How do I become a Health Administrator? 

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Overview of Health Administration

The profession is an umbrella term for various management positions pertaining to the leadership and administration of general and surgical hospitals, nursing homes, long-term health care facilities, private practices, and clinics. The job is the business-side of running and overseeing these medical entities, as opposed to the clinical-side. The latter addresses direct patient care.

The American College of Healthcare Executives refers to the work as a hidden career – meaning healthcare managers work behind the scenes. Often out of sight of patients, nurses, and physicians. However, they play an essential role in the quality, safety, and staffing of healthcare.

In the twentieth century, the profession came about after a book titled Hospital Administration: A Career was published in 1929. The late 1800s and early 1900s created a dramatic increase in the number of hospitals. There were 170 in 1875 and 7,000 by 1925—consequently, the University of Chicago the first two-year graduate program in hospital administration. Today, there are countless programs at the Associate, bachelor, and master’s degree levels.


According to O*Net Online, 19% of Medical and Health Services Management employees have an Associate’s Degree; 65% have an undergraduate degree, and 12% have a Master’s.

Many schools offer online Associate’s degrees in Health Administration or related disciplines, for example, Bryant&Stratton College. It has an online Health Services Administration Assistant Diploma that includes accounting, medical terminology, information systems, mathematics, and computing skills. Herzing University in Wisconsin also offers a 100% online 16-month Associate degree in Healthcare Administration. Graduates of programs at this level may not land jobs in leadership but will qualify for Customer Service Reps, Assistant Office Manager, Medical Coder, and Medical Office Specialist. These entry-level jobs can be a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree or more significant management roles with experience.

The more advanced your degree, the more job opportunities there will be. And statistically, most health care management people have a baccalaureate; therefore, this might be the best option to pursue. Numerous schools offer online and on-campus programs as a Bachelor of Arts or Science in this field. For example, the Global Campus at The University of Arizona has a B.A. in Health Care Administration online with no SAT required for enrollment. Its WSCUC-accredited program allows the transfer of up to 90 credits and college credit for work experience. Graduates are eligible for positions in health service management, hospital operations, clinical research management, and human resources, to name a few.

Drexel University attests to being a Top 50 private, nonprofit, national research institution; it has had online programs since 1997 with 24/7 tech support for students. Its College of Nursing and Health Professions has a four-year B.S. in Health Services Administration consisting of 180 quarter credits. During the second year, students take 30 credits of health services courses (HSAD).

Another program you may want to research further is the B.S. in Health Management and Policy at the University of New Hampshire‘s College of Health and Human Services. A diverse curriculum that includes economics, analytics, finance, law, healthcare policy, and epidemiology may open up additional career possibilities. For example, epidemiology, consulting, healthcare analysis, research, and healthcare sales. Moreover, graduates have the knowledge and skills to pursue work in surgical centers, private healthcare facilities, community health programs, hospital operations, and nonprofit organizations.

Search engines abound with graduate programs in health administration and health services management. Students can select campus or online formats for a Master of Health Administration (MHA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Healthcare Management concentration. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has this degree online with unchanged tuition rates since 2012! For less than $20k, you can complete its 30-credit program in a few as 12 months. Enrollment does not require a GRE, GMAT, or application fee, and you can transfer up to 6 credits.

Want to increase your chances of employment with a master’s degree? Consider the MHA at the University of Pittsburgh that boasts a 95% placement rate within 90 days of graduation. And, it advertises a 96% timely (two years) graduation rate! Samples of classes at the Graduate School of Public Health are microeconomics, leadership, information systems, human resource management, epidemiology, health insurance, and health law. Upon completing the MHA program, graduates obtain post-graduate fellowships or full-time employment in hospitals, academic medical centers, medical practices, long-term care facilities, health insurance plans, and healthcare consulting firms.


Different degrees afford various career opportunities in healthcare administration. It is a personal decision. Do you want a career or a job? The difference may be in the level of education you choose. An Associate degree will supply job opportunities in healthcare. However, to rise in stature in management and leadership, you may benefit from a bachelor’s or master’s program.  Regardless of your educational selection, healthcare will remain a burgeoning industry that currently employs over 16 million.

Additional Resources:

Top 50 Highest Paying Master’s Degrees

Are there professional organizations that will benefit my career in Health Administration?

What makes a good Health Administrator?

What kind of jobs would I look for in Health Administration? 

What is Health Administration?