Small colleges are often great places to earn degrees in disciplines like teaching and social work where the emphasis is on individual effort, but are there benefits to earning a healthcare management degree at a small college? The healthcare area is usually considered a career based in management or supervision of departments in a healthcare facility. Wouldn't larger schools, perhaps with on-campus hospitals or clinics, be better for internships? Perhaps, but healthcare managers are found in many positions, in many areas, and there are other advantages of studying at a small school.
What is the Degree Program Like?
The undergraduate degree program features courses that are foundational and that give an overview of the healthcare system. As an undergraduate in this major, you will study health law and leadership, get an overview of the healthcare system in the United States, understand quality control and the need for cost containment and other issues related to the profession. Undergraduate degree programs do not typically require internships, but usually require the student to research and write a capstone project. There are a few entry-level positions in healthcare available with a Bachelor's degree, as most employers are requiring Master's degrees. With that, the purpose of the undergraduate degree is changing to one of preparation for advanced study. In Master's programs students specialize in areas like business, administration, public health and other concentrations. In addition, Master's candidates do complete internships.
Why Study at a Small School?
An article in the US News and World Reports Education website says there are several advantages small colleges may offer. One of these is small class size. The article defines a small school as one with fewer than 5,000 students and a student-to-faculty of 10:1 or less. Most classes at colleges of that size have fewer than twenty students in a class. That means you would have more opportunity to participate in discussions and ask questions. You would also know your professors and you would be more than a name on a class ledger to them. Teachers at small colleges are more likely to be promoted because of teaching ability and not by published articles. They wouldn't be engrossed in seeking tenure. That means your professors are more likely to care about your education. In large schools, many classes are taught by graduate assistants who also are responsible for grading papers. Classes at small colleges are taught by professors, and since the volume of student work is less, you will have more opportunity to submit papers and have them evaluated. Smaller colleges are frequently more flexible with curriculum and you may have more leeway in building your program so you don't spend time and money taking courses you don't need or want.
Small Colleges are Not Better for Everyone
Most small colleges do not have graduate programs. If you want to earn a Master's Degree in Healthcare Management, you will have to go to a school that has a graduate department. In addition, advanced degrees often require specialization so, even if your small school offers graduate degrees, you will have to make certain it offers courses in the area you have chosen for specialization. Larger schools will also have more internship opportunities.
There are pros and cons to most questions. The answer to what size of school is better for you depends upon in which environment you are most comfortable and in the complexity of the degree program you want to follow. There are, however, many benefits to earning a healthcare management degree at a small college.