Healthcare Administration Degree Overview

James Mielke
Updated June 3, 2024
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Interested in healthcare administration? Learn more about healthcare administration degree programs and potential careers.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

A healthcare administration degree prepares you for a career in healthcare administration and management.

Coursework typically centers on business and management topics in the healthcare industry. You can expect to take classes in subjects like healthcare communication, healthcare marketing, healthcare finance, and human resources.

With a healthcare administration major, you can pursue a variety of leadership roles, such as HR manager, hospital administrator, and medical billing manager.

Types of Healthcare Administration Degrees You Can Get

Whether you want to jumpstart your healthcare career with an associate degree or raise your earning potential with a doctorate, there’s a healthcare administration degree for you.

Associate in Healthcare Administration

  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Sample Careers: Patient services representative, medical records technician, medical secretary

An associate degree in healthcare administration is an easy way to jumpstart your healthcare career. With this two-year degree, you’ll take classes such as medical terminology, introduction to healthcare management, patient privacy, and health policy.

You can also use your associate degree as a pathway toward a bachelor’s degree.

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Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration

  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Sample Careers: Health services manager, nursing home administrator, training and development manager, health care human resources manager

While doctors and nurses often attract the limelight, healthcare administrators work behind the scenes, ensuring that health organizations run smoothly. A bachelor’s in healthcare administration prepares you for a long list of careers in healthcare, from health services manager to nursing home administrator. You can also serve in roles managing the delivery of services in hospital departments and clinics.

Throughout your program, you’ll hone skills in medical billing and coding, quality assurance, and healthcare policy and ethics.

Many bachelor’s in health administration degrees also offer specializations in areas like organizational leadership, finance, marketing, and project management.

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Master’s in Healthcare Administration

  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Sample Careers: Administrative services manager, medical services manager, hospital administrator

A master of healthcare administration (MHA) is a great academic option if you want to expand your career options and enhance your earning potential while taking on leadership roles in healthcare.

This degree takes 2-3 years to complete and instructs you in advanced subjects like healthcare operations management, financial management, and strategic planning.

Many MHA students also pursue professional certifications, such as certified medical manager, certified healthcare financial professional, and certified healthcare access manager.

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Doctorate in Healthcare Administration

  • Program Length: 3-8 years
  • Sample Careers: Professor, research director, hospital administrator

A doctor of healthcare administration (DHA) is a solid choice if you want to assume executive roles or seek jobs in academia and research.

In a DHA program, you’ll take advanced healthcare administration courses, such as research methods, applied statistics, and economics and finance in healthcare. Graduation requirements often include an original dissertation and a comprehensive exam.

With a DHA, you can access a long list of careers, including research director, healthcare administration professor, and hospital CEO.

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Can You Earn a Healthcare Administration Degree Online?

Online healthcare administration degrees offer a flexible and affordable pathway.

With an online program, you can expand your career options and increase your earning potential while maintaining a full-time job and tending to other day-to-day responsibilities like childcare.

While online healthcare administration degrees are a perfect fit for some, be sure to consider your own needs before applying. You may find that you prefer a traditional, campus-based healthcare administration degree program over a 100% online degree.

Healthcare Administration Degree: Salary and Job Outlook

As a health admin major, you can expect to earn an above-average salary.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Payscale, many healthcare administration jobs boast median annual salaries above $75,00

The table below shows salary data and projected job growth rates for common healthcare administration careers. As with any job you may want to pursue, be sure to research the specific requirements for that position before applying.

10 Popular Healthcare Administration Jobs
JobAnnual SalaryJob Growth Rate (2022-2032)
Human Resources Manager$130,000 (median)5%
Medical and Health Services Manager$110,680 (median)28%
Administrative Services and Facilities Manager$104,900 (median)5%
Nursing Home Administrator$99,570 (average)N/A
Hospital Administrator$95,070 (average)N/A
Healthcare Consultant$86,450 (average)N/A
Healthcare Administrator$78,450 (average)N/A
Clinical Supervisor$65,950 (average)N/A
Medical Billing Manager$60,670 (average)N/A
Health Information Technologist or Medical Registrar$62,990 (median)16%
Sources: BLS, Payscale

How to Choose a Healthcare Administration Degree: 3 Tips

Finding the right healthcare administration degree is critical so you can save money and get the most out of your education. Here are some tips to help you meet your academic and career goals and choose the best hospital administration degree for you.

1. Define Your Goals

Finding a healthcare administration degree that aligns with your skills, interests, and goals is vital.

Begin your college search by writing down your goals. For example, do you want to manage an entire hospital or just a department? Do you want to work in academia?

You’ll also want to review the academic requirements for various careers to ensure that your academic path will lead to your intended professional goals.

2. Compare Programs

No two programs are identical, and health administration degree options can vary significantly by school and degree level. Be sure to consider factors like cost, curriculum, and location.

You should also verify that prospective schools offer specializations that match your goals.

Remember to take a close look at how schools deliver their programs, too. Do you want an in-person, online, or hybrid program? Some online health administration degrees offer only asynchronous classes, while others require you to attend live virtual classes.

3. Confirm Accreditation

Accreditation indicates that a school or program meets rigorous standards for educational quality set by an independent accrediting agency. Legitimate institutional accreditors are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Choosing an accredited school ensures that you receive a quality education and that you qualify for federal financial aid.

You can check a college or university’s accreditation status by going to its website and looking for information on its accreditations. Often, schools list accreditation details on their “About Us” pages.

Is a Degree in Healthcare Administration Worth It?

Like any academic field, a degree in healthcare administration could be a great fit for one student and a complete mismatch for another.

The best candidates for a healthcare administration degree typically aim to work in healthcare and boast strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Here are some reasons why a healthcare administration degree may or may not be worth it for you.

A Health Admin Major May Be Worth It If …

  • You want to be part of an in-demand field that’s rapidly expanding.
  • You’re looking for a degree that provides you with opportunities to pursue a variety of healthcare careers.
  • You want to work in a field where you can make a difference.

A Health Admin Major May Not Be Worth It If …

  • You’re happy and satisfied with your current career.
  • You want to work directly with patients in a clinical setting.
  • Overseeing and managing healthcare operations sounds overwhelmingly stressful to you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Healthcare Administration Degree Programs

Page last reviewed on May 16, 2024