Careers in healthcare span a wide range of occupations, and workers in a variety of specialties are in demand. Nearly half of the top 20 fastest growing occupations come from the healthcare sector. In fact, healthcare accounts for one-sixth of the US economy and is the largest industry in the nation today. With this rapid growth, there is a need for healthcare managers and other administrative personnel who are capable of running healthcare organizations efficiently. Enrolling in an online healthcare administration program could help you break into the healthcare industry or advance your current healthcare career to the next level by allowing you to complete your studies in the comfort of your own home. If you love working with people and want to help individuals down the path to health and healing through focusing on the business side of healthcare, consider exploring online healthcare administration schools.
Types of Online Healthcare Administration Degrees Offered
Healthcare administration programs strive to provide you with a solid foundation in healthcare business practices, so that you can become an effective leader within the healthcare organization. The level of training required to enter the healthcare industry depends largely on your intended position.
If you already work in healthcare administration, short-term diploma and certificate programs are a great way to supplement your experience. If you are new to the field, two-year associate’s degrees can allow you to enter the workforce quickly in an entry-level position and provide you with a solid foundation for coursework at the bachelor’s level. The four-year bachelor’s degree is the most popular degree level for supervisory positions in healthcare administration, and in fact, 52% of employed medical and health services managers earned this degree as of a 2010 survey, while only 41% had master’s degrees and 3% had associate’s degrees (O’Net OnLine).
However, despite the above statistics, for the most advanced positions leading a healthcare organization, a graduate degree is often preferred. Healthcare administration degrees at the master’s level include the Master of Science (MS) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in healthcare administration, while doctoral degrees in healthcare administration include the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). Master’s degrees generally take two years to complete and doctoral degrees usually take three to five years to complete. The MBA and DBA tend to focus more on business, while the MS and PhD are typically more research oriented.
Choosing an Online Healthcare Administration Program
Whether you have a full-time job or family responsibilities, an online program can help you achieve your academic goals during the times of the day that best fit into your schedule. Online healthcare administration degrees are designed for students who would prefer a flexible schedule in order to complete assignments and attend class. In order to assist you in developing the business and management skills required to gain employment in a healthcare administration role, online classes are typically taught in an interactive environment by professionals who have experience in the field. Although it will vary by degree level, popular healthcare administration courses include:
- Leadership and performance
- Healthcare policy
- Facility planning
- Healthcare legal issues
- Economics of healthcare
- Healthcare quality management
- Healthcare information systems
- Healthcare ethics
- Healthcare consumer trends
- Health services financial accounting
Job Outlook for Healthcare Administration Graduates
Medical and health services managers and assistant administrators are responsible for planning and coordinating healthcare services. Working in hospitals, nursing homes, group medical practices, and outpatient care facilities, the tasks of healthcare administrators include managing finances, keeping compliant with laws and regulations, working to improve efficiency, setting work schedules, keeping facility records, and interfacing between the medical staff and the facility investors. Managers may be in charge of supervising a department or even running an entire facility.
Positions within healthcare administration could encompass a variety of healthcare specialties depending on where the individual works. Job titles might include the following:
- Nursing home administrator
- Clinical manager
- Health information manager
- Assistant administrator
- Ambulatory services manager
- Nurse manager
- Health and social service manager
- Program manager
- Practice administrator
- Nutrition services manager
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical and health service managers is expected to grow by 22% from 2010 to 2020, which is a faster than average rate for all occupations. This growth can be attributed to the aging baby-boomer generation, which will cause an overall increase across the healthcare industry. As technology improves, healthcare services will increasingly shift from hospitals to private healthcare practices, which will also add to the demand of medical and health service managers since these organizations will become more complex.
Although salaries will vary, healthcare administration managers tend to be well-paid. In 2012, the median annual wages of medical and health services managers was $88,580. The bottom 10% earned $53,940, while the top 10% earned more than $150,560. The highest paying industries were computer systems design and pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing, and the top paying states were New York, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.
If you enjoy working with people and have an empathetic personality and business smarts, why not enroll in an online healthcare administration school? Take charge of your career by exploring your educational options in healthcare administration today!