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Healthcare Administration Degree: Best Careers and Schools

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 21, 2019 5:00:00 PM

General Education



Are you considering a job in healthcare administration? It’s a rapidly growing field that pays well and gives you the opportunity to help patients and make the medical process easier for them. However, you need to have the proper education to work in this field.

What healthcare administration degree do you need to get the job you want? Once you have your health administration degree, what jobs can you get? How much money can you make? Is a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration enough or do you need to get a master’s? And if you decide to get your degree online, what are the best programs available? This guide will answer all your questions!

What Is a Healthcare Administration Degree?

If you’re interested in healthcare but think you’d prefer the business side, you may want to look into getting a healthcare administration degree. People who work in healthcare administration handle the work that goes on mostly behind the scenes to ensure that people get the care they need as quickly and smoothly as possible. Their roles can include handling patient insurance forms in a nursing home, explaining the best way for a business to sell medical devices, managing workers in a hospital, and more.

To work at many of these jobs, you’ll need a health administration degree. Healthcare administration can be a complicated and technical field, and since making a mistake with someone’s insurance or medical records can have potentially disastrous consequences, it’s critical that you’re properly trained. When you start a healthcare administration degree program, you’ll learn everything you need to know to succeed in these positions, from proper medical billing, to how insurance works, to managing other employees, and even classes in anatomy and health so you have a solid understanding of healthcare.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Healthcare Administration Degree?

A healthcare administration degree qualifies you for healthcare jobs in many areas. You may work in a hospital, laboratory, government agency, or a private business. Some jobs focus a lot on billing and insurance while others emphasize management and organizing other employees or organizations. There are dozens of positions you are eligible for with a healthcare administration degree, and below we give descriptions of five of the most common. Salary data is from PayScale.


Medical Office Manager

People in this position typically work at doctor offices, where they are in charge of making sure the entire office runs smoothly. This may include supervising staff, making sure all paperwork is filed correctly, handling issues with insurance that arise, and making sure appointments are managed in an organized way.

Average annual salary: $48,252


Healthcare Consultant

Healthcare consultants provide advice to businesses that want to learn more about healthcare, potentially because they work with healthcare specialists or sell healthcare products. The healthcare consultant will conduct research and analyze data to help the business determine the best ways it can meet its goals.

Average annual salary: $76,661


Community Support Manager

If you get a job as a community support manager, you’ll be responsible for helping develop and implement programs to improve the health of both individuals and communities. You’ll likely collaborate often with other healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, dietitians, and social workers, to develop plans that improve all aspects of health for the person or group you’re focusing on.

Average annual salary: $46,452


Healthcare Human Resources Manager

At this position, your duties will primarily consist of overseeing employee pay, benefits, trainings, and hirings. It’s similar to a general HR manager position, but you’ll have special training for doing these duties in the healthcare field.

Average annual salary: $65,298


Insurance Specialist

These employees contact insurance companies on behalf of patients and doctors, work with medical records, deal with coding and billing, and overall make sure insurance benefits and payments are being properly applied.

Average annual salary: $59,994




Should You Get an Associates, Bachelors or Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration?

There are three types of healthcare administration degrees: associate, bachelor, and master. Which degree should you get? That depends a lot on how quickly you want to begin working and the types of jobs you’re looking for. Most people will get a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, since that qualifies you for most jobs in this field, but read on to learn how long each degree takes to get and which jobs it’ll qualify you for.


Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration

  • 60 credits

  • Usually takes two years to complete

  • An associate degree in healthcare administration qualifies you for some entry-level admin jobs at hospitals, nursing homes, or other medical practices, however; other entry-level jobs, especially those at hospitals, will require a bachelor’s degree. You’ll take classes in medical terminology, business administration, medical ethics, and healthcare management, among other topics.


Bachelor Degree in Healthcare Administration

  • 120 credits

  • Usually takes about four years to complete

  • A bachelor degree in healthcare administration opens up far more job opportunities than you’d get with an associate degree alone. During your four years of study, you’ll study healthcare administration in-depth and learn the ins-and-outs of record keeping, medical law, HR management, medical accounting, anatomy, and other subjects. You may also choose to specialize in a certain area, such as emergency health, home care health, or others. With a bachelor health administration degree, you’ll be qualified for all entry-level healthcare administration jobs, and if you can enough experience, you can eventually move on to more advanced positions, such as departmental leadership jobs.


Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration

  • 32-60 credits

  • Usually takes about two years to complete

  • Most healthcare administration jobs don’t require anything higher than a bachelor degree, but if you are hoping to obtain a leadership position in a large practice, such as a hospital or another organization with executive management, having a master’s degree will help you achieve those goals. Graduate classes in healthcare administration will place more of an emphasis on business and administration leadership, as well as classes in strategic planning and more technical areas of healthcare. With a Master’s in healthcare administration, you’ll be qualified for nearly all leadership positions in healthcare administration (as long as you also have enough relevant experience).




What Are the Best Healthcare Administration Degree Online Programs?

Like other online degree programs, online degrees in healthcare administration have seen a huge increase in popularity in the past few years. Online degrees are often much easier to obtain for people who wouldn’t have the time, money, or ability to attend on-campus classes. However, some online degree programs are little more than diploma mills, so if you decide to get your healthcare administration degree online, you need to make sure it’s from a legitimate school, otherwise you’ll have an extremely difficult time finding a job.

You should only enroll in a school that is accredited. This information is typically found on the school’s website, but if you can’t find it, a simple Google search of “[school name] accreditation” should give you your answer. Also read reviews of other students who have gotten their healthcare administration degree online from the school to learn what they think about it and if they’d recommend the program to others.

To make your search a little easier, here is a list of three of the best online bachelors of healthcare administration degree programs. You can feel confident you’re getting a good education at any of these schools, but they definitely aren’t the only good options available, so make sure you do some research before deciding on a school.


Colorado State University

  • Fort Collins, Colorado

  • Degree offered: Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration

  • Tuition cost: $350 per credit hour

  • What makes it stand out: CSU is one of the most affordable online healthcare administration degree programs, and there are no additional out-of-state tuition fees. Additionally, CSU has a very flexible course schedule. Every class is offered every semester, and there are accelerated courses offered throughout the year if you want to finish a certain class more quickly.


University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, Florida

  • Degrees offered: Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration, Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management

  • Tuition cost: $212.28 per credit hour (in-state) or $748.89 per credit hour (out-of-state, and before tuition reductions)

  • What makes it stand out: UCF has a rigorous curriculum, including multiple specialization opportunities and a capstone experience in healthcare administration, to ensure you’re prepared for whatever job you get after graduation. It also gives out-of-state online students a discount so their tuition so their cost of attending is more affordable.


University of Memphis

  • Memphis, Tennessee

  • Degree offered: Bachelor of Science in Health Studies (with a concentration in Healthcare Leadership)

  • Tuition cost: $320 per credit hour (in-state) or $594 per credit hour (out-of-state)

  • What makes it stand out: All healthcare administration students at the University of Memphis are required to complete an internship in healthcare leadership. This ensures they have real world experience before they graduate and will give them a leg up when applying to jobs.


Summary: Health Administration Degree

If you want to work in healthcare administration, you’ll need to have the proper degree. A healthcare administration degree can qualify you for many positions, ranging from jobs in nursing homes to hospitals to big businesses. A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration is enough to qualify you for most jobs, but a Master’s degree in healthcare administration is needed for some leadership positions.

There are online degree programs if you want to work in healthcare administration but, same as for all schools, make sure the school you decide to attend has a good reputation and will prepare you for the career you want.


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Christine Sarikas
About the Author

Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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