Online Healthcare Administration Degrees

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare administration industry is projected to grow 17% from 2014 to 2024, and the fields of private health practice, nursing home care, and electronic health records (EHRs) are expected to be in highest demand. As medical technologies advance, services that were once provided solely in hospitals will become available in the offices of health practitioners and medical groups. Nursing facilities will meanwhile see a rise in patients as baby boomers enter their golden years, requiring increased nursing staff and, in turn, a demand for healthcare administrators. The national demand for paperless records in the form of EHRs also means that administrators with knowledge of health informatics will find ample job opportunities post-graduation.

Professionals who excel in this career are able to lead effectively and adapt quickly, as health laws, regulations, and technology are constantly changing. A large part of a healthcare administrator’s job is recruiting, training, and managing staff, so strong interpersonal skills and a knack for managing tasks is crucial. Choosing to pursue a healthcare administration degree online allows a flexible schedule for working individuals entering the growing field.

Online Healthcare Administration Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $14,905 17.34% 1+ years $28,400 $36,600 N/A
Bachelor's $18,144 10.81% 4 years $39,600 $60,600 4.8%
Master's $20,066 7.32% 2+ years $52,800 $72,900 2.9%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

An associate degree in healthcare administration is a good starting point for aspiring professionals seeking entry-level positions, particularly in the administrative and clerical sectors. Earning a bachelor’s-level healthcare administration degree online or on-campus provides a stronger foundation for a career in the field, along with the specializations needed to be competitive in the job market.

A healthcare administration master’s degree online is typically the next step for aspiring professionals. This program requires two to three years, and applicants must hold an undergraduate degree. Coursework includes advanced topics like healthcare policy and law and organizational behavior. One year of supervised administrative experience in a hospital or healthcare consulting setting is also usually required. The average cost of a master’s degree is around $2,000 more than a bachelor’s, and professionals who hold this degree typically see a 33% rise in their salary along with further reduction in average loan default rate.

A doctorate is the last step in major accreditation, and professionals who earn this healthcare administration online degree can go on to land chief positions or teach at the university level.

Choosing Your Healthcare Administration Career

Average Healthcare Administration Salaries

$62,300
$42,450
$35,900
$45,500
$92,810

Health Insurance Specialist

Salary: $62,300
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
3% 315,300 High School Diploma or Equivalent None

A health insurance specialist’s main function is to ensure the proper conduct and application of plan benefits, and occasionally work with insurance companies to edit current benefits and create new ones. This position requires knowledge of medical records, coding, billing, and extensive and up-to-date understanding of the American insurance system. Those with excellent oral and verbal skills are well suited for this position, as it requires communication between patients, health facilities, and insurance companies. Professionals must also be able to make difficult insurance parlance and coding languages understandable to any of the groups above. While this field calls for a high school degree as a minimum education requirement, those who earn a healthcare administration online degree will have a leg-up in the job search.

Health Education Specialist

Salary: $42,450
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
13% 115,700 Bachelor's None

Health education specialists must have earned a bachelor’s-level healthcare administration degree online or on-campus. These professionals assess the needs of people in their community and design programs and events that will provide them with resources for healthier living. The role requires leadership and organizational skills along with knowledge of biological and socio-cultural factors that impact individual health. Health education specialists should be empathetic and have experience in community development and service. This is not a desk job, and professionals should prepare to be out in the field affecting change.

Health Information Specialist

Salary: $35,900
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
15% 188,600 Bachelor's None

Health information specialists organize and manage medical data and records. With the increased use of EHRs in the field, an information specialist must have extensive and current knowledge of databases and coding languages. Individuals with excellent organizational skills and the ability to assess large amounts of data are best suited for this job.

Public Health Social Worker

Salary: $45,500
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
12% 74,800 Bachelor's None

Public health social workers help clients in needy communities to understand, deal with, and overcome challenging situations, such as the adoption of a child, the diagnosis of a serious illness, mental health issues, and substance abuse. Social workers find people who need help, assess their situation, and work intimately with them and their community to create a plan to improve overall wellbeing. The position requires exceptional people skills due to the vulnerable and sometimes unpredictable nature of clients. These professionals should also be able to work well under stressful settings, as social workers are sometimes asked to deal with crisis situations such as child abuse or natural disasters.

Administrator (Management)

Salary: $92,810
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
17% 333,000 Bachelor's None

Managers lead the operation of various types of healthcare facilities, overseeing specific departments or the entire program. General job duties include serving as liaisons between administrators and medical staff, maintaining records, training and managing employees, and ensuring proper billing and insurance filings. Effective managers should be able discern task importance and delegate work, skills which can be learned when pursuing an online healthcare administration degree. They should also be strong collaborators, as they often deal with medical staff, their own staff, insurance companies, and patients.

Online Healthcare Administration Degrees

Associate

Individuals just starting out in the field of healthcare administration and wishing to pursue a clerical route may find an associate's degree a suitable option. An online healthcare administration degree at this level usually takes 1-2 years to complete and costs roughly $14,900. The average income for this degree type is $28,400. A majority of associate degree-holders go on to pursue a bachelor's in healthcare administration degree online, as many employers require it for job placement.

Sample Courses
Healthcare Terminology, Informatics, Delivery Systems, Healthcare Finance, and Electronic Health Records Accuracy
Common Majors
Health Service Administration, Business Management, and Medical Law and Ethics
Potential Jobs
Medical Transcriptionist, Health Office Receptionist, Customer Service Representative, and Medical Coders and Billers
Average Income
$28,400
Employment Prospects
27% growth from 2014-2024

The Top 5 Online Associate Degrees in Healthcare Administration

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost
1

Sinclair Community College

Dayton
  • in-state tuition: $3,432
  • out-of-state tuition: $6,600
2

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Granite Falls
  • in-state tuition: $5,660
  • out-of-state tuition: $10,807
3

Hodges University

Granite Falls
  • annually: $12,740
4

Southeast Community College

Lincoln
  • in-state tuition: $2,554
  • out-of-state tuition: $3,139
5

Concordia University - Wisconsin

Mequon
  • annually: $25,160

See full rankings

Bachelor’s

A bachelor's degree offers a more solid foundation for those wishing to enter the field of healthcare administration. Students who pursue a healthcare administration online degree at this level learn business fundamentals while also picking up specialities that will help them to navigate technology, interact with people, and understand and control resources efficiently in healthcare facilities. Depending on the program, internships or a capstone project is required for graduation. Many students at this level continue on to earn a healthcare administration master's degree online.

Sample Courses
Epidemiology, Applied Healthcare Statistics, Patient Records Management, and Healthcare Information System
Common Majors
Global Health Issues, Economics of Health, Financial Management in Healthcare Organization, and Healthcare Law
Potential Jobs
Assistant Administrator, Nursing Home Administrator, and Health Information Manager
Average Income
$39,600
Employment Prospects
17% growth from 2014-2024

Master’s

Most healthcare administration master's degree online programs award the master of healthcare administration (MHA) or master of business administration in healthcare administration (MBA/HCA). This type of degree is geared towards professionals looking to improve their skills within the medical and healthcare administration field. Many of the top employers require a master's as a minimum education level, and the completion of a healthcare administration master's degree online or on-campus is contingent on fulfilling internship and research project requirements in addition to passing the curriculum.

Sample Courses
Healthcare Marketing, Legal Issues, and Statistics for Decision-Making and Management
Common Majors
Health Informatics, Medical Law and Practices, and Healthcare Social Work
Potential Jobs
Senior Healthcare Administrator, Senior Medical Records Director, and Director of Health Informatics
Average Income
$52,800
Employment Prospects
22% growth from 2012-2022

The Top 5 Online Master's Degrees in Healthcare Administration

Rank School Name School Logo City Cost
1

George Washington University

Washington
  • annually: $47,343
2

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh
  • annually: $47,642
3

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill
  • in-state tuition: $8,340
  • out-of-state tuition: $30,122
4

Simmons College

Boston
  • annually: $35,380
5

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

North Chicago
  • annually: $29,953

See full rankings

Doctorate

This degree path is necessary for those looking to land advanced roles in health administration, particularly in the sectors of research, policy, and higher education. Through rigorous coursework, hands-on experience, and the writing of a extensive dissertation, candidates who complete this healthcare administration degree online or on-campus learn to become innovative leaders within the healthcare industry. By combining theory and practice, the curriculum of this advanced degree provides students with the well-rounded knowledge needed to transition into a variety of potential careers where they might improve and influence the field.

Sample Courses
Leadership Theory and Practice, Developing the Doctoral Identity, Healthcare Economic, Healthcare Marketing, and Globalization of Healthcare
Common Majors
Healthcare Management and Leadership
Potential Jobs
Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Operation Officer of various healthcare-related organizations
Average Income
$178,400
Employment Prospects
5% growth from 2012-2022

Professional Requirements

Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional

The cHAP exam is designed for administrative professions working in hospitals or other healthcare provider organizations, and those who achieve the distinction are among the elite in their field in terms of experience, training, and continuing education. In order to be eligible for the exam, applicants must satisfy one of the following criteria: (1) have five or more consecutive years of work experience and hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, (2) have been or is currently a member of cHAP, or (3) accrue 100 points from a list of requirements. Application and exam fees cost $250 and $125, respectively ($150 and $75 for cHAP members). The exam consists of multiple-choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions on five areas of administrative expertise: clerical, grammar, healthcare governance, healthcare regulatory, and software.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

1.5 hours

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

The exam is designed for healthcare administrators, particularly managers, interested in distinguishing themselves in the areas of patient financial services and the revenue cycle. There are five different AAHAM exams, designed for people at different stages in their career. The Certified Revenue Cycle Executive ($299) is an eight-hour proctored exam focusing on topics such as patient access and credit/collections. The Certified Revenue Cycle Professional ($199) is a four-hour exam consisting of multiple-choice and true/false questions on revenue cycle. The Certified Revenue Integrity Professional ($199) is a four-hour exam that measures basic competencies in healthcare compliance. The Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist ($100) takes two hours, and tests working knowledge of the revenue cycle. Last, the Certified Compliance Technician ($100) lasts 90 minutes and measures basic competencies in healthcare compliance.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

1.5 to 8 hours

American College of Healthcare Executives

The premier credential for healthcare managers, this exam is only open to those with at least two years of experience in the field. Applicants must also hold a master’s or other advanced degree, and should be in a healthcare management position. Thirty-six hours of healthcare management continuing education is required, 12 of which must be ACHE face-to face education credits. The exam itself costs $250, though a $200 waiver is available. The certification exam includes 230 multiple-choice questions, 30 of which are pretest questions. Content is drawn from 10 knowledge areas, ranging from governance and organizational structure, to finance and management. ACHE fellows are among the best in the field, and the distinction comes with organizational resources and high change for better salaries.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

6 hours