With the increase in life expectancy in recent decades, the demand for qualified health care workers to serve an aging population has increased dramatically. Graduates from a degree program in health care administration are in an excellent position to fill a number of positions in this industry. At the bachelor’s level, students should expect to take courses in public health, leadership and ethics in health care, health care delivery systems, medical terminology, health care economics, computer technology, leadership, quality assurance, and risk management, among others. In addition, students enrolled in this type of program will be required to complete a comprehensive general education curriculum.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
While a number of entry-level positions are available to workers who have certificates and associate degrees, there is often little room for career advancement with this level of education. Students who earn a bachelors in health care administration, however, are in an ideal position to work as medical and health services managers, social and community service managers, or health educators. This type of program can also be a great foundation for graduate course work in health care policy or health care administration management. This could open up many more doors for advancement down the road.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Both first-time college students and adults headed back to school should make sure they do thorough research. A list of common admissions requirements are below:
- High school transcript or GED test scores
- Previous college transcripts (if applicable)
- Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
- SAT or ACT test scores (if required)
- Application form and fee
- Application essay (if required)
- Letters of recommendation (if required)
Inside a Healthcare Administration Bachelor’s Degree Program
For students interested in distance learning, a variety of online bachelors in health care administration are available. Most programs at this level take approximately four years to complete. This, of course, will depend on the number of courses taken each term, any transfer credits applied, and whether or not any breaks are taken during the course of the program. The beginning of a bachelor’s curriculum will likely include a series general education courses and introductory major topics. Further courses commonly cover human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, health care delivery systems, health care economics, facilities management, and health care law and ethics.
Online learners have access to the virtual learning platform 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means they are free to review course materials, work on assignments, post is discussion boards, and read instructor feedback around their current work, family, or travel schedules. Despite the lack of personal interaction in a physical classroom, students can communicate with their professors and peers through video chat and virtual meeting software. This is also ideal for presentations and group project assignments.
What’s Next for Healthcare Administration Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration are equipped with the knowledge and credentials to fill administrative positions with hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, schools, and nursing homes. Potential occupations include health education, medical and health services management, and social and community service management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the demand for health educators is expected to increase by 37% from 2010 to 2020. This estimate was 22% for medical and health services managers.
The average annual salary reported for medical and health services managers in 2011 was $96,030. This was $52,150 for health educators that same year. Please note, however, actual starting salaries and open positions will depend on a number of factors such as level of experience, education, location, and the specific employer.