Online Certificate Programs in Healthcare Administration

Health care administration is a quickly expanding field in need of properly trained workers. An online certificate in health care administration and management is designed to prepare students for entry-level administrative positions in medical offices, hospitals, clinics, and other facilities. You may be able to specialize in areas such as medical billing and coding, health information technology, or medical office administration. Students in these programs will learn about medical terminology, medical records management, health care delivery systems, health finance, industry law and ethics, and process improvement.

Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

Many schools offer health care administration programs focused on medical billing and coding. Graduates are prepared to work in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, or nursing homes. This type of curriculum frequently covers topics in medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, procedural coding, diagnostic coding, claims processing, and health care law.

In general, students looking to earn their certificate in health care administration online can expect six months to a year of full time study. This, of course, can vary based on level of enrollment throughout the program and whether or not you transfer in any credits. In addition to medical billing and coding topics, students also learn about computer technology and business communications in most programs. Online classes run in an asynchronous format, which means students can work on their classes at any time that fits their current work schedule or family responsibilities.

Medical Office Administration Certificate

If you are interested in working on the office management side of the industry, a certificate focused on medical office administration may be a great option. Students learn about office management, business communications, computer technology, medical records management, health care finance, and health care law and ethics. Jobs may be found in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, or other health care facilities.

Classes for a certificate program in health care administration will focus entirely on subjects that prepare graduates for the workforce. This usually takes six to 12 months to complete. However, it is important to note, this time to completion can vary based on how many courses you take at once and whether or not you have any transfer credits. Online students can access the online classroom 24/7 and are free to work around other professional or personal demands for their time. Chat, streaming video, and virtual meeting technology also help to keep the curriculum engaging for distance learners.

Health Information Technology Certificate

Graduates of this type of program are prepared with the knowledge and skills needed to manage electronic medical records. They will take courses in computer technology, industry software, medical records management, health care law and ethics, and medical terminology. Students will also discover ways to improve efficiency in this area.

Most online certificate programs with a focus on health information technology take about six months to a year to complete. Please note, your level of enrollment, any transfer credits, or any breaks taken from the program, can all influence the length of time it takes to graduate. However, an online curriculum permits students the flexibility to work around their busy schedules. Typically, classes run in an asynchronous format, which means there are no scheduled time students are required to login, as long as they meet weekly deadlines.

Healthcare Management Certificate

Students interested in working in a medical office management capacity for hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, and nursing homes, may benefit from this type of program. Courses cover topics in health care delivery systems, health care finance, patient records management, and health care law and ethics.

Most health care management certificates take six months to a year to complete. Of course, this will all depend on the specific curriculum and your level of enrollment throughout the program. In addition to common industry topics, students may also learn about computer technology and business communication. The flexibility of completing a certificate gives students the option to continue working at their current jobs while taking classes.

Public Health Certificate

Students interested in a public health focus may want to work as health educators or social and community services managers. These positions may be found in both the public and private sectors with hospitals, clinics, schools, non-profit organizations, or government agencies.

Since this type of curriculum is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s, classes will focus exclusively on health care topics. Common subjects may include biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, environmental health, and health services administration. Most post-baccalaureate certificates will take about six months to a year to complete, depending on your level of enrollment. Online classes usually run in an asynchronous format, allowing students to work around their busy personal and professional schedules.

Health Information Certificate

Technology is an essential component in today’s health care system. Students interested in exploring computer technology, the use of biostatistics, and health data may be interested in this type of program. Graduates will have a working knowledge of how the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of health information can enhance the quality and efficiency of care.

Students can expect to complete the program in about six months to a year. This will all depend on the specific curriculum and number of courses taken. Given the flexibility of an online program, students with work and family responsibilities or travel restrictions can still pursue further education. The virtual classroom is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means student can then work at their own pace as long as they meet set deadlines.

Post-Master's Certificate

Courses at the post-master’s certification level focus on leadership and critical thinking skills, while training individuals to be mindful of the specific needs of the health care industry. A number of jobs in this field require students to have at least a bachelor’s in the subject, so taking the extra steps to pursue a master’s and then a post-master’s health care administration certificate will undoubtedly set you apart from fellow job seekers.

Covering topics like health care communications and strategic planning, these programs last between one and two years. The length of the program ultimately depends on the specific school and student. For instance, the online post master’s certificate offered at Clarkson College has a structure where students only take one course at a time. This approach may be different from other schools, and completion times will reflect that.

What’s Next for Healthcare Administration Certificate Holders?

After earning an online certificate in health care administration, students are typically prepared to sit for a national certification exam in their area of specialization. This could be medical billing and coding, health information technology, or medical assisting. Industry accreditation is available through the American Academy of Professional Coders, the American Health Information Management Association, or the American Medical Billing Association, among others.

While it is not always required, employers may prefer to hire candidates with professional certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 15% from 2014 to 2024. As of May 2014, the reported average annual wage for this occupation was $38,860. Please note, actual job availability and starting pay will depend on a number of factors such as level of experience, education, geographical location, and the specific employer.