Best Healthcare Management Degree + Online Programs

This article will explain why you should consider obtaining your healthcare management degree. You will learn about the types of healthcare management degrees, how to select your program, options for joint degrees and also will understand the requirements and career options you have before you.

What Is a Healthcare Management Degree?

A healthcare management degree is a professional, academic degree, and is most often a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. It is awarded to students who have completed their undergraduate or graduate education in healthcare management. A healthcare management degree is often a wise investment if you desire a career in healthcare management or career in healthcare administration. Common workplaces for people with this degree are in healthcare facilities, doctors’ offices and hospitals. Job roles usually involve management and administration positions where you are responsible for a department or the entire facility.

Why Earn a Healthcare Management Degree?

Many aspiring professionals want to enter the healthcare industry generally because the demand for healthcare services is soaring and there is no end in site. The population of America is aging, living longer, and wants to continue high levels of activity even as they retire. So, the demand for all types of healthcare services is growing exponentially.

Statistics from the US government show this to be the case. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupation job growth overall will increase  by 19% by 2024, with more than 2.3 million jobs created. While large numbers of those jobs will include clinical roles such as nurses, doctors and allied health professionals, there also will be a need for more professional healthcare managers for new and expanding medical facilities.

Clearly there will be no shortage of healthcare management jobs in the next decade. For you to leverage your skills to the best possible advantage, you will need to determine what type of healthcare management degree you want.

If you are just starting your career, a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management may be what you need. Or, if you are experienced and have a bachelor’s degree, perhaps a master’s degree in healthcare management is perfect for your needs. There are programs available where you can leverage your bachelor’s degree and get credit for your past classes in a master’s program.

Also, think about if you want to actually go to classes on a campus or earn your degree online and remotely. Learning in person has advantages in terms of more interaction and networking, but there is much to be said for being able to take your classes in your bedroom!

Choosing Your Degree Path

Considering a healthcare management degree? Below are the most commonly searched for degree options:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management: This is a great entry level business and health care policy degree that will provide you with the skills that you need to start your career in healthcare management. You will learn how to consider qualify of care as you make budget decisions, and also will learn how to ensure quality assurance and risk management also are addressed in organizational decisions.
  • Master of Business Administration in Health Care Management: One interesting option in this field is to earn your MBA, which will provide you with the business and management skills you need to soar to the top of any organization. This MBA however is focused on the healthcare management field. You will know how to use strategic thinking and planning to organize and execute the mission of your healthcare organization.
  • Doctorate in Healthcare Management: For professionals who wish to be an administrative or management leader in a large healthcare organization, or serve in a leadership role in healthcare academia, a doctoral degree is a good option. This type of degree will provide you with the multiple skills that you need to lead progressive healthcare organizations.

Online Healthcare Management Degree Options

Southern New Hampshire University

To get started in a healthcare management career, a good option is the Online Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. This program will give you the skills to plan, direct, and coordinate health services, and to work closely with healthcare staff to have a positive impact on patient care.

This program is aligned with all curriculum principles that have been established by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. This ensures that you will be educating yourself in critical areas that will make you highly desirable for work in the health management and administration fields.

This program will help you to develop your career so that you can work as a management and administration professional in doctors’ offices, hospitals, health care facilities and more.

The courses in this bachelor’s program will focus on healthcare and how it intersects with technology, business, quality management, policy, and ethics.

Learning outcomes in this 100% online program include the following:

  • Learn how to engage with stakeholders with communication that features outstanding interpersonal skills, excellent collaboration, and strong cultural competence
  • Show good knowledge of economic and financial principles by monitoring and using economic and financial data for strategic planning and decision making
  • Use functions and principles of management to properly interpret market analyses to improve organizational development and strategic planning.
  • Learn how to make good recommendations to enhance effectiveness and integration of modern information management systems

Be able to assess regulations, government structures and contemporary policies that are critical in health care delivery in the US

Be skilled in promoting dynamic organizational cultures that establish strategic visions, and also analyze and interpret data that is based upon solid statistical and epidemiological principles.

Required courses in this bachelor’s in healthcare administration are:

  • Healthcare Economics
  • Healthcare Finance
  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Healthcare Quality Management
  • Human Relations in Administration
  • HR Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Healthcare Reimbursement

Western Governor’s University

For those who want to earn an online MBA focused on healthcare management, Western Governor’s University offers an excellent program that is accredited, respected and affordable.

This two-year degree program is well suited for experienced healthcare professionals who want a healthcare management focused MBA to advance their healthcare career. It also is suitable for an experienced professional in another field who wants to enter healthcare management.

This accredited program has been designed with a high level of input from business leaders and experts who serve on the WGU Business Program Council. The university has a National Advisory Board that has major foundation and corporation members that give their ongoing support and advice to the University. This is done so that MBA in healthcare management graduates have learned essential subjects that will serve them well in their new career.

  • Essential skills that you will cover:
  • Managing organizations and leading people
  • Managing human capital
  • Marketing
  • Accounting for decision makers
  • Financial management
  • Accreditation auditing
  • Global economics for managers
  • Ethical leadership
  • Data driven decision making
  • Service line development

This master’s program also requires a capstone project at the end of the two years. This allows you to take what you have learned and use it in your healthcare operation.

Many busy working professionals choose WGU for their MBA program because it is designed to allow you to attend college on your time. You can complete most of your classes when you choose to do so. Once you have proven that you have mastered a subject area, you may move on to the next subject. Most students spend at least 20 hours per week on their courses, including in class and outside of class work.

Most students can complete this online healthcare management MBA program in two years. Some students may be able to complete the material in less time, but most students who do so only work on a part-time basis. You also may take up to five years to complete the program, if you choose.

Each student works closely with a Faculty Mentor that will set up the pace at which you move through the MBA program. You will work with him or her to determine the learning tools and resources necessary that will help you to show your competency in each business area. Each student in the master’s program must complete at least eight competency units per semester to complete the program in two years.

Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus offers an excellent Master of Health Administration in Health Policy and Administration. This program will help you to combine your experience in the healthcare field with a very strong business management education. This will expand your qualifications for challenging positions of leadership in healthcare, and will provide you with the tools to be a change leader in many healthcare management environments.

Many healthcare professionals choose to attend the World Campus at Penn State because of its sterling reputation. This online degree program is a unique collaboration between Penn State World Campus, the School of Public Affairs, and the Department of Health Policy and Information. You are connected to faculty from three elite Penn State departments with more than 25 years of experience in student learning.

With the experienced faculty, the 4,000 alumni from the Master of Health Administration program and countless professional contacts, graduates are well equipped to move their careers forward dynamically in this field.

This online program has been built on the excellence and experience of the MHA program that was first set up in 1990. It has recently been awarded a new accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education or CAHME.

Another reason many students choose this program is that Penn State makes it very easy for most professionals to attend school at least part-time with its convenient online format.

The curriculum will give you an excellent grasp of health services and management. Each course is structured to teach you how the essential healthcare management principles of accountability, management and organization. It also will teach you about ethical leadership, critical though, written and oral communication skills and a good grasp of health care laws in the US.

This program is ideally designed for students who have substantial health care experience, and wish to boost their business management skills. You should typically possess five years of work experience in health care, references from your supervisors and professors, and a demonstrated track record of excellence in health care related work.

Required courses include these:

  • Financing Healthcare
  • Introduction to Health Services Organizations and Delivery
  • Health Services Organizational Behavior
  • Financial Management in Health Institutions
  • Managing Healthcare Operations
  • Change in Leadership in Health Services Organizations

Joint Healthcare Management Degree Options

Would you like to study two related fields at the same time, and save time and money? Then consider these dual degree programs in healthcare management:

  • Master of Science in Health Care Management/Master of Business Administration (MBA): This type of dual degree program is well suited for middle or senior management professionals in hospitals or other types of healthcare organizations.
  • MBA in Healthcare Management/Pharm.D.: This unusual degree combination provides you with a degree to earn an upper level management position in a healthcare organization, and also be a practicing pharmacist. This could be a useful degree for healthcare management professionals who work in a large pharmacy or in a healthcare organization focused on drugs and devices.
  • Master of Healthcare Management and Administration: Some universities offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s program, such as earning a bachelor’s in healthcare management at the same time you earn your master’s degree in MHA healthcare administration.

Accreditation

When you are considering a healthcare management degree, it is important for you to know if the program has been fully accredited by a respected organization. This accreditation serves several purposes:

  • Your future potential employers will know that your degree is from a highly respected college or university.
  • You are reassured that your degree has high value and has been evaluated by healthcare management education experts.

One of the best and most highly respected accreditation agencies for this field is the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education or CAHME.

Summary

A healthcare management degree, whichever you choose, is an excellent path to a long and productive career in healthcare. Consider the options carefully and do your research, and you should be able to find the ideal program for your future.

Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

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