A degree in healthcare administration prepares students to oversee departments and programs within hospitals, specialty clinics, and pharmaceutical companies. A full-time learner can typically earn their degree in four years, but candidates can expedite graduation by pursuing their healthcare administration degree online. By enrolling in accelerated tracks, distance learners can obtain their credentials in as little as two years.
Accredited online healthcare administration degrees train students in fundamental strategic planning, operations finance, communication, and decision-making skills. Candidates analyze how healthcare laws and regulations affect managed care systems and service quality. This guide offers extensive information on healthcare administration as an academic field and occupational industry. You can explore job options and learn how to pick the bachelor's program that best suits your needs.
What Is Healthcare Administration?
Healthcare administration is the practice of developing, managing, and administering the operations of complex health systems, including hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, and insurance providers. Healthcare administrators may manage entire facilities or certain organizational areas (like marketing or human resources). They can also work for a specific clinical department, such as cardiology, infectious disease, or nursing.
Duties within healthcare administration vary greatly based on designated role. Entry-level administrators oversee staffing, scheduling, communications, and other daily tasks. They also maintain records and order supplies. High-ranking administrators often work in a specialized subfield. For example, they may provide financial oversight for program budgeting and the revenue cycle. Healthcare leaders also drive organizational missions, ensure regulatory compliance, influence public health policies, and implement staff training programs.
Changes to U.S. healthcare regulations and medical technologies are driving job expansion in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that healthcare occupations will grow 14% between 2018 and 2028. This could translate to 1.9 million new jobs.
You can discover more about healthcare administration by checking out the program page below. The guide contains profiles on the 25 best online healthcare administration degree programs. You can also gain insight on financial aid opportunities for healthcare administration students.
What You Can Do With a Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration
Graduates with a bachelor's in healthcare administration are eligible for a variety of career paths in an array of settings, including chiropractic offices and emergency hospitals. Potential careers include nursing home administrator, clinic administrator, and chiropractic office manager. Careers in this field require professionals with strong skills in communication and interpersonal management. Most individuals working in healthcare administration have passion for people and business, as many careers in this field require skills in both. Healthcare is a constantly changing field, and the administrative side is no different. Administrators must stay up to date with the fluctuating state of the market.
- Medical and Health Services Managers
Also known as healthcare executives, these professionals plan, coordinate, and oversee health and medical services in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Medical service managers direct changes in healthcare regulations, technology, and laws. Healthcare executives may manage entire facilities, individual departments, or groups of physicians.
Median Annual Salary: $99,730
Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 18%
- Administrative Services Managers
Administrative services managersare responsible for the planning, direction, and coordination of support services for a facility. Career responsibilities may vary, but most managers supervise recordkeeping, facility upkeep, and resource distribution.
Median Annual Salary: $96,180
Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 7%
- Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
These individuals are responsible for the organization and management of healthcare data and information. Critical job responsibilities include maintaining quality, accuracy, and accessibility in medical records and electronic systems.
Median Annual Salary: $40,350
Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 11%
- Insurance Underwriters
Insurance underwriters are responsible for deciding whether or not to provide a client with insurance and under what specific terms. These professionals may work for individuals, hospitals, and healthcare organizations. Underwriters evaluate applications for insurance and determine coverage amounts.
Median Annual Salary: $69,380
Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): -5%
- Human Resource Managers
Human resource managers direct, coordinate, and plan the administrative functions of their organization by overseeing recruitment and hiring as well as communicating with executives regarding business strategy and planning. Human resource managers are often the connection between the management and employees of a company.
Median Annual Salary: $113,300
Projected Growth Rate (2018-28): 7%
Consult the following career guide to examine additional opportunities for healthcare administration majors. The page covers job options by industry, employment statistics by location, continuing education opportunities, and professional development resources.
What to Expect in a Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration Program
To earn an online bachelor's degree in healthcare administration, you must complete at least 120 credits. This process takes 2-4 years based on program structure. Depending on your prior work and academic experiences, you can earn transfer credits, thereby saving money on tuition and expediting degree completion. Some postsecondary schools deliver dual-degree tracks that allow you to earn both a bachelor's and a master's in about five years.
Undergraduate coursework in healthcare administration typically includes core topics like introduction to the U.S. healthcare system, medical terminology, and healthcare finance principles. You also train in personnel management and marketing fundamentals. The remaining credits consist of open and guided electives, with some schools offering concentrations in areas like allied health management, nonprofit fundraising, and healthcare informatics.
The best online healthcare administration degrees integrate hands-on learning through practicum and internship placements to help you prepare to enter the workforce. Undergraduate training generally culminates with a capstone project, in which you synthesize research and strategic management skills to develop innovative solutions to real-world healthcare challenges. Graduates are prepared to occupy administrative positions or enroll in master of health administration programs.
While the curriculum varies by program, here are some common courses for a bachelor's program in healthcare administration.
- The U.S. Healthcare System
Students examine the historical shift from an acute hospital-based care system to an ambulatory system focused on chronic and preventative treatments. They also explore current trends related to an aging U.S. population and regulations like the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Healthcare Information Systems
Degree candidates learn to use information management software for administrative and clinical applications. The class also trains students to apply data analysis techniques to make informed managerial decisions.
- Healthcare Economics
In this course, students use economic principles to analyze the organization and distribution of healthcare resources in the United States. They delve into market evaluation methods and discuss the government's role in regulating and financing health services.
- Health Laws and Ethics
Students explore the daily moral and ethical challenges faced by healthcare professionals with regard to patient autonomy, workers' rights, information privacy, and quality assurance. Candidates develop frameworks to engage with ethical dilemmas and healthcare regulations.
- Operations Management
The class covers healthcare planning, directing, and leadership responsibilities. Candidates learn to manage staff, negotiate financial obligations, and deliver quality patient care that meets ACA standards.
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration Program
Higher education institutions need to earn national or regional accreditation to confer valid academic degrees and certificates. Schools become nationally accredited through authorities endorsed by the Council for Higher Education Institution and the U.S. Department of Education. They obtain regional accreditation from one of six organizations based on location.
If you want to earn a healthcare administration degree online, it is important to enroll in a program that also possesses specialized accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education. Accredited programs meet industry standards and benefit from the full recognition of government agencies, professional associations, and employers. By earning an accredited degree, you are eligible to sit for major certification and licensure exams.
Below is a list of some other factors to keep in mind.
- Tuition Rate: To ensure you graduate with little or no student loan debt, choose a university that offers affordable tuition rates. Many online bachelor's degrees in health administration come with low tuition that ignores residency status.
- Program Outcomes: Healthcare administration is a specialized field. Ensure that your bachelor's program equips you with technical knowledge and best practices that directly advance your career. Consider elements like concentration options, capstone experience, and networking opportunities.
- Student Resources: Effective colleges and universities support students in and outside the classroom through individualized degree counseling, tutoring services, and internship opportunities. They also deliver career guidance, helping learners search for work, build engaging resumes, and practice for job interviews.
Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration Program Admissions
Prospective students should be familiar with the admissions process, including general criteria and application documents like school transcripts, recommendation letters, and standardized test results. You should also prepare to furnish a one- to two-page personal statement detailing academic interests and career goals. Because requirements vary by program, confirm details with your school's admissions specialists. These skilled counselors can help you submit materials and apply for financial aid in a timely manner.
- Minimum GPA
- ACT/SAT scores
- Prerequisite coursework
College applications generally require some of your personal information, your high school transcripts, transcripts of previously attended institutions, any relevant test scores, and recommendations. Often, applications also require a personal statement essay.
A transcript is a compiled document that summarizes your academic performance at a given institution. Included on a transcript is a list of classes you have taken, the grade earned in each, and your overall GPA. To get an official copy of your transcript, you typically have to request it directly from your school.
- Letters of Recommendation
Most schools require at least two official letters of recommendation. These letters can be written by supervisors, professors, or another person qualified to vouch for your abilities. Letters should not be written by family members. It is polite to request a letter at least three or four weeks prior to your application deadline to give the writer a chance to consider your request and complete the letter in time.
- Test Scores
Most schools require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores along with their application. These tests measure competency in reading comprehension, writing skills, and mathematical ability. Minimum score requirements often vary by institution.
- Application Fee
On average, applying to any four-year school costs $45-$50. In some cases, such as direct admission, this fee may be waived. These fees go toward the administrative process of reviewing an applicant's submission.
Resources for Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration Students
Published by Dove Medical Press, the Journal of Healthcare Leadership is an international publication subject to peer review by esteemed professionals in the field. Articles focus on leadership roles for healthcare professionals and aim to educate key decision-makers on best practices in healthcare around the world.
Founded in 1973, this journal is a longstanding resource for administrative professionals in healthcare seeking current information on policy and healthcare developments.
Launched in 2011, this journal was created and is run by Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The journal publishes work from many types of administrations, including education, healthcare, nursing, and business.
Written by Nick Jacobs, this blog handles issues regarding healthcare analysis, healthcare app reviews, and IT issues in large hospitals.
This resource allows you to keep track of the latest developments surrounding healthcare policies and acts, such as the ACA. The government updates this page with major deadlines and legislative news.