Earning an associate degree online in health administration may set you on a career in health administration, which is ideal if you want to work in healthcare, but do not want to be a clinician who treats patients.
If you earn an associate degree in health administration online, you may find... work in a physician's office, medical clinic, nursing home, rehabilitation center, hospital, or social service agency. Your responsibilities might include a variety of general office duties such as communicating with patients and their families, managing records, bookkeeping, dealing with staffing issues, and scheduling appointments. Or, you might be put in charge of tasks such as overseeing finances, preparing insurance claims, or managing the office and daily operations of a facility.
Coursework for your online associate degree in health administration will probably include three areas of focus. The first will be to teach you general office skills such as accounting, organizational behavior, and essential computer programs. The next will give you a good foundation for working in the healthcare industry by introducing medical terminology, explaining the principles of healthcare management, and teaching you about medical ethics and relevant laws. The final goal will be to train you in specialty areas such as medical office billing or medical insurance principles.
In addition to your degree, a two-year program will often prepare you to earn Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Certification and to take national certification and credentialing tests like the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) exam. After a year or more of work experience, you might qualify to become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) as well.
With the changing nature of healthcare, there is demand for highly qualified, professional, and well-organized administrators who can solve problems and work independently. And today, with so many types of health-related offices and businesses, you will likely have the opportunity to find a position related to your specific area of interest.
To be successful as a health administrator, though, you should posses the right mix of personality and skills. First, you should feel comfortable interacting with a wide variety of people and need excellent communication skills. You will be working with medical professionals, patients, their families, government agencies, pharmaceutical businesses, and others whom you will need to communicate with in person, in writing, on the phone, or via email. Other qualities that are important in this field include being able to maintain confidentiality and a strong desire to help others.
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