With the increase in life expectancy in recent decades, the demand for qualified health care workers to serve an aging population has increased dramatically. Graduates from a degree program in health care administration are in an excellent position to fill a number of positions in the industry. At the bachelor's level, students should expect to take courses in public health, leadership and ethics in health care, health care delivery systems, medical terminology, health care economics, computer technology, leadership, quality assurance, and risk management. In addition, students enrolled in this type of program will be required to complete a comprehensive general education curriculum.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
While a number of entry-level positions are available to workers who have certificates and associate degrees, there is often little room for career advancement for such professionals. Students who earn a bachelor’s in healthcare administration, however, are in an ideal position to work as medical and health services managers, social and community service managers, or health educators. This type of program can also be a great foundation for graduate coursework in health care policy or health care administration management. Such work could prove to open up many doors down the road.
Inside a Healthcare Administration Bachelor’s Degree Program
For students interested in distance learning, a variety of online bachelor’s in healthcare administration are available. Most programs at this level take approximately four years to complete. This, of course, will depend on the number of courses taken each term, any transfer credits applied, and whether or not any breaks are taken during the course of the program. The beginning of a bachelor’s curriculum will likely include a series of general education courses and an introduction to the basics of healthcare admin. Subsequent courses cover human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, health care delivery systems, health care economics, facilities management, and health care law and ethics.
Online learners have access to their virtual learning platform 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means they are free to review course materials, work on assignments, and post in discussion boards. Despite the lack of a physical classroom, students can communicate with professors and peers through video chat and virtual meeting software. The online environment is also ideal for presentations and group projects.
What’s Next for Healthcare Administration Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Graduates with a bachelor’s in healthcare administration are equipped with the knowledge and credentials to fill administrative positions with hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, schools, and nursing homes. Potential occupations include health education, medical and health services management, and social and community service management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the demand for health educators and community health workers is expected to increase by 13% from 2014 to 2024. Total job growth for medical and health services managers over the same period is projected to be 17%.
The average annual salary reported by the BLS for medical and health services managers in May 2014 was $103,680. For health educators, average annual salary came in at $55,260. Please note, however, actual starting salaries and open positions will depend on a number of factors such as level of experience, education, and location.