How to Major in Healthcare Administration
Healthcare is the fastest growing employment sector in the country, and it’s not just for doctors and nurses. The healthcare industry needs administrative workers to keep the proverbial trains running. Majoring in healthcare administration can open up a world of professional opportunities.
Majoring in healthcare administration can open up a world of professional opportunities. As the fastest growing employment sector, healthcare is always in need of qualified workers at all levels of employment, in hospitals, private practices, offices, labs, and public health centers. If you want a career that offers job security, creates paths to advancement, and allows you to enact positive change, healthcare administration is the place to be.
If you’re ready to earn your degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Healthcare Administration.
Or read on to find out what you can expect as a healthcare administration major.
5 Reasons to Major in Healthcare Administration
1.Healthcare administration majors are in demand.
Healthcare is the fastest growing employment sector in the country, and it’s not just for doctors and nurses. The healthcare industry needs administrative workers to keep the proverbial trains running. With a healthcare administration major under your belt, you won’t have to look long or far to find gainful employment.
2.Healthcare administration majors can enact positive change.
Healthcare administration majors have the opportunity to help patients and their families access the care and benefits they need. You can manage and fine tune staff and policy to provide the best service possible. You can remove outdated and discriminatory policies in favor of inclusive, progressive approaches, and make sluggish and inefficient healthcare systems run like new.
3.Healthcare administration majors have rewarding careers.
Healthcare is the business of saving and improving lives. In healthcare administration, you make sure the system is working at full capacity, and if not, you find and fix the problems. Knowing that you’re helping to enact policy that makes healthcare accessible, or that you’re helping ailing patients and their families navigate the complexities of health insurance payments, makes for a rewarding career.
4.Healthcare administration majors are well-compensated.
Healthcare and medicine are big business! It’s no secret that doctors have high salaries, but that extends to healthcare administrators as well. Whether you’re a hospital director, or a transcriptionist, you can expect a good return on the investment in your education.
5.Healthcare administration majors are influential.
Healthcare administration professionals have the power to influence healthcare systems, healthcare policy, healthcare accessibility, and public opinion. Today, top influencers in healthcare administration are breaking new ground in health policy, vaccine education and accessibility, Health Systems Innovations, and much more.
Find out who the Most Influential People are in Healthcare Administration today!
What Kinds of Healthcare Administration Degrees Are There?
Healthcare administration degrees are available at all levels of study. Depending on your career goals, you may be able to qualify for your desired job with no more than an associate degree, or you could go as high as a PhD! Your degree path, and area of specialization, are ultimately up to you.
- Associate in Healthcare Administration (AA or AS): An associate degree in healthcare administration typically takes two years to complete and requires 60 credits, though sometimes accelerated program paths are available. Students develop foundational knowledge in the field, with courses in subjects such as medical billing and coding, health information systems, insurance, and healthcare ethics. Students emerge prepared for entry-level jobs such as medical transcriptionist or medical records technician.
- Bachelor of Healthcare Administration (BA or BS): A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration typically takes four years to complete and requires 120 credits for completion. Students in these programs develop foundational and advanced knowledge in the field, and often complete specializations in areas such as healthcare informatics, healthcare management, or healthcare financial management. Courses in these programs include healthcare quality management, insurance and billing, patient safety and quality, healthcare information systems, and ethical and legal aspects of healthcare. Students also must often complete a professional experience component. Degree holders are prepared for entry-level jobs including social and community service manager, health services manager, or human resources specialist.
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MA, MS, MBA, or MHA): A master’s degree in healthcare administration typically takes two years to complete and requires 30-45 credits. Sometimes dual-degree programs are available, which require more credits and time. At this level, specialization is expected in areas such as healthcare management, healthcare law and policy, healthcare informatics, or nursing administration and leadership. Courses cover topics including healthcare financial management, organizational behavior, community health assessment, organizational development for healthcare, and healthcare information management. Students must also often complete a professional experience component and research project. Graduates are prepared for advanced roles, such as medical and health services manager, nurse administrator, and training and development manager.
- PhD in Healthcare Administration: The highest-level degree in the field, a PhD in healthcare administration takes three to five years to complete and requires a mix of advanced coursework, comprehensive exams, residential experience, and a dissertation project. At this level, your studies are highly specialized. Students earning a PhD prepare for roles such as post-secondary teacher, administrator, or healthcare system director.
*Note: Many, but not all, degree programs offer the choice between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Likewise, many, but not all, advanced degree programs offer a choice between Master of Arts, and Master of Science degrees. In most cases, the primary difference is the diversity of course offerings. “Science” degree courses will focus almost entirely on the major discipline, with a deep dive into a specific concentration, including laboratory, clinical or practicum experience. An “Arts” degree will provide a more well-rounded curriculum which includes both core/concentration courses and a selection of humanities and electives. The type of degree you choose will depend both on your school’s offerings and your career/educational goals. Moreover, there are sometimes numerous variations in the way that colleges name and categorize majors. The degree types identified here above are some of the common naming variations, but may not be all-encompassing.
What Are Some Popular Healthcare Administration Concentrations?
Your “concentration” refers to a specific area of focus within your major. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides a complete listing of college degree programs and concentrations (Classification for Instructional Programs), as sourced from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). According to IPEDS, the following are among the most popular healthcare administration concentrations:
- Healthcare Informatics
- Patient Safety and Quality
- Nursing Administration and Leadership
- Healthcare Management
- Healthcare Financial Management
- Healthcare Law and Policy
What Courses Will I Take as a Healthcare Administration Major?
Your concentration will determine many of the courses you’ll take as a healthcare administration major. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as healthcare strategic management and the ethical and legal aspects of healthcare. However, you will also have the freedom to select an array of courses centered on your personal and professional goals.
Common healthcare administration courses include:
- Healthcare Delivery Systems
- Healthcare Reimbursement
- Healthcare Finance
- Healthcare Strategic Management and Policy
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Ethical and Legal Aspects of Healthcare
- Healthcare Quality Management
- Human Resources
- Coding and Billing
- Healthcare Information Technology
What Can I Do With a Major in Healthcare Administration?
The medical industry requires a lot of labor power to fully function, and doctors can’t do it alone! Healthcare administration jobs at all levels are vital to keeping hospitals, labs, public health centers, and practices running. Your healthcare administration major can lead to a wide range of career opportunities, including these top jobs:
- Human Resources Managers
- Training and Development Managers
- Medical and Health Services Managers
- Registered Nurses
- Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
- Medical Transcriptionists
- Medical Assistants
- Social and Community Service Managers
- Postsecondary Teachers
Curious how far you could go with a major in healthcare administration? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!***
Now that you know how to major in healthcare administration, check out The Most Influential Schools in Healthcare Administration and get started on your path to a healthcare administration degree.