Associate’s in Healthcare Management
Like any management or administrative role, the more education you have the better. Once you earn a degree, you’re better prepared to advance through the ranks of an organization’s administration. If you’re thinking of working in healthcare and know you would prefer management to clinical duties, you might enter the field with an associate’s degree in healthcare management.
What is an Associate’s in Healthcare Management?
An associate’s degree in healthcare management is a two-year degree that is a basic prerequisite for entry into hospital administration. This essential first step can be taken at a local community college or at a four-year institution. At the associate’s level, you can begin to find your preferred area of specialty, as there are many within the healthcare umbrella. For instance, you could focus your career on one of the following:
- Healthcare informatics
- Financial management
- Human resources
- Marketing and sales
- Public health systems
Here’s a more in-depth look at each area:
- Healthcare informatics is a field that uses data to help maximize efficiency in a healthcare institution. It aligns with healthcare information systems, and students may need a solid background in database management, computer science or mathematics. There are associate’s degree programs to get you started in these fields.
- Financial management for healthcare systems is a specialized area that enables you to assess the expenditures and revenue streams of a healthcare company. Your specialized knowledge of healthcare systems will inform how you analyze a spreadsheet. You may have special insights for maximizing revenue or minimizing expenses that will rocket you up in the ranks of any hospital or healthcare corporation.
- If you focus on human resources for the healthcare industry, you can help hire the very best employees for the departments you’re responsible for. For instance, you may need to know how to assess the best incoming heart surgeons, or the best informatics professionals for the IT department. Your associate’s degree will put you on track for success in any HR department.
- Anyone can get a general marketing degree and then learn the ropes of an industry. However, when you focus your associate’s degree in healthcare management on the marketing industry, you can hit the ground running. You’ll know the ins- and-outs of the industry and will have a foundation on which to create winning marketing campaigns.
- Public health is a degree that most use in a government job, but that isn’t the sole usage case. Hospitals and healthcare corporations also need to analyze broader trends in how diseases spread. Your work could also take on a more educational bent, so you might spend a lot of time educating patients about how to best care for themselves. Alternately, you could focus on epidemiology and analyze how illness spreads in your local area, or even inside a hospital. Your insights could help save hundreds of lives.
Picking the Best Program
To pick the best healthcare management program, it’s first important to determine whether you want to pursue your education online or on a traditional campus. The online option offers flexibility and convenience and one of the chief benefits of an online program is the sheer volume of accredited program choices.
If a classroom-based program is available at your local college or university, make sure it is accredited as well. Accreditation is important no matter which program you choose, as it ensures you can apply for federal financial aid to help pay for school, and when you decide to pursue your bachelor’s degree and master’s later on, accreditation will guarantee that your college credits will transfer to you next school, so you’ll receive credit for two years’ worth of hard work.
Associate’s in Healthcare Management Curriculum
Your associate’s degree will be limited as to the focused healthcare courses you take. However, you will have the opportunity to take several courses that you can apply in your career. Some of the courses you might take include, but are not limited to subjects such as these:
- Ethics in Healthcare
- Evidence-based Healthcare Management
- Cultural Competence in Healthcare
- Quantitative Analysis for Healthcare
- Public Health
- Healthcare Statistics
- Medical Terminology
- Information Technology in Healthcare
- Clinical Classification
You might also seek out a program that offers an externship, also called a practicum. An externship may be a required part of your degree program (and it certainly will for higher degrees later) and will enable you to apply what you’ve learned in a real-world. Practicums can provide you with experience to add to your resume, and they may even allow you to develop professional contacts that may pay off down the road.
However, if you are in an online program, you might seek out an entry-level job in your field. While you are learning in school, you can apply your knowledge to your daily work. If you make it known to your supervisor that you are studying healthcare management, they may offer advice and mentorship during your tenure.
The future looks bright for those in the healthcare industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the typical entry-level education is a bachelor’s degree, though earning your associate’s degree will help prepare you to find work in a modified administrative role in healthcare—such as a medical assistant or medical biller. You can then begin looking at bachelor’s degree programs—and with your associate’s degree under your belt you’ll only have two years of school to complete instead of four.
Your career in healthcare management will start when you find the right associate’s degree program for you. There are many to choose from. Let us help you get started today!
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