What is Healthcare Administration?
There are two types of healthcare professionals. The best-known are the doctors and nurses who provide care directly to patients. Just as important are the health administrators who work behind the scenes to ensure that care is consistent and sustainable.
Healthcare in an unusual industry, but it requires management and oversight like any other. Health administrators provide that in countless different ways. These professionals are tasked with handling accounting, human resources, business development, quality assurance, and much, much more. They may oversee large departments of staff or lead very specific teams and projects. But, in any setting, their job is to ensure that the healthcare organization is meeting timelines, staying on budget, and living up to performance benchmarks.
The demand for health administrators is strong across the country according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is projected to grow by 20% between, 2016 and 2026, which is impressive considering that the average rate of growth for all careers over the same period is just 7%. By 2026 the number of health administrators across the US will total over 420,000 and likely continue to grow in the coming decades.
Healthcare Administration Education in Minnesota
Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration (BSHCA)
There are lots of job in healthcare open to applicants with a high school diploma or associate’s degree. But since health administration is a managerial position, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for most jobs.
Types of Undergraduate Programs
Bachelor’s programs are available throughout the state of Michigan, but it’s not a requirement to attend a program in state. In fact, it’s much more important for students to find a program that meets their individual learning needs, scheduling requirements, and budgetary limitation.
Here are some of the options available to today’s learners:
- In-Person: Take all your classes in a traditional classroom while working hands-on with instructors.
- Online: Take all your classes in a digital classroom that offers more flexibility and less travel.
- Hybrid: In-person and online resources are combined to give students the advantages of both environments.
- Nights/Weekends: In-person classes are offered at times that are more convenient for working professionals or parents.
What types of program you attend matters less than actually earning a degree. Health administration is a broad subject encompassing a number of other topics. For that reason, schools designate their programs by different names.
These are the most common titles for a bachelor’s degree in health administration:
Bachelor’s degrees are designed to take four years for full-time students to complete, but students are typically eligible to graduate whenever they have earned the minimum number of credit hours – 120 at most schools. Students eager to start their career may want to graduate sooner, but those trying to balance work and school may want to go at a slower pace.
Health Admin Undergrad Coursework
The first two years of a bachelor’s program focus on the core concepts of health administration along with adjacent topics like finance, statistics, and organizational management. The final two years go in-depth on the most important topics and issues in health administration.
The curriculum is different at every school, but students should expect to have a course-load like this:
- Healthcare Economics
- Healthcare Marketing
- Healthcare Reimbursement
- Introduction to Epidemiology
- Delivery Systems in Healthcare
- Research and Evaluation Methods in Healthcare
- Cultural Competence and Population Health
- Human Resources Management
- Healthcare Ethics
- Healthcare Quality Management
Students must complete a final project, internship, research project, or capstone to graduate from some programs, but this requirement is not common. Where it is present, schools provide resources to facilitate these projects starting early in the degree program.
After earning a degree, students have everything they need to begin a promising career in health administration. Minnesota does not require administrators to have a license, certificate, or meet any other work requirements. As long as an employer is willing to make a job offer, any aspiring health administrator has every right to work.
Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA)
Higher-level health administrators often oversee large teams of staff, control multi-million-dollar budgets, and make decisions that affect thousands of patients. Since they have so much responsibility, graduate-level education is required for most executive-level health administrator jobs. Doctoral degrees are available, but having one is rarely required.
Most master’s programs require students to complete 32-60 credit hours and take around two years for full-time students to complete. There are programs available at most of Michigan’s leading colleges and universities, but, once again, completing in-state education is not a requirement. Students may elect to travel elsewhere for graduate school or take classes online without penalty.
- Master’s Programs in Health Admin
Since master’s degrees are designed to go in depth, they are available in a number of specialized disciplines. Professionals who want to keep their options open may elect to get a general master’s degree in health administration. Professionals who choose a specialized option may have fewer job prospects, but they also face less competition from other job seekers. Here are some of the most common master’s degrees in this discipline.
- Graduate Coursework
Students have more freedom to select their own classes and pursue their own interests in graduate school. But in order to get the necessary foundation in health administration, most graduate students have these courses in their curriculum.
- Healthcare Organization and Policy
- Health Information Systems
- Managerial Finance
- Healthcare Quality Management
- Health Policy
- Strategic Planning and Marketing
- Healthcare Ethics
- Legal Aspects of Healthcare
- Leadership of Healthcare Organizations
- Performance Improvement in Healthcare
Most master’s programs conclude with an independent research project, thesis presentation, or practicum requirement. Once the program is complete, a whole new category of job opportunities is open to health administrators in Minnesota.
Careers and Salary Outlook
Salary and Earnings Potential
Demand is projected to be similarly high in Minnesota. The growth rate between 2014 and 2024 is expected to be 15%. The number of health administrators in the state was 6,370 in 2014, and after ten years that total is expected to reach 7,320. Increasing demand will lead to increasing wages, but they are already quite competitive. The median wage in 2019 was $112,780, but earners in the top tenth-percentile made around $166,680 on average.
Careers in health administration are appealing for a number of reasons. Many professionals are understandably attracted to the job security, compensation, and advancement opportunity. But many are also excited to bring innovation and improvement to something as important as healthcare. No matter what motivates you, use this overview to launch your career in health administration.
Health administrators may be in-demand in Minnesota, but that does not mean employers are not selective. To get a sense of what actual employers are looking for, consider these real job postings from July 2018. Please note that these jobs may no longer be available, and affiliation with this site provides no guarantee of employment.
- Medical Staff Credentialing Coordinator, Northfield, MN – A regional hospital is looking for a health administrator to oversee every aspect of staff credentialing. Responsibilities include initiating, coordinating, and processing credentials for staff at all levels. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree are preferred, and candidates with a Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist certificate are given preference.
- Clinic Manager, Minnetonka, MN – An optometry office is looking for a manager to handle all aspects of daily operations. Specific duties include directing the departments within the office, managing staff, coordinating with physicians, standardizing customer service, and organizing schedules and budgets. A bachelor’s degree in business or healthcare is required along with at least 3 years of relevant experience.
- Director of Facilities Services, Rochester, MN – A retirement home is looking for a health administration professional to manage all aspects of facilities services. Responsibilities include identifying areas for improvement, coordinating maintenance technicians, ensuring regulatory compliance, and maximizing health and safety. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of supervisory experience.
Additional Helpful Resources
Prominent Employers in Minnesota
Health administration professionals can find job openings across the state, but these are some of the largest healthcare-related employers in Minnesota:
- Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
- Park Nicollete Methodist Hospital, Minneapolis, MN
- University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Minneapolis, MN
- Hennepin Healthcare System, Minneapolis, MN
- Park Nicollete Urgent Care, Plymouth, MN
- St Mary’s/Duluth Clinic Health, Duluth, MN
Health Administration Associations
Professional associations and societies are an asset on any career path. Considering joining an association specifically for health administration professionals in Minnesota:
- Minnesota Hospital Association
- Minnesota Medical Group Management Association
- Healthcare Human Resources Association of Minnesota
- American College of Healthcare Executives – Minnesota Chapter
- Public Health Professionals of Minnesota
- Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society – Minnesota Chapter