On this page

Back to top

Search hundreds of schools
for the degree you want ......

I want my
In
Avatar photo
WRITTEN BY: Emily Kelley
Avatar photo
REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 01/29/2024

Editorial Values and Practices

Effective healthcare managers possess many admirable qualities — organization, compassion, and the ability to lead and make decisions under pressure. If you possess these traits, then you likely have what it takes to enter and succeed in this field. However, there is another essential element you’ll need to break through — an associate degree.

An associate degree in healthcare management is the key that will help you lay a solid foundation for a long-term, dynamic career. If you’re eager to hit the ground running, you can expedite your academic journey by earning your healthcare management associate degree online. There is just one problem — sorting through the veritable ton of available options can become overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for.

But we’re here to help. By profiling some of today’s most popular options and outlining the hallmarks of high-quality programs, we’ll give you the tools to sift through the dust and uncover a sparkling gem. Beyond that, we give you a snapshot of what to expect in your program and reveal some of the specific doors your education will open up to you. Excited yet? We are, too! Let’s dig deeper and see what treasures await you.

To help you get a better idea of what to look for as you research your options, we have highlighted some of the most popular online healthcare management associate degree programs from around the country. Give these programs a look, you might find that one is the perfect fit for you.

The College of Health Care Professions

The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) offers a 100% online Associate of Applied Science in Health Care Management. Students can complete their studies in 80 weeks, and upon graduation, are prepared to enter a number of roles under the healthcare management umbrella, including healthcare office manager, medical services manager, medical record manager, patient finance manager, and program director, among others. To enroll, prospective students must hold a certificate from an accredited college in a healthcare-related discipline, such as medical assisting or medical billing and coding. Candidates must also pass the Scholastic Level Exam (SLE) with a score of at least 17.

Through CHCP’s Accelerate Program, students who already hold a prior certification or associate degree are eligible for a 10% tuition discount, and can finish in less time by transferring credits. Graduates receive ongoing support through CHCP’s lifetime career services, which include access to a network of employers, resume writing assistance, interview preparation, and more.

Penn Foster

Penn Foster’s 100% online Health Care Management Associate Degree program is fully accredited through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The self-paced format allows students to finish their studies on their own time in whatever way works for them. The program consists of four semesters; students with ample time to dedicate to their studies can finish each semester in as few as six months. After finishing the online program’s 62 credits, students then gain hands-on skills through a 160-hour practicum at a local medical facility.

To help students better afford their degree, the school offers a wide variety of customized payment plan options. The best value is to pay an entire semester in full, which is $1,299. However, students also have the option of paying monthly installments of $59. Students can also save money and time by transferring eligible credits from comparable high school classes or previous college coursework.

University of Cincinnati Online

Students in the Associate of Applied Business in Healthcare Management Technology program at the University of Cincinnati can complete their requisite 60 credits entirely online on either a part-time or full-time basis according to their schedules and needs. In addition to a high school diploma or GED, applicants must earn a minimum ACT/SAT score or take placement tests. Upon graduation, students are prepared for roles as medical office administrators, medical assistants, and patient service representatives, among others.

In addition to accepting transfer credits, UC offers students various options for expediting their education. For example, there is an accelerated one-year certificate-to-associate option for students who have already completed a Physician Practice Management Certificate. Furthermore, associate-level graduates can achieve an even higher level of qualification by participating in the university’s bachelor degree transfer program, which enables them to complete an online Bachelor in Healthcare Leadership or a Bachelor of Health Information Management in just two years.

Sneak Peek at Core Subjects

To get a better idea of what you’ll learn in an online healthcare management associate degree program, we’ve put together a list of some of the courses you’re most likely to encounter in your studies. Keep reading to get a summary of what you’ll learn and how you’ll apply it in your future career.

Healthcare Ethics

This course will introduce you to some of the ethical issues inherent in healthcare management and teach you the responsibilities you’ll have to protect patients’ rights. Generally, the primary focus in healthcare ethics is how to apply confidentiality laws (such as HIPAA), which is extremely important for anyone who deals with patient records.

Healthcare Information Technology (HIT)

In this class, you’ll learn how to use relevant technologies to collect, maintain, store, and ensure the accuracy of patients’ medical records according to relevant standards and regulations. Many roles in healthcare management require some degree of involvement with patient records, and some — like medical records managers — center around it, so familiarity with this aspect of the field is vital.

Introduction to Healthcare Management

This course will teach you the basics of leadership in healthcare management settings, such as effective decision making and assessment of strategic plans. You will also be introduced to concepts of cost management and issues in human resources. This course clarifies the leadership traits and broad skills necessary to confidently assume a variety of roles in the field.

Medical Office Procedures

In this course, you’ll learn about the everyday duties and responsibilities that keep a medical office running smoothly, including communication, management of appointment books and medical records, the filing of claims, billing, and more. These are crucial aspects of maintaining a medical practice, so an effective manager needs to understand them thoroughly to ensure adherence to high standards.

Medical Terminology

Medical terminology courses will prepare you to navigate language specific to medicine. In addition to learning medical terms, symbols, and abbreviations, you’ll learn how to decode words by examining roots, suffixes, and prefixes. Healthcare managers commonly encounter medical terminology in patient records, insurance forms, bills, and more, so familiarity with this vocabulary is crucial to your success.

Hallmarks of a Great Healthcare Management Associate Degree Program

When it comes to online healthcare management associate degree programs, there are more options out there than we can count. That’s why it all comes down to finding the ones that will prepare you to do the job you hope to land after graduation. To do that, there are several key features to consider. We have explained many of these below, so keep reading to make sure you know what to prioritize as you continue your search.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a seal of approval that verifies that the education students receive from a program or institution meets certain standards of quality. Students who attend unaccredited schools may be ineligible for financial aid, and unable to transfer credits to other schools. As such, proper accreditation is without a doubt the most important program feature to consider.

Alignment with Industry Standards

All course content in a top-notch program is aimed at imparting accurate information and skills that match the expectations and standards of the real world. For example, a sound healthcare management program will teach regulatory compliance in a way that accurately reflects the law and professional responsibilities. This alignment with industry standards ensures that graduates know what will be expected of them in a professional setting.

Career Services and Placement Support

Many high-quality institutions help students find a job after graduation. These services often include resume writing, interview preparation, and access to a job board. These types of career services ensure that you are not on your own when it comes to actually landing a job in the field.

Entry-Level Job Preparedness

Entry-level job preparedness means that graduates possess the proper baseline knowledge and skills necessary to enter the field without prior practical experience. This is a crucially important feature of any online healthcare management associate degree program because these are the types of job opportunities you will be eligible for after graduation.

Foundational Healthcare Knowledge

An educationally sound healthcare management program will teach you the fundamentals that anyone working in the field needs to know. These topics include healthcare ethics and laws, medical records and documentation, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and healthcare systems and policies. All well-rounded managers have knowledge in these areas, and they are essential to professional success and advancement.

Introduction to Information Technology in Healthcare

Health information technology, or health IT, refers to any technology used in the processing, storage, or exchange of health information. Proper use of these technologies ensures patient confidentiality and improves the efficiency and accuracy of administrative operations. Because of their omnipresence in the field, healthcare managers must be completely comfortable with learning how to use them.

Post-Degree Career Opportunities

You may be wondering what roles will be available to you after completing your healthcare management associate degree online. The good news is that following graduation, you’ll have a wide array of opportunities at your fingertips. Take a look at a few of them in the section below to see which interest you the most.

Admissions Coordinator

An admissions coordinator is primarily responsible for gathering relevant personal and medical information from patients and helping to determine whether they should be admitted to the facility. They also commonly carry out duties such as collecting health insurance information, obtaining pre-certifications for patient services, and collecting copays and deposits.

Healthcare Administrative Assistant

A healthcare administrative assistant, also known as a medical administrative assistant, works in a clerical capacity in a medical office. Although their actual duties can vary from office to office, common responsibilities of this role include scheduling appointments, answering phones, updating medical charts, sending lab results to doctors, and filling out insurance forms.

Healthcare Quality Improvement Assistant

The healthcare quality improvement assistant works with the quality improvement specialist to enhance the care that patients receive. Among their other responsibilities, quality improvement specialists create and develop policies and projects aimed at helping patients. The quality improvement assistant is also tasked with ensuring that these policies and projects are carried out as intended.

Medical Records & Health Information Technologist

Medical records and health information technologists are mainly responsible for creating and maintaining electronic health records (EHRs). They review records for accuracy, record patient codes, and use a variety of software to input and manage patient data. They also ensure that digitized records are easily accessible and transferable to other care providers.

Patient Services Representative

A patient services representative is the first person a patient interacts with in a medical facility. They are chiefly tasked with accurately entering patients’ personal and financial information into computerized systems. They also answer phones, schedule appointments, register patients, and collect payments.

Answering Your Healthcare Management Questions

Earning an associate degree in healthcare management online is a big deal, and it comes with a lot of questions. What requirements do I need to meet beforehand? How much will it cost? Where will I find support? In the section below, we have answered these questions and more, so keep reading to gain further clarity.

Are there opportunities for specialization at the associate degree level?

Because online healthcare management associate degree programs are designed primarily to give students a foundation in concepts necessary for entry-level positions, opportunities for specialization are rare at this level. However, credits from an associate degree are almost always transferable to a bachelor’s degree, where there are specialization options. For example, at the University of Cincinnati, students can earn a bachelor’s degree with a specialty in healthcare leadership or in health information management.

Are there prerequisite courses or academic qualifications needed for admission?

Prerequisites and other requirements can vary significantly from program to program, but there are almost always certain baseline requirements for online associate degree programs in healthcare management. For example, at Florida Tech, students are required to have a high school diploma or GED, but no minimum GPA. Other programs, like the one at the University of Cincinnati, also require standardized test scores or placement tests to place students in the appropriate courses after they have been admitted.

Can I transfer credits from my associate in healthcare management to a bachelor’s program down the road?

Yes, as long as you earned your online healthcare management associate degree from a fully accredited institution, your credits should be transferable to a bachelor’s program. The only qualifier here is that you may still have to take additional prerequisite courses to fill in whatever gaps exist between your associate degree’s curriculum and that of your specific bachelor’s degree program.

How do these programs prepare students for real-world scenarios in healthcare management?

Much of the coursework in online healthcare management associate degree programs presents students with scenarios that are grounded in reality. Students must learn how to strategize and problem solve in these hypothetical situations. Additionally, many programs, including those at Penn Foster and Concordia University, require students to complete real-world practicums in a healthcare setting.

What is the average cost of an associate degree in healthcare management?

Unsurprisingly, the cost of an online healthcare management associate degree will vary from school to school. For example, the total tuition at Minnesota West Community and Technical College is roughly $13,718, while tuition at the University of Cincinnati is slightly higher at $17,670. Some programs, such as the one at Penn Foster, fall well below these totals, though. Students there can expect to pay anywhere between $6,000 and $6,500.

What support services are available to online students?

Generally, students pursuing a healthcare management associate degree online can receive many of the same support services that in-person students receive. For example, Florida Tech offers online students tutoring, technical support, library access, and instructor contact via phone, email, discussion board, and live chat. They also offer career management services, including resume help and job search assistance.