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When peo­ple seek a bachelor’s in health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree, they will often come across the term health­care man­age­ment as well. This can lead to con­fu­sion for prospec­tive stu­dents won­der­ing about health­care man­age­ment vs health­care admin­is­tra­tion. What is health­care man­age­ment, and how is it dif­fer­ent from health­care administration?

What can also con­fuse peo­ple is that the health­care man­age­ment def­i­n­i­tion often looks inter­change­able with the one for health­care admin­is­tra­tion. How­ev­er, when it comes to health­care man­age­ment vs health­care admin­is­tra­tion there are some dif­fer­ences. Those dif­fer­ences can help a career seek­er choose which path to take when pur­su­ing their bach­e­lors in health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree.

Healthcare Management vs Healthcare Administration

To put it in the sim­plest terms, the health­care man­age­ment def­i­n­i­tion includes peo­ple who run or man­age an orga­ni­za­tion cen­tered on health­care. What is health­care man­age­ment if not exact­ly what it says?


By con­trast, the health­care admin­is­tra­tor will han­dle staffing and oth­er admin­is­tra­tive duties for a health­care orga­ni­za­tion or facil­i­ty. The two terms have some over­lap and can often seem inter­change­able. To make things even more con­fus­ing, some peo­ple use the term “admin­is­tra­tor” to refer to a man­ag­er of a suf­fi­cient­ly sized health­care organization.

Peo­ple pur­su­ing their degree need to pay atten­tion to what kind of focus they are fol­low­ing. In this way, they will not won­der what is health­care man­age­ment, because they will know that health­care man­age­ment is the thing they are specif­i­cal­ly pursuing.

Is health­care man­age­ment a good major? Yes, it is an excel­lent major, but so is health­care admin­is­tra­tion. The degree achieved can go towards both avenues as they are both tech­ni­cal­ly part of the same health­care man­age­ment def­i­n­i­tion and discipline.

Education in Healthcare Administration

To major in health­care admin­is­tra­tion, appli­cants will have to find prop­er health­care man­age­ment degree schools, choose one, and begin their admin­is­tra­tion health­care man­age­ment major. For peo­ple inter­est­ed in a major in health­care admin­is­tra­tion or a health­care man­age­ment major, there is a tremen­dous num­ber of ways to go about get­ting your degree.

The best schools for health­care admin­is­tra­tion under­grad­u­ate pro­grams are not always the same for every­one. For exam­ple, appli­cants can find schools ded­i­cat­ed to med­ical degrees, or even take these pro­grams at a busi­ness school. A search will reveal health­care man­age­ment degree schools and health­care man­age­ment major col­lege pro­grams are plentiful.

That means it is not always about find­ing the best schools for health­care admin­is­tra­tion under­grad­u­ate pro­grams, but find­ing the best schools to fit an indi­vid­ual applicant’s needs. How­ev­er, appli­cants must not choose just any school. As with any high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tute, online or offline, choos­ing the right place to major in health­care admin­is­tra­tion depends on some research and diligence.

Accreditation for Healthcare Administration Colleges

When seek­ing health­care admin­is­tra­tion col­leges or pro­grams, appli­cants must ascer­tain if the pro­gram or school has prop­er accred­i­ta­tion. This is one of the most impor­tant cri­te­ria for choos­ing a health­care admin­is­tra­tion col­leges and pro­grams. Accred­i­ta­tion will tell an appli­cant if a pro­gram or school meets or exceeds qual­i­ty stan­dards set by a rec­og­nized accred­i­ta­tion body.

In this way, accred­i­ta­tion is just as impor­tant as the group that gives the accred­i­ta­tion sta­tus. Accred­it­ed online health­care degrees and degrees obtained tra­di­tion­al­ly all have more weight and will receive more con­sid­er­a­tion when the appli­cant starts seek­ing jobs and careers

Different Types of Healthcare Administration Accreditation and Certification

Health­care admin­is­tra­tion col­leges and pro­grams have a num­ber of accred­it­ing bod­ies. There are also var­i­ous groups that issue cer­ti­fi­ca­tions to these pro­grams. Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are not exact­ly the same as accred­i­ta­tion, but, depend­ing on the group involved, they can hold just as much weight and pres­tige. To start with, the region­al accred­i­ta­tion from one of the region­al accred­i­ta­tion bod­ies is important.

After the region­al accred­i­ta­tion comes to the spe­cial or pro­gram­mat­ic accred­i­ta­tion bod­ies. For appli­cants look­ing for the best expe­ri­ence, these accred­i­tors and cer­ti­fiers should rep­re­sent what they are look­ing for:

  • AUPHA accred­it­ed schools
  • AUPHA cer­ti­fied schools and programs
  • CAHME accred­i­ta­tion
  • CAHME accred­it­ed online programs
  • HIMSS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion
  • HIMSS mem­ber­ship

Oth­er groups exist, but these are the ones appli­cants should focus on. The Com­mis­sion on Accred­i­ta­tion of Health­care Man­age­ment Edu­ca­tion (CAHME) has the dis­tinc­tion of DOE and Coun­cil of High­er Edu­ca­tion recog­ni­tion. Accred­i­ta­tion from the CAHME is very impor­tant for appli­cants who may want to pur­sue grad­u­ate stud­ies beyond their bachelor’s degree.

CAHME accred­it­ed online pro­grams also count, so appli­cants do not have to assume accred­i­ta­tion only applies to tra­di­tion­al uni­ver­si­ties. Is CAHME accred­i­ta­tion impor­tant? Out­side of the region­al accred­i­ta­tion, the CAHME accred­i­ta­tion is pos­si­bly the most impor­tant thing for an appli­cant to look for in a school or program.

The Asso­ci­a­tion of Uni­ver­si­ty Pro­grams in Health Admin­is­tra­tion (AUPHA) is a col­lec­tion of col­leges and oth­ers in the health admin­is­tra­tion field who pro­mote growth, excel­lence, and high stan­dards. Appli­cants will want a pro­gram that is part of AUPHA. In fact, the AUPHA has cri­te­ria for pro­grams to join that usu­al­ly includes the pro­gram or col­lege hav­ing CAHME accreditation.

What does HIMSS stand for? The Health­care Infor­ma­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tems Soci­ety (HIMSS). HIMSS mem­ber­ship means the pro­gram or school takes an active inter­est in pro­mot­ing mod­ern IT and health­care man­age­ment systems.

The goal of HIMSS mem­ber­ship is to pro­mote bet­ter health with infor­ma­tion and tech­nol­o­gy. The HIMSS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of a school or pro­gram means appli­cants will receive an edu­ca­tion in line with cur­rent tech­nol­o­gy stan­dards in the field.

Appli­cants would do well to seek out these accred­i­ta­tions and cer­tifi­cates in a school or pro­gram. Even for accred­it­ed online health­care degrees, an appli­cant will know they are get­ting the edu­ca­tion they need.

Types of Healthcare Management and Administration Degrees

A few dif­fer­ent types of BS health­care admin­is­tra­tion degrees exist. As pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed, pur­su­ing a bach­e­lor of health­care man­age­ment can also coin­cide with pur­su­ing a bach­e­lor of health admin­is­tra­tion. Appli­cants will also have to decide if they want a Bach­e­lor of Arts in health admin­is­tra­tion or a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree.

It is pos­si­ble to pur­sue a health­care admin­is­tra­tion career with both types of degrees, but there is a small dif­fer­ence between the two. The Bach­e­lor of Arts health admin­is­tra­tion degree require­ments have a focus on more gen­er­al stud­ies, lib­er­al arts, and some busi­ness. This degree delves ade­quate­ly into admin­is­tra­tion and management.

In com­par­i­son, a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree will focus more on the sci­ence involved in health­care admin­is­tra­tion. If the appli­cant thinks they will deal more with man­ag­ing peo­ple, then the Bach­e­lor of Arts will work fine. In either case, the aver­age bach­e­lor’s in health­care admin­is­tra­tion or man­age­ment will last 4 years of full-time study.

If the appli­cant thinks they will do more tech­ni­cal or clin­i­cal work, then the Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree will like­ly work bet­ter. A bach­e­lors of sci­ence in health­care man­age­ment typ­i­cal­ly rep­re­sents the BS health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree peo­ple are look­ing for.

No mat­ter the type of degree, a BS health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree will allow appli­cants to pur­sue a spe­cial­ty. That way, no mat­ter what, the appli­cant can ensure they are on the path they want to be on towards their career goals.

Sev­er­al spe­cial­ties exist, which means appli­cants can usu­al­ly find BS health­care admin­is­tra­tion degrees they can tai­lor to a spe­cif­ic goal. The first thing an appli­cant should con­sid­er is if they want to become a gen­er­al­ist or a spe­cial­ist. Gen­er­al­ist posi­tions include things like:

  • Facil­i­ty man­age­ment or depart­ment management
  • Patient out­come supervisors
  • Sys­tems man­age­ment or infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy support

Mean­while, even more spe­cial­ized health­care admin­is­tra­tion pro­grams can include posi­tions like:

  • Admin­is­tra­tive management
  • Finance spe­cial­ists
  • Health­care informatics
  • Pro­gram sup­port and directors

Choos­ing the type of focus will depend a lot on the appli­cant and what they want to accom­plish. For exam­ple, one appli­cant may want to work in a large hos­pi­tal while anoth­er may want to work in a hos­pi­tal-adja­cent field.

One appli­cant may want to deal with finances while anoth­er may want to man­age a nurs­ing home. In all cas­es, a bach­e­lor of health admin­is­tra­tion or a bach­e­lor of health­care man­age­ment can help the appli­cant achieve their goals.

Online Healthcare Management Education

Yes, appli­cants can absolute­ly pur­sue online health­care degrees. The most impor­tant cri­te­ria for online health­care degrees is their accred­i­ta­tion sta­tus as men­tioned pre­vi­ous­ly. Since online health­care degrees are now quite ubiq­ui­tous, appli­cants will have a rather large choice to pick a school or pro­gram from. How­ev­er, when choos­ing a health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree online, appli­cants must pay atten­tion to what they are get­ting into.

Some online health­care degrees fol­low very tra­di­tion­al tra­jec­to­ries, while some oth­ers may not. Most online pro­grams will be bach­e­lor’s com­ple­tion pro­grams, fin­ish­ing the last two years of a degree after an asso­ci­ate’s. For exam­ple, while look­ing for a health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree online or a health­care man­age­ment degree online, appli­cants may come across list­ings such as:

  • Online bach­e­lors in health­care management
  • Online health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree
  • Online health­care management
  • Online health­care man­age­ment degree
  • Online hos­pi­tal man­age­ment degree

Once again, when con­front­ed with dif­fer­ent names for health­care admin­is­tra­tion degrees, appli­cants must research what the cur­ricu­lum offers and what the online health­care degrees actu­al­ly offer. Since so many degree names have inter­change­able usage, it is best to fig­ure out the accred­i­ta­tion sta­tus, focus, and cours­es offered by the indi­vid­ual school or pro­gram. Costs for online degrees can vary great­ly as well.

Still, the best online schools for health­care man­age­ment will include every­thing need­ed for an appli­cant to pur­sue their health­care admin­is­tra­tion or man­age­ment goals. For many, the best online schools for health­care man­age­ment and admin­is­tra­tion will allow appli­cants to move along at their own pace, which is some­thing online health­care degrees excel at.

Anoth­er option pre­sent­ed most­ly by online health­care man­age­ment pro­grams is the accel­er­at­ed degrees. These accel­er­at­ed pro­grams can help an appli­cant achieve their degree faster than they oth­er­wise would — some­times as quick­ly as 12 or 18 months. Appli­cants may come across pro­grams list­ed as:

As before, when pre­sent­ed with these options, appli­cants must ascer­tain if an accel­er­at­ed course is right for them. They must also fig­ure out what the pro­gram means by “accel­er­at­ed,” as each pro­gram or school may have a dif­fer­ent time length asso­ci­at­ed with that word.

With online health­care degrees, appli­cants should not seek the cheap­est online health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree. Instead, they should focus on their needs and goals, and then nar­row their options by price afterwards.

An online health­care man­age­ment degree, an online hos­pi­tal man­age­ment degree, or an online health­care admin­is­tra­tion degree can sound great, but appli­cants must always make sure they are choos­ing some­thing that will give them a good return on their invest­ment. Before tak­ing a health­care man­age­ment online course, fig­ur­ing out the logis­tics first is key.

Healthcare Administration Certifications and Licenses

Health­care admin­is­tra­tors and man­agers do need licens­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. How­ev­er, the need­ed licen­sure and health­care man­age­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will depend com­plete­ly on what career path the appli­cant choos­es. Dif­fer­ent indus­tries require dif­fer­ent types of licens­ing or cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Equal­ly, dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ties may require career seek­ers to hold one or more cer­ti­fi­ca­tions specif­i­cal­ly for that par­tic­u­lar duty.

For exam­ple, a health­care admin­is­tra­tor for a nurs­ing care facil­i­ty will require state or even nation­al licens­ing. Some­one who wants to do the same job in an assist­ed liv­ing capac­i­ty may not require a license, depend­ing on the state. Career seek­ers should always first check their respec­tive state licens­ing agen­cies to be sure.

Health­care man­age­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from licens­ing. Typ­i­cal­ly, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion becomes a require­ment when a career seek­er wants to work in a spe­cial­ized capac­i­ty. To receive the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, appli­cants will usu­al­ly need to go through some train­ing and take a test. Just like with the pro­gram or school, the train­ing pro­gram requires accreditation.

For health­care admin­is­tra­tion and man­age­ment, that accred­i­ta­tion will usu­al­ly first have the bless­ing of the CAHME. Beyond that, spe­cial­ized accred­i­ta­tion will come from pro­fes­sion­al groups such as:

Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions from these groups are absolute­ly nec­es­sary for some spe­cial­ties, but some cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are good to have in gen­er­al as well. Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from one of these respect­ed and rec­og­nized groups can give career seek­ers a bet­ter chance of land­ing the jobs they real­ly want. Health­care man­age­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from one of these groups will also come with some require­ments on the part of the applicant.

When seek­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams, appli­cants can see if some of the health­care admin­is­tra­tion pro­grams offer a path for them so the appli­cant won’t have to go out of their way to find them. Nev­er­the­less, gain­ing the top health­care cer­ti­fi­ca­tions means going through these organizations.

The AAHAM cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is real­ly one of many depend­ing on the appli­can­t’s cho­sen spe­cial­ty. AAHAM cer­ti­fi­ca­tion can include the health­care Exec­u­tive Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, Pro­fes­sion­al Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, Spe­cial­ist Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and any of a num­ber of others.

The PAHCOM offers the CMM cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. This Cer­ti­fied Med­ical Man­ag­er cer­ti­fi­ca­tion gives appli­cants the cre­den­tials need­ed to work as a man­ag­er in a health­care set­ting. The CMM cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is not the only one offered by PAHCOM, but it is an impor­tant one for appli­cants seek­ing a man­age­ment posi­tion. The FACHE cer­ti­fi­ca­tion means the appli­cant has the nec­es­sary train­ing to take on a lead­er­ship role.

Note that health­care man­age­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is not always nec­es­sary, but it is always a plus. CMM cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or FACHE cer­ti­fi­ca­tion alone can make an appli­cant look far bet­ter than their peers when seek­ing a career. In addi­tion, appli­cants should know online health­care pro­grams cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are just as viable as any oth­er is if the pro­grams have the right accreditation.

Find­ing health­care man­age­ment cer­ti­fi­ca­tion online requires the same amount of dili­gence and atten­tion to detail. Appli­cants can rest assured know­ing their online health­care man­age­ment cer­tifi­cate is just as good as any other.

The list­ed cer­ti­fi­ca­tions rep­re­sent some of the top health­care cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. Still, before becom­ing a cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sion­al in health and hos­pi­tal admin­is­tra­tion, appli­cants should know the best health­care cer­ti­fi­ca­tions to have will depend on their cho­sen career path. Appli­cants should always check before­hand which cer­ti­fi­ca­tions will work best for their cho­sen path.

Careers: Entry-Level Healthcare Management Jobs and Beyond

Health­care man­age­ment jobs are only grow­ing in num­ber. Accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics, health­care admin­is­tra­tion and man­age­ment is grow­ing by as much as 20% over the next decade. With a bach­e­lor’s in health­care admin­is­tra­tion jobs and oppor­tu­ni­ties will start to become increas­ing­ly avail­able. Every­thing from entry-lev­el health­care man­age­ment jobs to entry-lev­el jobs in health­care admin­is­tra­tion are a good start.

For those with career goals in health­care admin­is­tra­tion, going beyond entry lev­el is eas­i­ly pos­si­ble. Health­care man­age­ment jobs and health­care man­age­ment career paths are plen­ti­ful, but career seek­ers must have an idea of what they want to get into before­hand. That is because the list of health­care man­age­ment careers is a long one. A health­care admin­is­tra­tion career options include:

  • Com­mu­ni­ty and Social Ser­vice Managers
  • Health­care Administrators
  • Health­care Consultant
  • Health­care Managers
  • Human Resources
  • Med­ical Office Administrator

Gen­er­al­ly, any health­care man­age­ment jobs that require man­age­ment or admin­is­tra­tion of peo­ple, finances, or oth­er aspects of busi­ness can rep­re­sent a health­care man­age­ment career path. Appli­cants should know health­care admin­is­tra­tion career options are absolute­ly viable with just a bachelor’s degree. With a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion, health­care man­age­ment jobs become available.

A bach­e­lor of sci­ence in health­care admin­is­tra­tion job descrip­tion will typ­i­cal­ly show exact­ly what kind of edu­ca­tion the health­care man­age­ment jobs expect. Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in health­care admin­is­tra­tion jobs may have some slight­ly dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria than bach­e­lor’s in health­care man­age­ment jobs, but the dif­fer­ences are not vast.

Healthcare Management Degree Salary Expectations

With a bach­e­lor’s in health­care admin­is­tra­tion, salary num­bers look good. A health­care man­age­ment degree salary will large­ly depend on loca­tion and occu­pa­tion. For exam­ple, a hos­pi­tal depart­ment man­ag­er salary will look dif­fer­ent from a health­care man­age­ment major salary giv­ing for anoth­er position.

Accord­ing to the BLS, Med­ical and Health Ser­vices Man­agers with a bach­e­lor’s in health­care admin­is­tra­tion salary can have a medi­an of $98,000 a year, or $47 an hour. By con­trast, an Admin­is­tra­tive Ser­vices Man­ag­er has a medi­an salary of $94k. As these are medi­ans, pay can still vary depend­ing on sev­er­al fac­tors when it comes to health­care admin­is­tra­tion careers salary.

As with most pro­fes­sions, some health­care man­age­ment careers come with high salaries because they are cur­rent­ly in high demand. Right now, project man­agers are earn­ing a lot more than con­sul­tants are. On the same token, titled posi­tions often come with high­er start­ing salaries than oth­er posi­tions. Since what is con­sid­ered high demand can change from place to place, appli­cants should look for oppor­tu­ni­ties where they plan to work.

Just because some job lists have high salaries in one place does not mean the same job in anoth­er place will also pay that much. With a lit­tle search­ing and resource, career seek­ers may find a sur­pris­ing path that fits their goals and pays well that is not the same as what is stat­ed as in demand with­in the health­care admin­is­tra­tion field.

Professional Organizations in Healthcare Administration and Management

As with most pro­fes­sions, pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions do exist for health­care admin­is­tra­tors and man­agers. These health­care asso­ci­a­tions can exist at the local, state, nation­al, and even inter­na­tion­al lev­el. Some of these pro­fes­sion­al health­care man­age­ment orga­ni­za­tions include:

Many more health­care indus­try asso­ci­a­tions and oth­er health­care asso­ci­a­tions exist. Pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions in health­care admin­is­tra­tion can help appli­cants, stu­dents, career seek­ers, and even those already hap­pi­ly employed. If an appli­cant choos­es no oth­er asso­ci­a­tion, they would still do well to at least look into the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Health­care Executives.

Why You Should Consider Joining a Professional Organization

At a basic lev­el, pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions in health­care admin­is­tra­tion offer peo­ple to get in con­tact with oth­ers who have inter­ests that align with their own. These orga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sent a place where peo­ple can share knowl­edge and learn new things. On a broad­er lev­el, these orga­ni­za­tions come with ben­e­fits that can help some­one in their careers in var­i­ous ways.

For exam­ple, the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Health­care Exec­u­tives and the Health­care Finan­cial Man­age­ment Asso­ci­a­tion offer resources, career advice, and access to proven pro­fes­sion­als in the field. These orga­ni­za­tions often have mem­bers that help to lit­er­al­ly cre­ate the rules for the pro­fes­sion. Health­care asso­ci­a­tions are often the first to pub­lish new infor­ma­tion, advances in tech­niques, career oppor­tu­ni­ties, and paths to fur­ther education.

Maybe most impor­tant­ly, these asso­ci­a­tions give pro­fes­sion­als the abil­i­ty to make new con­tacts and devel­op rela­tion­ships that can help some­one on a career path more than any­thing else can. If an appli­cant want­ed to know the local rules and laws con­cern­ing a par­tic­u­lar job, they can ask a mem­ber who is both local and a cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sion­al in health and hos­pi­tal administration.