Future Students

Why Pursue a Career in Health Administration?

Make a Difference/Social Mission
Decisions made by healthcare executives can help improve life for hundreds, even thousands of people every day.  Healthcare executives have a sense of social mission—they deeply care about the people they work with and serve.  

Career Opportunities
According to Money magazine, the healthcare industry is on pace to become the largest job sector in the U.S. economy and, over the next decade, healthcare spending is projected to account for one out of every five dollars spent.

Excellent Earning Potential
Students of healthcare management have excellent earning potential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $94,500 in 2015,much higher than the average median salary of $36,500..

Career Flexibility
In addition to more traditional careers in healthcare management, graduates work in many other areas including:  pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, management consulting, banks and other financial institutions, long-term care facilities, professional societies and state and Federal agencies.

Visible and Valued Role in the Community
Healthcare executives typically are highly respected members of their communities. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations are among the largest employers in many communities and their organizations positively impact the health of the populations they serve.

Typical Areas of Study
The basic curriculum for a healthcare management degree addresses three principal areas:

  • Study of management theory, concepts, and skills. Broadly defined, all programs are expected to teach students leadership, financial management, economics, law, organizational behavior, quantitative methods, and planning. 
  • Study of the healthcare industry including epidemiology, health and human behavior, and medical care organization. 
  • Demonstration of integration of course material through application of management concepts to the healthcare industry in a major project, paper, or exam.
Learn more about the knowledge you will gain while pursuing a healthcare management degree in the AUPHA Body of Knowledge.

Educational Requirements

Degrees in healthcare management/administration are available at baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral level. Most baccalaureate programs offer students three options: 1) general management; 2) specialist training in a specific discipline such as financial management or 3) focus on a specific segment of the industry such as ambulatory care or long-term care. AUPHA sponsors a certification process for undergraduate programs in healthcare management.

Undergraduate Degrees

For the student confident in wanting an administrative career in a sector of the healthcare industry, the undergraduate program can provide the basic knowledge, skills and applied studies needed for entry-level positions. It can also be the springboard to a graduate program for those seeking higher-level positions.

For the clinician, the undergraduate program can provide a course of study in healthcare management and prepare them for leadership positions within their clinical specialty.

For the student who wants to be a clinician, the undergraduate program could provide the foundation in learning they need to go on to their chosen area.

Graduate Degrees

A B.S. or B.A. degree - in any field of study - is the primary prerequisite for admission to a graduate program. There are a variety of options -- the traditional route of a master’s degree in health administration or public health, degrees in business with course concentration in health services management or joint degrees--a master’s degree in both business administration and public health, for example.

Graduate programs generally last two years and include coursework in healthcare policy and law, marketing, organizational behavior, healthcare financing, human resources, and other healthcare management topics. This program may also include a supervised internship, residency, or fellowship.

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accredits master’s level programs that prepare administrators for healthcare organizations according to established criteria. 

Executive education and continuing education programs in healthcare management are available for those currently employed in the field who want to broaden their knowledge and improve their skill base.

Doctoral Degrees

A doctoral degree in healthcare management, administration, research and policy, which is offered by many AUPHA member universities, or a doctoral degree in a related discipline - economics, political science, accounting, etc. - is required to teach at the college level.