Health Administration Degree: Types, Possible Jobs, and More

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Curious about where a health administration degree can take you? Here’s a breakdown of the types of degrees, possible jobs, and entry requirements to get you started.

[Featured image] Smiling health administrator in a blue blazer holds a notebook

A health administration degree is a dynamic field of study that can help you get a job in health and business. Depending on your career goals, you can tailor your degree and internships toward health care or business administration. The market is promising: Jobs in health care are expected to grow 16 percent between 2020 and 2030, much faster than any other industry [1].  

Job growth within the next decade is even higher for Medical and Health Services Managers at 32 percent [2]. Health administration degrees prepare you for leadership roles in health organizations such as nursing homes and hospitals, where you can apply your business acumen to improve delivery and efficiency of health care services.

Is a health administration degree right for you? Find out more below.

What is a health administration degree?

A health administration degree helps prepare students for managing and overseeing daily operations in a health care or medical facility. Enrolling in a health administration degree program equips you with the skills needed to succeed in leadership and administrative roles. 

For a job such as health services manager, over half (54 percent) hold a bachelor’s degree, 20 percent have a master’s, and 16 percent have an associate degree [3]. A health administration degree can be any of these types. With a degree in health administration, you’ll be qualified for a job as a health services manager, but the skills you’ll learn in this degree are broadly applicable. You could also work as a product manager for a health tech startup, go on to get an MBA, or even go to nursing school.

There are many possibilities for a rewarding career with a health administration degree.

Health administration coursework

Coursework will vary depending on your program and university, but typically you can expect to take classes in the following topics:

  • Compliance, risk management, and conflict resolution

  • Digital transformation

  • Ethics

  • Financial management

  • Global and public health

  • Health care planning

  • Health care marketing

  • Health care systems

  • Health policy and law

  • Human resource management

  • Leadership

  • Medical coding

Some programs allow you to specialize in a focus area. You might choose from concentrations like policy and law, operations management, education, patient care, or health informatics.

Read more: What Is Health Care Administration? What You Need to Know in 2022

Types of health administration degrees

Health care administration degrees are offered at all levels. You can choose to pursue the type of degree that suits your career goals and current level of education.

Type of DegreeTime to completeBest if...Sample job titles
Associate's degreeTwo yearsYou're looking for an entry-level position or planning to transfer from a community college to a bachelor's program.Billing or coding specialist, administrative assistant, medical transcriptionist
Bachelor's degreeFour yearsYou want to enter the workforce in a management position at a smaller facility.Office manager, human resources manager, health care consultant
Master's degreeTwo to three yearsYou have work experience and want to advance to a higher-paying position or bigger facility.Hospital administrator, practice administrator, clinical director
Doctoral degreeThree to five yearsYou want to conduct research in health care, direct policy, or pursue a career in executive leadership.College instructor, policy director, hospital CEO

Online vs. in-person degrees

At every degree level, you have the choice to study online or in person. Both online and in-person degrees have benefits and drawbacks.

Studying online is becoming increasingly popular for people who have other jobs and priorities, or prefer the flexibility of studying anywhere. You can earn a degree from a top university without having to visit a physical campus, while learning the same material from the same professors and earning the same degree. Keep in mind, however, that some degrees may not have an online option.

Although a health administration degree might involve some patient care tasks, it is less hands-on than say, a nursing degree. Completing the degree online would not necessarily detract from your learning experience.

Studying in person can provide you with more interactive classroom experiences. You’ll be able to engage in the university’s community, resources, and facilities. Class schedules tend to be rigid, making it difficult to manage a career, family, or other obligations at the same time. If there’s a specific health administration degree program you’re interested in, you might have to relocate.

Entry requirements for a health administration degree

The admission requirements for a health administration degree will vary by school and the type of degree you’re seeking. Typically, you’ll need to submit the following for a bachelor’s degree:

  • Official transcripts (high school GPA of at least 2.5 or 3.0)

  • SAT or ACT test scores

  • Letters of recommendation

  • College (university) application, including a personal statement

  • Application fee

And for a master’s degree, you’ll need the following:

Read more:What Is the Master of Health Care Administration (MHA)?

Remember to highlight any personal or work experiences that emphasize your interest and ability to succeed in a health administration degree program. Admissions counselors look for candidates who are passionate about their chosen subject.

4 jobs you can get with a health administration degree

No matter what type of health administration degree you choose to pursue, you’ll likely have several career paths to choose from. You can find leadership or administrative positions in hospitals, nursing home facilities, and more. Most of your work will revolve around ensuring efficient operations, so you’ll need strong management and organizational skills, along with empathy and compassion for liaising with employees and patients.

If you decide to pursue a bachelor’s in health administration, here are four jobs to consider.

1. Medical and health services manager

Medical and health services managers can fall under several different job titles, but the majority of them coordinate the business operations for health care providers, facilities, and even insurance companies. They often work in health care facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes to plan, direct, and implement processes for hiring, marketing, and financial management.

  • Annual median salary in the US: $101,340 [2

2. Health care consultant

A health care consultant, like other types of consultants, examines existing processes within an organization and gives professional advice and guidance on how to improve patient care and reduce costs. Health care consultants typically have backgrounds and experience in health care or health care management, so they can provide valuable expertise and training to help organizations overcome challenges and improve service delivery. 

  • Annual median salary in the US: $84,208 [4]

3. Office manager

Office managers within a hospital or other health care setting are responsible for a range of administrative tasks. These tasks might include implementing office policies and procedures, supervising administrative staff, approving staff schedules, collaborating with nurses and doctors, and more.

  • Annual median salary in the US: $46,044 [5]

4. Medical records technician

Medical records technicians (MRTs) are administrators who manage patient records in a hospital or clinic. Though some office managers may take on MRT tasks, medical records technicians are focused on maintaining patient records to make sure they are standardized across the health care system and accessible to the patient, health provider, and insurance company.

  • Annual median salary in the US: $45,240 [6]

While these are typical jobs you can get with a health administration bachelor’s degree, your degree (and career) is what you make of it. You can decide to start your own health-based company, go on to get a master’s in public health (MPH), or work in digital health. There are countless possibilities to thrive at the intersection of health care and business.

Pursue a health career with Coursera

A successful career in health and health care management could be in your future. Enroll in Rutgers University’s Healthcare Organization Operations Specialization to get started today.

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Article sources

1

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Healthcare Occupations: Occupational Outlook Handbook,  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm." Accessed August 14, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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