When you are accepted into a program to earn an associate degree in healthcare administration, you receive education that prepares you to enter the ever-growing healthcare industry. As a healthcare administrator, you’ll provide support for all types of medical care facilities, which include retirement centers, clinics, and hospitals.

With adults who were born during the baby-boom generation now reaching retirement age, the healthcare field will continue to grow. In fact, the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) has projected that open positions in healthcare administration will grow by more than 20% by the year 2026. This growth rate far exceeds the national average for most careers.

If you graduate from an online program with your healthcare administration associate degree, you’ll be set to secure an entry-level position in a nursing home, hospital, outpatient care facility, clinic, and more. You may assist with the creation and management of the budget and may help develop strategies to increase revenue.

Pros and Cons of an Online Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration

As you begin exploring your career options in the healthcare field, you may find the healthcare administration option appealing. In this position, you get the benefits of working in a busy healthcare setting and the satisfaction of helping patients. However, there are positives and negatives to this major and, specifically, the associate level degree in this field.

Pros

Making the decision to pursue a career in the field of healthcare administration will provide you with several benefits. For example, thanks to the design and setup of these programs, you can quickly complete your courses, gain the needed knowledge, and get right to work in your chosen field. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn more money than someone who does not have any degree in most other fields or a focused degree in this field and you’ll gain a higher level of flexibility to go along with your expertise, which is beneficial in any position.

Cons

While all the pros make the degree seem appealing, there are some cons you should be aware of as well. For example, if you earn an associate degree, rather than a higher-level degree, you may not be qualified for specific certifications. With an online degree program, you do not receive hands-on learning, which is provided with a traditional program. As you explore career options and degree programs, this is something you must consider so that you can make an informed decision regarding if this degree program is right for you. Additionally, you’re not likely to move to a higher-level position, such as a real management position, without additional education. Some associate degrees also aren’t created to give you access to higher levels of education; they exist only to get you into the work force as quickly as possible.

Be sure to carefully consider the pros and cons when choosing a degree program; this is the only way to be fully confident in your decision.

Certificate Vs. Associate Online

Certificate programs typically take two years or less and consist of courses designated to prepare you for a specific position or type of task. The certificates usually include one or several individual courses in a technical or professional field. With an associate degree, you are required to complete more courses, including general education, writing, and math to help round out your program.

If you are currently working in a position in the healthcare field and want to make a shift into administration, seeking a certificate may help enhance your abilities and credentials, which will help you secure the position you want. If you are entering this field right out of school, completing your associate degree may be a requirement before you go for certification, but both will give you a competitive edge.

What Healthcare Administration Associate Degrees Are Available Online?

If you want to pursue your associate degree in healthcare administration, there are several degree options to choose from. The possibilities are listed below.

AA in Healthcare Administration

The associate of arts in healthcare administration focuses on liberal arts courses. It also tends to satisfy more of the general education requirements needed for a four-year program, meaning it will be easier to go on and gain a higher level of education after you have some experience under your belt.

AS in Healthcare Administration

An associate of science degree in healthcare administration is focused more on math and science courses. If you plan to pursue a career right after completing the course, the AS is a better option.

AAS in Healthcare Administration

The associate of applied science (AAS) degree with a focus in healthcare administration is highly concentrated on the core curriculum required for a career in healthcare administration. It usually includes no general studies courses and so is not a good basis for continuing education but is an excellent basis for gaining experience in a real-world position.

Each of these degree options will help ensure you are prepared for your chosen career path. If you’re unsure about which of the options is suited for your short- and long-term goals, it’s a good idea to speak with a career counselor who can help you decide and set goals.

Admission Requirements to Enter an Online Associates

The admission requirements for an online associate degree in healthcare administration are similar to a traditional, in-house program. You must send in all your credentials and transcripts. Most schools will require information about your GPA, extracurricular activities, professional achievements, and more. Some programs require a written essay, and others do not.

If you’re applying for an online college, you will also need to ensure you meet the specific technical requirements for the program, such as online connectivity. You may have to visit the campus or schedule a virtual meeting for admission into the online program, or even be prepared to make the trip to an on-campus class meeting once a month, depending on the program. It’s essential to know and meet the requirements to ensure you have the best chance of being accepted into the online program.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Associates in Healthcare Administration Online?

The amount of time it takes for you to complete your degree is dependent on several factors. This includes your enrollment status. For example, students enrolled full-time can typically complete an associate program in two years. Part-time students will usually take between three and five years to complete the same program.

If you have a busy professional and/or personal life, you may opt to take fewer classes per term and spend longer completing the program. Often, an online program can be completed more quickly because it offers a "work-as-you-go" or self-paced arrangement.

What Can I Do with an Associate Degree in Health Administration?

If you seek an associate degree in healthcare administration, you’ll have plenty of career options to choose from. Some of the top options can be found on this list. Each of these positions provides the opportunity to grow your skills and abilities to ensure you can progress in your field.

  • Medical Office Administration
    Most of the healthcare management associate degrees earned online are dedicated to helping prepare students to run the daily operations of a modern healthcare organization or facility. Topics covered in this program include organization, healthcare systems, and business. Some of the career settings for individuals in this position include nursing homes, medical offices, and hospitals, as an administrator. The average salary for this role is $56 675 annually.
  • Health Records Management
    A crucial and complex component of the healthcare industry is health records. A concentration on record management means that you’ll focus on organizational management, along with new EMR and EHR software. Some of the career options for this degree program include EHR/EMR software analyst, healthcare facility assistant, and medical record manager. The average salary for this position is $74,863 per year.
  • Healthcare Finance
    Today there are more business courses and classes offered to cover healthcare billing laws. This is because of the complexity of all the laws that are in place today. In this position, you can work as a billing specialist, healthcare facility administrator, or an ICD 10 coding analyst. The annual salary, on average, for this position is $91,934.
  • Medical Assistant
    A medical assistant performs an array of duties, which include clerical and technical tasks in a variety of healthcare facilities, hospitals, or medical offices. Some of the job duties you will have in this position include gathering and recording patient data, handling insurance forms, taking and tracking patient vital signs, giving medications and injections to patients, aiding in the exam of patients, and scheduling appointments. The average salary for medical assistants is $33,938 annually.

How to Choose the Right Program for You

When selecting an online healthcare administration program, you’ll need to consider several factors. One of the primary considerations is accreditation. This means the school or program meets specific standards. Schools can be regionally or nationally accredited and you should be sure to look for this when choosing a program.

Some of the other factors you must consider when choosing a school include the degree programs offered, tuition costs, if financial aid is available, and overall flexibility of the lessons. Course credit transferability is another important consideration, along with student eligibility for financial aid. Be sure to consider these factors along with any others that will help you choose the school and degree program that meets your needs and expectations.

Remember, while degree programs are unique to the school that provides them, they will have some similarities. Take time to think about what you want and what your goals are for the program. This will help you choose the school and degree program that best suits your needs.

Courses in Online Associate Degree Programs

When you’re applying for any online degree program, knowing what the course load looks like can be beneficial. Some of the courses you can expect to take in the online healthcare administration program include:

  • English Composition
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Office Management
  • Health Records Management
  • Medical Coding

Keep in mind that each program will have specific core classes you are required to complete along with more focused coursework. When applying to a program, you will likely receive a full outline of the course load.

Colleges That Offer Online AS Degree in Healthcare Admin

If you are ready to start on your career path, finding the right online course is essential. You can find some top schools offering these online programs here.

Florida Tech University Online

Melbourne, FL

Florida Tech University Online is located on the "Space Coast" of Florida and is attended by around 6,500 students. Off-campus educational programs were first offered in 1972, and online degrees were added to the roster as early as 2009. The classes provided for the healthcare management degree at this school offer a full and comprehensive learning experience ensuring that graduates are prepared to begin work as soon as they graduate.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Arts in Healthcare Management

Concordia University Wisconsin

Mequon, Wisconsin

The program at CUW includes a 64-credit curriculum and includes coursework in an array of fields including organization management, elder care, and business statistics. In the final semester, students must complete a six-week practicum, which qualifies them to sit for the nursing home administrator licensing test.

Degree programs:

  • Associate in Healthcare Management

Iowa Central Community College

Fort Dodge, Iowa

Iowa Central Community College offers an array of distance learning programs, including an associate degree in the field of healthcare administration. The program comprises 66-credits, including an introduction to ethical conflict, social problems, an introduction to gerontology, and public speaking.

Degree programs:

  • Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration

Guilford Technical Community College

Jamestown, NC

Guilford Technical Community College is a public community college that is found in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. It’s regionally accredited by the SACSOC and serves over 15K learners via the home campus, online, and satellite campuses.

Along with completing the course-specific classes for the healthcare administration degree, students are expected to take an array of general education courses and to have the program complete within no more than five semesters.

Degree programs:

  • Associate in Applied Science in Medical Office Administration
  • Association in applied Science in Healthcare Administration

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The healthcare administration degree program at Oklahoma State University ensures graduates are fully prepared for an array of career paths related to office management and customer care. Distance learners will attend webinars with the college recruiters along with career coaching sessions. The curriculum of this program includes coursework in healthcare coding, medical terminology, and more.

Degree programs:

  • Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration

New England College

Henniker, New Hampshire

The town of Henniker, which is where New England College is located, is made up of just 5,000 residents. New England College is nestled near Pats Peak Ski Area and is home to approximately 3,000 on-site and online students. It’s also a private, non-profit organization that was established in 1946 and is accredited regionally by the NECHE.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration

Keiser University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The AA in Healthcare Administration at Keiser University teaches the actual business of healthcare and all the subjects that fall under the umbrella of the healthcare field. This is a program that can help an array of individuals who currently work in the health industry, including future healthcare managers, health information management specialists, and more.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Arts in Health Services Administration

Waldorf University

Forest City, Iowa

At Waldorf University, students can experience a management-focused program. It’s ideal for any student who wants to continue their education, as this school creates a pathway for moving into their bachelor's program. The online associate program requires two years for completion for full-time students. If you opt to study part-time, the program will require more time.

Degree programs:

  • Associates of Arts in Healthcare Management

Bryan University

Tempe, Arizona

If you are searching for a flexible and affordable program of study, Bryan University, is a smart option. You can earn your associate in healthcare administration entirely online and enroll as a full- or a part-time student. During the program, you will earn an array of knowledge thanks to the many classes included. You will also gain leadership skills and capabilities, along with decision-making and problem-solving skills that will ensure you are prepared for the real world after graduation.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration

Hodges University

Naples, Florida

Another private institution, Hodges University, first opened in 1990. Today, it’s home to more than 1,500 students and offers an array of degree programs. It is accredited by the SACSCOC. With the healthcare administration online program, you will be fully prepared for a career as a clinic manager, assistant administrator, or a nursing home administrator.

Degree programs:

  • Associate in Science in Healthcare Office Administration

Herzing University

Akron, Ohio

The healthcare administration associate degree offered at Herzing University helps to provide students with the required administrative skills that will ensure they are fully prepared for a long and successful career in the healthcare industry. Along with being an affordable online program, the students also have the option to accelerate their degree. There are also eight off-campus study locations, along with the bachelor's degree pathway program.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Management

Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

Enrolling in the healthcare administration program at this institution provides you a look at the healthcare industry from a unique perspective – a spiritual worldview. At Colorado Christian University, you can enjoy smaller class sizes and have the option to study your chosen career path as a part- or full-time student. You’ll have complete control over your learning experience, making this college one of the most flexible options on the list. The degree is also available at an accelerated pace.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration

WSU Tech

Wichita, Kansas

Located in Wichita, Wichita State University offers an array of academic programs throughout the four campuses. You can also take advantage of the online learning options, which are regionally accredited by the HLC. The school started in 1965 and has experienced several mergers since that time, which have created the current institution.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration
  • Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Management

Monroe College

Bronx, New York

There is an array of factors of Monroe College that make it an excellent option for anyone who wants to earn their AAS in the Healthcare Administration field. The online associate program offered here combines technical and administrative courses to ensure each student is fully prepared for any entry-level job they are offered. The distance education program is considered one of the best in the area.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Administration

Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

The AAS in Medical Office Assistance offered at Liberty University is a popular degree program that provides classes that cover every topic the AS in Healthcare Administration. The program offers superior flexibility and allows you to learn at your own pace. The tuition costs are also lower than some of the other online programs that are on this list.

Degree programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Assistance

Each of the online programs mentioned here will help you achieve your career goals and put you on the path to a successful career in the medical industry. Be sure to consider all the options and your needs to find the program that suits you.