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Online associates in healthcare degrees are designed for current and aspiring healthcare professionals who want career advancement. Healthcare associate degrees are typically conferred in two types. Healthcare Administration and Healthcare Management.
Healthcare Administration refers to the effective and efficient day-to-day operations of healthcare facilities. Meanwhile, Healthcare Management focuses on the bigger picture, from financial management to strategic planning in a healthcare facility.
Take a look at this: The Top 10 Short-Term Healthcare Training Certification Programs
Federal data reveals that the healthcare field is booming with a 16% growth for all healthcare careers. Entry-level administrative positions are available for individuals with healthcare administration or healthcare management associate degrees. That said, obtaining a healthcare management and administration degree will result in further career advancement in this field.
These colleges are our top picks! Explore them using these Quick Jumps!
- University of Cincinnati
- College of Healthcare Professions
- Herzing University
- University of Arkansas Grantham
- Penn Foster
- Pima Medical Institute
- Florida Institute of Technology
- Cambridge College Global
- New England College
- Colorado Technical University
The healthcare field, now more than ever, has evolved in the last few years. The success of this massive and all-important sector hinges on the employment of the most skilled, highly trained individuals.
That said, earning an Associate in Healthcare degree is a decision that hopeful healthcare professionals shouldn’t take lightly! We help you decide on the best college and healthcare program and to complete our list of the country’s best, as evidenced by these features:
- 100% web-based or partial online delivery of an Associate’s degree in Healthcare program to highlight flexibility in class attendance,
- Rigorous coursework featuring the core healthcare courses that prepare future graduates for diverse careers in the field, including typical Healthcare Management job titles such as executive director, public health director, hospital administrator, and Healthcare Administration work, including in the areas of health services, medical record-keeping, and hospice facility oversight,
- Provides the appropriate training for students, so they emerge with soft skills in addition to academic expertise in the field, including efficient communication, patience, attention to detail, and critical thinking that are essential to the practice,
- A top-rated Learning Management System that works for students that seek convenience in accessing their Healthcare course materials,
- Academic instructors consisting of healthcare professionals with considerable experience in or contribution to the field,
- Offers Transfer Credit and Financial Assistance to eligible students,
- Officially accredited by academic organizations that safeguard the quality of online undergraduate education provided to students,
- Maintains active affiliation with healthcare groups that promote the welfare of healthcare professionals and advance the healthcare practice.
Check out our Methodology for more information on our Healthcare degree rankings.
10 Best Online Associate in Healthcare Degree Programs
University of Cincinnati
The Associate of Applied Business – Healthcare Management Technology at UC Online prepares students for entry-level administrative positions in the healthcare industry. Students don’t train for direct patient care in this online program.
Instead, students train for the various aspects of healthcare management in healthcare facility settings. Students learn about healthcare services and their efficient delivery. Their training also includes planning for efficient operations, implementing plans, and preparing budgets.
This is a 100% online associate degree, meaning no campus visits are required. Students benefit from the asynchronous format of the 7-week and 14-week courses. Exam proctoring software is used on some tests.
Students prepare for both the Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM) national credentialing exam and a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree program consists of 60 credit hours with courses in:
- Human resources
- Healthcare finance
- Physician practice management
- Healthcare quality, research, and statistics
- Healthcare Compliance
Federal financial aid is available. Students may also look into military benefits and employer tuition reimbursements.
College of Healthcare Professions
CHCP’s Associate of Applied Science or (AAS) in Health Care Management program is a workplace-ready degree. Students prepare for entry-level management positions in various healthcare facilities.
As aspiring healthcare managers, students develop their leadership and project management skills. Their skill sets make them competitive candidates in the ever-changing healthcare industry.
The online associate degree program in healthcare management has an 80-week duration. The courses include:
- Medical terminology
- Principles of management and leadership
- Healthcare delivery systems, administration, and organization
- Anatomy and physiology
- Introduction to business
Students then not only learn about the technical aspects of health care management but also develop transferable skills. The latter includes public speaking, leadership, and interpersonal communication.
Students seeking entry into the program must meet these requirements:
- Must possess a certificate in medical coding, medical assisting, medical billing, or other related training
- Must read and write English at the college level
- Must pass a scholastic level exam
- Must have good coordination, as well as look professional and neat
The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Healthcare Administration program at Herzing can be completed in as little as 16 months. Students prepare for entry-level administrative support positions.
The online healthcare administration program consists of 60 credit hours with courses in:
- Medical terminology
- Delivery of healthcare services
- Health policy
- Introduction to healthcare management
- Patient Privacy
Students in the associate degree program learn real-world skills with immediate applications in the healthcare industry. Holders of the healthcare administration degree are also sought-after by employers due to Herzing’s reputation.
Admission into the healthcare administration program requires a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Applicants must also pass an interview with an admissions advisor.
University of Arkansas Grantham
The online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Healthcare Administration program at UA Grantham trains students in health informatics, medical coding, and others. Graduates are qualified for entry-level administrative support jobs in healthcare facilities.
Students in the healthcare administration associate degree program can sit for the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) exam. Graduates can also proceed to a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and related fields.
Time-to-completion is 24 months but students can transfer up to 75% of credits. This means less time spent in the healthcare administration program. This is also an affordable degree with UA Grantham’s low tuition rates. New and returning students also receive a free new laptop.
Starting on your healthcare administration degree is convenient with most courses having monthly start dates. Students earn 60 credit hours in courses that include:
- Healthcare management
- Health information management
- Principles of healthcare leadership
- Medical terminology
- Coding systems
There’s no application fee and out-of-state tuition.
The Associate of Science (AS) in Healthcare Management program at Penn Foster is among the most career-focused online programs. Graduates are well-prepared for entry-level management positions in the healthcare industry.
Students also prepare for certification exams in health care management. These include the Certified Coding Associate or Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and the Certified Professional Coder exam.
The curriculum of the associate degree program in healthcare management consists of 62 credit hours. This is a four-semester program with 67 exams, 14 projects, and one practicum. The diverse topics covered include:
- Human resources management
- Medical coding
- Healthcare management
- Electronic medical records
- Quality management
Students also learn about insurance, billing and coding, and reimbursement processes. A 160-hour practicum strengthens the knowledge and skills learned online.
Pima Medical Institute
The Associate in Healthcare Administration program at PMI has a 20-month time-to-completion for full-time students. But students may also transfer up to 28 credit hours for a shorter stay.
Students develop the knowledge and skills to meet the demands of the ever-changing healthcare field. Earning the healthcare administration degree means completing courses in:
- Medical terminology
- Office management
- Healthcare management
- Anatomy, physiology, and pathology
While courses are delivered online in the healthcare administration program, students learn real-world skills. Exercises and projects with real-world simulations are used.
Student success is part of the popularity of the healthcare administration program. Students have access to its career services including networking and resume building. No wonder PMI’s program is recognized in the healthcare industry!
Florida Institute of Technology
Students seeking the best education will find Florida Tech’s Associate of Arts in Healthcare Management program up their alley! The healthcare industry recognizes its value as a training ground for future healthcare professionals.
The associate degree program in healthcare management consists of 64 credit hours. The courses equip students for entry-level administrative support roles:
- Medical ethics
- Managed care
- Principles of management
- Law in healthcare settings
- Healthcare organizations
While improved patient care is among the main goals of healthcare management, students aren’t trained for direct patient care. Instead, students train for the business side. These include human resource management, finance, and budgeting.
Cambridge College Global
The online Associate of Science (AS) in Healthcare Administration program at Cambridge College empowers students for successful healthcare careers. Students develop a solid foundation in the diverse aspects of the day-to-day operations of healthcare facilities.
Students pursuing the healthcare administration degree can choose from two concentrations:
- Healthcare Reimbursement
- Medical Office Administration
The curriculum of the healthcare administration program features courses in:
- Medical terminology
- Medical law and ethics
- Human resources management
The majority of graduates are hired by corporate partners of Cambridge Global.
Prospective students will find the rolling admissions convenient. Financial aid options are also available.
New England College
The 100% online Associate of Science (AS) in Healthcare Administration program offered by NEC combines liberal arts and healthcare education. Prospective students choose from multiple start dates. Students maintain frequent communication with instructors in the online healthcare administration program.
Students benefit from the fast-paced 7-week courses. Most courses consist of four credit hours per course. Students seeking to earn the online associate degree in healthcare administration must earn 60 credit hours.
- Health informatics
- Healthcare Administration
- Issues in ethics for healthcare administrators
- Health plans and insurance
- Financial management
Graduates are well-qualified for jobs as medical transcriptionists, medical billers and coders, and healthcare administrative assistants.
Colorado Technical University
Students pursuing the Associate of Science (AS) in Health Administration Services degree must prepare for academic rigor. CTU’s policies are designed for academic excellence. Graduates must demonstrate key competencies in healthcare administration, from medical coding to leadership.
The healthcare program has an extensive curriculum with 91.5 credit hours in total. Students tackle courses in:
- Information technology
- Healthcare delivery systems
- Medical terminology
- Ethics in healthcare
- Reimbursements and insurance plans
Students complete a capstone project to earn a healthcare administration degree.
Financial aid is available. Students may also enjoy other financial perks in the healthcare administration program. Examples include military discounts, CTU Fast Track courses approved, and transferred credits.
Additional Resource: The 15 Best Online BS in Healthcare Administration Degrees
Overview of Online Associate in Healthcare Programs
Educational programs offering associate degrees in healthcare administration and healthcare management offer a balanced view between health sciences and business management. Students must be ready for the stringent course requirements and, in some cases, the real-world challenges of internships.
Healthcare Managers vs. Healthcare Administrators
Note that healthcare administrators are not directly in charge of patient care but are instrumental in the quality of patient services delivered. The curriculum of a typical healthcare administration program focuses on patient care and its quality. Professionals with a healthcare administration degree possess leadership, organizational and communication skills suitable for day-to-day operations. Healthcare administrators ensure that the staff members are performing their roles and responsibilities in accordance with this purpose.
On the other hand, healthcare management focuses on the overall organizational operations. They ensure a balance between the budget and goals. Thus, healthcare managers ensure that other healthcare professionals are able to do their job. Their expertise lies in organizational policies and procedures, not on daily staff performance within specific departments.
Note that an associate degree in either Healthcare Administration or Healthcare Management can be transferred into a related health sciences bachelor’s degree.
Prospective students seeking a college education via healthcare administration and healthcare management programs must take note of these admission requirements:
- Must present their high school diploma or GED equivalent
- Must submit official transcripts from schools last attended
- Must be able to read and write in English with proficiency
- May be required to pass placement exams
- May be required to possess a healthcare-related certificate, such as medical coding or medical assisting
- Must undergo a medical checkup
Applicants may also be interviewed by a panel of admissions officers. Online programs are just as selective in their admissions process, partly because all students receive the same quality of instruction.
Depending on the online program, the online courses can be completed in 24 months of full-time studies. But if you want a shorter time to completion in earning your associate degree, look for an online program that:
- Allows transfer of college-level credits
- Recognizes military training and/or service as credits
- Accepts certificates of professional training as credits
- Follows an accelerated format
But you may also benefit from part-time enrollment depending on your current financial status. This means a longer time to completion but more affordable tuition payments per term.
Credits, Curriculum, and Courses
Online students in both healthcare administration and healthcare management online programs earn at least 60 credit hours. The curriculum consists of general education, concentration, and elective courses.
The ratio between these courses in terms of credit hours differs depending on the program. But the general education and concentration courses are usually equal in the number of credits.
Introduction to Human Resources
The course introduces students to the fundamental principles and practices of human resource management. Students prepare for the processes involved in the recruitment, hiring and training, and retention of employees.
Physician Practice Management
Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the aspects involved in the management of physician offices. Topics covered include financial management, medical malpractice, and information technology.
The course introduces students to the medical and health-related terminology of the human body, as well as the healthcare system.
The topics discussed in healthcare finance prepare students for the responsibility of ensuring effective and efficient finance management. Students learn about budgets, financial statements, and financial and management accounting.
Health Care Delivery Systems, Organization, and Administration
The course is a comprehensive overview of healthcare delivery systems, from their initial organization to their daily administration. Students learn about the programs and services in healthcare facilities, as well as planning and program evaluation.
Healthcare facilities must comply with a myriad of laws, rules, and regulations in their operations. This is where healthcare compliance comes in.
Healthcare Quality, Statistics, and Research
This is an applied course where students learn about statistics, research, and qualitative methods in healthcare settings. Decision-making skills are emphasized, too.
Healthcare Computer Applications
The topics covered in healthcare applications prepare students for the challenges of maintaining electronic healthcare information systems. Topics include the planning, design, implementation, and improvements to these systems, including medical ethics related to patient information.
Aspects of Online Learning
Online students obviously must have access to their online courses and it’s possible through multiple online learning technologies.
Learning Management Systems
Online programs use a specific learning management system, such as Canvas, Blackboard, or Moodle. Students can access its features to perform learning activities like:
- Access the learning resources including lectures, lessons, and reading materials provided by the instructor
- Take exams and quizzes
- Participate in discussion boards, forums, and recitations
- Get updates about class activities, requirements, and progress
Many LMS have built-in productivity and collaboration tools that students and instructors can readily use. But students may also use other standalone tools at their own discretion.
Due to the health sciences-centric nature of healthcare management and administration, students also benefit from digital simulations. Students develop basic practical skills even before getting into an internship or practicum program.
Assessments and Evaluations
Online education may be more convenient due to its asynchronous format but it also has its fair share of exams, tests, and assignments. These are methods by which online students are evaluated – and graded – on their academic performance and progress.
Internship and Practicum Requirements
As aspiring healthcare professionals, online students benefit from hands-on experiences via internships and/or practicums in healthcare settings. The number of hours spent in an internship or practicum varies depending on the program.
The internship may or may not be a paid internship. But the more important benefits are the opportunities for networking and work experience.
Skills and Traits
Aspiring healthcare professionals should aspire to develop technical and transferable skills including:
- Leadership skills
- Communication skills including public speaking
- Critical and analytical thinking skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Project management skills
- Human resources management
- Change management
- Risk management
- Healthcare financing and accounting
Tuition and Financial Aid
Associate degrees in healthcare management and administration can be accessible! Most community colleges have lower tuition rates than four-year public and private universities. Apply for federal financial aid even when you believe you have the current financial capacity to skip it. Look for other financial aid options, too.
In general, the per-credit costs average between $430 and $485 for the associate degree. Be sure to take into account other costs of online education. These include the cost of the laptop and Internet connection.
Careers and Salaries of Graduates of Associate in Healthcare Programs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of healthcare professionals has a 32% projected growth rate (2020-2030). This is particularly true for medical and healthcare services managers. The faster-than-average rate is due to an aging population and a more active population looking for better healthcare services.
Individuals with associate degrees in healthcare management and administration can look forward to sustainable healthcare careers for these reasons. Their best shots are in entry-level administrative positions in healthcare facilities.
With median annual wages at $101,340 (May 2021), management and administration are among the best healthcare jobs, too. But to become more competitive, you must have a bachelor’s degree.
Medical Secretaries ($35,647/year)
Medical secretaries are often involved in direct patient care but in a limited capacity. Their typical workplaces are in physician offices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
Medical Assistants ($37,165/year)
Medical assistants perform a wide range of clinical and administrative tasks, such as taking medical histories and making appointments.
Medical Records Technicians ($44,735/year)
Also known as health information specialists, medical records technicians record, organize and maintain diverse records for healthcare purposes.
Medical Customer Service Representatives ($46,708/year)
The duties of medical customer service representatives include responding to patient and pharmacy queries; processing prescription orders, and processing financial transactions.
Medical Transcriptionists ($34,728/year)
The interpretation of physicians’ charts and reports as well as their transcription are the main duties of medical transcriptionists.
- Healthcare career opportunities are currently in abundance–and they all require academically trained and skilled individuals for this demanding yet fulfilling work!
- Finding the right online associate’s degree program in Healthcare is your first step to becoming a healthcare professional.
- Earn your degree online from accredited colleges that offer outstanding programs.
Before you go, check this out: The 42 Best Bachelor’s in Nursing and Healthcare Online Schools and Career Guide