Best Online Health Services Administration Degrees

The health and medical services industry offers a variety of career options for professionals who do not practice medicine. The health services administration field suits those interested in a career managing resources, services, and workers in health and medical services. Earning a health services administration online degree can help you start a career in this growing field, learning on your own schedule at a lower cost than you would pay attending an on-campus program.

A typical health services administration online program covers organizational behavior, leadership skills, and microeconomics. Learners explore healthcare ethics, the U.S. healthcare system, and healthcare terminology to prepare for work in this unique environment.

Read on for more of what to expect from your health services online degree in terms of curriculum, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, relevant accreditation, and post-graduation employment and salary prospects.

How Much Can You Make in a Health Services Administration Career?

A wide range of career options are available for graduates with health services administration bachelor's degrees. While no degree guarantees a specific career or salary, a bachelor's in health services administration can prepare you for entry level positions in lucrative careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health services managers make an average annual wage of $99,730 and can anticipate a job growth rate of 20% from 2016-26.

The following chart demonstrates the average salary and job growth expectations for some of the most popular careers available to health services administration workers who hold bachelor's degrees.

Health Services Managers

Health services managers oversee the effective functioning of medical and health services facilities, such as hospitals, outpatient care centers, and physician's offices. They plan and coordinate the activities of healthcare staff, manage finances, and draw plans for budgeting and meeting departmental objectives. Typically, a bachelor's degree in health services administration leads to an entry level position in this growing field.

Median Annual Salary: $99,730

Job Growth: 20%

Administrative Services Managers

Many administrative services managers work in health and medical services facilities, planning, coordinating, and directing supportive assistance, such as recordkeeping and mail services. On a typical day, these managers may oversee maintenance and repairs for medical services machinery or check on their facility's compliance with health and security regulations. Most administrative services managers hold at least a bachelor's in a management related field.

Median Annual Salary: $96,180

Job Growth: 10%

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers interview, recruit, and train staff for a variety of organizations, including medical and health services facilities. On a typical day, a human resources manager at a hospital might interview job candidates, work on resolving workplace conflicts, or plan employee benefits programs. Some health services administration programs may allow for a double major with human resources management or feature required human resources management coursework.

Median Annual Salary: $113,300

Job Growth: 9%

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community services managers often work in hospitals, clinics, and nursing and residential care facilities. These managers' daily duties can encompass planning and managing outreach activities for a social services program or mentoring caregivers within a nursing home. The position usually requires at least a bachelor's degree in a management-related field.

Median Annual Salary: $65,320

Job Growth: 18%

Top Executives

Top executives, or CEOs, plan, direct, and coordinate the operational functions of organizations at the highest level. The CEO of a hospital may spend an average day meeting with department heads or managers, discussing long-term goals and more mundane financial and operational concerns. Though many top executives only hold a bachelor's degree, the job often requires an advanced degree along with extensive professional experience.

Median Annual Salary: $104,980

Job Growth: 8%

Career prospects vary by state. Local demand and average wages can create significant differences in salary and job growth expectations. For instance, health services managers can anticipate their highest average salaries in the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts, and their lowest in Arkansas and Iowa. The following list displays salary and job growth data for health services administration professionals in all states.

FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MA MD DC

What Courses Can be Taken for an Online Health Services Administration Degree?

Course offerings for different online health services administration degrees vary by school, but certain remain the same. Health services administration students need in-depth knowledge of legal and ethical issues in health services, organizational psychology, and management to prepare for their unique careers.

The following list represents some typical course offerings from online health services administration degrees. Remember to inquire into your prospective school's specific offerings in electives, core coursework, and general education requirements before pursuing a degree.

Healthcare Organizational Behavior and Resource Management Students examine theoretical, methodological, and practical frameworks of organizational behavior and resource management, along with how they apply to a health services setting. Course topics include group performance, organizational dynamics, and leadership.
Healthcare Financial Management The course overviews economics and financial management as they apply to different healthcare settings. Students describe and analyze healthcare system finance and budgeting on an individual and organizational level.
Legal Aspects of Healthcare Learners investigate regulations on health services at the local, state, and federal level, and how legal liabilities of institutions and professionals and corporate organizations inform health services delivery.
Values, Ethics, and Conflict Resolution in Health Services Students explore ethical systems and common individual and organizational values that influence behavior in health services settings, and how to effectively navigate ethical conflicts within these settings.
Cultural Competency in Health Services The course surveys differing beliefs and values across cultural groups to illustrate various barriers to understanding what can arise in health services. Students learn how to leverage cultural competency to minimize these difficulties.

How to Choose the Best Online Health Services Administration Program

Choosing the right online health services administration program hinges on a range of factors to explore prior to pursuing your education. Since postsecondary schooling comes at a price, you want to make sure your degree counts. For instance, what accrediting body handles health services administration programs? How should you design your curriculum for the degree? Read on for some answers to common questions relating to the quality and practicality of online health services administration degrees.

Q. How will I access coursework for my health services administration online degree?

A. Online programs use learning management systems, such as Blackboard, in which students can access quizzes, coursework, and discussions through an online portal. Depending on the program, some may follow an asynchronous or synchronous model, meaning that some may let you access lecture materials on your own time, while others may require you to meet for class at specific times throughout the week.

Q. Can I customize my degree to a specific area of interest?

A. Many health services administration degrees offer concentrations or tracks in topics like healthcare informatics, healthcare financial management, or patient safety and quality. These concentrations offer coursework that can prepare you for a particular career. Alternately, they can impart skills and knowledge applicable to another industry you work in or want to work in. When in doubt, work closely with your advisor to customize your elective choices to a specific career.

Q. Should I attend an in- or out-of-state school for my health services administration online degree?

A. Online degrees offer you the freedom to attend an out-of-state school without relocating, but you should still keep certain aspects in mind. Some schools only offer their online programs to in-state or regional students and may exclude students from certain states for various reasons. However, at most schools, all online students pay a flat tuition rate, regardless of residency.

Q. Does completing a health services administration online degree involve an internship?

A. Many health services degrees include an internship within a department-approved setting, where learners incorporate their studies with practical experience. The degree may culminate with students presenting a professional portfolio or report on their internship experience. Programs require between 400 and 1,000 hours of experience and may tie this requirement in with long-term care or other certifications.

Q. What kind of programmatic accreditation should I look for when selecting a health services administration online degree?

A. The Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) accredits undergraduate and graduate programs, and the Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) currently only accredits master's programs. Checking to see if a health services bachelor's program comes from a school with AUPHA or CAHME affiliation proves a good metric for quality.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Health Services Administration Programs

Paying for your health services administration degree may seem overwhelming at first, but many options exist for accessing financial aid. Health services administration bachelor's students should strongly consider pursuing scholarships that tailor to students in the field. Unlike loans, scholarships do not need to be repaid. Scholarships also often specifically cater to women and minorities demonstrating financial need. Organizations may award money to you or directly to your school of choice.

Linda Kloss Endowed Scholarship

The Linda Kloss Endowed Scholarship offers $2,500 every year to learners enrolled in a Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)-accredited program in health services administration or health informatics. Applicants must present 24 credits towards the degree with a 3.5 minimum GPA and American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) membership for consideration.

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Harry J. Harwick Scholarship

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) offers a $3,000-scholarship award to MGMA-member learners in an AUPHA- or CAHME-accredited undergraduate or graduate program related to medical practice management, including health services administration. Students interested in earning a graduate degree should consider the MGMA's other scholarships that cater to aspiring and established medical and health services top executives.

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Richard J. Stull Student Essay Scholarship

The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) awards up to $3,000 to undergraduate and graduate students in an essay contest on health services administration topics. Essays typically go up to fifteen pages in length, excluding the title page, executive summary, endnotes, and works cited. Students completing a postgraduate residency or with over five years of professional experience in health services administration cannot apply.

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Cathy L. Brock Scholarship

Students in a graduate program in health services administration or BSN program with a health services administration concentration can apply to the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity's (IDHE) $1,000 scholarship established in honor of Cathy L. Brock. Applicants must present a 3.0 minimum GPA, financial need, and an interest in financial management. The scholarship strongly encourages minority students to apply.

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Elizabeth and Sherman Asche Memorial Scholarship

The Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) offers scholarships of up to $1,500 to Native American and Alaskan students enrolled full-time in a health services administration-related major at an accredited U.S. school. Applicants must present a 2.5 minimum GPA, personal essay, and a copy of tribal enrollment for consideration. The scholarship, established in 2004, commemorates Elizabeth Asche's contributions to the AAIA.

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