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Inside Look at Online Healthcare Management Certificates

Online healthcare management certificates are a quick and convenient way to skill up for in-demand managerial roles in the medical field. Explore top undergrad and graduate programs and learn more about what you can expect.

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Rapid growth in the healthcare industry means there’s a strong demand for highly skilled professionals to manage healthcare organizations and facilities. Many managers have an undergraduate or graduate degree in healthcare administration. But that’s not the only option for formal education in the healthcare management field. You can gain the knowledge and skills employers are seeking by earning an affordable and time-saving undergraduate or graduate healthcare management certificate online.

This guide has everything you need to get started on your path to earning your online healthcare management certificate and identifying the program that’s right for you. You’ll find a list of this year’s top-rated programs, a detailed breakdown of the different types of certificates available, and other essential information you’ll want to know before you enroll.

Best Online Healthcare Management Certificates for 2024

To get you going on your certificate search, we’ve spotlighted three of the very best online healthcare management certificate programs currently available. We’ve selected these based on their combination of affordability, curriculum quality, study convenience, and the ability of students to transfer the credits earned into advanced degree programs.

There are lots of other great online healthcare management certificates out there to consider as well; these spotlights will give you a good idea of what you should expect from a quality certificate program as you research other options.

Seton Hill University

The undergraduate Healthcare Management Certificate program at Seton Hill University is designed to provide students with a fast, convenient, and affordable way to acquire solid foundational knowledge and skills in healthcare management. The program is delivered 100% online in an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete their coursework at any time. The curriculum consists of six eight-week-long courses covering business and marketing, human resource management, healthcare information systems, legal aspects of healthcare, and more. The entire program can be completed in 12 months over three semesters. Credits can be used toward a bachelor’s degree, such as Seton Hill online bachelor’s programs in Allied Health Leadership, Business Administration, and Healthcare Administration.

The current total program cost is $4,750. Scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are available. Admission into the program requires a high school diploma or GED and transcripts of all college and university coursework. Applications are accepted year round. Start times are in January, March, August, and October.

Indiana University

Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) describes its Graduate Certificate in Medical Management as a mini-MBA because it provides several components of the full MBA and allows students to carry over the credits into its hybrid Evening MBA program. The certificate’s 15-credit curriculum consists of four courses and a capstone project. Students complete one course each semester beginning in the fall and continuing through the winter, spring, and summer sessions. All courses are 100% online. Students attend evening classes via livestream every other week on Thursdays. Additional work is completed asynchronously. This online healthcare management certificate culminates with a capstone project during the summer session. Total program length is 12 months.

The current total certificate program cost (including tuition, fees, and books) is $12,850. A full range of financial aid options is available, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, employer sponsorship and tuition reimbursement, and continuing education credits. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum two years’ work experience in the healthcare field. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 typically qualifies the applicant for admission. No admission test is required.

Fitchburg State University

Whether you’re planning to continue your studies to earn your MBA or simply want to expand your professional skills to advance your current career in the healthcare field, the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management Online from Fitchburg State University (FSU) is a great choice. The nine-credit program consists of three courses: Healthcare Management; Financial Issues in Healthcare; and Policy, Legal, and Ethical Issues. All coursework is entirely online in an asynchronous format and can be completed in as few as five months. The nine credits earned are fully transferable into FSU’s Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management Online program. Start dates are available throughout the year.

The current total program cost for this online healthcare management certificate (including tuition and fees) is $3,924 and is available to both Massachusetts and out-of-state residents. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum 2.8 GPA on undergraduate coursework. GMAT scores aren’t required. Applicants with an undergrad GPA below 2.8 may be considered for admission based on their professional work experience and a letter of recommendation.

Types of Healthcare Management Certificates You Can Earn Online

There are three basic types of online healthcare management certificates. Here’s a look at each one, along with links to several programs currently available for each:

Undergraduate Certificates

An undergraduate certificate in healthcare management is designed for individuals looking to take their first steps into the healthcare administration or management field. They may currently work in the healthcare industry, and they may or may not hold a previously earned associate or bachelor’s degree. However, applicants need only a high school diploma or GED in most cases.

Online healthcare management certificate programs are most often 100% online with no on-campus or other face-to-face components. Total credit requirements and completion times vary from program to program, but most require around one year of part-time study to complete. In most cases, students will be able to carry over credits earned in their certificate programs into a healthcare management bachelor’s degree or a closely related bachelor’s degree program at the same school and possibly other schools as well.

Examples of Colleges Offering This Online Healthcare Management Certificate

Graduate Certificates

Online graduate certificates in healthcare management are designed primarily for current health professionals seeking to advance their careers into administration, management, and related leadership positions. They can be taken as a standalone credential or as a pathway to earning a full master’s degree, such as a master’s in healthcare management, master’s in healthcare administration (MHA), or a healthcare management MBA. Like undergrad certificates, credits earned in online healthcare management certificate programs can almost always be carried over into master’s programs offered by the same school and may also be transferable to graduate degree programs at other schools.

Admission requirements vary from program to program but all require, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Online graduate certificates in healthcare management typically require 12 to 18 credits. Practically all graduate certificate programs are part-time to accommodate busy working professionals, with many programs allowing one to two years for completion.

Examples of Colleges Offering This Online Healthcare Management Certificate

Professional Certificates for Lifelong Learners

Teaming up with program providers like Coursera, edX, Udacity, and others, many top colleges and universities offer a variety of inexpensive online healthcare management certificate courses. These programs are designed for both current healthcare professionals seeking professional development in a specialized area in the healthcare management field and for anyone simply interested in learning a new skill. Typically these certificate courses don’t have any admissions requirements and provide coursework 100% online. Programs are often self-paced with completion times of a few weeks to several months. By completing these courses, students earn sharable “nanodegree” certificates or certificates of completion. Some courses are free, but be careful: In most cases, certificates are only awarded to paying students.

Examples of Colleges Offering This Online Healthcare Management Certificate

What You’ll Learn in an Online Healthcare Management Certificate Program

Undergraduate certificates provide foundational coursework on healthcare leadership and business topics that prepare students for entry-level roles. Graduate certificates, on the other hand, provide advanced-level coursework on the same topics along with courses in specialized practice areas of healthcare management.

Here’s a look at five key areas in which you will gain competencies in your healthcare management certificate online program:

  • A solid foundation in and ability to effectively apply knowledge of healthcare organizations, processes, and systems to improve the quality of healthcare access and delivery in a range of settings.
  • Ability to apply critical thinking, decision-making, and communication skills to all aspects of the full range of healthcare management, administration, and leadership roles and settings.
  • A clear understanding of current concepts and acceptable practices concerning all areas of healthcare finance (budgeting, marketing and fundraising, cost containment, reimbursement methods, process improvement, etc.) to effectively position organizations to meet present and future challenges.
  • Foundational knowledge and skills regarding current tools, technologies, and processes related to healthcare administration and practice, including data analytics, informatics, electronic records systems, telehealth and mobile health applications, etc.
  • A working knowledge of the legal and ethical standards relevant to healthcare organizations, systems, and practices and the ability to apply those standards to issues of accreditation, licensing, certification, organizational compliance, liability, and risk assessment and mitigation.

Common Courses

Healthcare Finance

Introduction to fundamental concepts and principles of financial management applicable to department-level administration of health services organizations. Primary topics include financial analysis and management, cost evaluation techniques and methods, and cost effectiveness of pharmaceutical and medical interventions. Advanced topics include capital structure and acquisition, capital allocation, and revenue cycle management.

Healthcare Law & Ethics

Survey of major legal, regulatory, and ethical issues relevant to the management of healthcare services organizations. Subjects include a review of laws and regulations applicable to healthcare practice and provision of services, healthcare institutional and corporate law, personal and organizational liability, conflicts of interest, fraud and abuse, patient privacy and confidentiality, and legal issues concerning access to healthcare and nondiscrimination.

Human Resources Management

Introduction to the key concepts, laws, and current issues related to contemporary HR management as it relates to administration, staff, regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders. Specific areas discussed include HR management strategies, employee and labor relations, organizational safety and security, cultural competence and diversity, and staff hiring, training, and turnover.

Principles of Healthcare Management

Examination of the foundational principles of healthcare administration and management of health systems and health services organizations. Emphasis is placed on managerial techniques and tools for effective decision making, problem solving, and strategic planning. Additional topics include goal setting, time management, and the motivations and attitudes required for successful healthcare management.

The U.S. Healthcare System

Comprehensive overview of the organization and operation of the U.S. healthcare system. Included are descriptions and assessments of the many system levels and components and their interrelationship to public policies and the larger health services delivery structure. Students analyze how elements such as cost, access to health services, and care quality work together to determine system effectiveness.

Electives and Specialization Options

The courses that make up an online healthcare management certificate program are already a specialized area within the larger healthcare field. Nevertheless, students in programs featuring specialized tracks or elective options can further tailor their studies to include an area of the healthcare management field in which they are particularly interested. Here are some examples:

Community/Public Health

Courses in community and public health focus on the political, social, cultural, and economic issues involved in providing healthcare access to diverse community populations. Also included is an examination of the organization of healthcare systems on the local, state, and national levels. Elective courses in community and public health are available from a number of online healthcare management programs, including those at Central Michigan University and SUNY Empire State College.

Global Health/Comparative Healthcare Systems

Global health and comparative healthcare systems courses provide a comprehensive look at the major healthcare models employed in different countries around the world. Topics covered include the history and development of global health systems, the economic, political, and societal factors impacting healthcare delivery, and the emerging events and challenges to providing quality health services. Programs offering courses in global health and comparative health systems include Thomas Edison State University’s Undergraduate Certificate in Healthcare Management and the University of Cincinnati’s Health Care Administration Graduate Certificate.

Health Informatics and Information Systems

Specializations and courses in health informatics and information systems introduce students to the many information systems, technologies, and applications used in the healthcare industry. These include technologies such as electronic health records, public health information systems, health information exchanges, mobile health technologies, and more. Southeast Missouri State University offers an informatics track option in its online Healthcare Management Graduate Certificate program, while other programs (including Liberty University’s Graduate Healthcare Management Certificate Online program) offer healthcare informatics as an elective course.

Long-Term Care

Healthcare management certificate programs in long-term care administration are designed to prepare graduates for state licensure to become nursing home administrators at skilled nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice care facilities, and other long-term care organizations. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers both undergraduate and graduate long-term care administration options as part of its Health Administration Certificate Online program.

Talent Acquisition

Courses in talent acquisition focus on the importance of attracting and recruiting the best talent possible for health organizations. Topics covered include employment market analysis, job design, employee recruitment and selection, hiring analytics, effective onboarding practices, effective use of social media, and more. Talent acquisition is offered as a required course in Champlain College’s Undergraduate Certificate in Healthcare Administration and as an elective in Northeastern University’s Graduate Certificate in Health Management.

FAQs About Earning Your Healthcare Management Certificate Online

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

Admission requirements for online healthcare management certificate programs are, of course, different for undergraduate and graduate certificates. Applicants to most undergraduate certificate programs will only need a high school diploma, although some programs require an associate degree for admission. Graduate certificate program admission requirements vary by program. There are, however, a number of requirements similar to those in all graduate certificate programs:

  • Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree or above from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university is a standard requirement (or for international students, an equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree as determined by the certificate program).
  • Undergraduate GPA: Most programs require a minimum cumulative GPA on undergraduate coursework. Specific minimums vary by program; 3.0 is common, but some programs may accept a 2.5. In some cases work experience is accepted as a substitute for applicants with an undergrad GPA below the required minimum.
  • Entrance exam scores: Entrance exam scores, like ones for the GMAT, are not required for most programs, but are required for some.
  • Other common application requirements include a statement of purpose or letter of intent, a current CV or resume, and letters of recommendation.

How long do online healthcare management certificate programs take to finish?

Completion times vary by certificate type (undergraduate, graduate, professional development) and specific program. Most programs are part-time and some (particularly professional development certificate programs) are self-paced. With all of that in mind, most undergraduate online healthcare management certificate programs are designed to be completed in around one year. With a few exceptions (such as Fitchburg University, spotlighted above) graduate certificate program lengths range from one to two years. Professional development certificate program lengths typically range from around five weeks to six months.

How much do healthcare management certificate programs cost?

Like completion times, costs for undergraduate and graduate online healthcare management certificate programs vary (sometimes substantially) by certificate type and specific program. Total program costs range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. Other factors influencing cost may include the student’s state of residence (some public schools charge a higher tuition rate to out-of-state students) and whether the school offering the program is public or private. Some programs offer tuition discounts, such as Champlain College’s undergrad HA certificate, which offers tuition discounts to active duty military.

Champlain College

Total Credits: 16

$328/credit

Davenport University

Total Credits: 12

$959/credit

Southeast Missouri State University

Total Credits: 12 to 15

$386.50/credit

Can I earn my healthcare management certificate 100% online?

Absolutely. In fact, you’ll find that most online healthcare certificate programs, both undergraduate and graduate, are delivered entirely online. Formats differ, however, with some that include classes via livestream at specific dates and times. That’s why it’s important that you have a clear understanding of exactly how coursework is delivered and completed before you enroll in any program, even one that is 100% online.

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

Credit transferability varies by program. However, the credits earned in most online healthcare management certificate programs are fully transferable into the same school’s corresponding healthcare management or administration degree programs (undergrad certificate credits into bachelor’s degree programs, grad credits into master’s programs). It may be possible to transfer credits from your certificate program into a degree program at another college or university, but you’ll need to confirm that with the degree program’s school.

Is financial aid available for online healthcare management certificate programs?

Yes and no. Generally speaking, most common types of financial aid, including federal financial aid, are not available for certificate programs. However, schools themselves may provide their own funding opportunities to their healthcare management certificate online students. One example is Seton Hill University, which offers a number of financial aid options to qualifying certificate students, including tuition discounts and in-house scholarships. Even some professional development certificate programs (such as the Coursera programs linked above) offer financial aid. Additionally, students may be able to obtain funding outside their programs. For example, some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs to certificate-seeking employees.

The best way to find out if you’re eligible for funding help is to speak with the financial aid office at your program’s school. To learn more about financial aid opportunities, check out EduMed’s full list of healthcare administration scholarships and guide to financial aid.

Accreditation for Online Certificates in Healthcare Management

Accreditation is the process through which colleges and universities, and the programs they offer, are evaluated to ensure that they meet specified standards of academic quality. There are two primary forms of postsecondary accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation refers to the vetting of schools as a whole. Institutional accreditation of U.S. colleges and universities is administered by a number of national and regional agencies recognized by the federal government’s Department of Education. Programmatic accreditation concerns the accrediting of specific academic programs. However, currently no organizations in the U.S. provide programmatic accreditation for healthcare management certificate programs. As a result, confirm that any schools you consider have proper institutional accreditation before you enroll in an online healthcare management certificate program.

What Can You Do with a Certificate in Healthcare Management?

Earning a healthcare management undergraduate or graduate certificate is a great choice for anyone currently working in or planning a career in the healthcare field and who is interested in moving into a leadership role. Administrative and managerial positions are available at all levels (entry to supervisory) at hospitals, physician’s offices, clinics, medical labs, and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Positions are also available with organizations such as insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, medical supply companies, public health agencies, health-related nonprofits, and many more.

We’ve listed below ten of the most common job titles in the health services field. They offer just a sample of the dozens of careers available to graduates of healthcare management certificate programs.

  • Case Management Director
  • Health Informatics Specialist
  • Healthcare Compliance Manager
  • Healthcare Recruiter
  • Hospital Administrator
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Medical Office Administrator
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Regulatory Affairs Manager

How much can you make with a certificate in healthcare management?

As you might expect from the growing healthcare industry, salaries for healthcare management professionals are quite strong.

Keep in mind that what you actually earn in your job may vary substantially depending on such factors as specific job title, your geographic location, your level of seniority, previous job experience, and the size and complexity of your healthcare organization. Learn more about salary potential for various healthcare management roles a certificate can help prepare you for in the table below.

Career10th PercentileMedian Annual Earnings90th
Percentile
Medical and Health Services Managers$60,780$101,340$205,620
Medical Office Administrator$38,000$51,311$75,000
Health Informatics Specialist$47,000$65,000$107,000
Human Resources Manager$49,000$70,000$96,000
Compliance Manager$52,000$81,000$121,000
Hospital Administrator$52,000$88,000$151,000

Sources: PayScale (accessed July 2022); U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2021)