Graduate Certificate Programs in Healthcare Management and Administration
Healthcare management and healthcare administration graduate certificates are non-degree academic programs that provide college graduates and mid-level professionals with career-based training in the principles and practices associated with organizational management and leadership in the healthcare sector. These programs represent a less time intensive, more affordable alternative to master’s programs in healthcare management and administration, as they require fewer credits/courses and can often be completed in one year or less of part-time enrollment. Students typically take four or five courses, through which they cultivate knowledge and skills that have real-world applications in the healthcare sector.
Courses that comprise graduate certificate programs in healthcare management commonly overlap with courses that are offered as part of a Master of Health Administration (MHA) and/or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in health/healthcare management program. Thus, in addition to providing students with practical healthcare management and administration knowledge and skills, these certificate programs confer graduate credits that may be accepted for transfer by schools offering master’s programs in the field, if a student should decide to pursue a master’s degree in the future.
Healthcare Management and Administration Explained
The American healthcare system is a vast and complex web of public and private organizations and enterprises. Together, they provide a broad range of patient care services, conduct vital medical and pharmaceutical research, train new physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals, and work to deliver preventative, restorative, and palliative care to diverse populations in a safe, effective, and efficient manner.
The hospitals, outpatient clinics, residential care facilities, research and development companies, manufacturers, and businesses that operate in this space are subject to specific federal and state statutes and regulations that are unique to the healthcare sector. They are impacted by economic and financial pressures that differ from those in other areas of business and commerce. Furthermore, in order to operate effectively, healthcare organizations rely on specific structures as well as management personnel who have specialized knowledge of the medical and health care space. Thus, healthcare administration is a highly specific sub-field within organizational and business administration, and it is also an academic discipline in its own right.
Individuals seeking to be managers, administrators, and executives of health care organizations must not only possess sound business management skills, but also have an in-depth knowledge of how the health care system works from an organizational, economic, social, and legal perspective. Both graduate degrees and graduate certificate programs in healthcare management and administration aim to provide students with these requisite skills to succeed in the industry.
Identifying and Classifying Graduate Certificate Programs in Health and Healthcare Administration and Management
There are several key identifying characteristics of healthcare administration graduate certificate programs. As with other types of graduate certificates, they are academic programs that consist of master’s-level coursework offered by accredited college and universities. Because graduate certificate courses are graduate courses, these programs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and may also be designated a postbaccalaureate certificate programs. Graduate students and mid-career professionals who hold a master’s or doctoral degree are also eligible for admission to graduate certificate programs. In fact, some programs require a master’s degree and are designated a post-master’s or post-graduate certificate programs.
Graduate certificate programs in health and healthcare administration and/or management are programs that provide training for work and career advancement in healthcare organizational management, leadership, and administration. These programs are generally offered by schools of business or health, and often by schools that have master’s programs in business administration (MBA), health administration (MHA), or other related fields.
Healthcare Administration Graduate Certificate Coursework
While there is no standardized curriculum for graduate certificate programs in healthcare management, there are skills and topics that are covered by most programs, including the structure and economics of the US healthcare system, health law and policy, organizational communication and leadership, and data-driven decision-making for healthcare management professionals. Students are typically required to take at least one or two core courses in healthcare management, and then may have the option of selecting electives to fulfill a program’s credit requirements.
Among the types of courses that are typically offered as part of healthcare management graduate certificate programs include:
- Evidence-Based Decision Making for Managers
- Financial and Managerial Accounting in Healthcare
- Healthcare Economics
- Health Informatics and Data Analysis
- Health Policy and Regulation
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Care
- Principles of Health Care Leadership and Management
- Professional Communication and Crisis Management in Healthcare
- Standards and Systems in US Healthcare
- Strategic Planning in Healthcare
Note: The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management (CAHME) is an independent body that accredits healthcare management graduate degree programs, including Master of Health Administration (MHA), Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA), Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Health Administration, and Master of Public Health (MPH) in Healthcare Management programs. However, CAHME does not accredit graduate certificate programs. Students who are interested in enrolling in a graduate certificate program that offers coursework that aligns with CAHME accreditation standards should look for a graduate certificate that is offered by a school that has a CAHME-accredited master’s program.
Online Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management
Graduate certificate programs are generally designed to accommodate college graduates who have entered the workforce and mid-career professionals who are interested in adding new skills while continuing to work full- or part-time. A growing number of schools accomplish this by offering graduate certificate programs online. In additional to providing a more flexible and convenient alternative to traditional campus-based programs, online programs extend the reach of a program to students who do not live within commuting range of a school’s campus.
Online graduate certificate programs in healthcare administration offer all or most of their coursework and instruction via distance learning technologies, which include learning management systems (LMS). An LMS is an internet-based platform that supports the streaming of live and/or prerecorded lectures and virtual class sessions. Students in an online program receive the same type of training and instruction as students in a campus-based program, but do so remotely. Some online programs require a limited number of campus visits, but many have no campus-based requirements. Programs that require more than three campus visits per year are classified as blended or hybrid programs by GraduateCertificates.com and not as online programs. While hybrid programs offer more convenience and flexibility than fully campus-based programs, they may not be a practical option for students who do not live or work near the school offering the program.
Online instruction has two primary modes of delivery that are worth considering prior to choosing a program. Synchronous instruction is online instruction that is scheduled and which requires students to be logged on to a program’s LMS for real-time lectures and discussions. Asynchronous instruction does not have a real-time component and encompasses a range of learning that can take place at a student’s convenience, such as prerecorded lectures that can be viewed at any time of the day and assignments that have a due date but otherwise no specified time at which they must be completed. Asynchronous instruction may offer more flexibility than synchronous instruction, but it is less structured and may not be ideal for students who are not independent learners. Conversely, synchronous instruction is less flexible, but it provides students with a more structured learning environment that is more similar to attending in-person, campus-based classes.
Examples of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Healthcare Administration
Each of the schools below offers an online graduate certificate program in healthcare management or administration. These programs provide a representative overview of the types of graduate certificate programs that are offered in the field by accredited, non-profit colleges and universities.
American University in Washington DC offers an online Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management through its School of Professional and Extended Studies. The 12-credit program consists of four courses that can be completed in roughly one year. The courses overlap with a Master of Science (MS) in Healthcare Management program offered by American University, and students who complete the certificate and opt to pursue the MS degree can apply the credits they have earned towards the master’s program. The online certificate program accepts candidates who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and does not require any campus visits. For more information on the program, visit American University at online.american.edu.
Seton Hall University in New Jersey offers a Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Administration program in both an online and a campus-based format. Students who opt for the online format take the same six courses as students in the campus program and both programs require 15 graduate credits. The program, which draws upon Seton Hall’s CAHME-accredited Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree program, is designed for mid- to senior-level professionals in healthcare and related fields who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, although the program is open to applicants who do not have prior healthcare experience. The online program does not require any campus visits. For more information on the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Administration, visit Seton Hall at www.shu.edu.
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) offers an online Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management program in which students take four courses that are part of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management program offered by the school. The certificate program does not require any campus visits and confers 12 credits that can be applied toward the MBA program, if and when a student opts to pursue further graduate studies in business administration and healthcare management at MCPHS. The certificate program is designed for students who have some management experience in healthcare or a related field and who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. For more information on the program, visit MCPHS at www.mcphs.edu.
More Graduate Certificates in Healthcare Management
Additional Graduate Certificates in Healthcare
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