Why Earn a Business Degree in Healthcare?

Apply By: 8/15/2022

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December 15, 2022
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Individuals looking for a business career in an industry with growth potential may want to consider the field of healthcare. U.S. expenditures on healthcare totaled $4.1 trillion in 2020 and are projected to grow to $6.2 trillion by 2028, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

The career prospects for someone with a business degree in healthcare are attractive. For example, the American College of Healthcare Executives has noted the wide variety of settings where people with expertise in the business of healthcare can work. From hospitals to government agencies to consulting firms, healthcare organizations need managers and professionals with business expertise in areas such as finance, marketing, government relations and human resources.

To succeed in the business of healthcare, you need to be just as well versed in business tactics as you are in medical terminology and practices. Earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare business can be a great way to get started on this career pathway, providing both a flexible academic format and an introduction to the processes, terminology and technology used in healthcare.

What You’ll Learn in a Healthcare Business Program

In completing a healthcare business degree program, students typically earn at least 120 credit hours in courses in three categories: general studies courses, business core courses and healthcare business courses.

The required general studies courses focus on areas of importance to any business. Examples are courses such as:

  • Organizational Communication: In this course, students learn about the process of writing, preparing reports and conducting business presentations.
  • Information Systems Concepts and Applications: In this course, students learn basic computing concepts, as well as how to create graphics for presentations, databases and spreadsheets.
  • Principles of Microeconomics: In this course, students learn about concepts such as interest, wages, profits, international trade and government taxation.

The business core courses required to earn a business degree in healthcare dive deeper into business administration and financial concerns and include courses such as:

  • Business Finance: In this course, students learn about areas of finance such as financial analysis, capital budgeting and long-term financing.
  • Principles of Marketing: In this course, students learn about topics such as marketing management, retailing and wholesaling, as well as the storage and transportation aspects of marketing.
  • Production/Operations Management: In this course, students learn about topics such as operations strategy, supply chain management, production planning and product design.

The healthcare business component of the curriculum includes courses such as:

  • Healthcare Management: In this course, students learn about topics such such as managing a healthcare operation, budgeting in healthcare, change management, leadership skills and decision-making.
  • Medical Terminology for Healthcare Business: In this course, students learn about medical terminology that’s applicable to functions such as managing patient records, reimbursement and billing.
  • Healthcare Delivery Systems: In this course, students learn about topics such as insurance, healthcare financing and socioeconomic issues that affect the delivery of healthcare.

Benefits of Earning a Business Degree in Healthcare

Earning a business degree that focuses on healthcare has many benefits, from providing you with a skill set that’s in high demand with employers to opening the door to a career in which you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Employer Demand for Healthcare Management Expertise Is Strong

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 28% increase in employment for medical and health services managers by 2031. This growth rate significantly exceeds the projected 5% growth in employment for all occupations. 

Healthcare Business Degrees Build a Real-World Skill Set

Degree programs in the business of healthcare aren’t focused on theoretical concepts. Instead, they offer students instruction in skills such as reporting and presenting healthcare information, understanding medical industry terms, and managing healthcare revenue cycles. Students can apply these as they move into positions in the industry.

Working in Healthcare Can Provide Job Security

A study published in Inquiry: The Journal of Health Care Organization Provision and Financing in 2021 tested the conventional wisdom that employment in healthcare tends to be recession-proof. The study concluded that healthcare sector employment was stable across business cycles from 2005 through 2017 and that healthcare employment can even increase during economic downturns.

Healthcare Welcomes Employees With Backgrounds in Other Sectors

The healthcare industry tends to view job candidates who have related experience in other areas as highly desirable, according to a 2020 report in Forbes. For example, individuals with a background in the military or in customer service have skills that can enable them to do well in healthcare positions.

Working in Healthcare Offers the Potential for Career Advancement

The American College of Healthcare Executives has noted that healthcare management professionals can:

  • Begin in entry-level careers such as hospital financial analyst or marketing analyst
  • Progress to midlevel careers such as assistant director or director of clinical services
  • Ascend to senior-level careers in positions such as chief financial officer, chief operating officer or CEO 

Careers With a Business Degree in Healthcare

Equipped with a business degree in healthcare, individuals can choose from an array of career options. A few examples are discussed below.

Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators oversee a hospital’s business operations and focus on areas such as budgeting, finance, staffing and facility management. The median annual salary for hospital administrators was approximately $88,300 as of October 2022, according to Payscale.

Healthcare Consultant

Healthcare consultants help healthcare organizations operate more effectively by identifying solutions to complex challenges, such as strengthening patient safety or reducing costs. The median annual salary for healthcare consultants was approximately $80,200 as of October 2022, according to Payscale.

Practice Manager

Practice managers are responsible for the administrative and business functions of a physician’s office, including overseeing staffing, managing office finances and negotiating with suppliers. The median annual salary for practice managers was approximately $62,400 as of October 2022, according to Payscale.

Healthcare Business Analyst

Healthcare business analysts collect data in areas such as clinical outcomes, medical imaging or pharmacy resources, and then examine the data to identify potential business process improvements. The median annual salary for healthcare business analysts was approximately $69,300 as of October 2022, according to Payscale.

Finding Your Place in the Business of Healthcare

Healthcare organizations of all kinds need people with the knowledge and skills to oversee and ensure the efficiency of their business operations. The professionals who fill these roles make a broad impact, not only on their employers’ business success but also on healthcare access and quality of care. 

Earning a degree focused on the business of healthcare is a great first step to this rewarding career field. If you’re interested in a career path with purpose and growth potential, explore Peru State College’s online BS in Business Administration in Healthcare Business. With an interdisciplinary program that blends the fundamentals of business with the specifics of healthcare, it could be the foundation you’re looking for. Start the journey toward your place as a healthcare-focused business leader today.

Recommended Readings

6 Benefits of Online Learning

Is an Online Degree Worth it?

Medical and Health Services Manager Salary and Job Growth

Sources:

American College of Healthcare Executives, Entry-Level Management Positions in Acute Care

American College of Healthcare Executives, Mid-Level Management Positions in Acute Care

American College of Healthcare Executives, Senior-Level Management Positions in Acute Care

American College of Healthcare Executives, Your Career as a Healthcare Executive

Forbes, “Healthcare Jobs Are Booming: Why It Could Be Your Next Career Move”

Indeed, 12 Business Health Care Jobs (Plus Duties and Salaries)

Indeed, What Do Hospital Administrators Do? (With Salary and Job Outlook)

Indeed, What Does a Practice Manager Do? (And How to Become One)

Indeed, What Is a Health Care Consultant? (And How to Become One)

Inquiry: The Journal of Health Care Organization Provision and Financing, “Is Healthcare Employment Resilient and ‘Recession Proof’?”

Payscale, Average Health Care Business Analyst Salary

Payscale, Average Healthcare Consultant Salary

Payscale, Average Hospital Administrator Salary

Payscale, Average Practice Manager Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, NHE Fact Sheet