How Do Health Administration Degrees Differ From General Business Management Degrees?

healtcareadminThere are plentiful career opportunities for individuals looking for a lucrative position in the healthcare industry. If you do not necessarily want to deal with patients and would like to deal with the more business side of healthcare, there are a variety of routes you can take to work in this capacity. For some people, it is feasible to study healthcare administration in a bachelor’s or master’s program, for other, another route is studying business management. There are some are a lot of similarities between these programs, however there are also some stark differences. Here is a comprehensive overview of business management and healthcare administration degree programs, their similarities and differences.


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General Education Coursework

Regardless if you decide to study either healthcare administration or business management, all college and university programs require students to take at least one to two years of general education coursework. Students will have to take classes in English composition, communication, psychology, foreign languages, mathematics, biological and physical sciences, social sciences and history. You may take a few courses here or there related to your major, but for the most part, the majority of your coursework in the first two years will heavily concentrate in terms of meeting these general education course requirements.

Business Management

After completing your general education course requirements, if you decide to study business management, the majority of your classes will be very business-oriented. You will take classes such as marketing, consumer behavior, human resources management, information technology, accounting, finance and economics. Some colleges might have particular concentrations within management, i.e. human resource management, marketing management and healthcare management. Nonetheless, if you definitely know you want a career in healthcare administration and your college or university offers a separate degree track, it is recommended to go with that instead. While this degree can prepare you to work in an healthcare setting, this degree is more suitable for someone looking to work in a traditional corporate environment.

Healthcare Administration

If your college or university offers a degree in healthcare administration, you will take a wide variety of classes that will prepare you for a role in a major healthcare setting such as a hospital, clinic, private physician’s office, a state or city-based public health department or a government agency that provides healthcare services. Courses include health law, US healthcare policy, economics of healthcare, healthcare information technology, human resources management for healthcare settings, hospital administration and healthcare marketing.

Types of Career Options

Those with a business management degree typically are hired in traditional corporate and retail settings and should expect to land jobs as management trainees, sales account managers, operations managers and project managers. Those with a degree in healthcare administration can definitely land job opportunities work as physician office administration, healthcare IT analysts, billing administrators for hospitals, community relations specialists, and nursing home managers. Salaries are much higher for those who specialize in healthcare administration. According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare service managers make a median salary of over $84,000 and jobs are expected to rise by over 20% in the next decade. This is especially true given the recent changes in US healthcare law.

Regardless as to what path you decide to take in college, getting a degree is still an important step to landing a lucrative career. Whether you decide to obtain a degree in business management or healthcare administration, you are still making an excellent decision to pursue higher education!

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