According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare Administrators and Managers in the Washington D.C. area earn average annual salaries of $131,160, well above the national average in this field. Along with great compensation packages, this field is also currently expanding and adding jobs every year. The D.C. Department of Employment Services estimates that this field will experience a growth rate of 12 percent between 2012-2022.
Washington’s healthcare industry has remained fairly stable over the past ten years. This is partially due to the fact that a larger than average percentage of Washington D.C. citizens have health insurance – about 97 percent. The majority of these citizens are covered by insurance plans provided by their employers. There are over eight hospitals total in the D.C. area, and some of the nation’s most skilled medical professionals are employed there.
Earning a Healthcare Administration Degree in Washington, D.C.
Individuals looking to enter the healthcare administration field in the D.C. area will find no shortage of options as far as degree programs. There are numerous online programs (both undergraduate and graduate) available to students who require a more flexible option, and there are also many on-campus programs offered in the Washington D.C. metro area.
Undergraduate Degree Programs in Health Administration
There are a variety of bachelor degree programs available to students in the D.C. area (through online and on-campus programs):
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration or Management (BS)
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
Undergraduate degrees commonly are made up of 120 credit hours, and students usually take four years to complete them. About half of these credits are part of a general education core that students are required to take – this is usually done during the first two years of the degree program. The major-specific courses are taken by upperclassmen during their final two years. Topics covered in these courses may include the following:
- Medical terminology
- Human resources
- Business communications
- Introduction to healthcare administration
- Financial management
Graduate Degree Programs in Health Administration
A graduate degree is the most commonly accepted industry standard, particularly for those seeking director and executive level jobs in larger healthcare institutions and integrated systems. There are a number of graduate degree types available to students in the D.C. area:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
- Master of Science (MS) in Health Policy and Management
- Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA)
- MHA/MBA dual degree programs
Graduate Program Admission Criteria
Specific admission requirements tend to vary between programs, but the most commonly used criteria for admission into a graduate program includes:
- Official undergraduate transcript
- Relevant experience in the healthcare field
- Letters of recommendation from supervisors or professors
- Essay or statement of purpose
- A minimum GPA requirement (specific GPA varies from program to program)
Though many graduate schools do not necessarily require students to have undergraduate degrees in healthcare administration, those who have a degree in a different field may be required to take additional prerequisite courses before beginning their graduate program.
Students typically complete these programs in approximately 18-24 months depending on how many credits they take on per semester. Once students complete the 36-60 credit hours of normal coursework, they may be required to complete a capstone project or culminating thesis paper before graduating.
Courses in healthcare graduate degrees will cover topics such as:
- Finance and accounting in healthcare
- Policy, ethics, and law
- Decision making strategies
- Quality of performance
- Medical informatics
- Community and public health
- Strategic leadership
Jobs in Healthcare Administration
The following job openings were pulled from job boards that were posted in the D.C. area. These descriptions were gathered to provide an example of what healthcare recruiters typically look for in an applicant as far as education level and professional experience. (These examples are shown for illustrative purposes only. They should not be interpreted as job offers or a guarantee of employment.):
Comprehensive Health Services
- Executive Administrative Assistant – Handles billing, correspondence between supervisor and staff, organizes health claims information, supervises and delegates other daily operations tasks; bachelor’s degree required, relevant training or experience is preferred.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
- Executive Administrator – Leads all daily operations and coordinates the administrative department at Medstar; bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or a directly related field is required, plus at least three years of relevant hospital experience.
Washington Wound Care Center
- Program Director – Manages the outpatient wound care center, overseeing daily operations, budgeting, marketing, and human resource management; bachelor’s degree in business or healthcare administration is required, a master’s in healthcare or business administration is preferred.
- Manager, Health Systems Advisory Services – Studies and provides insight on business tools and analytics that can be put to use in healthcare companies, consults and supports providers; bachelor’s degree in the healthcare field is required, as well as at least four years of professional experience.
Largest Employers and Professional Resources for Healthcare Administrators and Managers in D.C.
Healthcare professionals in Washington D.C. have an abundance of resources at their fingertips. These institutions and associations have been put in place to provide professional support, industry information, and employment opportunities.
Top Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers
- Inova Fairfax Hospital
- MedStar Washington Hospital Center
- Inova Fair Oaks Hospital
- Mary Washington Hospital
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
- Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
- Holy Cross Hospital
- Virginia Hospital Center
- Health Resources and Services Administration
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
- Medical Group Management Association
- American College of Health Care Administrators
- American Health Care Association
- American Hospital Association
- American College of Healthcare Executives
- Health Care Administrators Association
- Healthcare Financial Management Association