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Guide to the Top Online Healthcare Administration Certificates

Discover how you can launch a healthcare administration career or elevate your job prospects in the field with our guide to healthcare administration certificates online.

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Two healthcare professionals, a young black woman and an older white-haired woman, work together on a laptop in a modern office setting.

Faced with an aging population and modern innovation in long-term care practices, healthcare systems must meet an ever-increasing demand for quality patient care. In the face of this challenge, healthcare administrators work behind the scenes, ensuring that patient-care logistics run smoothly. In fact, this role is so vital that the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently named Medical and Health Services Managers as one of the 20 fastest-growing careers in the United States.

A healthcare administration certificate online program can serve as your entry point into the field, providing a fast path to the skills you need without the time commitment or expense of a full degree program. Plus, earning your health administration certificate online offers unmatched flexibility to study on the schedule you need. Our guide will help you understand what you’ll learn in your courses, the available options for healthcare administration certificates, and how to choose a quality program. Keep reading for the full details.

Inside Popular Online Healthcare Administration Certificates

To help you find the best fit for you, we’ve chosen to spotlight three popular healthcare administration certificate online programs. These programs excel because of their high-quality curriculum, affordability and flexibility for prospective students, and potential to transfer credits to a fully-fledged degree program. Use these features to understand what to look for in other programs and to kickstart your journey toward finding the best health administration certificate online.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

The Healthcare Administration Certificate programs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center are ideal for busy working professionals who want to build a knowledge base to further their careers without pursuing a full graduate degree in healthcare administration. Students can choose between five distinct specialized certificate programs in healthcare administration, all of which are offered entirely online in accelerated, eight-week formats for maximum flexibility. The Health Informatics and Data Analytics, Health Systems and Policy and Management, Healthcare Finance and Economics, and Health Systems Engineering and Management Certificates each consist of 12 credit hours; six of which are transferable to the Master of Science in Healthcare Administration. The Long Term Care Administration Certificate consists of 15 credit hours, nine of which may be transferred to the MSHA program.

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

At Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, students will find a diverse array of health administration certificates online at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Each course offers the flexibility of 100% online delivery alongside weekly deadlines that help students maintain steady progress during the program. The 18-credit Health Administration Certificate or 15-credit Long-Term Care Certificate provides undergraduates with solid foundations in the health administration field. Graduate students have the option to specialize with the 18-credit Catholic Health Care Leadership Certificate, the 15-hour Long-Term Care Administration program, or an 18-hour Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. These programs are perfect for professionals who are seeking additional credentials to continue their professional education, progress in their careers, or obtain licensure to strengthen their resumes. Students may also transfer credits to a bachelor’s or master’s degree program at Saint Joseph’s if they choose to pursue a degree.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota students can expand their career opportunities with the Health Administration Certificate. This graduate-level program requires just nine credit hours. It is designed to build managerial skills for professionals already working in the healthcare field or those who want to transfer their business acumen to the healthcare industry. This program is highly flexible with options to attend classes on-campus, in a hybrid format, or entirely online, to fit the unique needs and schedules of students. After obtaining a certificate, students may apply these credits toward the on-campus or online Master of Public Administration program at UND. This highly adaptable program would make an excellent choice for ambitious healthcare professionals who want to advance their education while continuing their ongoing career commitments.

Online healthcare administration certificates are available at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, offering opportunities for students at every educational level to earn credentials that will advance their knowledge and skills. Whether you’re new to healthcare, looking to gain advanced understanding, or aiming to specialize in a specific aspect of healthcare administration, there are flexible programs that will help you meet your unique goals.

Graduate Certificates

Online graduate certificates in healthcare administration are perfect for working professionals with bachelor’s or master’s degrees who want to apply their existing knowledge to healthcare administration roles. Some postgraduate programs, like the Post-Master’s Certificate in Healthcare Administration at Clarkson College, are exclusively for those with a master’s degree. Occasionally, students earning a Master’s in Healthcare Administration or Healthcare Management or an MBA in Healthcare Management will enhance their credentials with a specialized certificate program.

Online healthcare administration certificate programs usually require earning 12-15 credit hours over the course of a year. These credits can also be transferred to a master’s program. While not all online health administration certificate programs don’t always prepare students for specific certifications or licensure, some programs like the Clarkson College Certificate in Health Information Administration prepare students specifically for the Registered Health Information Administrator certification exam.

Examples of Colleges Offering Graduate Certificates in Healthcare Administration Online

Undergraduate Certificates

Undergraduate healthcare administration certificate online programs are ideal for those who want to establish a foundational understanding of healthcare administration, covering essential topics like healthcare policies and procedures, legal issues, and management. Most online healthcare administration certificates consist of 12-15 credit hours, which are often transferable toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or a healthcare management degree.

They can also serve as a career-boosting addition to resumes for students who are already working in healthcare fields or have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, business, human resources, or project management. While most health administration certificate online programs don’t prepare students for certification exams, some programs, like the one at Southwest Minnesota State College, can help students sharpen their skills for exams like the national Certified Revenue Specialist certification exam. This certificate is also accessible to those with a high school diploma, although there may be additional prerequisite courses depending on the individual institution.

Examples of Colleges Offering Undergrad Certificates in Healthcare Administration Online

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Learning Outcomes of Online Health Administration Certificate Programs

No two healthcare administration certificate online programs are exactly alike, but there are some courses and competencies that most programs will have in common. No matter which courses you take, you can expect to gain an understanding of the administrative concerns of the healthcare system, health law, privacy best practices, and organizational leadership and communication. Many graduate-level certificate courses will consist of two to three mandatory core courses, and the students can fulfill the remaining credits with classes that appeal to their interests and ambitions. Students of online healthcare administration certificate programs can expect to gain the following:

  • An increased understanding of how to apply existing professional skills and knowledge to the healthcare administration field and necessary information to decide whether the students want to continue towards a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
  • Leadership and management training, with a particular emphasis on how those skills may be applied to employee recruitment, retention, and relations in healthcare organizational settings.
  • A greater knowledge of the behind-the-scenes operational standards and procedures of healthcare organizations, including how different individuals and departments interact, how to oversee the day-to-day details of these organizations, and how to strategically manage their long-term functions.
  • A thorough training in the ethical and legal policies, procedures, and best practices surrounding patient privacy, healthcare challenges, and regulatory matters.
  • Depending on the program, either a basic or in-depth understanding of the financial concerns of healthcare organizations, including healthcare economics, budgeting, financial reporting, and resource allocation.

Healthcare Finance

A course explaining financial principles and exploring the financial aspects of healthcare. Students learn about topics like budgeting, forecasting, and financial management, which helps them understand how to make sound financial decisions in healthcare organizations. Students with an existing financial background will learn how to apply general financial principles to healthcare settings.

Health Systems Management

This foundational course provides students with an overview of healthcare systems to promote a thorough understanding of how these pieces fit together in the larger logistical picture. Students learn about day-to-day operations and general management principles, preparing them to become effective leaders and managers in healthcare organizations.

Healthcare Law & Ethics

This course includes an overview of the legal and ethical issues unique to healthcare organizations. Students learn how to examine and understand key policies, how to address and comply with regulations and spend time exploring ethical dilemmas that administrators frequently encounter.

Health Information Systems & Technology

In this course, students learn about the role and application of information technology in healthcare. They are instructed in best practices concerning electronic health records, patient data management, and health information exchange. They also learn how to use pre-existing data to make well-informed decisions in the healthcare setting.

Healthcare Terminology

This vital course familiarizes students with the language of healthcare, covering commonly used terms and jargon they’ll encounter in different aspects of the industry. In this course, students learn the unique vocabulary of healthcare settings, ranging from clinical to administrative.

Specialization and Elective Options

When earning a healthcare administration certificate online, you can tailor your educational experience with individual elective courses or specialized tracks of study. These courses and study paths allow you to delve deeper into areas of personal interest or desired career growth. Below, we’ve listed five of the most popular specialization options you’ll find as optional certificate concentrations or elective courses.

Long-Term Care Administration

This specialization prepares students for leadership roles at long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, concentrating on managing care for aging and chronically ill patients. Studies focus on learning the particulars of human resources, financial management, and issues concerning long-term care. The University of Maryland Global Campus and Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offer this concentration.

Health Informatics

Employing a combination of healthcare practices and technology, students learn the skills to manage electronic health records, navigate health information systems, and analyze data to improve patient care. Texas Tech University offers a Health Informatics-focused certificate, while Southwest Minnesota State University provides a Health Services Systems and Information course as an elective.

Strategic Planning and Leadership

This concentration sharpens students’ strategic management and leadership skills. After completing coursework in economics, marketing, and strategy, students are well-prepared to step into management roles within healthcare organizations and lead long-term healthcare initiatives. Purdue University’s Healthcare Leadership Graduate Certificate is an excellent example of such a program.

Public Health

Public Health certificates focus on overall community health and wellness. Students gain essential knowledge with a general overview of public health concerns and healthcare systems from local to global levels. Students interested in pursuing a public health specialization should explore the Certificate in Public Health Administration at the University of Montana.

Healthcare Finance

Healthcare organizations have unique financial considerations and concerns, and this specialization delves into financial management within the healthcare field. In these certificate programs, like the Healthcare Finance and Economics track at Texas Tech University, students cover healthcare economics, finance, budgeting, and financial decision-making topics.

FAQs About Earning Your Healthcare Administration Certificate Online

What are the admissions requirements for an online certificate in healthcare administration?

Admission requirements for a health administration certificate online programs can vary by institution and whether you plan to pursue a graduate or undergraduate certificate. For undergraduate certificates, applicants generally need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, while graduate programs typically require a bachelor’s degree and a minimum average GPA of 3.0. Professional graduate certificate programs often have additional requirements, including:

  • Professional references
  • A resume proving your previous experience, often with an emphasis on healthcare, like at the University of Cincinnati
  • At least one letter of recommendation, though some schools, like Seton Hall University, ask for as many as three
  • A letter of intent or statement of purpose outlining your career goals

Can I transfer my credits from a healthcare administration certificate to a degree program later?

It’s quite common for credits earned as part of a health administration certificate online to be transferable to a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the same field, as is the case at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and Oklahoma State University. In fact, many students utilize these programs to gauge their interest in pursuing a full degree program. In many cases, credits earned are standard college credits and thus eligible for transfer to another school. However, that will depend on the policies of the institution where you earn a certificate as well as those of the prospective transfer school. So, it is important to consult with academic advisors before counting on transferring credits.

How much do healthcare administration certificate programs cost?

The cost of earning a healthcare administration certificate online can vary widely depending on several factors, so confirming the exact fees for the program you’re considering is essential. Public institutions generally have more affordable tuition than private schools, and in-state tuition rates are lower than out-of-state. Additionally, graduate-level certificate programs may cost more than undergraduate options. Below, we’ve listed tuition data for three schools, so you can better understand the estimated costs.

Can I get financial aid to help pay for my online healthcare administration certificate program?

Federal, private, and school-based financial aid is often available for health administration certificate online programs. However, eligibility can depend on your school, the exact program, and your unique financial situation. You can learn more about navigating the financial aid application process in our financial aid guide and more about specific scholarship opportunities in our healthcare admin student scholarships guide.

Do online healthcare administration certificate programs require on-campus visits?

Most health administration online programs are offered entirely online to meet the flexibility requirements of the working professionals who typically attend these programs. However, some programs, like the Health Administration Certificate at the University of North Dakota, are available in a hybrid format for those who prefer a blend of flexibility and traditional learning.

How long are healthcare administration certificate programs and can I earn one part-time?

That can depend on how much time you have to dedicate to coursework. Whether you’re earning an undergraduate or graduate healthcare administration certificate online, many programs are designed with accelerated course formats. They can be completed within six months to one year of full-time study. Part-time students can expect up to two years to complete their certificate.

What’s the difference between a healthcare administration certificate and a healthcare management certificate?

These terms are often used interchangeably. While there can be overlap between these two certificate programs, there are distinct differences. Healthcare administration focuses on managing healthcare organizations’ day-to-day organizational needs, financial concerns, and operations. In contrast, healthcare management is geared toward overseeing the big-picture, strategic decision-making of a healthcare facility or system. Our complete guide provides more details about online healthcare management certificate programs.

Accreditation for Online Certificates in Healthcare Administration

Accreditation ensures that an educational institution meets external standards for high-quality education, and it’s an essential factor to consider when selecting a health administration certificate online program. There are two primary types of accreditation in higher education: regional and programmatic.

Regional accreditation applies to each institution as a whole and is the most popular and widely recognized form of accreditation. There are six regional accrediting bodies in the United States; to ensure that you’ve chosen a quality program, verify that your school is accredited by the appropriate one for its region.

Programmatic accreditations are granted to specific programs or departments within an institution. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is the primary accrediting body for healthcare administration programs. However, CAHME only accredits graduate-level programs and does not accredit online healthcare administration certificate programs. However, if the corresponding master’s program at a school is CAHME-accredited, it can be taken as an indicator of a high-quality institution.

What Can You Do with an Online Certificate in Healthcare Administration?

Earning a healthcare administration certificate online can open up a range of career paths and opportunities in settings including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and outpatient care centers. As reported by Michigan State University, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to more than double by 2060, so it’s no surprise that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for Medical and Health Services Managers to grow by a whopping 28% by 2031. Not to mention, the median pay for these professionals is an impressive $101,340 per year.

Whether you want to get a start in the field or advance your current healthcare career, earning a health administration certificate online is an excellent choice to expand your skill set and qualify you to step into these in-demand roles. Below, we’ve listed ten additional potential job titles for people who earn healthcare administration certificates:

  • Hospital Administrator
  • Facilities Manager
  • Group Practice Administrator
  • Nurse Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Health Information Manager
  • Clinical Director
  • Department Leader
  • Administrative Services Manager