The benefits of getting a bachelor's degree are clear: not only does having a degree help further your career and increase your earning potential, it can help you get a foot in the door in some of today's most popular and fast-growing industries.
The healthcare field is booming: as the U.S. population ages, technological advances are made, and new healthcare regulations are implemented, the need for competent, skilled, and well-trained healthcare administrators is growing. The job market for healthcare administration professionals is increasing rapidly, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a strong job outlook for those in the field at a 17% growth through 2022 (which is significantly higher than the national average of growth for other occupations).
Given the increased popularity of this field, it's important to find ways to stand apart from the competition when it comes to applying for healthcare administration jobs or seeking a promotion in your current organization. Many individuals working in the field entered the industry with no degree, and have years of experience. However, when it comes to advancing to a role with more responsibility, they find that they need an academic credential, such as a bachelor's degree in health care administration, to give them a boost in the eyes of their employer.
If you're considering going back to school to pursue a B.S. in healthcare administration, you might be wondering how to select the right program for you. While there are such programs being offered by institutions across the world, both on-campus and online, it's important to know what to look for, so you can be sure you're receiving a high-quality education that will position you for success.
How to Find the Right Healthcare Administration Degree Program
While every individual's needs will vary, when you're looking for a B.S. in healthcare dministration degree program, you should, in general, be looking for a program that meets the following criteria.
Emphasizes Hands-On Learning
While theory is important in all academic programs, it's important that your bachelor's of science in health care administration program gives you opportunities for hands-on learning. A program that's designed with experiential learning in mind will help you learn to apply your skills to real-world environments, problem-solve, and think critically - all long-term skills that you can use for the rest of your career, regardless of changes in technology or shifting industry best practices.
Fits Your Lifestyle
If you are a working professional, chances are, your busy schedule would make it difficult for you to attend on-campus classes. Look for a program that offers a flexible schedule, or is 100% online, which will allow you to fit your coursework into your schedule.
Has Learning Outcomes That Fit Your Career Goals
Not all healthcare administration programs are the same - in fact, institutions might offer programs that vary significantly in terms of their focus and their anticipated learning outcomes for students. Spend some time perusing the websites and informational materials of the institutions you're considering to really get a sense of the knowledge you'd be graduating with. At a minimum, you'll want a program that gives you the skills to apply your industry knowledge in many different situations, from the simple to the complex. And, ideally, you'll want a program whose proposed learning outcomes align well with the roles you envision yourself in down the road.
Is Delivering Cutting-Edge Education
In a field as fast-changing as healthcare administration, you'll want to make sure that you're getting the most up-to-date instruction possible, reflecting the latest advances in the field and the most relevant industry practices.
Is Designed for Working Adults
Adult learners have a unique set of challenges when it comes to pursuing a degree, the most significant being that they have much more to juggle. Most adult learners have full-time jobs, as well as families, friends, hobbies, and lifestyles which they must balance with their coursework. Online degree programs are a more flexible option that give busy adults the opportunity to build their schedules in a way that works for them, and allow them to dedicate the time needed to non-school activities.
Again, while theory is important, hands-on experience is critical. Make sure that the programs you're considering have faculty who have real-world experience in the health care administration field - learning from professionals who have actually experienced the issues they're discussing will go a long way towards ensuring that you have the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.
Is Regionally Accredited
Make sure that any institution you're considering attending is regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is the most rigorous and therefore the most highly regarded form of accreditation an educational institution can achieve, and is strictly monitored and reviewed by a board of higher education professionals.
Is Third-Party Validated
You'll also want to check and see if a program has received any recognition from third parties, such as higher-education or industry publications. For example, Champlain College's online B.S. in healthcare administration program has been named one of the best in the nation by College Choice and other outlets.
When considering what to look for in a bachelor's of science in healthcare administration program, the criteria above are essential. But don't stop there: you want to make sure that all your questions are answered, and that you feel good about the choice you're making. Continue to explore programs until you've identified one that meets your needs.
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