Associates in Healthcare Administration Degrees & Schools Guide

Associates Degree in Healthcare Administration Career Options & Salary

Overview of an Associates in Healthcare Administration


Students working towards an associate degree in healthcare administration learn how to work in a medical office. They will learn about healthcare data, medical terminology and medical coding, as well as how to supervise other employees on a managerial basis. They are preparing for employment as medical secretaries, medical assistants, and medical records technicians.

Students with an associate degree in healthcare administration have the opportunity to complete their bachelor's degree. This provides the ability to move up into middle-management positions in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare Degree & Career Paths


PROS

According to U.S. News and World Report, earning an associate degree in healthcare administration will provide the potential candidate with a good grounding in medical office work. As such, the candidate will learn about patient records management, healthcare data technology, medical coding, and lower-level supervision.

An associate degree is a good option for candidates who either do not have the high school GPA that would enable them to be accepted into a traditional bachelor's degree program in healthcare administration or who need to enter the workplace soon after high school graduation. An associate degree will allow a student who worked full-time on their degree to enter the healthcare industry in two years' time.

Nothing precludes a candidate with an associate degree in healthcare administration who is working in the field from completing their bachelor's degree. There are several good healthcare administration degree-completion programs offered by top-flight colleges and universities which allow students with an associate degree and some experience in the field to complete their bachelor's degree.

CONS

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, candidates with only an associate degree in healthcare administration will find that they are limited to positions such as medical secretary, medical assistant, or medical records worker. Students who have completed a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration can expect to compete for middle-management positions in hospitals, clinics, and other medical institutions.

Typical employment offered to students who have earned a bachelor's in healthcare administration and who have completed at least one internship include nursing home administrators (after passing state licensing requirements), clinical office managers, health information managers, medical insurance underwriters, and social service managers. The yearly median income for such positions is from $52,000 to almost $100,000. Such incomes are far higher than those afforded by employment as an associate degree holder.

Also, some of the certifications that can improve one's employment prospects and income are only offered to those with a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration.

Certificate Vs. Associates


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, students hoping to become a medical secretary, medical assistant, or medical records technician can also find employment after attending a post-secondary program in their desired field and achieving certification. Certification programs for those three occupations tend to be a year in duration.

Of the three types of employment, it is more likely for a candidate to obtain employment in the field as a medical records technician through certification programs. Such programs for medical records technicians tend to provide coursework in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, communication, health data coding systems and classification, computer technology, healthcare statistics, and reimbursement means.

Students who intend to pursue certifications rather than an associate degree are encouraged to take health, computer science, biology and mathematics courses in high school. Most employers hiring medical secretaries prefer the candidate to have completed an associate degree in healthcare administration or a related field. Students who are pursuing an associate degree can expect to be taking courses in office technology and procedures; medical terminology; anatomy; medical office management, insurance billing, transcription, and business communications.

Some states require medical assistants to either be certified or successfully pass an examination. According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, there are five different certifications offered for medical assistants. There are post-graduation certifications available for students who have completed their associate degree in healthcare administration such as Certified Professional Secretary, Certified Administrative Professional, or Certified Medical Assistant.

What Healthcare Administration Associate Degrees are Available?


There are Associate of Arts programs in Healthcare Administration, Associate of Science programs in Healthcare Administration, or Associate of Applied Science programs. The latter program does not allow for transfer of units to a bachelor's degree; it’s designed for students who simply want to get into the career field quickly. The Associate of Arts will add more liberal arts coursework to the degree, while the Associate of Science will have more of an emphasis on science courses. Both the Associate of Arts and the Associate of Science degrees earn transferable units for those who intend to earn their bachelor's degrees. Also, many programs allow students to concentrate on a specific portion of the field, like medical records.

Admission Requirements


Most associate degree programs in healthcare administration only require the student to have earned a high school diploma or GED. More competitive programs will expect a certain high school GPA or will expect certain high school coursework, such as biology, mathematics, computer science, and/or health. Also, more competitive programs will ask the candidate to supply letters of recommendation from teachers and/or employers. There may be an internship that will be a part of one's associate degree program that will be a requirement for successful graduation.

How long does it take to earn a Healthcare Administration Associates?


Typically, a student attending school full-time will be able to complete an associate degree in two years. Students who have to juggle work and school, or school and family, may find that they will have to attend school less than full-time. This will delay their program completion. Some programs may have options to accelerate the program, which may help a student complete the program in closer to a year and a half.

It is a really good idea to pursue as much financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants that you can, especially if it will reduce the number of hours you have to work each week. This will allow you to focus on completing your program.

Potential Careers in Health Science with an Associates


  • Medical Secretary
    Medical secretaries work in the front of a doctor's office, clinic, nursing home, or other medical facility and they may maintain patient information, schedule appointments, submit medical insurance claims, bill patients, order supplies for the facility, and transcribe medical reports.
    Average annual salary - $33,000
  • Medical Assistant
    Medical assistants perform work within the front office and also perform clinical work in a medical office or hospital. They enter information into insurance forms and medical records, provide injections to patients, take their vital signs, and help the doctor perform examinations and other medical procedures.
    Average annual salary – $33,600
  • Medical Records Technician
    Medical records technicians maintain paper and/or electronic health information. They are responsible for the accuracy, privacy, and security of sensitive health information. They may also code medical information so that patients receive proper reimbursement from their medical insurer.
    Average annual salary – $40,400

Options to Advance


There are certificate programs that allow medical secretaries, medical records technicians, and medical assistants to advance in their field. Another avenue for advancement in the field is to complete one's bachelor's in healthcare administration. Students who complete their bachelor's degree can expect to compete for middle-management positions in the healthcare industry with much higher income potential.

There are some top colleges in the nation that provide bachelor's-completion programs. These are programs that accept students with associates in healthcare administration and provide the rest of a bachelor's program in healthcare administration. Admission requirements usually expect a certain GPA level or better from all of the associate program work. There may be a requirement of work experience in the industry.

Some of the colleges that provide bachelor's-completion programs for candidates who seek to advance in their field after earning their associate degree include Rush University in Chicago, Illinois; Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Champlain University in Burlington, Vermont. Drexel and Champlain require a 2.5 GPA on prior college coursework, while Rush requires a 2.0 GPA. Champlain has no requirement that the associate degree needs to be in healthcare administration.

Medical assistants who would like to advance in their field can work on their RN, Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner certifications.

Best Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration Programs


According to U.S. News and World Report, it is essential to ensure that credits earned in your associate program can be transferred to a four-year institution at a later date, if that is your desire. One means of ensuring credit transferability is to attend a regionally- or nationally-accredited associate degree program. The other means of ensuring credit transferability is to discuss the issue with your school's guidance counselor or academic advisor.

  • Baker College
    Flint, Michigan

    Highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report, non-profit Baker, has many choices, both certifications and associate degrees in the healthcare field. The Associate degree in Health Information Technology has students working in the classroom and in an internship. The program is designed to prepare a student to take the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) national certification examination.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    • Associate of Applied Science in Health Science Technology
  • South College
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Regionally-accredited South College was founded in 1882. They offer programs that can be accelerated, hybrid, distance-learning, or transfer. Their class sizes are small, and they keep their equipment state-of-the-art. The medical assistant programs teach students medical billing, patient care, laboratory testing, and administrative office support.

    The healthcare management program is designed to allow many different types of experienced healthcare professionals to receive their associate degree and move toward their bachelor's degree. Students who graduate from the latter program can expect to find work as patient care coordinators, clinical front desk managers or assistants, laboratory assistants, clinical laboratory technicians, and medical technicians.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting
    • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
    • Associate of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Luzerne Community College
    Nanticoke, Pennsylvania

    Regionally-accredited Luzerne offers an Associate of Science in Healthcare Management. It is clear from the course descriptions that this program will not only provide the student with the fundamentals to be a manager and worker in the healthcare industry, but there is also a lot of emphasis on the politics of healthcare and being an agent for change and improvement. Students will work with ethical issues, health services, finance, information technology, marketing, business, advancement of healthcare technology and its legal issues, and management.

    Despite the fact that this is just an associate-level program, Luzerne is stating that its graduates can pursue employment as medical office managers, healthcare managers, health information managers, case coordinators, and healthcare project managers once they’ve graduated.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College
    Granite Falls, Minnesota

    Regionally-accredited Minnesota West, part of the Minnesota State system, has five campuses and two extension campuses that serve southwestern Minnesota. A key component in the program is to perform role-playing activities and take part in leadership and problem-solving exercises. The program is designed with transferable credits earned in order to make it easy for a student to earn their bachelor's degree later on.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Management and Supervision in Healthcare
  • Tyler Junior College
    Tyler, Texas

    Regionally-accredited TJC has five campuses spanning eastern Texas that serve 19,000 students each year. The program is designed for students who already have completed a year of employment in the field. This is a blended program, with all but a biology lab being completed online. Students take healthcare courses such as medical terminology, medical billing, and law as it relates to the healthcare industry. They also take business courses in project management, conflict resolution, and organizational behavior.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration

Traditional Schools Offering an AS in Healthcare Administration


  • Keiser University
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Keiser is regionally accredited and is the third largest non-profit university in Florida. They have extensive online education offerings. U.S. News and World Report has highly ranked their programs. Students will learn the intersection of business and health service administration, including medical anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, front office management and business law, marketing, and management.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Arts in Health Services Administration
  • Rasmussen College
    Lake Elmo, Minnesota

    Rasmussen is regionally accredited and allows the student to choose between online or on-campus programs. The Associate of Science in Health Sciences has four different specializations – Medical Administrative Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Medical Assistant, or Healthcare Administration. The Health Information Technician program is entirely online. Both programs can be completed in 18 months.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Sciences
    • Associate of Science in Health Information Technician
  • San Joaquin Valley Community College
    Visalia, California

    Regionally-accredited SJVCC has two associate programs, one in Medical Billing and Coding and one in Medical Assisting. The latter is a good choice if you lives near the area, since it is the one of the largest hubs for medical assisting employment in the nation. The program emphasizes that students learn electronic healthcare record technology to keep their skill levels state-of-the-art. Students are allowed to take certification examinations as a part of their program, including HIPAA certification and three of the five national medical assistant certifications. Students learn patient care, medical office procedures, and laboratory skills.

    In the Medical Billing and Coding Associate Degree, the students are fully prepared with the skills to pass the Certified Professional Coder certification as well as receive their associate degree. Both of the programs are 15 months in duration.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Medical Billing and Coding
    • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
  • Oklahoma State University
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    OSU's Healthcare Administration Associate Degree candidates will take courses in medical terminology, healthcare systems, healthcare legal issues, coding, billing, management, and provider issues. Students will be prepared for careers as office managers or clerical workers in the medical field, sales and marketing employees, and billing and coding technicians. Some of the courses are offered on-campus. All of the courses are offered online.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration
  • Florida Institute of Technology, Florida Tech University Online
    Melbourne, Florida

    FIT has been in existence since 1958. The online Associate of Science in Healthcare Management has coursework in both business and healthcare management. Learning is hands-on and interactive with an emphasis on critical thinking skills. Coursework includes mathematics, accounting, management issues, the ethics of the medical industry, managed care issues, and healthcare industry technology.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Healthcare Management
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