Health Care Management

Associate Degree

Program Outline

This outline covers all four semesters of your degree program. You will receive credit for previous college coursework if you meet Penn Foster College standards. If you wish to receive credit for previous coursework, contact the college you attended and ask that your transcripts be forwarded to Penn Foster College for evaluation. All previous college work must have been completed with a grade of "C" or better, and as much as 75% of the required credits may be transferred. We will also credit your tuition for all the courses that are acceptable.

The first course, Basic Skills Assessment, is available online only, which allows you to start studying right away. You will not receive hardcopy program materials for these lessons. You can access your first course as soon as your tuition payment has been received. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365® and an email account to complete this program with Penn Foster.

Online Library and Librarian
Students at Penn Foster College have access to an online library during their college studies. Students can use the library to do the required course research or for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and will assist students in research activities.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal
The Health Care Management Associate's Degree program prepares students for an entry-level career in health care management in which they'll plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services.

Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Recognize how to improve efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services
  • Describe why it is important to keep up to date on new laws and regulations
  • Identify how to supervise assistant administrators in facilities that are large enough to need them
  • Discuss the management of the facility’s finances, such as patient fees and billing
  • Explain the creation of work schedules
  • Recognize how to represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards
  • List the steps to keep and organize records of the facility’s services
  • Recognize appropriate and professional communication concerning members of the medical staff and department heads


Semester 1

Basic Skills Assessment
All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine the level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

Introduction to Allied Health (1 credit)
Introduction to the basic operations of allied health careers and the legal and ethical issues students may encounter while working in the many different venues available for these fields.


  • Identify communication methods within the health care field and teamwork strategies
  • Compare the professional roles of health care workers within hospital practices
  • Compare the professional roles of health care workers within various community settings
  • Identify the characteristics of professional behavior and issues related to cultural differences
  • Describe the proper legal and ethical behaviors of a health care worker
  • Explain the primary elements of the Affordable Care Act
  • Distinguish among government (public) and private health insurance plans
  • Describe the United States healthcare system and settings

Law, Ethics, and Confidentiality in Allied Health (3 credits)
In this course, you'll learn how law affects medical offices, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of health-care information, and the laws regulating healthcare information collected and maintained by government agencies.


  • Describe civil and criminal law, sources of law, and the steps of litigation
  • Distinguish between liability, negligence, and malpractice and explain how they relate to medical professionals
  • Explain the impact of healthcare legislation changes on medical professionals
  • Explain defenses against medical malpractice and criminal charges
  • Identify the various ethical issues that medical professionals face
  • Explain the uses and content of medical records
  • Describe the legal significance of confidentiality obligations
  • Explain the core concepts of HIPAA's final Privacy Rule
  • Summarize the role of peer review in confidentiality issues
  • Describe confidentiality and security issues related to electronic medical records

Information Literacy (1 credit)
Get better at finding and using information!


  • Search the Internet more effectively.
  • Get tips about search engines and reliable websites.
  • Learn how to search libraries and other information centers for important, useful information.

English Composition (3 credits)
This course teaches the skills and techniques of effectively developing, drafting, and revising college-level essays toward a specific purpose and audience: active reading, prewriting strategies, sentence and paragraph structure, thesis statements, varied patterns of development (such as illustration, comparison and contrast, and classification), critical reading toward revision of structure and organization, editing for standard written conventions, and use and documentation of outside sources. Students submit two prewriting assignments and three essays (process analysis, comparison and contrast, and argumentation).


  • Use writing skills to construct well-written sentences and active reading skills to understand and analyze text
  • Develop paragraphs using topic sentences, adequate detail, supporting evidence, and transitions
  • Contrast the revising and editing steps of the writing process
  • Distinguish between different patterns of development
  • Write a process analysis essay using prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing skills
  • Recognize how to determine the reliability of secondary sources and to give proper credit to sources referenced in an essay
  • Write a comparison and contrast essay by using persuasive writing techniques to defend a claim
  • Create a sound written argument using techniques of drafting and evaluating sources

Medical Terminology (3 credits)
This course covers the medical terms that you will encounter in your field. You will complete a research project at the end of the course.


  • Define word elements, roots, prefixes, suffixes, combining vowels, and combining forms.
  • Describe the basic rules for building a medical word.
  • Describe the uses and effects of drugs on the body.
  • Distinguish among generic drug names, official drug names, trade names, and chemical names.
  • Identify and spell word elements, names of diagnostic procedures, diagnoses, treatment procedures, and abbreviations related to the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems; cardiovascular system; the blood and lymph system; the respiratory system; the digestive and urinary systems; the reproductive system; the endocrine system; and the nervous system.
  • Define terms related to the psychology and psychiatry fields.
  • Identify and define terms associated with conditions of the eyes and ears.
  • Identify and define terms commonly used on operative reports.

Textbook: Medical Terminology, A Living Language

Mathematics for Business and Finance (3 credits)
This course will provide you with a foundation in basic mathematical operations, including percentages, discounts, interest, present worth, sinking funds, installment buying, pricing, depreciation, investments, insurance, symbols, and statistics.


  • Analyze functions of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents
  • Show calculations involved in simple interest, compound interest, and time value of money
  • Prepare various business math applications involving financial reports, installment buying, and depreciation
  • Analyze various financial concepts related to taxes, insurance, financial investments, and basic business statistics

Textbook: Practical Business Math Procedures

Computer Applications (3 credits)
Microsoft® Office allows people to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases. This course will teach you how to use three popular tools from the Microsoft® Office Suite — Word™, Excel®, and PowerPoint®. In this course, you'll learn how to use Word™ to create and edit text documents, insert figures and tables, and format pages for a variety of uses. You'll then learn how to use Excel® to organize and format data, including charts, formulas, and more complex tables. Next, you'll learn how to use PowerPoint® to create and deliver slide shows. Finally, you'll complete a graded project, which will test the skills acquired in Word™, Excel®, and PowerPoint®.


  • Create various Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Produce a thorough Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet.
  • Identify the basic skills needed to use Microsoft® PowerPoint®.
  • Synthesize what you’ve learned by integrating Word™, Excel®, and PowerPoint®.

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Semester 2

Interpersonal Communication (1 credit)
This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace.


  • Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Develop effective listening and observation skills.
  • Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
  • Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.

Health Care Management (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll learn the essential basics of how to be a good manager, what it takes to be an effective leader, and why the two aren’t the same. You’ll learn how to keep morale high as well as how to increase productivity. You’ll also learn how decisions made by managers impact the department and quite possibly the entire healthcare organization.


  • Identify the theories of management and the supervisor's role in healthcare management
  • Analyze the methods of planning and processing and the role of the manager in them
  • Categorize the processes related to staffing and organizing in healthcare management
  • Point out the role of a supervisor in imparting influence and control and conducting labor relation interactions
  • Prepare a project based on your choice of hospital organization

Textbook: Healthcare Management

Anatomy and Physiology 1 (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll begin your study of anatomy and physiology. You’ll learn about general body terms, structures, functions, and processes as well as the skeletal and muscular system. Continue your studies with the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the senses, and the endocrine system.


  • Define terms referring to location, position, direction, body planes, and sections.
  • Identify and describe the basic anatomical structures and major cavities of the human body.
  • Discuss the process and mechanics of homeostasis.
  • Explain how human anatomy and physiology are related.
  • List and discuss the organizational levels of the human body in order of increasing complexity and explain how these levels are related to each other.
  • Explain the structures, functions, and diseases of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, and endocrine systems in humans.

Textbook: Body Structures and Functions (with accompanying CD-ROM)

Anatomy and Physiology 2 (3 credits)
This course will cover the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system, immunity, infection control, respiration, digestion, nutrition, the urinary system, the reproductive system, and genetics.


  • Identify and describe the components, functions, and disorders of blood, the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the urinary system, the reproductive system, and genetics.
  • Describe the processes of inflammation and coagulation.
  • Explain the disease mechanisms involved in the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • Describe different types of microorganisms.
  • Discuss the body’s defense mechanisms against infection.
  • Identify and describe the functions of water, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, trace elements, and vitamins.
  • Explain the principles of healthy nutrition and describe nutritional disorders.
  • Identify and explain the functions of the reproductive system.
  • Describe the disorders of both male and female reproductive systems.
  • Define genetics, mutation, and lethal genes.
  • Describe selected genetic disorders.
  • Explain the potential of genetic engineering.

Textbook: Body Structures and Functions (with accompanying CD-ROM)

Basic Accounting (3 credits)
This course meets the needs of students who need to understand accounting language but aren't planning on becoming accountants. Students will learn what accounting information is, what it means, and how it’s used. Topics covered include financial statements, return on investment, bookkeeping process, cost accounting, and report systems.


  • Define accounting and identify and describe its different classifications
  • Analyze transactions that affect current assets, including applications of valuation and matching
  • Interpret financial statements and describe how listed factors impact net income and cash flow
  • Analyze cost-volume-profit relationships and apply cost accounting principles to financial decision-making

General Education Elective (3 credits)
(Choose one) ...

HUM102-Art Appreciation
In this course, you will gain an understanding of artistic media, historical periods and artistic movements, the roles of the artist and the viewer, and the principles of art criticism.


  • Define the language, visual elements, and principles of design of art
  • Identify two-dimensional media
  • Identify three-dimensional media
  • Explain the evolution of art from ancient Mediterranean cultures through eighteenth century Europe
  • Identify features and popular examples of art throughout the history of African, Asian, Pacific, and American cultures
  • Compare the genres of the Modern and Postmodern eras of art from around the world

Textbook: Living with Art, 11th Edition

HUM104-Music Appreciation
In this course, you'll understand how to appreciate music by learning about the roles of the composer and the listener, the principles of music theory and instrumentation, musically significant historical periods, and varying styles of music.


  • Identify the building blocks of music a composer can use to create a piece, such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form, and timbre
  • Explain the evolution of Western music through history, from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century
  • Differentiate between the music of the baroque era and the musical styles of previous time periods
  • Recognize the major characteristics of classical music, including form, melody, and instrumentation
  • Discuss the musical trends and innovations that occurred during the romantic era
  • Trace the evolution of American popular music in the twentieth century
  • Recognize the influence of world music on modern Western composition

Textbook: Experience Music, Fourth Edition

ENG115-Introduction to Literature
Read and analyze the main genres of literature—poetry, fiction, and drama. Study the themes and forms of literature.


  • Read more effectively for both knowledge and enjoyment.
  • Use your new vocabulary to discuss, write about, and understand literature.
  • Explain the characteristics of several genres, including the short story, poetry, drama, and the essay.
  • Identify and understand literary technique.
  • Discuss the relationship between literature and life.

Textbook: Literature

Textbook: Accounting: What the Numbers Mean

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Semester 3

Human Resources Management (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of Human Resources Management (HRM) as it's understood today. It illustrates the dynamic interaction of the personnel functions with each other and with the objectives of an organization.


  • Describe the elements of human resource management, including labor considerations, regulation, and management of workflow
  • Explain how companies should prepare for and implement HRM to hire new employees and create training programs
  • Identify the aspects of employee, career, and turnover management
  • Summarize how employees are paid, including legal requirements, performance-based pay, commissions, salaries, and benefits
  • Describe other HRM functions including collective bargaining, labor relations, global HRM, and building a high-performance organization

Textbook: Fundamentals of Human Resource Management

Quality Management/Performance Improvement (2 credits)
Learn the principles of clinical quality management and performance improvement in the healthcare industry. The course also covers additional areas, such as utilization management and risk management.


  • Show the principles required for quality management of systems.
  • Analyze the effect of policy, goals and customer requirement on establishing system direction.
  • Show the methods to improving system efficiency and performance.
  • Apply the concepts you've learned to real-life scenarios.

Textbook: Applying Quality Management in Healthcare: A Systems Approach

Electronic Medical Records (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll be introduced to billing cycles and how health information technology is used in medical offices. You’ll also learn about basic accounting transaction terminology and apply this information to enter patient charges and payments.


  • Discuss the history of electronic health records
  • Perform administrative health information management functions
  • Build an electronic health record
  • Enter information into an electronic health record
  • Utilize templates to increase productivity

Textbook: The Electronic Health Record for the Physician's Office with SimChart for the Medical Office
Simulation: SimChart for the Medical Office
Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Medical Coding (3 credits)
In this course, you’ll begin with an overview of coding concepts, terms, and procedures. You’ll start by exploring the history of the ICD-10-CM. You’ll code diagnoses in the ICD-10-CM and use the chapter-specific coding guidelines to code diseases and conditions with specific and unique rules. You’ll then learn how to code procedures in the ICD-10-PCS, rounding out your training in the basics of coding with ICD-10.

Then, you'll concentrate on the diagnoses or procedures that don’t seem to fit into any specific coding category. You’ll also learn about general coding guidelines for inpatient and outpatient procedures and physician office coding using CPT, HCPCS Level I, and HCPCS Level II procedure coding.


  • Explain how to use the ICD-10-CM to assign codes for medical diagnoses
  • Identify the purpose of the ICD-10-PCS and how it's used
  • Outline the procedure for assigning codes from the E/M and Anesthesia sections of CPT
  • Outline the types of services and procedures described in the CPT
  • Explain the types of procedures coded in the hemic, lymphatic, digestive, reproductive, and urogenital systems
  • Describe the procedures coded in the endocrine, nervous, ocular, auditory, radiology, pathology, and medicine sections of the CPT
  • Assign CPT and HCPCS codes for physician procedures and services


  • Step-by-Step Medical Coding
  • ICD-10-CM
  • CPT
  • HCPCS Level II

Reimbursement Methodologies (3 credits)
This course is designed to introduce the student to major reimbursement systems in the United States. The focus is on prospective payment system, third-party payers, and billing and insurance procedures. The course also covers additional information including prepaid health plans, fee-for-service methodologies, chargemasters, fee schedules, and managed care.


  • Examine the basics of health insurance
  • Summarize the health insurance claims process
  • Identify the concept and goals of managed care and other government-sponsored health programs that integrate managed-care concepts into their plans
  • Examine the proper use of medical codes for reimbursement and coding practices for procedural coding, evaluation, and HCPCS
  • Explain electronic reimbursement processes and the differences between physician office and hospital billing and coding
  • Manage a patient’s record as well as coding and billing information
  • Recognize uses of medical codes and reimbursement in the healthcare industry

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


Semester 4

Supervision and Leadership (3 credits)
The process of leadership involves much more than having a supervisory title or a managerial position. This course will teach you that leadership is a complex process involving many facets. Leadership involves methodology, psychology, evaluation, and influence. This process can occur anywhere in the chain of authority, regardless of the position. The most successful organizations integrate these leadership elements throughout the workforce to achieve maximum business goals. This course will give you an understanding of relevant leadership issues, theories, and principles with real-life examples.

This course will also provide you with the latest supervision and leadership research, in addition to illustrating the evolution and development of modern leadership principles. The course is broken down into four lessons, each with individual assignments and examinations to be completed and submitted for grading at the completion of each lesson.


  • Analyze the fundamentals of four major approaches to leadership
  • Point out the intricacies of path-goal theory, leader-member theory, and transformational leadership theory
  • Categorize various principles of advanced leadership as well as the importance of morals and ethics in leadership and followership
  • Analyze the role of leadership involved with gender, culture, and globalization
  • Prepare responses to the essay questions about your results from the Leadership Behavior Questionnaire

Department Management (2 credits)
This course provides you with an understanding of basic management principles in health care management—useful information no matter which career you choose within the health care management field.


  • Explain the various roles in the healthcare profession and the legal structure for healthcare delivery
  • Describe the purpose, various functions, and various processes for administrative management
  • Analyze the legal issues and fraud in healthcare, HIPAA, and compliance programs
  • Discuss the importance of professional communication, professional behavior, and project management skills
  • Analyze Performance Improvement Methods in Health Services Administration
  • Analyze leadership styles in health services administration

Textbook: Introduction to Health Services Administration

Healthcare Statistics (3 credits)
This course is designed to introduce you to the calculation, compilation, analysis, and presentation of health-care statistics.


  • Distinguish between descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
  • Apply basic statistical principles.
  • Identify valid and reliable data.
  • Calculate, analyze, and report routine institutional statistics and institutional health-care quality indicators.
  • Collect, interpret, prepare, and present research data.
  • Design reports using database information.
  • Perform statistical analysis of patient information.
  • Participate in committees utilizing health record information.

Textbook: Calculating and Reporting Healthcare Statistics

Essentials of Psychology (3 credits)
This course covers the psychology of biology and behavior, consciousness, memory, thought and language, intelligence, personality and gender, stress, and community influences.


  • Describe the science of psychology, basic structure and function of the human nervous system, and basic structure and function of the sensory system
  • Explain various states of consciousness, learning theories, and thought processes and development
  • Summarize the nature of human motivation and development, the human development cycle, and approaches to understanding and assessing personality
  • Prepare an essay on the topic of conditioning, memory, or motivation and emotion
  • Recognize psychological disorders and available treatments
  • Explain social psychology as it relates to attitudes, influences, behaviors, and stress
  • Use critical thinking skills to determine the likely causes of behaviors of individuals and groups discussed in case studies

Practicum in Health Care Management (4 credits)
Practice your health-care management knowledge and skills in a variety of workplace settings.


  • Demonstrate health-care management knowledge and skills.
  • Work on projects and research.
  • Gain workplace experience under the supervision of an externship site supervisor.
  • Complete 160 hours.

It is the responsibility of the student to secure a site for the field placement(s).

Proctored Examination
You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.


This program requires the student to enroll in a practicum in Semester Four.

* As a degree candidate, you will take a proctored examination at the end of each semester on selected courses within that semester. We make it easy because you pick the location and the person you want to supervise the exam, as long as Penn Foster College's established policy and qualifications are met. Complete information packets with procedures will be provided well in advance, before completion of final semester coursework.

Note: Advanced standing student shipments may vary from the above schedule.

A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this degree program. Although this outline covers all four semesters of the Health Care Management Degree Program, you receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.

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