Earning a bachelor of science in healthcare administration is a great way to begin a meaningful career in healthcare. This online degree, which can also be earned in a traditional classroom setting, prepares one for leading and collaborating with others and ensuring efficiency and safety in healthcare settings. As a result, individuals with a healthcare administration degree can pursue careers in the following areas:
- Medical and Health Service Management
- Nursing Home Administration
- Health Information Management
- Ambulatory Services Management
- Medical Practice Management
- Provider Network Management
Further, the healthcare industry remains one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. And those with a healthcare administration background are critical for ensuring the business-side of healthcare runs efficiently. Continue reading for everything you need to know about a bachelor of science degree in healthcare administration.
What Can a Healthcare Administration Degree Offer?
Put simply, those in healthcare administration tend to anything on the “business side” of a healthcare organization. From hospitals to nursing homes to hospice centers, healthcare administrators ensure these organizations run efficiently. They do this by applying both “hard” and “soft” business skills.
Earning a healthcare administration degree can provide you with the following:
- Knowledge of the history and current status of the healthcare industry in the U.S.
- Various skills for increasing organizational efficiency within a healthcare setting
- Guidance for managing, coaching, mentoring, and collaborating with employees in a professional healthcare setting
- Exposure to the various aspects of a business, including finance, human resources, marketing, strategic planning, and information technology
- Communication skills for collaborating with and giving direction to various stakeholders
- Problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to be applied to assessing current organizational needs and challenges, setting and meeting goals, and ensuring operational efficiency and quality in a healthcare setting
- Familiarity with healthcare policies, regulations, practices, and laws
- Knowledge of ethical practices within the healthcare industry
What Do those in Healthcare Administration Specifically Do in Healthcare Settings?
The specifics of what healthcare administrators do depend on their exact role and area of responsibility. Unlike other medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, healthcare administrators do not work directly with patients. Instead, they work behind the scenes, so to speak, to address business needs.
A healthcare administrator in a nursing home may develop processes for accepting new patients as well as managing on-site staff. A healthcare administrator in a hospital, on the other hand, may collaborate with IT to implement new record-keeping technologies and set goals for departments within the facility.
Additionally, some individuals with a healthcare administration background work in government. They might review and suggest new industry-wide policies or help enact new regulations on a legislative level.
Often, healthcare administrators will be responsible for a range of tasks. Again, while specifics will depend on the role, below are some duties for which healthcare administrators may be responsible:
- Ensure healthcare and medical services are meeting patient needs in ways that are efficient, safe, and in accordance with regulatory policies
- Oversee and manage a healthcare organization’s overall budget across all departments
- Recruit, hire and manage employees that work within the healthcare administrator’s area and/or department
- Develop and implement policies, procedures, and practices that are in line with the organization’s goals and in line with legal requirements
- Implement business strategies that increase quality care as well as revenue
- Collaborate with department heads to ensure goals are being met and maintain employee morale
- Stay informed about the latest healthcare technologies, such as lab testing equipment or electronic records systems platforms, and advocate for and implement them when necessary
- Serve as a liaison between the management team in a healthcare organization and the board of directors
- Plan and execute capital campaigns and other initiatives to help raise funds to maintain or build new health-related facilities
- Ensure the organization and security of all patient information through appropriate procedures and technologies
- Manage and oversee the financial aspects of the organization, including billing, invoicing, paying vendors, etc.
- Identify operational goals and implement policies and processes that help the organization meet those goals in the areas of marketing, finance, informational technology, human resources, and more
- Review, suggest and develop industry-wide policies and regulations to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency within various healthcare settings
The above duties and others can be accomplished in various healthcare administration settings, some of which include:
- Nursing Homes
- Long-term Care Facilities
- Physician Group Practices
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Home Health Agencies
- Medical Clinics
- Health Departments
- Pharmaceutical Companies
- Health Insurance Providers
- Consulting Firms
- Food and Drug Administration
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Red Cross
- American Hospital Association
- Short-term Rehabilitation Facilities
- Post-acute Care Facilities
Below are some popular healthcare administration jobs with a short description:
Clinical or Medical Practice Managers
Clinical or medical practice managers implement policies, procedures, and goals in addition to managing and making budgetary decisions for various types of healthcare organizations. They may also be involved with hiring new employees and managing a team. They work in medical practices, doctors’ offices, hospital departments, and other healthcare settings.
Health Information Managers
Health information managers are familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Since the act deals with the privacy and security of patient records, health information managers work to develop and maintain various procedures and policies that keep patient information safe.
Human Resources Specialists/Managers
Human resources specialists/managers are involved with the recruiting and hiring process for healthcare organizations. They may address employee conflicts and concerns in a healthcare setting as well as maintain positive working morale.
Nursing Home Administrators
Nursing home administrators review and offer admission to patients, manage staff, and ensure proper care for residents and patients. They may manage the care of the facility and budget, set business goals, plan work schedules, and conduct other tasks related to operational efficiency.
Finance associates manage all financial and budgetary aspects of a healthcare organization. They might be responsible for exploring ways to cut costs and increase revenue while maintaining patient care through analysis, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.
Outpatient Care Supervisors
Outpatient care supervisors oversee and “supervise” staff and operational processes within an outpatient healthcare organization. Outpatient care organizations are places where patients are not required to spend the night after a visit or treatment (unlike inpatient care organizations). Outpatient care supervisors may manage staff, develop and strive toward goals, implement new policies for ensuring patient care and satisfaction, and more.
While the above careers do vary with respect to responsibilities and types of healthcare settings, they have core similarities. At their core, healthcare administrators ensure their organizations are running efficiently, creating a positive working environment, and providing quality care to patients.
Lastly, certain careers do require work experience beyond a bachelor of science in healthcare administration. This is especially true for roles with major financial and regulatory responsibilities. It is also true for those requiring the management of large teams and many departments. Yet, a healthcare administration degree remains a great first step for pursuing many of these meaningful careers.
What Are the Requirements to Enter a Program Offering a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration?
To enroll in a program, a high school diploma or GED is required. Four-year or community/junior college credits are required if you intend to transfer into a healthcare administration degree program. The number of credits required for transferring will likely depend on the specific program and school. You should also be interested in the healthcare administration field and its related careers.
It’s worth considering a healthcare administration program if one or more of the following applies to you:
- You are passionate about healthcare and want to bring quality care and efficiency to the industry
- You have strong communication skills and look forward to the prospect of collaborating with others in a team setting
- You are interested in building a team and managing, leading, and coaching them to reach business outcomes
- You want to solve real-world problems in a healthcare setting that lead to important and long-term changes for the better
- You are interested in learning about various areas of a business, such as marketing, finance, informational technology, human resources, and operations
- You have the capacity to see the “bigger picture” while are also capable of digging down into the details of an organization’s operations
- You like the idea of empowering nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals to better serve their patients
There are many other reasons to pursue a healthcare administration program as well. The list above is not meant to be comprehensive. Rather, it’s to help you begin thinking about whether or not a career in healthcare administration sounds exciting to you.
How Can I Know if a Healthcare Administration Program Is a Good Fit for Me?
It’s a big decision to enroll in an undergraduate degree program. It demands considerable investment in money, time, and effort. Yet, the payoff is usually well worth it due to the increase in future job prospects and earned salary. It’s wise to ask yourself these questions as you’re considering programs:
- Are you planning to transfer to a program? Do you have the necessary credits to do so?
- Are you looking to enroll in an online, hybrid, or in-person program? Which one would best accommodate your current circumstances?
- What does student support look like? What kind of access to counselors, mentors, and tutors would be available to you throughout the program?
- Do you have certain personal responsibilities, such as taking care of a family, that would require you to enroll in a part-time program? Does the program need to be flexible with coursework?
- How much are you willing to spend on a program? What financial aid options are available to you?
- Must you attend a local campus or can you commute or move? Is an online program necessary because of your current geographical limitations?
- What is the campus “feel” or “culture” like (faith-based, smaller, more urban, etc.)?
- What is the faculty like? How about current students and alumni? Can you connect with faculty, students, and alumni to learn more about the program?
Some programs may allow you to more easily take care of family obligations and your work commitments. Some may offer better student services that give you peace of mind when it comes to finishing the program. And others may offer a faith-based or values-based setting that you find more compelling.
Central Christian College of Kansas offers a faith-based healthcare administration degree online. This is ideal for someone interested in applying a Christian understanding to the discipline of healthcare administration. In a program like this, you can gain the necessary skills for success while also obtaining a values-focused perspective.
Consider reaching out to a counselor to help as you think through this important decision. A counselor can help you solidify your “must-haves” and determine what type of program makes sense for you.
What Different Program Formats Are Available for a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration?
Full-Time, Face-to-Face and Hybrid Programs
Full-time, face-to-face or hybrid programs are for students who are able to take a full course load. It’s ideal for those who can commit to in-person instruction or a combination of in-person and online instruction (hybrid).
Traditional undergraduate programs like these usually require four years to complete. However, if transferring previously earned credits, then one can be completed in a shorter time frame. In the case of transfers, certain adult degree completion programs can even be finished in only 15 months.
Part-Time, Face-to-Face and Hybrid Programs
Part-time programs that are either face-to-face or hybrid work well for students unable to enroll full time. It’s a good option for those with full- or part-time jobs as well as families.
Less class time per semester is a staple of programs like this but this does result in a lengthened time to completion, anywhere from two to six years. The exact length depends on the number of credits being transferred and the exact format of the program. For instance, someone taking an average of two courses a semester would finish at a different rate than someone taking an average of one.
A healthcare administration degree online works well for those needing more flexibility. This might be due to work commitments, family obligations, geographic location, or other reasons. Programs like this can usually be taken full-time or part-time depending on need. With that said, program length will depend on the full-time or part-time status and the number of transferred credits.
Central Christian College of Kansas offers a healthcare administration degree online. This flexible program lets students take one course every few weeks. The program also lets students begin at various dates throughout the year for their convenience. Students can access class material that includes instruction videos, digital instructions, and more, online at any time to provide maximum flexibility.
A healthcare administration degree online works especially well for nontraditional adult students due to the program’s flexibility. Nontraditional adult students are those who are older than 23 years of age.
What Is the Job Outlook and Salary for Those with a Healthcare Administration Degree?
As with the majority of professions in the healthcare field, the outlook for healthcare administration jobs is strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job growth for Clinical and Health Services Managers from 2018 through 2028 is 18 percent. This is much faster than the average growth rate when compared to the rate for all U.S. jobs.
The median salary for Clinical and Health Services Managers is $100,980 per year. It’s important to note that salary depends on years of experience. Also, those with a graduate degree can potentially earn more as well.
Additionally, median salaries can vary depending on the type of healthcare organization, geographic location, and scope of responsibilities. A healthcare administrator working in a hospital in New York City may make a different salary than one working in a hospice center in rural Indiana.
What Can I Do Next If I Want to Pursue a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration?
Ready to earn a healthcare administration degree to pursue many in-demand careers in the healthcare industry? If so, learn more about the Central Christian College of Kansas healthcare administration degree online. You can also connect with a counselor to discover if a healthcare administration degree is right for you.
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Healthcare: Millions of jobs now and in the future (PDF). (Spring 2014). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2014/spring/art03.pdf.
Medical and Health Services Managers: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm.