS in Psychology - Applied Psychology
      • BS in Psychology - Criminal Justice
      • BS in Psychology - General Psychology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Independence University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Information Systems (MS)
      • Nursing Administration (MS)
      • Nursing Education (MS)
    Bachelor's
      • Accounting (BS)
      • Business Administration (BS)
      • Business Administration - Human Resources Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Marketing Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Technology Emphasis (BS)
      • Health Services Management (BS)
    Associate's
      • Medical Assisting (AOS)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA: Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management: Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Residential Electrician
      • Career Diploma - Virtual Assistant
      • Career Diploma - Wildlife/Forestry Conservation
      • Career Diploma - Plumber
      • Career Diploma - Administrative Assistant
      • Career Diploma - Bookkeeping
  • Campus Locations:
    9. Universal Technical Institute

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Collision Repair and Refinish Technology
      • Marine Technician Specialist
      • Diesel Technology
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      • Automotive Technology
      • NASCAR Technology
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • MS - Entertainment Business (Campus)
      • MS - Game Design (Campus)
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • BS - Information Technology Bachelors (Campus)
      • BS - Creative Writing Bachelors (Campus)
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)

Featured Schools

Liberty University

  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Elementary Education (Online)
  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Middle Grades Education (Online)
  • MA: Communication
  • MED: Curriculum and Instruction: Urban Education

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

Walden University

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
  • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
  • BS in Psychology - MS AIM Track

What is your highest level of education completed?

Independence University

  • Information Systems (MS)
  • Accounting (BS)
  • Medical Assisting (AOS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Residential Electrician
  • Career Diploma - Virtual Assistant
  • Career Diploma - Wildlife/Forestry Conservation

What is your highest level of education?