The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), a major regional hub for healthcare services and research, is the state’s largest employer, providing jobs for more than 23,000 professionals across multiple healthcare campuses. With approximately 2,750 other healthcare institutions in the city of Birmingham alone, it is no surprise that this is where most of the state’s healthcare administration and management jobs can be found.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health services managers and administrators in Alabama earned an average annual salary of $93,020 as of 2014. The Bureau’s 2014 report also revealed a 20 percent job growth projection for Alabama’s health administrators during the ten-year period spanning 2012-2022.
As the implementation of the Affordable Care Act brings a billion dollars in federal funding into the state’s coffers to support enrollment, tens of thousands of state residents are enjoying better access to healthcare services. As the state’s healthcare sector strains under the new demand, hospitals and integrated health systems are responding by hiring more staff, and more administrators to manage them.
Health Administration Degrees in Alabama
From bachelor’s programs designed for those entering the field of health services administration, to master’s degrees and specialized MBAs for those vying for executive positions, Alabama’s state schools and private universities offer education options to fit all situations.
Undergraduate Degrees in Health Administration
Students in Alabama seeking an undergraduate degree in health administration have the opportunity to choose between a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration (BSHA), and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration (BBA).
These programs consist of 120 credit hours, and are usually completed in 4 years. In the first half of the program, students take general education courses that make up the school’s academic core. In the last two years, courses become more specialized and specific to the field of healthcare administration. Some of the topics in these upper level courses include the following:
- Health sciences
- Business and Economics
- Health information technology
- Human resources
- Health law
Graduate Degrees in Health Administration
A graduate degree is becoming almost essential for upward career mobility in the field of healthcare administration. Master’s degree options available online and through campus locations in Alabama include:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration or Management
- Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA)
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
Graduate Admission Criteria and Program Content
Though specific requirements vary from school to school, students can expect to meet the following commonly upheld standards of graduate school admissions:
- Bachelor’s degree of any kind
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Letters of recommendation
- Professional experience in the healthcare field
Students who have not earned an undergraduate degree in health administration will still be considered for admission into a graduate program, but some schools may require these students to take additional prerequisite courses. Certain colleges may also require graduate students to have a current position in the healthcare industry.
Topics covered in graduate level courses may include the following:
- Financial management and budgeting in healthcare
- Strategies for healthcare management
- Healthcare informatics
- Community health systems
- Quantitative methods and health economic concepts
- Laws and policies in the healthcare industry
In addition to learning about these topics, students also may be required to complete an applied research project, a capstone project, or thesis paper at the end of their graduate program. Graduate programs vary in credit hour requirements and length, but most programs require 36-60 credits and can be completed in 18-24 months.
Alabama’s graduate students majoring in healthcare administration have the opportunity to choose from online degree programs as well as local, on-campus graduate programs in the following locations:
- Orange Beach
Jobs in Healthcare Administration in Alabama
Listed below are examples of job postings gathered from across Alabama in November 2015. These examples show the kinds of job opportunities that may be available to those pursuing careers and career advancement in the field of health administration (Shown for illustrative purposes only and not meant to represent job offers or the assurance of employment):
UAB Healthcare System, Birmingham
- Program Manager – Responsible for managing university programs, budgeting, public relations, grants and reports preparation, and training for healthcare administration department; requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field and at least five years of work experience.
- Supervisor in Patient Financial Services – Coordinates and supervises billing, mediates between patients and other departments and insurance providers; applicants must have five years of prior related work experience.
St. Vincent’s Health System
- Vice President of Regional Growth – Leads department in charge of the health system’s strategic business operations, manages scheduling, recruitment, and budget; a bachelor’s degree and 7 years of experience in a marketing or development role are required.
- Recruiter – Travels between different St. Vincent’s locations, sources candidates to fill job openings, works alongside human resources department; bachelor’s degree in related field is preferred.
Children’s of Alabama, Birmingham
- Donor Services Coordinator – Researches and manages donor relations, handles communications with past and potential donors, handles fundraising events; bachelor’s degree required.
Largest Employers and Professional Resources for Health Administrators in Alabama
Top Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers
- UAB Health Services in Birmingham
- Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster
- Vincent’s Health System in Birmingham
- Laboratory Corporation of America in Montgomery
- Children’s Health System in Birmingham
- Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham
- Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center
- Golden Living in Montgomery
- HealthSouth Corporation in Birmingham
- Alacare Home Health and Hospice in Mobile
- Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham
- Naphcare in Birmingham
- Walker Baptist Medical Center in Jasper
- Noland Health Services in Birmingham
- Medical Group Management Association of Alabama
- American Association of Health Care Administrative Management
- The Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators
- Alabama Primary Health Care Association
- Alabama Health Information Management Association
- National Association of Healthcare Access Management
- Alabama Medical Group Management Association
- American College of Health Care Administrators
- American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administrators