Healthcare Management DegreesFind Programs & Earn a Degree in Healthcare Management

Doctors and nurses cover the clinical aspects of patient care, but the people at the front desks and in the back offices are just as important. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17 percent increase in employment healthcare management through 2024, as hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations turn to strong management teams to handle the business decisions that will both improve patient care and boost the bottom line. Keep reading for more information on getting a degree and finding a job in healthcare management.

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Prospective students can find accredited healthcare management programs both on-campus and online. Use the search tool below to find a particular school, or to sort by factors such as location or degree level.

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Acceptance Rate Student Population School Type Campus Healthcare Management Programs

Earning a Degree in Healthcare Management

The range of opportunities in healthcare management means there is room for individuals with varying educational backgrounds. Those who wish to assume managerial positions will likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or healthcare management, and many employers prefer candidates with graduate degrees. However, it’s also possible to enter the field more quickly – often as assistants or office workers – by earning a two-year associate degree, and then building experience and getting additional education to progress later. Following are some of the pathways for interested students.

Community College

Time to Complete:2 years

Credential Earned:Associate degree

Description:A high school diploma or GED is needed to enroll in an associate degree program in healthcare management, which is designed to provide specialized knowledge and career training for students who want to enter the field as clerical workers or administrative assistants, or assume other support positions. Graduates should emerge with a solid understanding of medical terminology, medical coding and billing procedures, and basic leadership skills they can apply in healthcare settings.

Curriculum: Curriculum may include both online and classroom-based instruction in areas including electronic medical records (EMR), healthcare statistics and trends, and general healthcare management. Some programs also let students gain real-world experience by completing a practicum at an area medical facility. Students round out their training in healthcare management with general education classes in subjects such as English, mathematics, and social and natural sciences.

Sample Courses:

Associate degree programs in healthcare administration and healthcare management introduce students to the various business aspects of healthcare, including records management, office management, budgeting, and billing. Some programs offer training in the specialized field of medical coding and are designed to prepare students to sit for an exam that will certify them as medical coders. In addition to liberal arts coursework, students in these programs might also take:

Medical Office Management

Students learn the terminology used in medical offices, basic operations common to medical offices (such as billing procedures and insurance processing), and patient communication skills.

Health Records Management

Provides an introduction to best practices in storing, accessing and sharing medical records, as well as legal and ethical concerns related to health records management.

Medical Coding I

This introduction to the medical coding process may also include the study of common insurance and healthcare programs, reimbursement issues, and insurance processing.

Introduction to Medical Software

Trains students to become proficient in computer use, specifically medical software programs.

4-Year College/University

Time to Complete:Four years

Credential Earned:Bachelor’s degree

Description:Bachelor’s degree programs in healthcare administration and management may be completed online, on campus or some combination of the two. They are comprehensive programs of study designed to provide a solid background in healthcare economics, law and ethics, health services management, and healthcare information systems, in addition to general education requirements. A high school diploma or GED, sometimes with a minimum GPA, is required for entry.

Curriculum: Curriculum includes general business management courses, marketing and sales fundamentals, organizational communication, and the principles of accounting and finance. Specialized courses beyond the core curriculum may cover ethics and decision making in the context of healthcare, quality assurance risk management, and healthcare economics.

Sample Courses:

Coursework in a bachelor’s degree program delves more deeply into healthcare management, including theoretical principles and their applications in the real world, and the evolving nature of healthcare delivery and policy in the United States. Graduates of bachelor’s degree programs in healthcare administration should be prepared to take entry-level positions with healthcare organizations such as hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities or private practice offices. Sample courses for these degree programs include:

Healthcare Policy

A look at the political climate and how various acts, legislation, and policies have historically changed healthcare in the United States, and how things may evolve in the future.

Management Principles

Study of traditional management theory, as well as organizational structures in different healthcare environments.

Health Insurance and Managed Care

Provides a comprehensive review of insurance products and the managed healthcare sector, delivery of healthcare services, and emerging trends in the industry.

Human Resource Management

Teaches essential skills for managing human resources, staffing issues in the context of healthcare, resource planning, and an overview of HR trends in the healthcare industry.

Timeline to a Career in Healthcare Management

Breaking into the field of healthcare management does not require years of training. Students can get their foot in the door with an associate degree, and then acquire additional education as they advance in their careers. Here’s a closer look at the steps involved in a typical career track in healthcare management:

Complete an associate degree in healthcare administration

This provides the necessary education for entry-level clerical or administrative positions, and serves as a foundation for a bachelor’s degree.

Gain experience

With knowledge on the foundations in healthcare management, individuals are ready to apply their skills in the workplace. This should give them a fuller picture of the industry to see what areas – such as finances or human resources – interest them most.

Complete a bachelor’s degree

At this level, students may pursue a degree specifically in healthcare management, or opt to get a more general business degree with a healthcare concentration. Graduates should be prepared to first-tier management positions and to advance with further experience.

Get graduate education

Students aspiring to upper management positions may earn a Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA), or Master of Science in health policy and management.

Obtain state licensure

Many states require healthcare administrates to be licensed. Those who work in nursing care facilities or other assisted living facilities may need to meet additional requirements. Many graduate programs prepare students for licensing exams, but additional study may be required.

Healthcare Management Careers At-a-Glance

Healthcare management applies business principles to the delivery of clinical care. The people who work behind the scenes in a hospital, clinic or other healthcare organization make sure that things run smoothly. They may supervise a team of doctors, nurses, specialists, and other administrative professionals to coordinate activities and facilitate cooperation. Other tasks may include handling departmental conflicts, creating and managing budgets, and serving as a liaison between different staff members to help the organization achieve both its clinical and financial goals.

Healthcare Management: Career Basics

Healthcare administrators oversee operations for a medical or healthcare facility. This may involve managing daily activities such as staffing and billing, or, farther up the ladder, creating and implementing organizational policies and making strategic business decisions. Hospital and practice administrators must have strong problem-solving and communication skills, and be competent to take on leadership roles to manage different departments effectively.

Healthcare Management: In Depth

Hospital and practice administrators can wear many hats, but ultimately they are responsible for leading an organization and achieving its business objectives. They are involved with budgeting, marketing, hiring, and general operations of the facility. Work involves troubleshooting problems, monitoring progress on projects, and resolving conflicts.

In larger facilities, administrators typically work as a team, with each individual responsible for a specific department. In smaller clinics and practice settings, the duties of an administrator are often cross-departmental, with work involving conducting meetings with other managers, reviewing budgets, and outlining patient care and employee objectives.

Typically, a career in healthcare management begins with managing lower-level administrative staff, handling scheduling duties, and consulting with department managers. After gaining experience, they may be promoted to head a particular department or even an entire organization.

Specializations

As healthcare becomes more specialized, schools are responding by offering specific educational tracks to match. Several possible options include:

  • Healthcare Informatics

    Students learn about health information and data management—from disease patterns to demographics—and how the use of that data can impact the operations of an organization. Coursework covers creating effective systems for managing and interpreting data.

  • Healthcare Law and Policy

    Focuses on the constantly evolving legislation related to U.S. healthcare, such as insurance reform and privacy obligations, and how they influence procedures and policy decisions in an organization.

  • Financial Management

    Students learn the fundamentals of healthcare economics through reviewing the principles of accounting, budgeting, forecasting, and raising capital, all within the context of a healthcare setting.

In some cases, students pursuing a general business degree may choose a concentration in healthcare management. They learn to apply general business skills like marketing and accounting to the operations in a healthcare environment. Course topics may include ethics in healthcare, sociology of medicine, and health policy and politics.

Healthcare Management Career & Salary Outlook

Increased demand for medical services, especially by aging baby boomers, means that job opportunities in healthcare management should be plentiful. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the field will grow by 17 percent through 2024, far higher than the average of all occupations. Hospitals employ most medical and health service managers; for those who wish to work outside of traditional hospital settings, other options include nursing and residential care facilities and physicians’ offices.

Industries with the Most Healthcare Management

Industry Total Employment (May 2015) Mean Hourly Wage (May 2015) Mean Annual Wage (May 2015)

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

112,480

$54.89

$114,180

Offices of Physicians

34,570

$49.08

$102,080

Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)

20,160

$42.29

$87,970

Outpatient Care Centers

19,940

$48.30

$100,470

Home Healthcare Services

19,670

$45.80

$95,260

Top 5 States with the Highest Number of Healthcare Managers

  • California 29,830
  • New York 26,810
  • Texas 19,240
  • Ohio 15,610
  • Illinois 13,380

Highest-Paying States for Healthcare Management

  • District of Columbia $137,000
  • New York $128,470
  • Connecticut $126,850
  • California $123,660
  • Alaska $119,470

Source: BLS.gov

Certifications & Salary Boosters

After earning a degree in healthcare management, individuals may add to their skills, improve their marketability, and potentially increase their salaries by achieving specialty certifications in various areas. Certification demonstrates not only knowledge but commitment to the profession, as most require continuing education for renewal. Following are just a few available certifications related to healthcare management:

  • Certified Professional Coder

    Offered by the AAPC, an association for professional medical coders, this certification is available to those who pass an exam; individuals can learn the material through an associate degree or certificate program specializing in medical coding.

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

    This organization offers several tiered certifications, representing different levels of experience, for those focused on revenue cycle management.

  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems

    Targeted to professionals who work with healthcare information, certification requires candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree, have several years of prior experience, and to pass an exam.

  • Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives

    For individuals who have undertaken graduate studies, this board certification demonstrates advanced skills in administration and is appropriate for those in senior management positions.

Additional Resources

AAPC

This organization provides training opportunities for medical coding professionals, and sponsors an industry-recognized certification exam.

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)

Professional organization for healthcare administrative management professionals interested in pursuing certification and attending networking events.

American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)

More than 40,000 members belong to this international society of executives at hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

This organization offers resources to workers in health information management, and sponsors a certification program for medical coding professionals.

Association for Healthcare Administration Professionals (AHCAP)

Dedicated to providing education and professional development opportunities for healthcare administration professionals working in all types of healthcare settings.

Healthcare Administrators Association (HCAA)

Nonprofit trade association that supports education, networking, and advocacy of third-party administrators, insurance carriers, technology organizations, medical managers, and other groups.

The National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM)

Promotes best practices and maintains high standards for all types of patient access services, including call centers, registration, and admissions at patient access facilities.