What is Healthcare Administration?
Health administration is an ideal career for people who want to create and manage healthcare systems intended to address the health of the community as a whole. These professionals generally have many responsibilities, including coordinating medical and health services, establishing educational programs, ensuring adherence to healthcare policies and laws, supervising staff, and managing overall financial effectiveness.
Hospital, hospital system, or other organization health services are managed by healthcare administrators. The facilities and services manager may assist with a variety of programs, manage staff, work with other organizations, and manage budgets, depending on the type and size of the company.
Physicians and clinicians have daily contact with patients, but healthcare managers and administrators typically do not. As leaders in many health-related organizations, they shape policy and make necessary changes to health care systems.
Healthcare Administration Education in Arizona
Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration (BSHCA)
Most employers require candidates have, at minimum, a B.S. degree in health administration, business administration, or a related field. While a master’s degree will likely be necessary to qualify for higher paying positions with more responsibilities in the future, many entry-level jobs don’t require it.
Arizona is home to a number of great health administration programs, but titles can vary from school to school. Potential degree titles include:
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Healthcare Management Concentration
- Bachelor of Arts in Global Health
- Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
- Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Undergraduate programs all differ slightly, but are generally healthcare admin programs made up of 120 credit hours of coursework. While most are designed to be completed over a four year period, this timeframe can be lengthened or shortened depending on circumstances. For students who have college credits from taking upper-level high school classes or credits earned from an associate degree, it’s often possible to graduate early. Conversely, working students or those who opt to complete additional coursework may require more time to finish the program.
It’s not uncommon for course titles and offerings to change, but most health administration students should expect to take classes like:
- Legal Issues in Health Care: Regulation and Compliance
- Facility Planning
- Health Care Policy
- Risk Management
- Health Care Legal and Ethical Issues
- Project Planning and Implementation in Health Care
- Systems Analysis and Design
- Database Concepts
- Health Care Finance and Accounting
- Introduction to Biostatistics
- Principles of Health Education and Health Promotion
- Health Care in the United States
- Introduction to Epidemiology
- Strategic Human Resource Management
- Health Education Intervention Methods
- Contemporary Community Health Problems
- Labor and Employee Relations
- Application of Health Promotion
- Health Care Law
- Community Health
It’s important to note that there are also a wide variety of online programs available in Arizona. While online health care administration degrees are accessible nationwide, many Arizona universities and colleges offer them. This is a completely viable method of earning an undergraduate degree in the field.
Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA)
Health administration professionals with a bachelor’s degree may be qualified for entry level jobs, but a master’s degree in healthcare administration is frequently preferred for advanced positions in the field. Professionals might choose to work in health care administration for a few years so they can decide whether to pursue a healthcare specialty such as: public health, healthcare informatics, healthcare management, marketing, or health care communications, to name a few. Most Arizona healthcare administration master's degree programs provide ample concentration areas for their students to pursue. Those with graduate degrees will often be given preference during the hiring process and will make more money.
Program titles will vary, but some of the most prominent ones in Arizona include:
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Health Administration / Gerontology
- Master of Health Administration / Informatics
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Public Health
While every master of health administration program is different, graduate students should expect them to consist of between 30 and 60 credit hours. Most are designed to be completed in two years; however, more extensive requirements may extend this timeframe. Additionally, working healthcare professionals might prefer to attend classes on a part-time basis which will require more time to complete course requirements. Some programs do offer “fast track” options for individuals with professional health care administration experience and/or transfer credits. Students should also consider that many Master of Business Administration programs offer concentrations in health care administration, health care managment, or health care marketing which will bolster anyone's resume. There are also dual MBA programs that pair well with a Master of HealthCare Administration, Healthcare Informatics, Public Health, and even a Master of Science in Healthcare Management.
The courses offered vary from institute to institute, but students should expect class titles like:
- Strategic Health Care Marketing
- Advanced Health Services Administration
- Health Care Economics
- Health Care Quality and Safety
- Understanding and Managing Human Differences
- Applications in Training and Development
- Management Information Technology
- Health Care Licensing and Accreditation
- Network and Telecommunications Concepts
- Information Systems Risk Management in Health Care
Careers and Salary Outlook
Salary and Earnings Potential
Because the job of a health administrator is so multifaceted and demanding, the profession tends to pay quite well. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers in the top 10 percent of the 2020 pay scale made median salaries of above $195,630. Even the lowest 10 percent earned median salary of $59,980.
Location has a lot to do with this large difference in pay. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts were the five highest paying states for medical and health services managers, Arizona does offer very competitive wages within the field. With an average yearly salary of $123,540, or an average hourly rate of $59.40, professionals can expect a positive salary outlook.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona employed a total of 8,240 health administrators in the year 2020. This is quite a bit less than many other states, such as New York, Texas, and California, which collectively employed around 95,000 medical and health services managers. The majority of positions available were located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Tucson. This makes sense, as most metropolitan areas have bigger populations requiring medical service. Flagstaff and Prescott also had a decent number of employment opportunities.
While Arizona doesn’t employ as many health care administrators as some other states, the job prospects are still quite favorable. Arizona has a long history of maintaining its healthcare sector. In fact, when other professions were losing jobs during the recession in 2008, Arizona’s healthcare division continued to grow and it’s been growing ever since. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona has been consistently adding jobs in education and the health services industry.
Although not state-specific, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also predicts that medical and health care service managers will see a 32 percent increase in employment before the year 2030. This is due, in large part, to the aging baby-boomer population. As they continue to grow older, there will be significantly greater demand for healthcare services nationwide. This projected increase is higher than most other professions and indicates that future job prospects for health administrators will be promising.
It’s also worth noting that many smaller practices are starting to offer more healthcare services. Whereas hospitals were once the only option for certain medical treatments, it’s now becoming easier for private practices to provide them. As this trend continues to develop, there will be an even greater need for health administrators who are familiar with advancing technologies and capable of managing these facilities.
Compared to other occupations, health administrators can expect this field to grow much faster, in Arizona and otherwise. Professionals with higher-level degrees and specific training in health information technology, electronic health records, and informatics systems will be in a particularly favorable hiring position.
While jobs opportunities in the health administration field in Arizona change regularly, here is a small sampling of postings collected:
Director of Cardiovascular Services
Responsible for providing overall direction to the division by working cooperatively with staff, maintaining professional behavior standards, teaching and counseling others, preparing schedules, and managing the department in compliance with hospital policies and procedures.
Director of Risk Management
Responsible for all risk management activities, including coordinating insurance coverage, managing claims, assigning and directing defense counsels, administering a risk management program daily, managing education programs, and analyzing data. Master’s Degree in Health or Business Administration preferred.
Director of Learning Center
Responsible for ensuring the quality of care provided at the child care center meets standards and regulations, developing policies and procedures, hiring and overseeing staff members, and meeting Department of Health Services regulations. Bachelor’s degree with at least nine credit hours in administration, leadership, and/or management preferred.
Senior Director of Regional Operations
Responsible for handing the site operations for multiple clinics, overseeing manager responsibilities, coordinating staff interactions, and developing systems to enhance clinic function and success. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Business Administration or Health Care Management preferred.
*Please note that all of the positions listed here intended for illustration only. These jobs are merely examples of potential employment opportunities within Arizona. The above information does not guarantee job availability or employment as a health administrator in the state.
Additional Helpful Resources
Prominent Employers in Arizona
The primary industries that employ health administrators are hospitals, physician offices, residential care facilities, outpatient care centers, and the government.
Specifically, some of the most prominent health administration employers in Arizona include:
- Banner Medical Center in Mesa
- Banner Good Samaritan in Phoenix
- Boswell Memorial Hospital in Sun City
- Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix
- Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix
- Mayo Clinic in Phoenix
- Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center in Scottsdale
Health Administration Associations
As a health administration professional, having the appropriate support and resources is important. Many workers in the field depend heavily on networking opportunities for job advancement, as well as idea sharing and assistance with tough issues. Luckily, there are a number of state health administration associations available.
- Arizona Medical Group Management Association (AzMGMA)
AzMGMA offers its members a wide range of professional development opportunities, including education, networking, mentoring, and advocacy. The association strives to positively impact medical practice policy, as well as foster leadership skills that will enhance healthcare service delivery.
- Arizona Health Care Association (AHCA)
AHCA is Arizona’s largest advocacy organization dedicated specifically to professionals working in nursing facilities and assisted living communities. The association strives to assist its members in providing quality care to clients.
- Arizona Chapter of Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)
The Arizona Chapter of HFMA is an organization for professionals responsible for the financial management of healthcare. It provides support to its members by offering professional development opportunities, such as offering further education, certification programs, leadership training, and peer-to-peer interaction.
- Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA)
AzHHA is a powerful advocate for the healthcare system in Arizona. It actively contributes to conversation about issues that impact healthcare quality and accessibility. Membership includes healthcare organizations, hospitals, and health systems dedicated to making Arizona residents healthier.
While Arizona has many state associations for health administration professionals, there are several national organizations that may warrant investigating as well.
Some of the most prominent resources include:
- American Association of Health Care Administrative Management
- American College of Health Care Administrators
- American Health Information Management Association
- American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administrators
- Health Care Administrators Association
- National Association of Healthcare Access Management
- The Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators