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.
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 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 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.
|Human Resources Managers||$116,720||7%|
|Training and Development Managers||$113,350||8%|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$100,980||18%|
|Medical Records and Health Information Technicians||$40,350||11%|
Healthcare Administration Professional Organizations
Joining a professional organization in healthcare administration can offer many benefits. Members often have access to networking opportunities, job boards, continuing education classes, and discounted conferences.
Through these organizations, healthcare administration students can gain valuable internship and job connections and learn about current issues in the field. Many professional organizations also offer student discounts, making them more affordable.
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management A national organization focused on the revenue cycle, AAHAM started in 1968. The association represents the interests of healthcare administration professionals through advocacy, policy work, and regulatory monitoring. Members have access to a conference, seminars, publications, and professional certification, and they can join one of 30 local chapters in the U.S.
- American College of Healthcare Executives A professional organization for healthcare leaders, ACHE advocates for excellence in healthcare management. Members have access to networking opportunities, career development, and education through 77 chapters operating across the U.S. The organization also offers a career resource center and a variety of publications.
- American Hospital Association Founded in 1898, AHA does advocacy work for more than 5,000 hospitals and healthcare networks across the U.S. The organization offers education and information resources for healthcare leaders, including webinars, an annual meeting, conferences, and trainings. AHA also provides career resources, including a certification center and health career center.
- Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals A membership organization for healthcare professionals who provide administrative support to leaders in the healthcare field, AHCAP offers professional development opportunities, an annual conference, and at least six webinars per year. The association's online discussion forum provides a venue for healthcare administration professionals to discuss important issues.
- Health Care Administrators Association HCAA offers third-party administrators and related service providers in healthcare access to events and networking opportunities, where they can develop informal relationships with other healthcare administration professionals. Members also receive legislative updates, monthly newsletters, and special discounts. HCAA's website includes a job board.
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement IHI improves healthcare outcomes across the world through science, emphasizing quality and safety and advocating for action. Members have access to free virtual learning hours, discounts on conferences and programs, and networking opportunities.
- National Association of Health Services Executives Founded in 1968, NAHSE empowers Black healthcare leaders and promotes improved healthcare services for minorities and underserved populations. Membership benefits include the chance to join a local chapter and participate in local networking events. The association also offers an online career center, an annual educational conference, and an annual CEO/senior executive program.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.