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Health Care Administration Certification Program Overviews

Managers and administrators in the health care industry often supervise a specialty department or direct the delivery of health care services for hospitals and other facilities. After receiving a bachelor's or a master's degree in health care administration, many people go on to pursue a graduate certificate and certification in the field.

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Graduate Certificate in Health Care Administration

Health care administration certificate programs prepare students for management positions within the health care field. Students study management theory and practical applications. The program requirements provide students with the necessary skills for advancement within the field, such as personnel management, supervision, accounting and organizational behavior. Most certificate programs are offered at colleges and universities; some schools feature an online option.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Those seeking certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) must possess at least a bachelor's degree from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (www.ahima.org).

Course Topics

Courses within a graduate certificate program in health care administration focus on the intricacies of the health care industry, financial management, ethics, facility maintenance, legal aspects and patient care. Typical courses offered may include:

  • Public health administration
  • Health care management
  • Health care systems
  • Health care organization financial management
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Information technology in health care

Career Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment of health care administrators was expected to increase by 16% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). This increase was predicted due to an expansion of the health care industry overall, and thus an increase in the need for managers. In May 2010, the BLS reported the annual median salary for medical and health care managers was $84,720.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Upon completion of a health care administration graduate certificate program, individuals may go on to earn a graduate degree, if they do not already possess one. In some cases, graduates may be able to apply their certificate coursework to their graduate degree program. Most master's degree programs include a thesis or field experience requirement, and doctoral degree programs focus on research, oftentimes requiring a dissertation.

The AHIMA offers a certification program with the credential of RHIA. In addition to possessing a bachelor's degree, applicants must pass an exam to obtain certification. Additionally, those who work as nursing care administrators and some assisted living administrators must pass a state licensing exam to be eligible for employment. General areas of health care management do not require licensure. For those required to maintain certification or licensure, continuing education courses must typically be completed at an accredited school, college or training organization.

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