Associate in Healthcare Management Degrees & Programs Guide

Associate Degree in Healthcare Management Career Options & Salary

The way healthcare gets delivered is overseen by healthcare managers. These administrators control all aspects of the everyday practices of the facilities they manage. From hospitals to nursing homes and doctor's offices, these executives are responsible for the day-to-day functioning of their healthcare environment.

A degree in healthcare management will prepare the student for entry-level jobs in administrative roles in healthcare or at least into related, experience building roles. It’s also a steppingstone to a bachelor's degree in the field. The courses you’ll take will teach healthcare-related classes in technology, terminology, office administration, and marketing.

Traditional fundamentals, such as maintaining patient records and how to supervise staff, are also important things you will learn. And these degrees often include instruction in medical coding and healthcare data systems due to the increase in the use of technology, which has now become a crucial part of the healthcare system.

Healthcare Degree & Career Paths


PROS

  • The healthcare industry has experienced significant growth during the last decade. This growth is expected to continue at a rate of 22% for medical and healthcare managers. Because of this, program graduates will experience job security, high demand, and better than average pay, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Acquiring an associate degree is also a quick way to get a foot in the door to the healthcare industry. It’s an excellent first step for those students who are interested in pursuing higher degrees like a bachelor's or master's.
  • Healthcare organizations may also seek out trained individuals who have a background in the advanced technology of the field as well as current healthcare laws. A healthcare management associate degree program teaches these desired functions as well as skills to help acquire a job soon after graduation, enabling students to get right to work.

CONS

  • With the amount of responsibility involved in a healthcare administrator position, stress is one of the main downsides. Healthcare managers are the driving force behind what makes a facility operate successfully. A good manager guides the business plan, vision, budget, and enforces laws and regulations for their facility, which can cause long schedules well over 40 hours a week. Working hours that include evenings, weekends, overnights, and holidays are commonplace.
  • Courts may be able to hold the healthcare manager liable if another employee's negligence has caused the death, illness, or injury of a patient and was caused by lax standards at the facility. Whether or not the administrator is on-site at the time of the incident may even be irrelevant.
  • Continuing education and maintaining licensure may be necessary for an administrative management position in healthcare. Career advancement can be difficult without going back to school for additional degrees or certifications.

Certificate Vs. Associates in Healthcare Management


Most healthcare-related certificates are an add-on to an existing degree and typically require specific education or career achievements to get accepted into the program. There are some stand-alone certificate programs out there for healthcare management. These do not require you to have a degree or any specific healthcare background. Certificates cost significantly less than a degree. Plus, certificates can be earned in weeks or months rather than years like a degree program requires.

A certificate will help you with entry-level positions but will exclude you from jobs that require a college degree. You can also find limitations when it comes to career advancement with only a certificate in hand and they often do not provide credit to help you move forward academically.

Whether you choose a degree or certificate depends on how far you want to go in the field. If you desire to move up in the industry, choose the degree, or both.

What Healthcare Management Associate Degrees Are Available?


Associate of Science and Associate of Arts

Both the Associate of Science (AS) and the Associate of Arts (AA) degrees are similar to the first two years of a bachelor's program in that they also include general education courses. These are great choices if you plan to transfer to a university or 4-year college after degree completion.

The AS degree contains more credits in math and science and is recommended for people pursuing careers in engineering, nursing, or science.

An AA degree includes more courses in the humanities and social sciences. It’s considered a more flexible degree and may offer students more career options than the AS degree.

Associate of Applied Business and Associate in Applied Science

Students with a degree in Associate of Applied Business or Associate in Applied Science are career-ready after graduation. These are career degree programs because they focus on a job or major-specific courses rather than general education. Both may still allow you to transfer to a 4-year college or university to pursue a bachelor's degree, but you may need to catch up on some of your gen ed. courses.

Admission Requirements to Enter an Associate in Healthcare Management Degree Program


The first step to obtaining an associate in healthcare management is to apply to the school(s) of your choice. Each school is different. The following is a guide of what may be required by an in-person school.

  • High school diploma or GED documentation
  • Transcripts from your high school or other colleges you’ve attended
  • An essay or letter of recommendation
  • AP (advanced placement) scores
  • High school GPA or GED score

The requirements for an online program are typically the same as an in-person program, but you may have additional requirements such as:

  • High-speed internet
  • Laptop or desktop
  • Printer or at least access to a printer
  • Webcam

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Associate Degree in Healthcare Management?


Earning an associate degree in healthcare management requires you to complete 60 credits in general education and healthcare- and management-related courses, along with practical skills classes. That equates to about 20 courses.

How long it takes to complete the program can vary. On average, it takes two years. However, if you are attending part-time, it could take much longer, whereas an online accelerated program could get you through the program much faster. Whether or not you have previous college credits will also affect the time it will take you to earn your degree.

Meet with your college counselor to determine the best program speed for you.

Potential Careers in Healthcare Management with an Associate Degree


  • Social and Community Service Manager

    This position is centered around helping people through coordination with social workers, other healthcare professionals, and community members to provide programs and organizations that assist people in a particular group including the homeless, special needs children, or veterans.

    Median Annual Salary: $49,000

  • Healthcare Human Resources Manager

    Similar to hospital administration, the human resources manager handles many of the administrative duties for a facility. Someone in this position oversees the recruitment, interviews, new hires, and would function as a liaison between the employees and the organization.

    Median Annual Salary: $67,600

  • Medical Office Administrator

    Your daily duties as a medical office administrator would be to handle accounts payable and receivable, contracts, interacting with patients and vendors, maintaining insurance policies, hiring, and staff management.

    Median Annual Salary: $56,700

  • Health Information Officer

    A job as a health information officer centers around patient records. Electronic health records (EHRs) are becoming more and more prevalent and should have completely taken over the role of other records in a few years. A person with the skills for this position is in high demand. The function of the job is not only to protect and maintain patient records but to find ways to process and store them in a more efficient manner. One requirement of the job will also be to keep up with changes in security and software as well as privacy practices.

    Median Annual Salary: $41,800

  • Medical Office Executive Assistant

    If you want to get a birds-eye view of what a healthcare manager does, a medical executive assistant is an ideal position. Not only will you get to oversee projects from start to finish, but you will also get to work directly with managers and administrators. Additionally, you may help write grant proposals and ensure that everyone has working communication devices like phones, computers, and tablets.

    Median Annual Salary: $56,000

Options to Advance


Advancement opportunities are not as prevalent with an associate degree. If you're looking to move up the healthcare corporate ladder, have more responsibilities, or bring home a larger paycheck, you'll need to get additional higher education. A bachelor's or master's degree will push you higher up in the management chain and provide you the duties and pay you are seeking.

Large hospitals have advancement opportunities available such as CMO, CEO, or CFO roles. For those positions, advanced degrees are necessary, in addition to years of experience.

Some jobs require additional certifications to maintain your current position, like a nursing care facility administrator. Even if they are not a requirement, getting certifications can help improve your opportunities for advancement.

Colleges That Offer Traditional Associate Degrees in Healthcare Management


  • DeVry University

    Locations across the US

    DeVry provides an education meant to elevate you in our rapidly evolving world. They offer the flexibility to design your schedule around your lifestyle. You can use DeVry to advance your current career or help you start a new one.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate in Healthcare Administration
    • Associate in Health Information Technology
  • Concordia University Wisconsin

    Multiple Wisconsin Locations

    This Christian university in Wisconsin offers students the opportunity to grow in their religious faith while getting an education through discussions and experiences.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Arts in Healthcare Management
  • Keiser University

    Multiple Florida Locations

    KU programs are a blend of business and medical courses to prepare students for the healthcare environment. Laptops are used to ensure students learn how to navigate the software and acquire the computer skills needed to have a successful administrative career.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Arts in Healthcare Services Administration
    • Associate of Science in Medical Administrative Billing and Coding*
    • *(also available in Spanish)
  • Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech)

    Melbourne, FL

    Florida Tech is a private residential school located on Florida's Space Coast. Their scholars are from across the world and include engineers, innovators, and astronauts. They are in the top 20 colleges, according to the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Arts in Healthcare Management
  • Oklahoma State University

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Oklahoma State University has a 110-acre campus located in the heart of Oklahoma City. The state-assisted public college has a diverse, multicultural student body with more than 300 faculty and staff members. You can expect career-relevant education and support at OSU.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration

Colleges That Offer Online Associate Degrees in Healthcare Management


  • Penn Foster

    Scottsdale, AZ

    Penn Foster offers an online option to earn your healthcare management associate degree. One unique component at the end is a 160-hour practicum that you can complete in-person at a medical office in your area or virtually.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Healthcare Management Associate Degree
  • Rasmussen College

    Locations across the US

    Rasmussen College helps you begin a career as a healthcare professional. It offers healthcare fundamentals combined with business know-how to keep your skills in demand. Choose from two online associate degree options: healthcare administration or medical administrative assistant.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Healthcare Administration Associate Degree
    • Medical Administrative Assistant Associate Degree
  • Herzing University

    Louis Park, Minnesota

    You can become an administrative leader in healthcare with an associate degree from Herzing University. You could advance your career or begin a new entry-level position. You can choose the degree program that fits your goals. Up to 90 credits from your previous institution can be transferred.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Healthcare Administration Associate Degree
  • The College of Health Care Professions

    Houston, Texas

    CHCP helps you meet the needs of the healthcare management field through education and training. The instructors use their job experience to encourage the success of every student. Only healthcare-related courses are offered at this school, ensuring the best focus on healthcare around.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Healthcare Administration Associate Degree
  • Colorado Technical University

    Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado

    At Colorado Technical University, you are in charge of the way you pursue your degree. With excellence, innovation, and many learning options, it’s easy to get your healthcare degree at CTU. The faculty focuses on the satisfaction of each student.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate of Science in Health Administration Services