What is a Healthcare Administration Associate Degree?
With an associate degree in healthcare administration, you can have a career centered around general administration in a healthcare setting, such as human resources, working with medical personnel, and helping clinics and hospitals run smoothly and efficiently. You may earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree, an Associate of Science (A.S.), or an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree, depending on the program you complete. The coursework of a healthcare administration associate degree includes Healthcare Terminology, Managing Healthcare Human Resources, Healthcare Law and Policy, and Accounting for Healthcare Management. After graduating with an associate degree, you will be able to get an entry-level position in healthcare administration in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physicians' offices, nonprofit organizations, public health offices, pharmacies, and schools. Those earning an associate degree in healthcare administration can typically graduate and start working in about two years.
Why Should I Get a Healthcare Administration Associate Degree?
Jobs in the field of healthcare will always be in demand, especially as our population ages. Obtaining a healthcare administration associate degree would be the first step in expanding your knowledge and starting your career. Compared to a bachelor's degree program in healthcare administration, an associate degree will typically take less time and be less expensive. There are online and in-person associate degree program options. You will usually also have the option to attend classes full-time or part-time. This means earning your healthcare administration associate degree can be done on your terms and in your own time. Having an associate degree also means you can use credits earned if you decide to go back to school to earn your bachelor's or master's degree to advance your career. . A healthcare administration associate degree may be right for you if you are highly organized and good with time management and communication. It is also well suited to those with excellent interpersonal skills, business savvy, natural leadership abilities, and can make decisions quickly.
How to Choose a Healthcare Administration Associate Program
There are many things to consider when choosing the best healthcare administration associate degree program for you.
Some of these include:
- Online vs. in-person learning
- Length of the program
- Cost of the program
- Classroom sizes
- Prerequisites required to get into the program
- The reputation of the program and its professors
- Required coursework as it applies to your future career
- Ability to transfer credits to a bachelor's degree program in the future if desired
To expand on the list above, there are many things to think about when choosing an associate degree program in healthcare administration. Deciding whether you will attend classes online or in-person may be step one. If you choose to attend classes in person, you will then want to decide if you would like to stay close to home or move to a new location. Attending an out-of-state program will usually cost more than a program in your home state. Program costs can vary, so it will be important to have a good understanding of how much you or your family can pay for your education. You also may decide that there are certain classes you want to take while pursuing your associate degree, so you should become familiar with the coursework of the programs to which you plan to apply. Looking through program websites and brochures can be very helpful in choosing the best healthcare administration associate program for you.
Application and Admissions for Healthcare Administration Associate Degree Programs
Application and admission requirements for a healthcare administration associate degree program will vary, but there are some common requirements. You will need to have proof of a high school diploma or GED, typically transcripts or a certificate. You will also need to fill out an application for the program. There is often an application fee. Other items you may be asked to provide during the application process are a driver's license or proof of residency, college transcripts if you are transferring from a different program, a personal essay, an interview, and a record of your high school GPA. Many healthcare administration associate degree programs do not require a minimum GPA for admission, but some do. Typically, prerequisite classes from high school are not required to get into a healthcare administration associate degree program.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Healthcare Administration Associate Degree?
The length of time it will take you to earn your associate degree in healthcare administration will depend on whether or not you attend classes full-time or part-time. Many programs take about two years and require an average of 60 credits to graduate. Some of these credits will be general education, and the rest will be specific to healthcare administration. Your studies will take place in a classroom or online, as there is no required lab work or internships for healthcare administration degrees.
How Much Does an Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration Cost?
The cost of a healthcare administration associate degree program varies. Some factors that go into the cost of a program include location and whether the program is in-person or online. In-state tuition is typically less than out-of-state tuition. Besides tuition, there will also be other costs to consider such as books, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. In 2020, the average tuition for an associate degree was $3,750 in a public setting and $14,587 in a private setting. Programs that charge by the credit hour can range from $90 per credit to almost $500 per credit. !!!Associate Degree Coursework You will be required to complete both general education courses and degree-specific courses for your healthcare administration associate degree. There may be opportunities to take elective courses depending on the program. Common general education courses include: *English *Mathematics *Sociology *Psychology *Biology *General Chemistry *Speech and Oral Communications *History *Business Common courses specific to healthcare administration include: *Medical Terminology *Healthcare Administration and Management *Principles of Business Management *Healthcare Computer Applications *Human Resources *Medical Billing *Healthcare Policies !!!How Much Can I Earn With an Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration? According to [PayScale, healthcare administrators earn an average annual salary of $70,175, with entry-level jobs paying an average of $57,538. Those with about 1-4 years of experience in healthcare administration can earn an average of $62,547, and those with 20 or more years of experience can earn more than $93,000 per year. As with most jobs, the salary of a healthcare administrator can vary by location and experience level. The BLS reported in 2020 that the median pay for a healthcare administration manager was $104,280 for those with experience and a bachelor's degree. Those working in hospitals made the highest salary, followed by those working in outpatient care centers, followed by physicians' offices, home health care services, and skilled nursing facilities.
Begin a Career as a Healthcare Administrator
There are many career options for those with an associate degree in healthcare administration. Healthcare administrators work with medical professionals, like doctors and nurses, to ensure that the administrative operations and medical services run smoothly in settings such as hospitals, doctors' offices, outpatient clinics, and nursing facilities.
Some common duties of a healthcare administrator include:
- Improve the efficiency of healthcare services
- Ensure hospitals and clinics are compliant with laws and regulations
- Supervise staff members
- Manage finances and budgets
- Create and manage staff work schedules
- Maintain facility records
The healthcare administrator career ladder appears promising for a successful and long career. The BLS reports the job outlook for healthcare administration is projected to continue to grow at a rate faster than the average. An associate degree is required for entry-level positions in healthcare administration. Some advanced career options may require a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration.
Accreditation for Healthcare Administration Associate Degree Programs
Although there is no specific accreditation agency for healthcare administration associate degree programs, it is important to choose an accredited school. This is especially important if you plan to go back to school to earn your bachelor's degree in the future. Accreditation means the school you have chosen has met certain standards for your education. This will give you peace of mind in knowing your program meets the necessary educational and quality standards to help you gain the knowledge you need to start your career in healthcare administration. You can check if a school you are interested in is accredited or not on their website. There is also an accreditation agency specifically for healthcare administration degrees at the master's degree level. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accredits only master's degree programs in healthcare administration.
Transfer Options After Completing a Healthcare Administration Associate Degree
Having a successful and satisfying career in healthcare administration does not require a bachelor degree, yet many students with an associate degree in the field will decide to go back to school to earn this degree. It will take about two years to earn the additional 60 credits typically needed to complete a bachelor's degree if you already have earned an associate degree. You may decide to work towards a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration, but could also consider other similar bachelor's degree options including healthcare management, health information management, and healthcare services. Typically, you can transfer credits from your associate degree to a different school of your choosing for a healthcare administration bachelor's degree. It will be important to know which credits from your associate degree will be allowed to be transferred and which will not. Bachelor's degree programs will have various numbers of allowable transfer credits.
Career Advancement in Healthcare Administration
There are various paths to take to advance your career in healthcare administration after earning an associate degree. Besides gaining experience in the field by working as a healthcare administrator, going back to school to earn additional degrees and knowledge is a popular option for career advancement. There are bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctoral-level degree programs available in the field of healthcare administration. Those with advanced degrees tend to specialize in the healthcare administration field. Additionally, there are certificate programs at various institutions that can help you gain knowledge on topics relating to healthcare administration, such as long-term care and management. Salary potential increases for healthcare administrators with more experience and education. A final option is to join a professional group for healthcare administrators for networking opportunities and job announcements.
What Are Other Healthcare Administration Degree Options?
There are many degree options in the field of healthcare administration. Besides an associate degree, you can pursue a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or doctoral-level degree in healthcare administration. With each degree comes new, expanded knowledge and career opportunities. You could use the credits earned from an associate degree in healthcare administration towards a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree is typically needed before applying for graduate school or a doctoral program. You should decide which degree level and program are best for you and your career goals.
Bachelor's Degrees in Healthcare Administration
A bachelor's degree in healthcare administration normally takes four years to complete but will take less time if transferring credits from an associate degree. It is possible to get a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in healthcare administration. Earning your bachelor's degree in healthcare administration may mean more opportunities for growth in your career or even a higher-paying entry-level job out of school. A bachelor's degree will take more time and money than an associate degree in healthcare administration.
Master's Degrees in Healthcare Administration
There are pros and cons of earning a healthcare administration master's degree. Graduate school can be expensive and time-consuming, but career opportunities can be greater. A master's degree typically takes about two years of additional education to complete. You may choose to earn a Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.), or a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in healthcare administration. It is important to note that a master's degree in healthcare administration is different from a master's degree in healthcare management. Those with a healthcare administration master's degree earn an average salary of $77,612, according to PayScale.
Doctoral Degrees in Healthcare Administration
The highest level of education you can receive in the field of healthcare administration is a doctoral degree. There are both online and in-person degree options at this level. Doctoral degrees in healthcare administration require 60 or more credits to graduate. Having a Doctor of Health Administration (D.H.A.) means more career opportunities and working in roles such as a college professor, chief strategist, health information director or medical director. You may need a master's degree before you can apply for a doctoral-level degree in healthcare administration.
Certificate Programs in Healthcare Administration
You can earn a certificate in healthcare administration in a relatively short amount of time and for a variety of topics in the field. Certificates are also available online. There are certificates available for those with any level degree or no degree at all. Some people already working in the field of healthcare administration may choose to earn a certificate to enhance their knowledge and career. Some certificate options include long-term care, general health administration, and healthcare management.
Scholarships & Financial Aid for Healthcare Administration Associate Degrees
Financial aid is available for those pursuing an associate degree in healthcare management. Aid may come from the government, colleges and universities, private donors, or community programs. For federal grants, loans, and scholarships, associate degree students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You may be able to receive financial aid through a work-study program as well. Scholarships and grants from schools are typically awarded based on academic achievement either in high school or college. Some financial aid is awarded based on the financial need of you and your family. You will need to complete an application for financial aid from your school, and you may be asked to provide references or even a personal statement for some scholarships and grants that do not have to be paid back. There are also financial aid options for healthcare administration bachelor's degrees and healthcare administration master's degrees. Additionally, there may be financial aid available for veterans, minorities, and adult students.