How to Become a Healthcare Administrator in Washington D.C.

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What is Healthcare Administration?


In hospitals, health systems, as well as other types of health organizations, health care administrators manage health services. As they are in charge of facilities, services, programs, staff, budgets, relations with other organizations, and other management functions, their responsibilities also depend on the organization's size and type.

Healthcare administration is a large and essential part of healthcare delivery systems. In Washington DC, healthcare organizations employ significant numbers of health administrators to operate federal, public, and private healthcare facilities. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for healthcare administrators in DC is about $157,590 in 2020. The field typically offers excellent compensation packages of benefits.

Washington, DC has a unique marketplace of national government including military healthcare facilities. As with other parts of the US, healthcare administration is the level where business management and resource administration directly affect organizational readiness, capability, and the quality of service. Healthcare administration is a key towards improving the value of healthcare services and carrying out policies for improving patient outcomes.


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Healthcare Administration Education in District of Columbia


Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration (BSHCA)

The bachelor's degree is an entry level qualification for healthcare administration careers. Many four-year institutions are offering a healthcare administration degree to undergraduate students seeing a career in healthcare management. It provides a basis to acquire advancement through work experience, by continuing education, and by pursuing graduate education. Each institution determines the coursework, content, and designation of degrees. The below-listed degrees are typical for healthcare administration studies in Washington D.C. Colleges and universities.

  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration (BSHA) or Management
  • Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
  • Bachelor of Public Health (BPH)

The typical requirement for a bachelor’s degree is 120 credit hours. This is the standard whether it's a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Business Administration, or a Bachelor of Healthcare Administration. The standard time to complete a bachelor's degree is four calendar years. As a general rule, about one-half of the coursework is the general education or core requirements. Students typically complete the core within the first two years of attendance. Students usually focus in major and minor concentrations in the last two years of attendance. The major healthcare management degree coursework includes the following courses

  • Human Resources in Healthcare
  • Healthcare Management
  • Healthcare Communications
  • Long Term Care Facilities
  • Healthcare Finance
  • Health Care Marketing
  • Healthcare Public Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Basic healthcare administration and medical terminology
  • Management and financial management
  • Healthcare Accounting

Most colleges and universities accept credits from junior college and associate degrees. The typical advantage reduces the required coursework towards the bachelor's degree.

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Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA)

Executive level positions in the healthcare field frequently require a graduate degree. The Master’s degree is the widely accepted educational standard for mid to upper-level positions in medium and large healthcare organizations. Applicants in the Washington D.C. region can select among the below-described degree categories.

  • MBA (HA) is the Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration
  • MHA is the Master of Healthcare Administration
  • MS is the Master of Science in healthcare; it is sometimes offered as a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management
  • MSHA is the Master of Science in Healthcare Administration
  • MHA/MBA are dual degree programs that achieve the healthcare administration and business administration degrees at the same time.

Graduate School Admission Requirements

The typical DC graduate school requires some basic items for admission to health administration master’s programs. They require an undergraduate degree, official undergraduate transcripts, and statement of experience in healthcare or a related field. The undergraduate degree can be in healthcare, a related field, or in an unrelated field. Those with unrelated undergraduate degrees may have to adjust their curriculum to add health education. Applicants must meet or exceed a minimum GPA for undergraduate work, provide an essay that describes the purpose of the education, and letters of recommendation from past professors or work supervisors.

What Coursework Does the MHA Require?

Each institution varies the precise course requirements according to its policies and educational goals. The degree requires between 36-60 hours depending on the type of master’s degree. Most programs require either a thesis, dissertation, or a finishing project to complete the degree. Students can even find online master of healthcare administration degree programs that are fully accredited yet still flexible and affordable. Typical courses in graduate healthcare management degree programs include the below-listed subject areas.

  • Public Health Policy
  • Healthcare Finance
  • Healthcare Accounting
  • Human Resources in Healthcare
  • Strategic leadership and decision-making
  • Medical informatics and assessment of performance
  • Community and public health
  • Ethics and law in healthcare
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Careers and Salary Outlook


Career Options

These are sample job postings and are not representative of available jobs in your area or your ability to qualify for these roles.

  • Administrative Director

    The Administrative Director has accountability for managing human, material and financial resources to ensure high-quality, cost-effective delivery of healthcare services for specific patient populations. The position requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. Education: The preferred qualifications are a master’s degree in one or more of the categories of nursing, health care administration, business administration or a directly related discipline. Experience: the position requires at least 18 months of management and leadership with demonstrated knowledge of nursing theory, practice, administration, data management, and information analysis. The position requires specific experience in interventional cardiology/EP.

  • VA Program Specialist

    This position works closely with the Director for VA Programs and other internal team members and external stakeholders. The incumbent is responsible for the development and implementation of quality improvement, health information technology (HIT), clinical support, and other special projects or initiatives.

    Education requirement for VA Program Management Specialist is a Master of Nursing, Healthcare Administration, Informatics, or public health. The applicant must show a minimum of 8 years’ experience in healthcare clinical support, Health IT, and project management.

  • Clinical Quality Program Administrator

    This position has oversight over the quality improvement activities and projects outlined in the Quality Improvement (QI) work plan and as required by applicable law, regulations and accreditation standards. Qualifications require a BS in health administration, nursing or related clinical field. The applicant must show three years of healthcare quality or data analysis experience or any equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Hospital Healthcare Administrator

    This person is responsible for financial performance, personnel, facilities, services, provider-payer relations, and coordination with the University. The position performs planning and development of new services for the department. The practice center will be developed through concepts of team-based care with a goal of creating a model, patient-centered, medical home. These functions must be performed in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, hospital's philosophy, policies, procedures, and standards. Required Education and Training: BS Degree in Healthcare/Business Administration or related field. Required Experience: Three to five years of directly related management experience preferred in a medical practice.

Additional Helpful Resources


Prominent Employers in District of Columbia

Federal agencies such as the massive Department of Health and human Services employ substantial numbers of health administrators. In federal agencies, their expertise can guide grant-making, resource allocation, research studies, legislative proposals, and national healthcare policy. Advocacy organizations and federal contractors in DC and the immediate suburbs employ large numbers of health professionals. The healthcare sector represents a significant amount of federal spending each year through programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Health insurance laws and regulations affect millions of consumers and thousands of healthcare organizations. These groups employ health professionals to provide expertise.

The District, Northern Virginia, and the Maryland Suburbs form a cohesive metropolitan area that has many state and local jurisdictions along with the federal enclaves. Within the corporate area of the District of Columbia, the leading health administration employers are hospitals, health plan systems, government agencies, and Universities.

  • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a major hospital and healthcare research and teaching organization in the District of Columbia. Affiliated with one of the oldest educational institutions in the region, the Georgetown University Hospital plays a key role as an anchor of the public health system in the district. The Hospital is a nationally recognized center for excellence and an important source of training for healthcare leadership.
  • MedStar Washington Hospital Center as the primary hospital in the District of Columbia and it serves the Greater Washington DC area. It is an important source of training and education for medical and health services professions, nursing, and healthcare administration.
  • George Washington University Hospital, Howard University Hospital, and Sibley Hospital( Johns Hopkins) are University affiliated hospitals.
  • Virginia Hospital Center, Mary Washington Hospital, Inova Fairfax, Fair Oaks Hospital and Mount Vernon Hospital are Northern Virginia based institutions that serve the District as well.
  • Holy Cross Hospital based in the Maryland suburbs and also provides services to residents of the District of Columbia.

Health Administration Associations

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
    is an association of participants in healthcare revenue management. Revenue is a critical area for healthcare organizations that must constantly work to get the highest possible value for each expenditure. The association provides support for health administrators that manage patient accounts and information systems.
  • Medical Group Management Association
    offers peer to peer and mentor support for healthcare administrators. They provide digital resources for students, educators, and practicing professionals. The MGMA is a certification body for educational and related organizations. The association advocates for the advancement if healthcare training and education and they offer unique access to thought leaders and industry experts.
  • American Hospital Association
    is a national association that advocates for urban, rural, and other types of hospitals. They recognize the key role of hospitals as the primary healthcare delivery system in the US and promote policies that help them make the nation healthier, safer, and aware of prevention and wellness.
  • American Health Care Association
    is an advocacy group comprised of state and local affiliates. The core membership is nursing facilities, assisted living concerns, and care providers for the developmentally disabled and elderly persons.

The Healthcare Industry and Health Admin

The healthcare industry contributes about 18 percent of the US gross domestic product. The output of the health services sector depends on the efficient use of personnel resources and effective management of healthcare organizations. The role of health administration is to manage personnel resources and to oversee and assure the sound operation of the healthcare delivery system, including long-term care facilities, hospitals, clinics, and more.

Healthcare administration involves many disciplines, and it combines a strong knowledge base in healthcare with business, public health, finance, information technology and human resources. The healthcare delivery environment changes constantly as breakthroughs in medical science add new tools. Healthcare also changes due to public policy, costs, and technological innovation.

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