Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Healthcare Management

Finding the Right Healthcare Management Program & Exploring Careers

Updated on: 12/12/2018
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roles for graduates of healthcare management degree online programs are projected to grow by 20% between 2016 and 2026, making it an excellent time to enter this field. In addition to earning upwards of six figures, these professionals make a difference in people's lives every day. Bachelor's in healthcare management programs instill in students the leadership skills needed to oversee large-scale clinics and the knowledge needed to ensure operations run smoothly.

Because many individuals pursuing an online bachelor's degree in healthcare management also work while in school, distance learning makes it possible to balance personal, professional, and academic responsibilities without becoming stressed. In the following guide, students can learn about common jobs, projected salaries, coursework, scholarships, and the importance of attending an accredited institution.

How Much Can You Make in a Healthcare Management Career?

Because many of the skills from a healthcare management degree online transfer to other positions, graduates should feel confident in finding a meaningful role that suits personal and professional goals. In addition to providing brief blurbs about each career, the following table pays special attention to salaries and growth projections to ensure the role meets any financial or job security needs. When reviewing, keep in mind that all information pertains specifically to bachelor's degree holders – those with master's degrees may qualify for roles with higher salaries.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 20%
Job Description

Working as administrators within the healthcare field, these professionals oversee all the day-to-day operations of the clinic, hospital, or facility they serve. In addition to managing and arranging training for staff, healthcare executives work to improve efficiency and accuracy, oversee budgets, report to the governing board, and ensure compliance with all laws.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 10%
Job Description

Administrative services managers perform many of the same duties as healthcare executives, except they usually work in an office setting. They oversee and hire staff, introduce policies to improve work products, maintain records, ensure proper maintenance of all work equipment, and report to the CEO about ongoing projects, discipline issues, or goals to be met.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 9%
Job Description

Rather than focusing on the overall management of an entire hospital or clinic, human resources managers use their skills to oversee all staffing needs, liaise with other departments to meet training and discipline needs, hire specialists, develop interview and recruitment policies, and confer with executives about continuing education for staff.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 7%
Job Description

Whether working in a hospital, consumer goods organization, or production warehouse, logisticians analyze and continually work to improve an organization's supply chain. In addition to keeping tabs on raw materials, they also develop and maintain relationships with suppliers and distributors, manage budgets to ensure profit margins, and develop ways to make production and distribution more efficient.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: 19%
Job Description

No matter their chosen industry, financial managers work to manage and improve the financial health of organizations they work with. They manage and review financial documents, keep abreast of market trends, develop financial reports for the governing board, and manage all employees who work in the financial side of the business.

Sources: BLS 2018

When reviewing the state data provided below, readers may notice some variances in projected salaries based on things like industry and location. According to the BLS, medical and surgical hospitals, physicians' offices, outpatient care centers, nursing care facilities, and home health services offer the highest salaries, while Washington, D.C., New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts offer the highest rates of pay. Other considerations include level of experience, additional certifications, and job responsibilities.

What Courses Can Be Taken for an Online Healthcare Management Degree?

Healthcare management bachelor's degrees offer a varied plan of study designed to introduce the many facets of becoming a top healthcare executive. This section provides learners with an idea of what to expect, but they should contact individual schools for a full list of core classes, electives, and specialized coursework.

Foundations of Healthcare Management

This introductory course, typically taken in the first year, introduces learners to three common topics within the industry: cost, access, and quality. Students also analyze various roles within the field.

Strategic Healthcare Management

Students cover topics related to handling competition, following market trends, overcoming challenges, and managing political and social changes while maintaining profitability.

Current Topics in Healthcare

With an eye on the current state of the healthcare industry, students review topics such as the Affordable Care Act, regulations, insurance, pre-existing conditions, and the future of the industry.

Managing Healthcare Systems Financials

After reviewing general financial management principles, students in this course learn how to apply them in healthcare settings. Topics include working capital management, financial statement analysis, managed care, and reimbursements.

Healthcare Management Terminology

To ensure learners understand the vernacular of the industry they hope to enter, this class provides a comprehensive review of public health and healthcare topics, debates, and issues.

How to Choose the Best Online Healthcare Management Program

Many factors go into choosing the right healthcare management degree online, and students must consider accreditation, institutional and programmatic reputation, degree requirements, faculty accomplishments, and whether the curriculum adequately prepares them for professional goals. Learners have many questions along the path to finding a perfect fit, but the FAQ provided below can help answer some. Degree seekers with additional questions should contact programs directly.

What's the best strategy when choosing courses?

When choosing courses, learners need to consider what they want from the degree. Some may want a broad education to prepare them for different facets of the industry, while others may choose to hone in on a specific aspect, such as finance or human relations. Ask yourself these questions early on in the process and look for schools that offer ample classes in your interest area(s).

Should I be concerned about completing this degree online?

No. Healthcare management degrees offer a perfect fit for distance learning as course materials translate well in this setting. When looking at online programs, try to find those taught by campus-based professors and ensure the curriculum mirrors the one used at the brick-and-mortar location. You should also ensure the school uses the latest technology to effectively connect learners and professors.

What sorts of graduation requirements should I expect?

While requirements vary by program, many require students to complete an on-site internship to gain hands-on skills. They will also likely require a culminating project whereby the student creates a significant case study, creative project, or portfolio that showcases all they have learned throughout their coursework.

What should I pay attention to when researching faculty?

Students should look for three components when researching faculty: education, experience, and research interests. All faculty should hold an advanced degree; they should also have practical experience in the field rather than moving straight through schooling and immediately becoming a professor. Lastly, you should look for at least a few professors who share your research interests should you choose to work with them on a project.

How will this degree help me reach my goals?

In order to become a healthcare executive, applicants must possess at least a bachelor's degree. More advanced roles may require a master's. In addition to providing the required credentials, a healthcare management degree online delivers the skills and knowledge needed to tackle any issue that comes your way with confidence and authority.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Healthcare Management Programs

Because most students cannot pay for their degrees out-of-pocket, many turn to various sources of financial aid to help make up the difference. While numerous loan options exist, most learners try to find scholarships or grants first since these do not require repayment. In addition to reviewing those listed below, degree seekers should do extensive research to find as many scholarships as possible.

Andrea M. Rossiter, FACMPE Scholarship

This award, provided by the Medical Group Management Association, offers $5,000 to a student working to advance the field of healthcare administration through thoughtful, progressive management and leadership tactics. The award does not renew; learners must be enrolled in an accredited program to receive consideration. The application deadline is May 5.

AHIMA Foundation Scholarship

AHIMA provides annual awards to degree seekers working toward degrees in health information at a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Students of color or those from other minority groups are given preference, as are those who can demonstrate financial need. Applicants must have already completed at least 24 credits and achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Bachrach Family Scholarship for Excellence in Healthcare Administration

Administered through the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, this $5,000 scholarship can be used by students attending a CAHME-accredited program. Preference is given to first-generation students who can demonstrate financial need. Preference is also given to women students. All applications must be submitted by April 2.

Harry J. Harwick Scholarship

The American College of Medical Practice Executives sponsors a $3,500 annual scholarship for undergraduate learners enrolled in a healthcare management program that maintains proper accreditation from CAHME or AUPHA. Applications are released on March 5 and must be received by May 5. All winners will be notified by October of the same year.

Richard J. Stull Student Essay Competition

The American College of Healthcare Executives provides scholarships in the amounts of $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000 to students pursuing bachelor's degrees in healthcare administration. Applicants must write a thought-provoking essay on a healthcare management topic. The essay must be no longer than 15 pages, demonstrate scholarship, and tackle a unique topic. Applicants must also be attending a school participating in the ACHE Higher Education Network.