Management expertise can be applied in a wide range of settings, even the field of healthcare, which continually needs new recruits as the national average lifespan increases. Students interested in combining a knack for business with an interest in health services are well-suited for a career in healthcare management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for medical and health services managers are projected to grow 20% from 2016-2026, well above the national average.
A healthcare management degree can greatly expand your employment opportunities in this exciting, innovative field. A bachelor's in healthcare management can jump start a career or expand a professional's skillset. This guide provides an overview of how to obtain a bachelor's in healthcare management, for which options this degree prepares its holder, and which resources can support those entering this field.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management?
Healthcare management degree holders may qualify for a wide range of postgraduation employment options. A healthcare management degree imparts strong skills in organization, leadership, quality assurance, and information technology management. Coursework prepares students to deal with the complex demands of large systems such as Medicaid and medical billing and coding. Students enrolled in the degree may take advantage of abundant networking opportunities among classmates and faculty. Once you approach graduation, you can access job placement assistance and internships to test your newfound skills. Post-graduation, your skills in management, administration, and information technology can make you a competitive candidate for health service management and administrative positions in the private and public sectors.
Many schools offer online bachelor's degrees in healthcare management in addition to regular on-campus programs. Working professionals who are looking to switch careers or expand their skill-set might prefer an online healthcare management bachelor's program, which offers a more flexible and convenient format. Working professionals who have already earned their degrees and want to transfer some credits might also appreciate the convenience of an online format. Alternately, fresh high school graduates interested in entering the healthcare management field might benefit more from an on-campus degree. High school graduates may appreciate that on-campus programs offer more numerous and personalized networking opportunities. On-campus degrees also provide more freedom for students to explore different concentrations or try different electives.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management?
Bachelor's in healthcare management graduates may qualify for employment in a variety of medical and health services-related settings, including hospitals, clinics, and government agencies. They may end up overseeing administrative duties in a healthcare facility, like a hospital or hospice. They might also manage information technology systems or handle finances in a healthcare facility or government office. Since the degree covers clinical and health service duties, information systems, and the foundations of finance and business, graduates can plan their careers based on their interests and personality types. For example, health services managers must interact with lots of people, while a more introverted graduate might prefer to work as a financial manager.
- Medical and Health Services Manager
A bachelor's in healthcare management equips these managers (or administrators) to direct, plan, and monitor medical and health services. They coordinate staff schedules and supervise the activities of facility personnel, including nurses and doctors. They might also monitor the usage of facilities, services, and staff to ensure best practices and effective resource allocation.
Median Annual Salary: $98,350
Projected Growth Rate: 20%
- Medical Records and Health Information Technician
These technicians review medical records and retrieve patient information for doctors, nurses, and other technicians. Special coursework from their bachelor's equips them with the knowledge to process, maintain, and compile medical records and patient information in consistence with legal, ethical, and regulatory requirements, as well as the medical coding system.
Median Annual Salary: $39,180
Projected Growth Rate: 13%
- Management Analyst
An analyst (or consultant) compiles and reviews data, then shares it with clients to advise them on improving efficiency. A management analyst position usually requires a bachelor's. On a typical day, they might meet with administrative management to share their analysis of findings on the efficacy of the hospital's resource allocation.
Median Annual Salary: $82,450
Projected Growth Rate: 14%
- Financial Manager
A financial manager directs an organization's financial operations, managing investment activities and developing plans for how to forward the organization's financial goals. In a healthcare environment, a bachelor's in healthcare administration may help them work with administrators to develop strategies that benefit the financial well-being of the facility.
Median Annual Salary: $125,080
Projected Growth Rate: 19%
- Human Resources Manager
Human resource managers oversee an organization's human resources department, completing tasks like reviewing new hires and resolving workplace conflicts. These positions often require a bachelor's degree, which equips them with the conflict resolution and problem-solving skills to navigate human resource issues in workplace settings.
Median Annual Salary: $110,120
Projected Growth Rate: 9%
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management Program
Students choosing a bachelor's program in healthcare management must consider a wide range of factors, such as program length, and whether a prospective program offers part-time options. For example, working professionals may find that only part-time programs fit their schedules. Some students might also choose to speed up their degree via an accelerated program. Moreover, the longer a program takes to complete, the more it might cost. Other factors, such as whether you attend an in-state or out-of-state program, could affect cost.
Working students or students looking to spend less time on their degree might prefer online options, but even some online programs may include a residency requirement, in which case location should take priority. Students in these situations should also consider the quality and cost of living.
Make sure your prospective programs offer specializations and coursework that are relevant to your career interests. Check the curriculum of each program to see if it concludes with a thesis or capstone project. Some programs may require a practicum or other direct learning experience. Also make sure your programs of choice are properly accredited.
Programmatic Accreditation for Bachelor's in Healthcare Management Programs
Accrediting bodies maintain operating standards in schools and academic programs, periodically evaluating institutions and programs and sharing their findings. Before taking a more serious interest in a school or specific program, you need to make sure both the school and program are accredited. Otherwise, you might face problems down the line; for instance, many schools do not accept transfer credits from non-accredited institutions. Getting a degree from a non-accredited school could negatively affect your job prospects or ability to get into the graduate school of your choice.
Programmatic accreditation ensures that programs for a specific discipline across the country all comply with the same educational standards. For instance, medical and nursing schools come with programmatic accreditation to make sure physicians and nurses nationwide receive an equal level of instruction. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education handles programmatic accreditation for healthcare management degrees.
Bachelor's in Healthcare Management Program Admissions
High school graduates and postgraduate students typically apply for on-campus programs, while nontraditional learners and postgraduates deal with online admissions. Online admissions are often more involved than admissions for on-campus programs, since some online programs require admission to the on-campus program as well. However, the admissions processes for both online and on-campus programs require the same list of materials from students: a completed application, the application fee, letters of recommendation or other relevant supplements, standardized test scores, and either a high school or college transcript.
Ideally, you should apply to between five and eight colleges, all accredited, with programs that fit your budget and scheduling needs. Applying to too many schools can lead to burnout, but too few options can limit you, especially if you do not get into your prospective schools.
- Minimum GPA: A typical undergraduate program expects applicants to show an average GPA of at least 2.0. Sometimes schools allow applicants to bypass this requirement with high enough test scores.
- Application: College applications rarely exceed a few pages in length. Most colleges let you submit either through mail or online. Many schools use the CommonApp standardized application format.
- Transcripts: You can request your high school transcript in-person or over the phone. This requires you to provide identifying information such as photo ID and your graduation year. Sometimes a small fee accompanies a transcript request.
- Letters of Recommendation: Most schools only ask for one letter of recommendation, usually from a past teacher or other mentor. Give your mentor two weeks to a month of notice before asking.
- Standardized Test Scores: You need to take either the SAT or ACT. Most schools expect scores in the 25th percentile (a 1470 for the SAT and a 16 for the ACT).
- Application Fee: Typical college application fees range from $25 to $90. Some colleges may choose to waive this fee for in-state students or students who asked for a fee waiver with the SAT.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management Program?
Each bachelor's in healthcare management program offers its own curriculum, concentration options, and tuition rates, and has its own credit requirements. Factors that may influence these differences may include whether a school is public or private, instructor expectations, and where the school's academic strengths lie. Keep some of these factors in mind when choosing a program.
|Health Information Systems and Technology Management||Some health management majors may want to pursue this concentration, which prepares them to work closely with the technology utilized by medical and health services, including diagnostic and treatment equipment, electronic record systems, and electronic data processing. Coursework includes topics such as IT infrastructure and healthcare data management.||Medical records and health information technician, management analyst|
|Long-Term Care||Concentrations in long-term care tailor to students interested in health service settings such as residential communities and nursing homes. Students study topics in clinical aspects of disability, aging, and issues in long-term care. This concentration prepares students to sit for long-term care and nursing home licensure exams.||Medical and health services manager at a long-term care facility|
|Leadership and Management||Some students may want a more versatile, generalized degree focusing on leadership and management. For these, a concentration in leadership and management may boost their skills in organizational leadership theory and application. This degree prepares students for leadership positions in healthcare management and administration.||Medical and health services manager, financial manager, management analyst|
|Community Public Health||This concentration is for students interested in educating the public and influencing public health policy makers. This versatile concentration equips holders with a macro-view of healthcare delivery systems, and readies them to work in office settings. Coursework includes topics such as nutrition, consumer health, and community health.||Human resources manager at a healthcare facility, medical and health services manager|
|Medical Practice Management||A medical practice management concentration prepares students for a number of a management and administration positions in a clinical practice setting. The concentration also partly prepares students for certification from the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Coursework may include topics such as human resource management, medical practice operations management, and healthcare quality control.||Medical and health services manager at a clinical practice|
Courses in a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management Program
Depending on the school, curricula in healthcare management degrees vary widely. Some schools focus on business fundamentals, while other focus on healthcare practice. The sample curriculum below should give an idea of common courses in most programs, touching on technology, healthcare standards, and foundations of management and business.
- Healthcare Delivery Systems, Regulation, and Compliance
This course gives an overview of the U.S. healthcare system as a whole, the various players that make the rules, and how providers navigate this system to deliver their services in accordance with these rules. Students learn about the complex interplay of policy and compliance issues in the healthcare system.
- Healthcare Quality and Risk Management
This courses focuses on the principles behind creating a safe and effective workplace. Students learn strategies for minimizing risk and maximizing organizational efficacy and positive patient outcomes. They also study theories on organizational culture's effects on the workplace, particularly impacts on quality control, productivity, and risk.
- Technology Applications in Healthcare
A course in technology applications covers how the healthcare system integrates with and influences new diagnostic, data analysis, and record management technology. Students also learn about the ethical, legal, practical, and privacy-related considerations entailed by access to patient Information and medical records, such as protecting patient's private information.
- Information Systems Management
Students learn about how IT system organization relates to business, along with IT system architecture, electronic commerce, and organizational strategies. The course also touches on ethical and social issues in IT system management, as well as IT's relation to regulatory issues in healthcare.
- Healthcare Values and Ethics
This course in healthcare values and ethics explores the complex moral considerations of medical and health services. Students learn the practice and theory behind ethical standards in healthcare issues, such as patient care and staffing issues. They also explore the foundation for principles in healthcare, such as empathy, autonomy, and respect.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management?
On average, it takes about three to four years to complete a healthcare management bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree generally amounts to between 120 and 125 semester credits in total. The length of a bachelor's degree depends largely on whether the student takes classes part-time or full-time. For a busy working professional, a part-time course load may prove the only workable option. However, taking on a full-time course load can greatly reduce the length of the degree. Opting for an online bachelor's can also reduce time in school. Online bachelor's degrees often come in accelerated formats, which allow students to finish the degree as quickly as in two and half years. Self-paced courses also give students the chance to speed up their degrees, and therefore spend less money on them.
How Much Is a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management?
Tuition for a bachelor's in healthcare management varies depending on the institution, along with other factors. Students in the United States spend between $5,000 and $50,000 on tuition each year. Public schools typically offer much lower tuition rates than private schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school students in the 2015-16 school year paid an average of $16,757 in tuition, and private school students paid $39,011. In-state students at public universities pay the lowest yearly tuition rates, but out-of-state students may end up paying significantly higher tuition at these same schools.
Other costs factor into tuition, including housing fees, parking passes, textbooks, and technology. Unlike on-campus programs, online degrees do not incur costs relating to housing, transportation, and textbooks. Online degrees also usually offer relatively low tuition rates. Most online schools charge between $5,000 and $15,000 each year. All in all, students can expect to pay between $5,000 and $25,000 for a bachelor's in healthcare management. At Park University, for instance, students can anticipate an average yearly tuition of $12,130 for a bachelor's in healthcare management. Students at Cleary University pay an average of $17,600.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management Prepares For
- Certified Medical Manager Certification (CMM)
The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management offers certification for medical practice healthcare managers. To obtain certification, applicants must first show two years of healthcare experience and at least 12 college credits relating to healthcare management. Additionally, an eligible applicant must belong to PAHCOM.
- AAHAM Certified Compliance Technician (CCT)
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) offers certification for revenue cycle employees in healthcare who handle patient accounts involving government payers and compliance. The exam covers mastery of healthcare compliance plans, compliance agencies, the Inspector General's compliance recommendations, and penalties. The online-proctored exam takes 90 minutes to complete. Applicants do not need to be AAHAM members.
- AAHAM Certified Revenue Cycle Professional (CRCP)
The AAHAM offers revenue cycle professional certification to mid-level healthcare managers in a four-hour exam. The exam covers topics such as revenue cycle management, billing, patient accessibility, and collections. Eligible applicants must show an associate degree and two years of healthcare setting experience. The certification is only available to AAHAM members.
- AAHAM Certified Revenue Integrity Professional (CRIP)
AAHAM offers this certification for revenue cycle healthcare employees who ensure proper charge capture, billing, and documentation of patient services. The online-proctored exam lasts four hours and covers topics such ancillary services, surgical procedures, charge capture, and clinical services. Only AAHAM members may apply for CRIP certification.
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)
CPHIMS certification recognizes a high level of knowledge and skill in healthcare informatics professionals. Eligible applicants must show a bachelor's and five years of professional experience, including three in a healthcare setting. The exam consists of 115 multiple choice questions, and tests recall, application, and analysis of topics including IT architecture, management, and e-health.
Resources for Healthcare Management Students
The NHCL nonprofit advocates for strong leadership and organizational principles in healthcare through partnerships, research, and events. The organization offers a number of fellowships for graduate-level students.
The ACHE offers a network of educational resources for healthcare management degree students, including webinars, online seminars, and a job center. The organization also publishes books and journals on contemporary issues in healthcare management.
PAHCOM offers numerous forms of credentialing for healthcare management professionals, as well as resources for networking and continuing education including webinars and an online member library.
CAHME is the nationally recognized accrediting body for health management college programs. In addition to resources including a search engine for accredited programs, it offers a fellowship program for students interested in healthcare management education.
The government association Healthy People offers a number of webinars, events, and evidence-based resources researching patterns in national health. The site also offers a search engine for research data on public health.
Professional Organizations in Healthcare Management
Professional organizations can offer both current students and fresh graduates opportunities to further their careers and experience the benefits of joining a larger community of professionals. These organizations offer opportunities for networking, continuing education, and career services in the form of conferences, online classes, seminars, and other resources. Events such as the Medical Group Management Association's annual conference can give students and young professionals the opportunity to learn from seasoned veterans and explore their own interests.