In Florida’s many public and private hospitals and integrated health systems, skilled health administrators and managers capable of developing and implementing policy, navigating regulations, and allocating fiscal and human resources are in high demand. As the state’s healthcare sector experiences unprecedented growth, health systems are expanding and increasing staffing rates to accommodate a growing patient population. This environment has been creating new opportunities for upward career mobility, prompting experienced administrators to pursue executive positions. This has contributed to better opportunities than ever before for recent graduates by opening up lower-to-mid level positions for those newer to the field.
According to The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, economists expect the number of jobs in the field of health services management and administration in the state to increase by 21 percent during the ten-year projection period spanning 2012-2022.
The increased demand for healthcare services in Florida is driven largely by the increasing number of elderly residents in the state and the far greater number of people with access to preventative care thanks to expanded coverage under the newly initiated Affordable Care Act (ACA). Before the ACA was introduced, more than 3.9 million Florida residents were uninsured. The act has also allowed Medicaid to expand and provide coverage for adults who would have previously been ineligible for healthcare.
Earning a Health Administration Degree in Florida
Those hoping to enter the healthcare administration field in Florida should have no problem finding a degree to suit their individual preferences and needs. There are many undergraduate and graduate programs to choose from, available both online and at campus locations throughout the state.
Undergraduate Degree Programs in Health Administration
An undergraduate degree in health administration prepares graduates for lower-to-mi-level positions in hospitals and integrated health systems. Relevant programs available online and through campus locations in Florida include:
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a concentration in Health Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Health Administration (BSHA)
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
Each of these undergraduate degrees is typically made up of 120 credit hours, traditionally allowing students to complete the program in 4 years. During the first two years, students are usually required to take courses that are a part of the university’s general education core. An associate’s transfer degree would typically be accepted for meeting these general undergraduate requirements. Major-specific courses are taken in the latter half of the degree program. Topics that may be covered in these upper-level classes include:
- Health law
- Healthcare financial management
- Quality management
- International healthcare systems
Undergraduate degrees are offered through online programs as well as through on-campus programs located in many of Florida’s major cities:
- Fort Lauderdale
- Boca Raton
Graduate Degree Programs in Health Administration
Though many healthcare institutions have a minimum requirement of an undergraduate degree, many employers prefer candidates who have earned a master’s in health administration or another closely related graduate degree. Graduate degree programs in healthcare administration available online and through schools in Florida include:
- 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)
Graduate Program Admission Criteria
Each individual graduate program has a unique set of requirements that applicants must meet. Though these may vary from school to school, many programs require the following as admission criteria:
- Minimum GPA requirement
- Letters of recommendation from employers or educators
- Essay or statement of purpose
- Professional experience in the healthcare field
- Bachelor’s degree in any discipline
Students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare-related discipline will still be considered for admission, but they may be required to take a few additional prerequisite courses before beginning the graduate program. Graduate programs usually consist of between 36-60 credits earned over the course of about two years or less.
Topics commonly covered in graduate program courses include:
- Effective management strategies and techniques
- Community and public health
- Healthcare regulations and laws
- Budget management
- Healthcare economics
- Medical informatics
- Decision management
After finishing normal coursework, graduate students may be required to complete a capstone project or a thesis. This allows students to apply what they have learned and conduct relevant research before graduating.
In addition to online programs, there are many traditional on-site healthcare administration degree programs offered at campus locations in the following Florida cities:
- Boca Raton
- Fort Lauderdale
Healthcare Administration Jobs in Florida
The following job descriptions have been sourced from job boards posted throughout Florida These descriptions can be useful in gaining an understanding of what employers are looking for in applicants as far as previous experience and education is concerned (Examples are for illustrative purposes only, and should not be interpreted as job offers, guaranteed job openings, or an assurance of employment):
North Naples Hospital
- Director of Development – Creates and manages relationships with major foundation donors, assists with fundraising event planning, grant-writing, and annual giving programs; master’s degree preferred as well as a few years in a non-profit healthcare setting.
Baptist Health of South Florida, Miami
- Director of the Institutional Review Board – Oversees all human subject studies, ensuring that all studies meet institutional, federal, and state regulations; bachelor’s degree required, a master’s degree in health related field is preferred.
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville
- Business Development Officer – Main responsibilities include management of daily business activities such as maintaining relationships with other medical facilities, making efforts to increase patient numbers, and managing financial accounts; bachelor’s degree in business administration or healthcare management is required, as well as experience in sales or pharmaceuticals.
- Appointment Services Supervisor – oversees all support staff in the appointment services department, manages the ordering of materials, and supervises daily administrative operations; bachelor’s degree and five years of related experience required.
- Corporate Development Manager – Develops and maintains business opportunities for the Jacksonville branch of Mayo Clinic, researches marketing and business development; master’s degree in healthcare management is required, entrepreneurial or management experience preferred.
Largest Employers and Professional Resources for Health Administrators in Florida
There are numerous resources available to healthcare administrators and managers in Florida. These resources can be very useful when looking for employment, training and educational opportunities, as well as professional support and networking opportunities.
Top Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers
- Florida Hospital Orlando, Orlando
- UF Health Shands Hospital, Gainseville
- Tampa General Hospital, Tampa
- Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville
- Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando
- Baptist Hospital of Miami, Miami
- Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale
- Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sarasota
- Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston
- Naples Community Hospital, Naples
- Florida Health Care Association
- Health Care Administrators Association
- Florida Hospital Association
- Florida Medical Group Management Association
- Florida Agency for Health Care Administration
- Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
- American College of Health Care Administrators
- Florida Association of Health Care Plans