What is a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration Degree?
If you’re considering a career in healthcare but you’re not interested in working bedside, a career in health administration may be right for you. Working on the business side of the industry, healthcare administration professionals enhance the delivery of high-quality medical care by hands-on practitioners.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health administration is one of the 20 fastest-growing sectors of the economy.
This field of study covers a variety of topics including finance, marketing, economics, and information systems. Finding the right bachelor’s program creates the opportunity to explore many possibilities and pursue a concentration that matches your skills and interests.
In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration including:
- What coursework to expect
- What you can do with this degree
- How much it costs
- How long it takes to earn
- How much you can make
What Is a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration Degree?
A bachelor’s in healthcare administration is an undergraduate degree that provides the knowledge and insight required for a career in health administration. This program blends elements of business with the unique requirements of managing the healthcare industry.
Areas of study include:
- Accounting and finance
- Health information systems
- Human resources administration
- Health management
- Law and ethics
What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s of Healthcare Administration?
A bachelor’s of healthcare administration opens the door to a wide range of career paths within the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals with this degree have opportunities to work in a variety of workplace settings, including:
- Hospitals, private practices, and clinics
- Consulting firms
- Mental health organizations
- Pharmaceutical and medical device companies
- Health insurance organizations
- Public health departments
- Skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers
In each healthcare setting, there are a number of fields to specialize in. A bachelor’s in healthcare administration makes it possible to work in many fields, including:
- Healthcare Administration and Practice Management
- Human Resources
- Insurance Analyst
- Medical Office Management
- Non-Profit and Community Health management
- Pharmaceutical Account Management
- Risk Management
- Quality Improvement
- Training and leadership development
- Healthcare Policy
How Much Does a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration Degree Cost?
The cost of this undergraduate degree varies depending upon a number of different factors, including the type of school and whether it’s local or not.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the average annual cost of tuition for in-state residents at public colleges is $11,171. That’s 73% less than the $41,411 it costs to attend a private college.
These costs include tuition and other fees and do not account for financial aid resources. Depending on the school, there may also be significant costs for room and board, transportation, books, and other expenses.
Though some programs are available online, they are generally designed for students who have already earned some college credits or an associate’s degree. The majority of undergraduate degree programs are offered in-person.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration?
The standard amount of time that it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration is four years. Most four-year programs require 120 credits to complete and cover both healthcare administration classwork and general education requirements.
Accelerated online programs are designed specifically for students who have already earned some college credits. These programs offer returning students the ability to transfer their college credits and take short, flexible modules. This allows them to continue working while pursuing their education and earning their degree in less time.
How Much Can You Make with a Bachelor of Health Administration Degree?
The salary for professionals with a bachelor’s degree in health administration depends on their position, work environment, and experience.
Payscale.com reports that the average salary for those with this degree is $61,081 with some professionals earning as much as $152,000 per year.
Recent graduates will find that entry-level positions offer salaries starting around $45,000. However, earning capacity grows with experience and advancement.
Healthcare administration professionals also receive benefits like paid vacation time and sick leave, tuition reimbursement, health insurance, and other valuable benefits.
Healthcare Administration Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for medical and health services managers is extremely strong, with an anticipated employment growth of 32% -- roughly 133,200 new jobs added -- in the next ten years.
There are many reasons for this rapid growth. Two notable factors are an increase in demand for healthcare services from the baby-boomer population and improvements in healthcare technology leading to longer lives.
Healthcare administrators will drive change in the delivery of healthcare services to meet needs in a variety of settings.
Top Bachelors in Healthcare Administration Programs
Graduating with an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration can open doors to a wide variety of career opportunities and provide the personal satisfaction of contributing to the field of healthcare.
The following schools have the best healthcare administration programs, according to U.S. News and World Report.
- University of Alabama – Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)
- University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
- University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
- Rush University (Chicago, Illinois)
- Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia)
- Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
- University of Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa)
- Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)
- Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland)
What are the Prerequisites for a Health Administration Bachelor's Degree?
The prerequisites to pursue a bachelor’s in healthcare administration vary from program to program. Generally, admission to an undergraduate program requires:
- High school transcript
- Standardized test scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement or essay
- Application fee
- Proof of graduation
Once accepted into a college or university, you may need to apply separately to the healthcare administration program.
These programs can be competitive. Acceptance often requires both academic achievement within the university and demonstrated interest.
Admission requirements may also include:
- Application to the program
- Interview with the program director
- Achievement of a minimum GPA at the university or college
- Completion of a core curriculum and prerequisites with a minimum GPA
- Statement of purpose
The Importance of Choosing an Accredited Program
While assessing each Bachelor of Health Administration program and how it fits into your personal preferences, it’s essential to choose an accredited program.
Undergraduate programs are accredited by regional and national agencies. These agencies are approved by the U.S. Department of Education to develop strict criteria for evaluating postsecondary education.
Accreditation assures that a program meets state and national standards for higher education.
Bachelor of Healthcare Administration Program Coursework
Though every healthcare administration program is different, all strive to prepare graduates for careers as effective leaders in health care organizations. Classes provide students with a solid foundation for ensuring patients receive quality, efficient healthcare services from organizations that achieve growth and stability.
Areas of concentration can range from health informatics to leadership. Some may lean towards clinical management while others are more focused on management and finance.
No matter the student’s chosen concentration, coursework will generally include:
- Principles of Management in Health Care
- Communication in Health Care
- Accounting and Finance for Health Care
- Law for Health Care Professionals
- Ethics in Health Care
- Health Care Systems
- Medical Terminology
- Statistics for Managers
- Organizational Studies in Health Care
- Economics for Healthcare Managers
- Human Resource Management in Health Care
- Financial Management in Health Care Organizations
- Ethics in Health Care
- Regulatory Issues in Long Term Care
Paying for a Bachelor of Healthcare Administration Degree
Paying for college can be a challenge regardless of whether you choose a state university as an in-state resident or a private college.
While scholarships and grants reduce costs for some, the Federal Reserve Board found “43 percent of those who went to college, representing 31 percent of all adults, had incurred at least some debt for their education.”
Beyond paying cash, here are a few options for paying for a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration.
Grants are provided by colleges, states, and the federal government. They do not require repayment and are generally awarded based on financial need.
To determine whether you are eligible, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, also known as FAFSA.
Financial aid from the school
Many schools offer financial aid that reduces tuition or offers students the ability to finance their education through work-study programs.
Scholarships are offered by private organizations such as corporations to community groups. There are thousands of scholarships available for students to apply to, and many of them can be found online.
You can borrow money from the federal government or from private lenders, with the former offering lower rates and greater protections. Applying for federal student loans begins with filling out the FAFSA form.
Bachelor of Arts vs. Bachelor of Science Degrees
Healthcare administration students can choose from two different types of healthcare administration programs:
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Colleges and universities with robust business or pre-med programs may also offer a standalone degree known as a Bachelor of Healthcare Administration (BHA).
Although both degree programs provide a comprehensive education of the business and operations of healthcare, there are substantive differences between the two.
Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Administration
A Bachelor of Arts is generally offered through the liberal arts division of a college, with its requisite course load favoring the humanities. Students who study for a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Administration focus more on issues of policy and public health.
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration
A Bachelor of Science degree focuses more on math and the sciences, and particularly towards information management. Those pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration focus more on technical subjects like records management and information systems.
How to Decide Which is Right for You?
When choosing the right program for you, consider the following:
- What is the program or school’s reputation?
- Are there online programs or classes available?
- What does the program cost? Is financial aid available?
- Are you willing to relocate or commute to class?
Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration Worth It?
A career in healthcare administration offers the opportunity to make a real difference in the delivery of medical care and services while at the same time offering stability and generous compensation.
Though it is possible to enter this rapidly expanding field without a specialized education, starting out with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration provides a significant advantage.
Whether you choose the clinical side of medicine or the business side, choosing a profession in healthcare gives you the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping people in their healthcare journey.