Healthcare Administration Degree Guide

by TBS Staff

Updated August 17, 2022 • 5 min read is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Healthcare Administration Degrees

A degree in healthcare administration can lead to a variety of roles in health and business. As the population in the U.S. continues to age, the demand for healthcare workers is projected to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the demand for medical and health services managers to grow by 18% between 2018 and 2028.

This page provides information about health administration degree requirements and potential careers for graduates.

What Can You Do With a Healthcare Administration Degree?

Healthcare administration graduates frequently take leadership roles in healthcare organizations, working with medical staff to plan, coordinate, and improve the delivery of healthcare services.

Graduates of healthcare administration programs gain the knowledge and skills needed to work in management and supervisory positions. Potential roles include medical and health services manager, medical records and health information technician, human resources manager, and training and development manager. Work settings cna include hospitals, nursing homes, behavioral health organizations, and pharmaceutical companies.

Featured Health Administration Schools

Types of Healthcare Administration Degrees

Students can pursue a health administration degree at the associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctorate levels. The type of healthcare administration degree each student pursues depends on career goals, academic interests, and available time and money to spend on a degree.

Some students may complete a degree in healthcare administration at all four levels, which can help them advance their careers more quickly.

Healthcare administration programs can go by a variety of names, including hospital management, healthcare management, or hospital administration degree. Students who want to pursue a degree in this field should also look into programs in health information technology, business administration, or health informatics.

Associate in Healthcare Administration

Healthcare administration associate programs provide an introduction to the field. Depending on the curriculum and focus of the program, an associate degree can prepare students for entry-level positions in areas like medical billing, transcription, or coding.

Experience in this type of job can pave the way to additional employment opportunities. Graduates with an associate degree can also often transfer to a four-year program.

An associate degree in healthcare administration typically requires 60 credits and takes two years to complete. Many schools offer fully or partially online healthcare administration associate degree options. Students take courses like introduction to healthcare informatics, healthcare delivery systems, healthcare terminology, and healthcare administration and management.

What is the difference between an AA and an AS in healthcare administration?

An associate of arts (AA) and an associate of science (AS) in healthcare administration both provide a foundation in the field and take the same amount of time to complete. An AA often includes more liberal arts courses, while an AS focuses more heavily on science and math.

Students who plan to transfer to a bachelor's program may benefit from completing an AA, which fulfills most general education requirements for a four-year program. An AS is better suited to students who intend to pursue careers directly after graduation.

Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration

Bachelor's programs in healthcare administration explore management and administration, research, human resources, and the law in the context of healthcare administration. A bachelor's in healthcare administration typically requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete, though many affordable online options offer an accelerated curriculum for students who want to graduate in under four years.

Bachelor of health administration students take courses in healthcare quality management and assessment, statistics and research in healthcare, managing healthcare human resources, and systems in long-term care. Students gain the skills needed to qualify for management or supervisory roles in the healthcare industry.

Graduates can begin careers in many healthcare administration roles after earning a bachelor's degree. Some positions also require relevant professional experience.

What is the difference between a BA and a BS in healthcare administration?

The differences between a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS) in healthcare administration mirror those of an AA and an AS. A BA typically includes a broader education and more liberal arts coursework, while a BS tends to focus more intensively on science and math and may include more required courses in the major.

Master's in Healthcare Administration

A master's degree in healthcare administration prepares students for non-clinical leadership roles in healthcare. Graduates qualify for jobs like healthcare administrator, medical and health services manager, and healthcare executive.

Healthcare administration master's programs build on the foundational knowledge gained in a bachelor's program and include in-depth exploration of strategic planning, healthcare law and policy, informatics, and finance. Many schools offer affordable online healthcare administration options at the master's level.

A healthcare administration master's degree typically requires 30 credits and takes two years to complete. Master's students take courses like health policy and law, strategic human resource management, healthcare quality and improvement, and global health and diversity. Many programs also include an experiential learning component.

Doctorate in Healthcare Administration

A doctorate or Ph.D. in healthcare administration typically attracts students seeking a high-level career in research or as a university professor in healthcare administration. A Ph.D. is hte highest credential available in healthcare administration.

Doctoral students explore advanced concepts in healthcare administration and research and become experts in an area of specialization. They also gain advanced research, analytical, and teaching skills.

Some schools offer online options for doctoral students in healthcare administration. Program length varies by school and career goals, but typically spans 3-7 years.

Healthcare administration Ph.D. students take courses like quantitative reasoning and analysis, advanced qualitative reasoning and analysis, building a multidisciplinary approach to health, and advanced mixed-methods reasoning and analysis. Students must also complete and defend a dissertation.

Healthcare Administration Jobs

The table below includes salary data and projected job growth rates for several healthcare administration careers. These careers require varying levels of education and experience, and some may require licensure. Make sure to research the specific requirements for any career you want to pursue.

Career and Job Growth for Healthcare Administration Careers
Position Salary Job Growth
Human Resources Managers $116,720 7%
Training and Development Managers $113,350 8%
Medical and Health Services Managers $100,980 18%
Registered Nurses $73,300 12%
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians $40,350 11%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Featured Online Bachelor's Health Services Degrees

Common Questions About Healthcare Administration Degrees

How do I start a career in healthcare administration?

Earning an associate degree in healthcare administration can qualify graduates for entry-level positions in hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities.

What does a healthcare administrator do?

Healthcare administrators work with medical records, budgets, billing, and legal or regulatory issues. They typically work behind the scenes in healthcare settings rather than directly with patients.

Who do healthcare administrators work with?

Healthcare administrators may work with physicians, nurses, medical and clinical laboratory technicians, and other healthcare workers. Some healthcare administrators also interact with insurance agents or patients.

How do healthcare administrators make a difference?

Healthcare administrators make a difference by improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare services at their organizations and ensuring that hospital bills are filed correctly. They advocate for and lead changes that improve healthcare delivery.

Is being a healthcare administrator hard?

Being a healthcare administrator takes leadership, communication, and analytical skills. Leading healthcare organizations can be stressful and challenging, but also rewarding.

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