Healthcare administration degree programs prepare graduates to enter the vital health industry. Like doctors, nurses, and medical technicians, healthcare administration professionals contribute to the efficient functioning of medical services organizations. Healthcare administrators ensure that patients get the best possible care and value.
The demand for healthcare administration increases yearly in the United States. The aging population and expanded health policies drive an increased demand for medical care and services. Employment projections for the field of healthcare administration are higher than the average for all professions.
Students can pursue degree programs online, on-campus, or in a combination of both types of learning. Students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The major areas of study include health information, medical services management, and skilled facilities administration.
Healthcare administration is a varied field, and it includes information management, information security, and informatics. Healthcare services administrators work in many environments: large hospitals, urban clinics, small to medium medical practices, and more.
Resources for Healthcare Administration Students
Accreditation is an independent review of a college or college program/department that attests to the quality of the education offered. Accreditation considers the faculty, resources, and other factors affecting that quality. This approval from an outside source is a guarantee to employers and other educational institutions that a school or college provides a foundational healthcare administration education that will allow graduates to thrive and succeed in their field.
Accreditation can cover an entire school, college, or university: regional accreditation. Or it can cover a specific program, such as healthcare management, and this is programmatic accreditation. The leading program accreditation agency that covers healthcare administration is the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). Other program accreditation agencies in the US include the fields of informatics, management, and public health.
- Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
- Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM):
CAHIIM accredits degree-granting programs in health informatics and information management
- Council on Education for Public Health
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education
Recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is a programmatic accrediting body for graduate programs in healthcare management accrediting on-campus and online programs.
Many schools have regional accreditation which certifies the quality of the overall educational institution. CAHME offers program specific endorsement of the school’s healthcare administration education. The CAHME accreditation of healthcare administration degrees can improve acceptance by employers and other educational institutions.
Regional accreditation is another way to ensure a quality education. The CHEA authorized six agencies to assess the quality of education on an institution-wide basis.
The six below-listed organizations are CHEA approved regional accreditation agencies:
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Questions About Financial Aid
Healthcare administration is a vital and rewarding field. The cost of healthcare administration education is significant and most students and families will require financial aid. There are three major categories of financial aid. Students can get grants and scholarships, student work opportunities, and loans.
First, grants and scholarships are the preferred method of financial assistance because they do not require repayment. Governments, employers, and foundations are among the providers of grants and scholarships. Grants are often awarded based on need and healthcare scholarships are usually merit based awards that prioritize strong scholarship, high test scores, and overall contributions to a larger community.
Second, work study programs may be available to help students offset the cost of school by providing them part-time paid work on campus. While the pay is generally low, this can give you a boost in what you are able to pay toward your loans while you are still in school, or give you some spending money to lessen the amount you take out in loans each year.
Third, there are government federal loans and personal private loans which require repayment. These types of financial assistance programs do require repayment. However, despite the increase of students overall debt through loans, they are a major source of financing for students. It may help that they do not depend on a student’s grades.
Finally, you may also be able to find programs that resemble grants or loans in that they are repaid by service. In these programs, students work off their debt by agreeing holding positions in agreed jobs or in specific high-need areas. These types of programs offer many advantages including a guarantee of employment after graduation.
Students should make thorough searches for scholarships, grants, and the best terms for student loans when they are looking to finance their education. Many scholarships and grants go unclaimed each year when students fail to identify funding programs for which they are eligible. Eligibility can depend on the applicant's gender, age, racial identity, and more. For example, some awards must go to persons residing in a named area or community, while some are only for minorities. Students should look at all possible sources including employer programs.
Healthcare Administration Associations for Students
Healthcare administration associations can offer advantages for students during the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduation stages of their careers. Associations offer career-focused information, insights, and networking opportunities.
Some healthcare administration associations are professional associations in which students may participate. Other associations can be student organizations that focus on the needs of students and recent graduates. The below-listed healthcare organizations are professional associations with student sectors and student associations.
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management:
is a healthcare management advocacy organization. It promotes the profession and provides information on all parts of the management cycle.
- Medical Group Management Association (MGMA):
is an association that promotes best practices and innovation in healthcare administration.
- Professional Association of Health Care Management (PAHCOM):
is an association that supports administrators working in small practice environments.
- Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP):
focuses on supporting professionals in key roles as assistants that support all levels of administration.
Student or Open Access Journals
Professional journals aimed at practicing professionals are often restricted to members that can qualify by experience, credentials, and payment of fees. The journals issued by these associations are valuable assets but often out of the financial reach of students. Open on source and student association journals are usually low or no cost services. Student and open access journals are typically affordable and easily accessed sources of information for students.
Reading professional journals adds depth and context to the study of healthcare administration. Many journals focus on current issues and challenges in the field of healthcare administration and students can begin to integrate their academic progress with events and trends in their chosen field of study.
Students can learn about the latest innovations and improvements in the field. There are many strong influences over the field of healthcare including technology and public policy. Journals can focus on specific themes that touch areas of student interest or concentration.
Some student journals offer opportunities for student participation as contributors, commenters, and reviewers. These activities are valuable experience and preparation for a career in the field.
The below-listed journals are open access and available to students:
- Journal of Hospital and Healthcare administration:
is an open access, peer-reviewed professional. The publication covers theories, methods, and applications in hospital and healthcare administration.
- Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy (JHMHP):
is an open access journal for promoting advances and improvement in hospital management and Healthcare policy.
- Journal of Hospital & Medical Management:
is an open access publication on nursing, healthcare, and clinical science.
Students often face crowded schedules with pressures brought on by heavy workloads and outside commitments such as jobs, family, or business. Students can access apps or websites to aid their studies, research, and exam preparation. Many students are used to using apps and web-based resources for fun and relaxation. The below listed apps and websites offer a familiar environment for work and study.
this website permits creation of memory aids like flashcards to prepare for tests.
is an app that enables listening to books. Students can use this to maximize their time while driving or performing routines.
This website offers the Massive Open Online Course platform. Students can locate online courses on a wide range of subjects.
is a collection of millions of course notes, papers, and AP notes to help with research, papers, and study.
Internships are an excellent way to start a career in healthcare administration. Whether short- or long-term, internships establish a baseline of work experience in healthcare administration. Students can learn through hands on application of classroom learning. Internships offer pay, benefits, and valuable real-world experience. Healthcare administration is a high-paying and competitive field. Experience can distinguish an applicant from their competition. Many employers seek applicants that demonstrate workplace experience.
Students must search for sources of internships. These can include major hospital systems, health services providers, and public agencies, which are all excellent places to begin. Many internships are short summer sessions aimed at undergraduate and graduate students. Other internships go for one year or more and offer valuable career building experience.
The four items below are examples of available internships and the types of organizations that offer them.
- American College of Healthcare Executives: Diversity Internship
- Institute for Diversity and Health Equity
- Aurora Health Care:
Administrative Internship and Administrative Fellowship
internship and career opportunities in healthcare
Students and Professionals
Healthcare Administration Certification Options
Many positions in healthcare administration require experience and education. A bachelor’s degree is usually the entry-level degree and higher paying jobs require a master’s degree. Certifications establish expertise though they’re not always easy to achieve. When seeking certifications, students or employees must demonstrate a level of dedication and ambition. Many employers regard employees as having higher value when they can offer certifications that apply directly to their job duties.
Certification options provide choices of level and area of concentration. Postgraduate certificates require an advanced degree and many certifications require experience and continuing education. Professionals can pursue certifications in an existing field or in a related field. Popular certifications include financial management, information management, and small practice management.
The list below includes some useful healthcare administration certificate programs:
- Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE)
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)
- Certified Medical Manager (CMM)
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)
Certification Study Resources
Healthcare administration is a competitive field, and certification is a popular method for establishing expertise and competitive advantage. Certifications require taking and passing exams that confirm a high level of skill and knowledge. When attempting to qualify for professional certifications, students and professionals must be willing to prepare for these exams.
Many students and professionals attempt to rely upon past education and work experience to get them through. However, to increase your chances for success and add to your knowledge and skills, a preparatory course may be beneficial. Study resources can help you prepare and improve exam performance.
Below are some certifications and preparatory resources:
- Certified Healthcare Access Manager (CHAM):
by the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM)
- Certified Healthcare Finance Professional (CFHP):
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) offers the CFHP.
- Certified Revenue Cycle Professional (CRCP) preparation offered by the AAHAM
- Certified Medical Manager (CMM):
by Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)
Job boards are important sources of information for students, recent graduates, and career professionals. These online, free services list job and business opportunities for healthcare administration professionals. Job boards are helpful at every stage of a healthcare administration career because mobility is important in the field. Technology, innovation, and growth provide a constant stream of new jobs, positions, and roles.
Temporary employment agencies can provide important services for healthcare administration professionals at every stage of their careers. Temporary employment can be useful for interns, recent graduates, and experienced professionals seeking new challenges. Temporary jobs can also lead to long-term assignments. Working with interesting projects or within a field of special interest can boost a career and open new opportunities.
Temporary health administration agencies offer opportunities for employment, career changes, and filling gaps in regular employment. The field of healthcare administration is wide and complex. Job seekers can benefit from the expertise and networks of professional recruiters and placement specialists.
Healthcare administration is a field that changes with new technology, public policy, and regulation. You can earn all kinds of experience with temporary positions, even if you
The below-listed firms are representative of healthcare administration temporary employment organizations.
Resources for Current Healthcare Administrators
Professional associations are helpful for healthcare students and they also support professional development after graduation. Professional associations provide information that working healthcare managers and administrators can apply to their organizational roles. In the workforce, professionals need to stay up to date and aware of current trends, changes, and innovations.
Professional associations offer opportunities to collaborate with others working in the same or related areas. The association offers functions, events, and conferences that invite members to meet and network. New members may find openings in committees, research projects, and organizational offices.
Many professionals advance their careers by participating in association leadership roles. Association roles can contribute to development of the industry and raise a professional profile to set the stage for advancement. Similarly, peer-reviewed publications offer opportunities to present views, research, and innovations.
The below listed organizations are among the leading professional healthcare administration associations.
- American Hospital Association
- American Health Care Association
- Leadership Health Care
- Health Leadership Forum
- Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care
- Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
Popular healthcare administration journals are essential for professional development. These widely-read publications connect professionals and inform them about important developments. They are often available to members of professional associations.
Journals can focus on specific areas, such as informatics, or range broadly across the entire field of healthcare administration. Research and articles placed in healthcare administration journals are usually peer-reviewed. Both as a source of information and a platform for articles and research, association members can participate in an active flow of information. The list below includes professional healthcare administration journals and the groups offer them.
- Journal of Health Administration Education:
is a publication by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA)
- The Journal of Healthcare Administrative Management:
is the official publication of the American Association of Healthcare Administration Management (AAHAM)
- Frontiers of Health Services Management:
is one of two periodicals published by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
- The Journal of Hospital Administration:
is an international, peer-reviewed publication for healthcare management specialists published by Sciedu Press.
Industry Conferences for Healthcare Administration Professionals
Conferences offer opportunities for continuing education, communications, and an exchange of ideas. Large health administration gatherings also provide opportunities for networking. Many events focus on subjects or themes and typically offer advice and information on current issues, trends, and developments.
Large conferences may be problematic in 2020, the public health situation on a global basis may limit travel and discourage large gatherings. In the coronavirus era, many organizers have turned to virtual types of communication rather than in-person meetings. However, as a part of the healthcare system, it’s even more important in these times to make sure that you are engaging with the wider community, no matter how you do so. And future conferences will pick up right where 2020 leaves off, with a lot more learning to be brought to the table.
- Society of Public Health Educators Annual Conference:
Annual conference of educators, professionals, and students of public health administration. Held in various US locations, the 2020 event will be virtual only.
- Aspen Ideas: Health:
This conference is a platform for innovation and new ideas.
- National Association of County and City Health:
Officials Preparedness Summit helps develop plans and strategies for national health security.
- Public Health Informatics Conference:
offers the leadership of the CDC to collaborative federal, state, and local initiatives.
- APHA Annual Meeting and Expo:
is the largest conference for public health administration professionals.