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Healthcare Management and Administration Degrees

As the healthcare industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, demand for medical business and health service managers is on the rise. A healthcare administration degree program is designed to train students in the areas of supervising health care facilities, planning and directing health care operations, and managing teams of healthcare staff members within a facility. Some administrators are responsible for directing activities in marketing, finance and personnel, while others work in daily operations management. Completing training provides the necessary skills and work experience needed to excel in this rapidly-growing field.

Health Care Administration Career Opportunities

A health care administration degree can prepare students for several roles and departments of a health care facility. Career paths and opportunities include:

  • Clinical Management – serving as a director of a clinic to establish and implement policies, develop reports and budgets, evaluate personnel and outline objectives for the growth of the organization

  • Top Administration – leading and directing a group of assistant administrators in daily operations

  • Health Information Management – maintaining patient records and making sure all facility policies comply with Federal Government regulations and legislative requirements. This has become of increasing concern with the rise of computer and software technologies that keep track of patient records.

  • Billing and Finance – overseeing payroll, budgeting, analyzing financial reports and financial reporting

  • Personnel Management - hiring and managing staff members, evaluating personnel and developing reports for the clinic or health care facility

Health Care Administration Education Requirements

Any candidates will need to complete at least a bachelor's degree in the field. The majority of medical record administrators and general clinical managers have completed a bachelor's degree in health information or medical record administration, and some may elect to take continuing education courses or other programs to complement their career.

A Master degree is another option for students who want to advance in their career path and pursue a role in upper management. A Master degree may allow a candidate to take on a leadership role within the organization to become a clinical head, a lead supervisor for a department, or working in organizational affairs for the corporate office of a health care company or medical facility. Graduate degrees in a health care administration program typically take between 2-3 years to complete, and may include coursework in the areas of health economics, advanced health information, strategic planning, accounting and budgeting, and hospital organization and management.

Some students may elect to complete a Doctorate degree, which involves research and critical study of the problems and challenges in healthcare administration. A Ph.D is not required to undertake a senior management or executive role in the field, but this level of education is a significant achievement.

All candidates become experienced in both the health industry and business management. Many colleges and universities that offer a health care administration training programs encourage students to complete at least one research project or internship during their educational career; this gives students a chance to gain in-depth knowledge about a specialization or field in the industry, and also to obtain references for future employment.

Health Care Administration Courses

Health care administration training can involve a comprehensive curriculum and hands-on experience in a clinic setting. Many students can enroll in an internship or work-study program before graduation to gain a working knowledge and experience in the field. Health care administration course programs are typically comprised of the following:

  • The Nation's Health

  • Managing Human Resources

  • Health Care Policy and Regulation

  • Law and Ethics in Geriatrics

  • Quality Assessment and Improvement

  • Marketing Management

  • Financial Management in Health Services

  • Organizational Finance

  • Strategic Planning and Marketing

  • Health Care Law and Ethics

Health Care Administration Career Outlook and Employment Prospects

A health care administration career can be very rewarding for many people interested in the business side of the healthcare industry. Candidates in the field can pursue jobs in several types of facilities including physicians' offices, outpatient care centers, community care facilities for the elderly and even Federal Government health care facilities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook reports that employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow faster than average through 2016. The U.S. Bureau of Labor also reports that median annual earnings of medical and health service managers were $73,340 in May 2006, and the highest-paid candidates worked in general medical and surgical hospitals.

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Healthcare Management and Administration Degrees