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Healthcare Services Administration Programs

Healthcare Services Administration Programs

What are Healthcare Services Administrators?

Healthcare services administrators strive to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in hospitals, nursing homes and medical practices. As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they implement and oversee medical services, supervise lower-level managers and/or healthcare workers, manage finances, create work schedules and ensure all laws and regulations are being followed. For more information about the job of healthcare services administrators, see our healthcare administrator career page.

Healthcare Services Administration Program Information

Individuals interested in attending healthcare services administration schools can pursue their studies at community colleges as well as public and private universities and colleges. Depending on the program, students can choose between studying on-campus, online or through hybrid programs that combine online and in-class instruction. Healthcare services administration programs provide instruction on healthcare finances, computer applications and legal issues, as well as medical terminology and effective leadership and motivational strategies.

Healthcare Services Administration Program Types

Prospective students have several degree options, including the following healthcare services administration programs:

  • Associate Degree: An associate degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. This program introduces students to health services administration, with instruction in medical billing and coding, management principles and medical terminology. An associate degree may help students begin their new career as soon as possible and credits earned may transfer into some four-year programs.
  • Bachelor's Degree: Full-time students can often complete their bachelor's degree in as little as four years. These programs include bachelor's in health services administration or business administration with a focus on healthcare management. Students learn about accounting, finances, leadership and legal issues, helping prepare them for healthcare administration careers in hospitals, healthcare consulting firms and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Master's Degree: Graduate school can be a great choice for students who want to compete for high-level healthcare management jobs. Degree options include a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA), Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA), or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on healthcare administration. These programs usually take two years of full-time study to complete and include instruction in health policy and economics, health law, ethics and health information technology.
  • Doctoral Degree: To compete for the highest executive positions within healthcare administration, students can earn their Doctor of Health Administration, Ph.D. in health management, or similar credential. A doctoral degree can also qualify students for positions in research and college teaching. Programs lengths vary greatly at this level. They could take full-time students as little as three years or upwards of seven-plus years depending on the program, and whether a student has already earned a master's degree.

Healthcare Services Administration Course Descriptions

Although healthcare services administration courses can vary by program, most schools share a similar core curriculum. The following represent examples of classes that are commonly found in healthcare services administration programs:

  • Healthcare Finances: Introduces students to the concepts and terminology of accounting and finances in healthcare organizations, including instruction in financial tools, income statements, balance sheets, return on investment analysis, and payments.
  • Leadership and Management Principles: Students learn about effective leadership and management techniques, including motivating employees and inspiring confidence in one's leadership. Students also receive an introduction to healthcare human resources.
  • Legal Issues: This course provides an overview of the laws and regulations of the healthcare industry, including federal and state laws, regulatory oversight, credentialing requirements and patient privacy and confidentiality.
  • Medical Terminology: This course teaches students the language of healthcare, including the terminology for diagnosing, coding and billing.
  • Healthcare Computer Applications and Information Technology: Students learn about healthcare information technology standards, healthcare software applications and how they can be used to improve healthcare and control costs.

Healthcare Services Administration Specialties

Most associate and bachelor's degree programs prepare students in all areas of healthcare services administration. However, at the graduate level, students can often specialize in areas such as:

  • Accounting
  • Community Health
  • Health Services Management
  • Information Security Management
  • International Business
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Public Health Policy

Related Career Options

Those seeking an education in healthcare management may want to consider alternative educational routes, which could lead to similar administrative careers such as:

  • Human Resources Manager: Human resources managers direct the recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training efforts in an organization. They may also deal with employee disciplinary problems, contribute to the organizational policies of a company and participate in the mediation process when disputes arise.
  • Nurse Administrator: Nurse administrators supervise other nurses, helping coordinate patient care and providing other administrative contributions. Nurse administrators typically begin their careers as registered nurses and retain their nursing license.
  • Social and Community Service Manager: Supervise and coordinate programs and community organizations that provide services to the public, such as homeless shelters and family counseling clinics.

Links to Sources and Associations

To learn more about healthcare services management education and careers, view the following websites:

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, http://www.aaham.org/

American College of Healthcare Administrators, http://www.achca.org/

American College of Healthcare Executives, http://www.ache.org

American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, http://www.ashhra.org/

Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals, http://www.ahcap.org/

Health Care Administrators Association, http://www.hcaa.org/

Healthcare Financial Management Association, http://www.hfma.org/

Medical and Health Services Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Medical-and-health-services-managers.htm

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  • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
  • Its main campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, with campuses located throughout the State of Florida and internationally. 
  • Provides a Department of Student Services and Resources that assists students with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and more.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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  • Offers career placement assistance services to recent graduates.
  • Approved to accept international students who wish to study in the United States.
  • Programs include Medical Office Specialist, Medical Assistant, Dental Lab Technician, and Healthcare Administration.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • Main campus is located in Van Nuys, California, north of Los Angeles.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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Platt College , Alhambra
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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The George Washington University School of Business offers esteemed graduate programs with flexible online classes designed for busy working professionals like you.
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Awarded 21 institutional scholarships in 2013, totaling over $76,000 in tuition.
  • Offers several certificate programs where students can earn credits without committing to a full degree program.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
  • Part of the Colorado State University System.
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