Bachelors and Masters in Health Management and Administration in Illinois

As home to 13,730 professionals working in some area of health administration as of 2014, Illinois had the fifth-highest number of facility managers and hospital system administrators of all states in the nation. When compared to neighboring states, Illinois’s healthcare administrators and managers also earned the highest average annual salary, at $105,880 as of 2014 (US Department of Labor).

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Illinois’s healthcare industry contributed $47.3 billion to the state’s economy in 2014 alone, representing around 6.3 percent of its total GSP (Gross State Product) that year. Illinois has also enjoyed $164.9 million in federal funding to help expand healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in recent years, and it has been working. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that medical insurance coverage in Illinois climbed to a new high, with 89 percent of the state’s residents now covered.

This combination of factors has contributed to a growing demand for facility managers and health system administrators, who are now enjoying a stronger job market and greater career mobility than in years past. In fact, the Illinois Department of Employment Security estimates that the number of healthcare administration jobs in the state will increase by 13 percent over the ten-year period leading up to 2022, adding over 1,500 new jobs.

Earning a Degree in Healthcare Administration in Illinois

At both the undergraduate and graduate level, programs in healthcare administration are available at campus locations throughout Illinois, as well as through flexible online programs designed to accommodate the schedules of busy working professionals.

Undergraduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Management

There are several relevant bachelor’s degree programs that students can pursue in the areas of healthcare management, administration, and business, including these examples:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Management

The four-year bachelor’s degree program usually consists of 120 semester credits, which can be divided into 60 general undergraduate credits and 60 upper-division core courses.

Core upper-division classes will feature subjects such as the following:

  • Human resources management
  • Business and administration leadership
  • Healthcare economics
  • Principles of management and marketing
  • Analysis of financial statements
  • Strategic planning and healthcare management
  • Organizations and information systems
  • Strategic planning in a business environment

In addition to online schools, relevant undergraduate programs are located in cities across the state, including:

  • Chicago
  • DeKalb
  • Urbana
  • Champaign
  • Springfield
  • Macomb
  • Quad Cities

Graduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Management

A graduate degree is widely considered to be the standard for professionals looking to start or advance an executive leadership career in hospital system administration and management. Illinois residents have several relevant degree options to choose from, including:

  • Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management or Administration
  • MHA/MBA dual degree program
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA)
  • JD/MSHA dual degree program
  • MSN/MBA dual degree program
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)

Graduate Program Admission Criteria

Graduate programs in this field will typically admit students who have earned their undergraduate degree in a major other than healthcare administration, provided the student arranges to complete the necessary prerequisite courses. While each school has its own specific requirements for entry, some common standards include:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA
  • Essay on academic and professional goals
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official undergraduate transcripts
  • Years of professional work experience
  • Current employment in the healthcare industry for a specified number of years

Outline of a Master’s Program in Health Administration

Master’s programs in health administration typically range between 36-60 semester credits in duration and take between 18 and 24 months to complete fulltime. MBA students would choose an area of focus such as healthcare administration, healthcare business, or healthcare management. Many programs culminate with a thesis or capstone research project.

The core courses that make up graduate-level coursework in health administration typically cover:

  • Advanced financial management for healthcare organizations
  • Healthcare policy and law
  • Quantitative evaluations for healthcare organizations
  • Service line development
  • Decision making data analysis
  • Strategy for management of large healthcare organizations
  • Global economics for healthcare managers
  • Healthcare accounting
  • Compliance for accreditation

In addition to online programs, campus locations for relevant master’s programs can be found in:

  • Chicago
  • Joliet
  • Oak Lawn
  • Champaign
  • Carbondale
  • Springfield

Healthcare Administration Jobs in Illinois

The following examples of prospective job titles and employers are provided for illustrative purposes only. These were collected from job vacancy announcements throughout Illinois in October 2015:

Northwestern Medicine in Winfield

  • Strategic Planning and Business Development Consultant – Responsible for evaluating proposals and plans on how to achieve organizational goals; preferred applicants will have an MHA or MBA, while a bachelor’s degree is required
  • Program Manager for Strategy and Business Development – Pursues and identifies business activities that are compatible with the department’s overall strategic plans; applicants must have either an MHA or an MBA

VHA-UHC Alliance in Chicago

  • Manager of Networks – Ensures a high level of member engagement and loyalty through responsible portfolio management; preference is given to applicants with an MHA, MBA, or MSN, while a bachelor’s degree is required
  • Director of Product Delivery – Responsible for leading a team of product specialists who support members and stakeholders with clinical products; applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree that is related to the health profession, business management, or technology

Adventist Hinsdale Hospital

  • Manager of Cardiac Services – Supervises employees and maintains an adequate workflow at the non-invasive cardiology department; preference is given to applicants who have an MHA, MSN, or MBA

Huron Consulting Group in Chicago

  • Clinical Trials Management Systems (CTMS) Associate – Assists clients with the implementation, planning, support, and post-implementation of CTMS; preferred applicants will have an MHA, MBA, MPH, or related degree

Top Employers and Professional Resources for Healthcare Administrators in Illinois

Illinois hosts a significant number of resources to support employment, networking and career advancement in health administration and management:

Significant Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago
  • Rush University Medical Center in Chicago
  • University of Chicago Medical Center
  • Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn
  • Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood
  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge
  • NorthShore Evanston Hospital

Federal Medical Facilities

  • Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago
  • VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville
  • Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital in Hines
  • Marion VA Medical Center

Health Insurance Companies

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
  • Aetna
  • Coventry Health Care of Illinois
  • Illinicare Health
  • UnitedHealthcare of the Midwest

Professional Resources

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