Health Administration Degree

The health care industry in the United States is in a state of flux. Employment as a whole should continue to grow, but the financial future of the field seems uncertain, at best. Health care reform is a huge political football at the moment. One thing that everyone seems to agree upon, however, is that medical costs need to be brought under control. There are a number of administrative ideas on the table, from streamlining record keeping to making certain redundant positions obsolete. What is obvious is that there will be a lot of opportunity for those with the right training to have a major impact within individual organizations. Savvy health care administrators can help shape the future of hospital, medical practice, and residential treatment management. The best way to position yourself in the field is to have the latest ideas at your disposal. A health administration degree will prepare you for the rigors of revolutionizing the management and administration of health care.

Health administration degrees can be earned at universities and colleges, community colleges, and even some technical schools. Universities often offer a bachelorís of science degree in the discipline. Some also confer a masterís degree upon candidates willing to do the extra work. They also offer masterís degrees to candidates with degrees in a related field. Many community colleges offer an associateís degree in health administration. Candidates taking health administration courses in pursuit of a degree can expect to study certain areas regardless of the degree that they complete. Most degree programs will mix in some standard management courses in areas like human resources and finance. There will be targeted coursework in informatics and record keeping. Legal issues in health care will be covered. There will also be coursework in administering different kinds of medical programs. Examples of degrees include hospital management, private practice administration, and long-term care management. Bachelorís degree programs will have a broader focus than associateís degree programs and will include classes in health care demographics, aging populations, and HMOs. Masterís degrees usually allow students to focus and specialize on specific aspects of administration, whether human resources, quality assurance, or leadership.

When deciding on which health administration degree program, consider total time and cost required. A masterís degree, for instance, will eventually lead to a high salary. First, however, candidates must complete a bachelorís degree. If they do so in a related field, say medicine or business administration, it may make their time in a masterís degree program more streamlined. A masterís degree will still take at least a year and likely longer to complete beyond a bachelorís degree. Masterís programs tend to be more expensive per credit than undergraduate programs and that is just the tuition. It does not include extra years of rent and expenses incurred while remaining in school. Thatís not to say that a masterís degree does not make financial sense; it may be wise to establish yourself and earn your masterís as you work or gain other experience.

A bachelorís degree opens up many possibilities in the job hunt and also offers the holder flexibility in pursuing extra credentials and skills. It takes the vast majority of students four or more years to complete a bachelorís degree, although it is possible to use advanced placement courses in high school and taking summer classes to speed the process. More and more a bachelorís degree is a minimum requirement for a salaried position. The class work tends to be very professional skills directed. The cost of a credit at a community college or technical school tends to be much lower than colleges and universities that bestow bachelor and masterís degrees.

Last Updated: 05/22/2014