Is It Worth Getting a Degree in Healthcare Administration?
Majoring in healthcare administration prepares degree-seeking students for carrying out important roles within various healthcare facilities such as hospitals and physicians’ offices. But since the average tuition for a healthcare administration degree program ranges from $20,500 to $44,000, you may be wondering if you should give it a go.
Healthcare administration is a broad degree worth pursuing because employment in this field is projected to grow 32% over the next decade. However, some healthcare administration jobs might require a master’s degree.
Can’t decide whether or not you should add healthcare administration to your college major list?
Read on. In this post, you will come across some of the basics all future workers in the healthcare field need to know before they decide to earn a bachelor’s in healthcare administration and establish a clear-cut career path for themselves.
How To Know If a Healthcare Administration Degree is Right for You
Earning a degree in healthcare administration is suited for students who would one day like to be in charge of the everyday operations of healthcare facilities. Since it’s a generic discipline, it’s also recommended for undergraduate students who would like to have a personalized career path or attend graduate school.
Simply put, healthcare administration is right for those who plan on partaking in the business aspect of healthcare provision by holding positions such as administrators, managers, coordinators, assistants and representatives.
But in order to succeed as a health administration major and, after graduation, a health administrator, you must possess certain traits, including being disciplined, persevering and committed to obtaining a bachelor’s in healthcare administration, which has some challenging core courses — we will check them out in a few, so keep reading!
The following qualities and skills are some of the most important ones you should have if you want to have a lucrative and fulfilling career in healthcare administration after earning your bachelor’s degree:
- Communication. In nearly all work industries, being a good communicator is vital. On a day-to-day basis, healthcare administrators communicate with various people, from other administrators, staff members to patients. This is especially true when explaining programs, policies, procedures and others.
- Problem-solving. Everyone knows that emergencies can take place in the healthcare industry on a regular basis. It’s exactly for this reason why healthcare administrators must be able to solve problems quickly and, more often than not, under pressure. It’s a huge plus if they can identify potential problems and plan ahead.
- Teamwork. While it’s true that healthcare administrators are leaders, it’s also a must for them to be able to work as a part of a team in the sense that they should be able to serve as individuals whom the staff members can count on and provide support to other members of the team as necessary.
- Business administration. As their job title suggests, having a strong understanding of business principles is essential for healthcare administrators in order for them to be effective. Both knowledge and proficiency in business administration-related matters such as planning and management are definite must-haves.
- Data analysis. Although being able to use computer software for data processing is an advantage, healthcare administration majors, first and foremost, should be able to gather and interpret data in order to make informed decisions. The amount of valuable data to gather and interpret can be overwhelming.
Is Healthcare Administration Hard in College?
Although it’s true that healthcare administration is not as difficult as STEM and medical majors, it can prove to be one of the most challenging. That’s because undergraduate students have to build knowledge and skills in two different fields at the same time: healthcare provision and business administration.
Besides the need for a broad view of the healthcare delivery system and healthcare management practices in the US, healthcare administration majors also have to develop the necessary skills through internships.
It usually takes four years to complete a bachelor’s in healthcare administration.
However, there are accelerated healthcare administration online programs available from accredited online colleges and universities, which are ideal for students, including especially adult or professional learners, who would like to get their hands on a bachelor’s in under four years.
The following are the typical core courses healthcare administration majors have to take in order to graduate:
- Developing Leaders in the Changing Healthcare Environment
- Epidemiological Concepts for Healthcare Administration
- Healthcare Administration Practicum
- Healthcare Finance
- Healthcare Law
- Human Resources Management for Healthcare Organizations
- Introduction to Public Health
- Managed Care
- Management of Health Information Systems
- Management of Health Services Organizations
- Pre-Practicum in Healthcare Administration
- Quantitative Management for Healthcare Organizations
- Strategic Planning and Marketing for Healthcare Organizations
- US Healthcare System
While completing a major is a must in order for you to earn a bachelor’s in healthcare administration, it’s a completely different story when it comes to a minor — you can minor in nothing and still earn a degree.
However, there are many perks that come with having a minor or two. For one, it can round out your undergraduate degree in healthcare administration, which can make your resume a complete standout and more attractive to employers. It also gives you the opportunity to study things that you find personally interesting.
Consider these minors if the goal is to become more marketable as a bachelor’s in healthcare administration holder:
- Computer science
- Foreign language
What Can You Do With a Healthcare Administration Degree?
As healthcare administrators are essential in virtually every type of medical facility, there are many career opportunities available for bachelor’s and master’s holders. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that employment in healthcare administration occupations is projected to grow 32% in the next 10 years.
Many entry-level jobs in the healthcare administration sector require only a bachelor’s degree.
Needless to say, healthcare administration majors can choose to be a part of the workforce immediately after earning their undergraduate degree, holding job positions that are both challenging and rewarding.
The majority of bachelor’s in healthcare administration holders can be found working at facilities such as hospitals, clinics, outpatient care centers, physicians’ offices, pharmaceutical corporations, insurance companies and even certain governmental agencies. So in other words, a healthcare administrator major like you could be everywhere!
Here are some jobs that you can take on with an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration:
Medical administrative assistant
- Median annual salary: $39,680
- Job outlook in 10 years: -7%
Also sometimes referred to as medical secretaries, medical administrative assistants carry out routine clerical and organizational tasks in the workplace. While employment is, as of this writing, on a decline, it is projected that there will be around 324,300 job openings for medical administrative assistants per year for the next 10 years.
Health information specialist
- Median annual salary: $45,240
- Job outlook in 10 years: 9%
As the name suggests, health information specialists are those who organize, manage and input health information data. It goes without saying that they usually spend most of their working hours in front of a computer. Other than a bachelor’s in health care administration, some employers or settings may accept a high school diploma or an equivalent.
Patient services representative
- Median annual salary: $36,920
- Job outlook in 10 years: -1%
Simply put, patient services representatives work with patients who are obtaining services at hospitals, outpatient care facilities and others. Although employment is on a decline as of the time being for patient services representatives, about 361,700 job openings per year for the next 10 years are expected to be available for them.
Healthcare human resources manager
- Median annual salary: $126,230
- Job outlook in 10 years: 9%
The primary role of healthcare human resources managers, in a nutshell, is being in charge of various human services and resources at medical and health facilities. Work experience and some sort of managerial skills can make healthcare administration majors looking to become healthcare human resources managers more employable.
Medical and health services managers
- Median annual salary: $101,340
- Job outlook in 10 years: 32%
Some of the primary tasks of medical and health services managers include planning, directing and coordinating the various business activities of healthcare providers. Many of them enter the workforce armed with a bachelor’s in healthcare administration. However, some employers may require previous work experience or a master’s degree.
Administrative services manager
- Median annual salary: $99,290
- Job outlook in 10 years: 9%
In order for healthcare facilities or services to run efficiently, administrative service managers come to the rescue — they plan, direct and coordinate activities among administrators. While administrative service managers spend most of their time inside offices during work hours, they also make rounds and even visit other facilities from time to time.
- Median annual salary: $30,100
- Job outlook in 10 years: -7%
What medical scribes do is convert into written or electronic reports medical care, including especially voice recordings of physicians and other healthcare workers. Although a healthcare administration major is not a requirement for medical scribes, up to 77% of today’s medical scribes have a bachelor’s degree — 4% have a master’s.
Pharmaceutical sales representatives
- Median annual salary: $62,890
- Job outlook in 10 years: 5%
Also referred to as medical sales representatives, pharmaceutical sales representatives are responsible for promoting and selling the products — drugs, medical equipment, etc. — of their clients to healthcare facilities, physicians and other healthcare workers. The majority of pharmaceutical sales representatives tend to travel frequently.
- Median annual salary: $37,190
- Job outlook in 10 years: 18%
Besides administrative ones, medical assistants also perform an assortment of basic clinical tasks. Some of them include measuring vital signs, preparing specimens for laboratory tests and administering medications as directed by physicians. Most medical assistants work at physicians’ offices, hospitals and outpatient care facilities.
Military healthcare administrators
- Median annual salary: $108,730
- Job outlook in 10 years: 32%
Basically, military healthcare administrators are tasked with managing military hospitals, clinics and many other healthcare facilities. They are also the ones who are responsible for ensuring the readiness of both personnel and equipment in order to meet the medical needs not only of service members but their families, too.
Some bachelor’s in health administration holders attend graduate school in order to obtain a master’s degree, which we will talk about in a few. Having a master’s in health administration can open more career opportunities for you, including especially higher-level and higher-paying jobs.
According to recent data, those with master’s in healthcare administration make an average of $115,160 per year. It’s not uncommon for fresh graduates to have an average starting salary of $58,820.
The following are some jobs available for individuals with a master’s in health administration:
- Administrative services manager
- Associate health director
- Biopharmaceutical manager
- Clinical director or supervisor
- Clinical trials manager
- Data analyst
- Finance manager
- General and operations manager
- Healthcare consultant
- Healthcare executive
- Healthcare project manager
- Hospital HR manager
- Managed care director
- Manager of volunteer services
- Medical and health services manager
- Mental health administrator
- Medical staff credentialing analyst
- Practice administrator
- Program manager
- Quality and safety manager
- Risk and compliance manager
Employers Covering Master’s in Healthcare Administration Costs
Employed bachelor’s in healthcare administration holders who would like to pursue a master’s in healthcare administration may take advantage of tuition reimbursement. Simply put, it’s an employee benefit where the employer agrees to provide financial assistance to an employee to further his or her education.
Also sometimes referred to as tuition assistance, tuition reimbursement also fosters employee loyalty, which encourages the beneficiary to invest his or her future at the company.
It goes without saying that you will be able to save a lot of money through tuition reimbursement.
However, you are not the only one who can benefit a lot from earning a master’s in healthcare administration at a fraction of the cost but also your employer — and there are a handful of perks to enjoy:
- Reduction in overall retention costs
- Develop talents already a part of the team
- Deduction of up to $5,250 in tax per employee per year
Not all employers offer tuition reimbursement. If you are interested in getting your hands on a master’s in healthcare administration, ask your employer about it. According to recent data, only 40% of employees are aware of the fact that their employers provide tuition reimbursement and only 2% of those actually take advantage of the program.
It’s also important to keep in mind that tuition reimbursement may look different from employer to employer.
Some employers, for instance, may only agree to cover the tuition, while others may only agree to pay for certain courses. Then there are also employers who may only agree to take care of certain costs associated with attending a graduate school, such as textbooks or internet connection fees if earning an online degree.
And speaking of going to an online school, you can choose to work on a master’s in healthcare administration on the internet — we will discuss this matter in a few, so don’t stop reading now!
Best Schools for a Healthcare Administration Degree
As a student who would like to become a healthcare administrator one day, it’s not enough that you apply to the school of your dreams — you should apply to one offering a program that can make your dream come true.
The Best Schools says that the following have some of the best online master’s in healthcare administration:
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||89%|
|University of Pennsylvania||95%|
|Penn State World Campus||71%|
|Johns Hopkins University||93%|
|University of Southern California||92%|
|Florida International University||58%|
|University of Minnesota – Twin Cities||80%|
|Appalachian State University||72%|
|Western Carolina University||62%|
|Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences||66%|
|Rutgers University – New Brunswick||80%|
|Trevecca Nazarene University||54%|
|George Washington University||82%|
|University of the Southwest||18%|
|Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health||63%|
|Roberts Wesleyan College||68%|
|University of Mary||55%|
|University of Cincinnati – Main Campus||68%|
Online Master’s in Healthcare Administration
Some healthcare administration jobs require a master’s degree. Luckily for employed healthcare administration majors who wish to climb up the career ladder, they can earn a master’s online — many accredited online schools have a master’s in healthcare administration programs.
Thanks to the net, individuals with a bachelor’s degree may pursue a master’s sans going to a physical campus.
Online master’s in healthcare administration programs are ideal for bachelor’s in healthcare administration holders who cannot turn their backs on their current jobs but would like to further their education.
A master’s in healthcare administration, typically, consists of anywhere from 30 to 60 credits. This means that full-time healthcare administration graduate students can earn their master’s in about two years.
Traditional master’s in healthcare administration programs can cost $12,740 to $55,890 in tuition alone.
On the other hand, online master’s in healthcare administration programs can cost as low as $200 to as high as $1,500 per credit hour. Generally speaking, earning a master’s online is cheaper because many college-associated costs are eliminated.
Healthcare administration students pursuing a master’s degree may choose to specialize in fields such as:
- Acute care
- Environmental health science
- Health informatics
- Health policy and management
- Healthcare ethics
- Healthcare finance
- Healthcare information management
- Long-term care
- Maternal and child health
- Survey research
Seriously considering earning a master’s in healthcare administration online? Here are the top five schools you should consider, all of which are fully accredited:
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Northcentral University
- Colorado State University – Global Campus
- George Washington University
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Just Before You Enroll in a Healthcare Administration Program
Having a bachelor’s degree, in most instances, is enough for you to be able to apply to various lucrative jobs in the healthcare administration field. But in order to have access to higher-level and higher-paying jobs, earning a master’s in healthcare administration is usually a must.
Luckily for employed healthcare administration majors, they can keep their jobs while working on a master’s by attending accredited online schools — some may even take advantage of tuition reimbursement.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.