Health Care Management Associate Degree
A health care management associate's degree program can start you on a management or administrative path by giving you the skills needed for entry-level jobs in medical offices. Keep reading to learn more about these degree programs, what topics will be covered and how to advance your career. Schools offering Clinical Research Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Are Health Care Management Associate's Degree Programs Like?
Health care management associate's degree programs teach you what you need to know to work in medical offices, such as those in hospitals, physician's practices or nursing homes. You gain an understanding of basic medical concepts and how to organize and maintain patients' medical records. Program titles vary, and may include 'Health Care Administration,' 'Business Health Services Management' or other similar names. Typically, you need two years of full-time study to complete the program.
If you're already working in the health care field, you may be able to find a program that gives you credit for prior education and experience. Online programs, while not as plentiful, can be found, and may suit you better if you're a working student.
What Will I Learn?
The courses you take in a health care management associate's degree program give you a foundational knowledge of basic medical terminology and records keeping, as well as fundamental business practices and policies. You'll discuss issues in the health care system, learn how to write medical reports and keep medical records organized. You'll also learn about human anatomy through both lecture and lab courses.
You'll take business-related courses that discuss human resources, business management, finance, accounting and communications. These courses prepare you to communicate with patients and medical professionals in a professional manner. Internships might be offered or required, allowing you hands-on learning experience.
How Do I Advance My Career?
You can use your associate's degree in health care management as a starting point for a career in health care administration. Many programs are designed so that you can easily transfer to a bachelor's degree program or move onto other areas in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health care management positions at smaller medical organizations typically require a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Larger facilities and leadership positions usually require a master's degree; however, the BLS reported that administrative jobs in physician's offices can sometimes be obtained without a bachelor's degree.
The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) provides a list of accredited programs at the master's degree level. Some colleges and universities that offer associate's degrees in health care management also offer bachelor's degree programs in this area, allowing for easy transition. According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, earning a master's degree and joining a professional organization can help your career (www.healthmanagementcareers.org).
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