Healthcare management is a broad and rapidly growing field. Professionals in the healthcare management space are responsible for all aspects of the way healthcare and health services are delivered. This can range from the day-to-day operations of clinics, doctor’s offices, and hospitals to managing patient records or insurance information.
There are many ways to pursue a career in healthcare management and getting an education is one of the first steps. Programs focus on providing a foundation for understanding the healthcare system, business administration, human resources, and medical and health services. There are bachelor of science programs in healthcare management as well as master’s degree programs that students can pursue to advance in the field.
One of the first questions when exploring this field is: What is the difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration? Healthcare management and healthcare administration are often talked about together. Though they are very similar, there are a few factors that set them apart.
Firstly, healthcare management is primarily concerned with managing healthcare facilities while healthcare administration is more concerned with administering the staff that work at these facilities. Secondly, a healthcare manager may work more closely with records and finances while a healthcare administrator may be more involved with managing and mentoring people who work in the healthcare field.
Healthcare management is an extremely important field right now. Though you might think most healthcare professionals are doctors, nurses, and other medically trained professionals, the reality is that healthcare management professionals make up a large percentage of the healthcare workforce.
With a degree in healthcare management, you will have the necessary credentials to manage the daily operations of healthcare facilities. You may also manage patient records, health outcomes, finances, and more.
Professional specializations in the healthcare management field include:
- Healthcare Administrators
- Clinical Managers
- Health Information Managers
As the healthcare system continues to grow, professional opportunities in healthcare management are also growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services manager jobs are set to increase by 18 percent through 2028.
The healthcare management field also has higher-than-average compensation. The median salary for a medical and health services manager is over $100,000 per year. If this career path interests you, read on to learn everything you need to know about healthcare management degree programs.
Healthcare Management Degree Programs
There are many different types of degree programs in the field of healthcare management. Healthcare management programs focus on public health, information technology, and of course, managing healthcare.
Coursework will prepare students to work within a very complex healthcare system. It will teach students soft skills like organizational skills and communication skills, and hard skills like information technology and healthcare management programs and technology.
Remember that there are several different college degree levels to choose from in any field. You should choose the level that is right for you based on your current level of education, your career ambitions, and your time and budgetary restrictions. You can always get started with the lowest degree level and work your way up.
Let’s go through these healthcare management degree levels now, starting with the associate degree and ending with the master’s degree.
Associate of Science in Healthcare Management
An associate of science degree is typically a 60-credit degree that may take up to two years to complete full-time. It is the lowest level degree program that typically gives students what they need to enter the workforce. That being said, many professions in the healthcare management field require a bachelor’s degree.
Most associate degree programs in healthcare management are offered online. Some top programs are at Concordia University- Wisconsin, The Florida Institute of Technology, Colorado Christian University, Iowa Central Community College, Oklahoma State University, and Community Care College.
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
A bachelor of science degree enables students to get an in-depth education and gain the knowledge they need to advance in the field of healthcare management. Programs are offered in-person, online, or through a mix of both. As you are researching programs, consider what is most important to you. If you need more flexibility, online or part-time may be ideal options. On the other hand, if you are eager to jump into the workforce as soon as possible, a full-time program may be the best option.
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management Admission Requirements
Students applying to a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management should expect to be subject to standard undergraduate admission requirements. Students must submit an application, along with any related application fees, high school transcripts, and in some cases, standardized test scores.
Admission competitiveness varies by school and by program. More highly-ranked programs tend to receive more applications, making them more competitive overall. Consider applying to five to eight programs as a rule.
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management Curriculum
The bachelor’s degree curriculum will include general distribution requirements, like English composition, academic preparedness, and information technology. Here is a list of major-specific courses you might see in a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management program:
- Medical Office Management
- Healthcare Records Management
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Coding
- Advanced Healthcare Management
- Healthcare Human Resources Management
- Healthcare Delivery Systems
- Healthcare Sociology
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Leadership in Healthcare Management
- Diversity and Inclusion in Healthcare Management
As you can see, course requirements and elective options are both diverse and specialized. Students will learn technical skills, like medical coding, and develop general capacities in courses like Leadership in Healthcare Management.
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management Top Programs
Now that you have learned more about a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, it’s time to start considering specific programs. This professional-level degree can be found online, in-person, and through hybrid programs. Let’s take a look at some of the top bachelor’s degree programs in healthcare management.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management program online. The program is a solid foundation for the professional field of healthcare management. It also offers several concentrations, including general management, clinical management, pre-professional studies, and long-term care administration.
Though all coursework is online, the program does require fieldwork experience for graduation. Finally, the University of Alabama program even gives students the chance to pursue a fast-tracked dual degree in health informatics, healthcare quality and safety, and occupational therapy.
The Maryville University of Saint Louis Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management is a flexible online program. In addition to all online coursework, this program also requires field experience for graduation, as well as a capstone research project. Students should expect to gain expertise in entrepreneurial healthcare management in this program.
The Bachelor of Science in Health Services Management program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is an excellent option at one of the top health management schools in the country. This traditional, classroom-based program prepares students with hands-on experience. This is a great option if you thrive in an in-person classroom environment. This program also requires a capstone project.
Master of Science in Healthcare Management
A Master of Science in Healthcare Management is the next educational step for professionals pursuing higher-level opportunities in healthcare management. You should consider earning a master’s degree in the field if you have already have a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Management or a related field. You should also already have significant work experience in the field.
A Master of Science in Healthcare Management will prepare students to lead in healthcare management sectors like human capital management, health delivery systems, quality improvement, and finance.
When considering a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management, one of the first questions often asked by prospective students is: What is the difference between an MS in Healthcare Management and an MBA in Healthcare Management?
Well, the main difference in these degrees is in the general approach as well as some of the basic course requirements. Because it is a business degree, coursework in the MBA is much more business and metrics focused, with courses including healthcare entrepreneurship and financial management of health institutions. Meanwhile, an MS in Healthcare Management will have less of a hard-lined business focus. Finally, unlike an MBA, the MS program won’t require GMAT test scores for admission.
Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management Admission Requirements
Most of these master’s programs will have the same core admission requirements. Students must have a bachelor’s degree, typically in a related field. In addition to the application and related fees, master’s level programs typically have more admission requirements than bachelor’s degree programs. Some master’s programs may have minimum high school and bachelor’s degree GPA requirements. This is typically the case with more competitive or highly-ranked schools.
The GRE (Graduate Records Examination) is usually required for these programs. Be sure to check requirements for each individual program that you plan to apply to.
Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management Curriculum
A Master of Science in Healthcare Management will have a similar curriculum to the bachelor’s degree, only with more advanced and specialized courses. Here are some courses you can expect to take in a master’s degree program:
- Negotiation and Communication
- Organizational Behavior
- Operations Management
- Healthcare Law
- Project Management
- Human Resources Management
- Strategic Planning and Administration
- Healthcare Finance
- Contemporary Healthcare Systems
Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management Top Programs
Much like bachelor’s degree programs, master’s degree programs in healthcare management run the gamut, from in-person to online and hybrid. Below are some of the top Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management programs.
Consistently the #1 private university in the country, Harvard has a top-notch school of public health. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers a Master of Science in Healthcare Management. The program promises to “go beyond the traditional MBA” by focusing on the healthcare sector.
This entirely online Master of Science in Healthcare Management is a great option for those looking for flexibility. It is meant for professionals who are already working in the field and wish to work in higher-levels of management in the future.
The program is 36-credits and can typically be completed in three to four semesters. A management capstone at the end of the program is required to assess a student’s learning before graduation.
Master of Science in Health Management and Policy
This specialized master’s degree field within healthcare management is offered by some of the top public health schools in the country. By combining a foundation in health management with policy, students learn the policies that form our complex healthcare system. Here are some of the top schools that offer this specialized master of science program.
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a degree program in healthcare management.
- First, you will need to assess what kind of degree makes the most sense for you based on your level of education, level of experience, and career ambitions
- Second, you will need to decide if an online program is right for you and whether it’s asynchronous (self-paced) or not
- Finally, you will need to consider your budgetary constraints. If you plan to pursue your degree part-time, you can offset the cost by continuing to work. Additionally, degrees that require more credits and take longer to complete will also be more costly. Consider these individual program details as you’re doing your research
Students who earn an accredited healthcare management degree will be well prepared to enter one of the most exciting and growing healthcare professions. By using this guide to help you through the process, you should be well on your way to a career in healthcare management.