Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented nationwide, approximately 400,000 Arkansas citizens have gained access to health insurance. Researchers have also estimated that by the year 2016, the state’s total gross domestic product will increase by $550 million because of the ACA. Experts also report that approximately 6,200 jobs have been created as an effect of the ACA, including high paying jobs in health services management and administration.
Thanks in part to the millions being poured back into the state’s economy, the healthcare industry in Arkansas is experiencing significant growth. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services reports that the number of jobs in the healthcare administration and management field in the state is set to experience an 18 percent growth rate between 2012-2022.
Earning a Healthcare Administration Degree in Arkansas
For new students or those already working in the healthcare field, there are plenty of degree options available in Arkansas (both in an online and on-campus format). There is a wide range of programs available to suit each student’s unique needs.
Undergraduate Degrees in Health Administration
Whether seeking an online or on-campus program, those pursuing undergraduate degree in healthcare administration have a variety of different degree programs to choose from:
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration or Management (BS)
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
A bachelor’s degree usually consists of 120 credit hours. Students most commonly complete these programs in four years. The first two years are comprised of general education core courses that students are required to take. In the final two years of their program, students can take courses that are more specialized to fit their degree program. Topics covered in healthcare-related undergraduate majors may include the following:
- Healthcare services
- Compliance to law and policy
- Business management
- Public health
Graduate Degrees in Health Administration
Those seeking management and leadership roles in the healthcare field will likely need a graduate degree to secure executive positions or advance in their current workplace. A range of graduate programs is available (both online and on-campus) for those seeking a master’s degree in the healthcare administration field:
- Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration
- Master of Science (MS) in Health Policy and Management
- Master of Health Administration (MHA)
Graduate Program Admission Criteria
Though specific requirements may vary from school to school, the following criteria are commonly required for admission into a graduate program in healthcare administration:
- Minimum GPA requirements
- Letters of recommendation
- Experience working in a healthcare facility
- Current employment in the healthcare industry
- Official undergraduate transcripts
Students who have not earned a healthcare-related bachelor’s degree will still be considered for admission into these graduate programs; however, they may be required to take additional prerequisite courses before the graduate program begins.
Graduate programs are usually made up of between 36-60 credit hours, and students typically are able to complete them in about two years. Some graduate schools may require students to complete a thesis or capstone project at the end of their program. Topics covered in these graduate courses may include:
- Data analysis
- Advanced finance
- Healthcare economics
- Medical informatics
- Quality and performance standards
- Healthcare law and policy
- Management and leadership
- Decision making
In addition to online programs, there are a number of on-campus graduate programs available to students in the following locations:
- Little Rock
Qualifying for Health Administration and Management Jobs in Arkansas
The following job descriptions have been pulled from job boards across Arkansas, and they are good indicators of what employers expect from applicants when it comes to prior experience and education level when recruiting for various positions. (These examples are shown for illustrative purposes only. They should not be interpreted as job offers or a guarantee of employment.):
- Program Director – Manages the Behavioral Health program, communicates with hospital administrators in various departments, ensures exceptional patient care and services; graduate degree in a business, psychology, or healthcare administration field is preferred in addition to 5 years of experience.
- Program Manager, Psychiatric Center – Oversees all daily operations of the behavioral health services department, handles hiring and scheduling staff, delegates and assists with administrative tasks; master’s degree in business, healthcare, or related field required, plus minimum of five years relevant experience.
- Pain Center Manager – Ensures effective and efficient administrative support to Mercy Intervention Pain Center. Main responsibilities include staffing, records, billing, and other daily operations. Bachelor’s degree in healthcare related field is required; master’s degree is preferred.
Top Employers and Professional Resources for Healthcare Administrators in Arkansas
Arkansas is home to numerous institutions and associations that have been created to serve the needs of healthcare professionals. Healthcare administrators and managers can take advantage of these resources available to them whenever they find themselves in need professional support, industry information, or employment opportunities.
Largest Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers in Arkansas
- CHI St. Vincent Infirmary, Little Rock
- Arkansas Surgical Hospital, North Little Rock
- Washington Regional Medical Center, Fayetteville
- Advance Care Hospital of Fort Smith
- Arkansas Heart Hospital, Little Rock
- Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, Paragould
- Ashley County Medical Center, Crossett
- Arkansas Healthcare Financial Management Association
- Arkansas Healthcare Executives
- Arkansas Medical Group Management Association
- Arkansas Healthcare Human Resources Association
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
- American College of Health Care Administrators
- National Association of Health Services Executives
- National Association of Healthcare Access Management