Kentucky’s rapidly growing healthcare sector is driving demand for healthcare management and administration professionals in the state. In 2019 the US Department of Labor reported there were 206 hospital facilities here employing a total of 91,069 people.
The state government-sponsored Kentucky Career Center projects that the number of medical and health services manager jobs in the state will increase by just over 16 percent during the ten-year period leading up to 2028. Contributing to this is the increasing number of patients being seen thanks to improved access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), coupled with the state’s growing elderly population, which is creating a greater demand for medical services than has ever been seen in the state.
Healthcare Administration Degrees Available in Kentucky
With a full 10 percent more state residents having access to healthcare than just five years before and one of the largest elder populations in the nation (14.8 percent of residents 65 and older), Kentucky’s healthcare system relies heavily on skilled facility managers and hospital system administrators to ensure the efficient delivery of high quality patient care for all the state’s residents.
Undergraduate and graduate degrees in healthcare administration are available through campus locations and flexible online programs designed with working professionals in mind.
Undergraduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Management
In addition to degrees that offer a general business major, there are several different variations of undergraduate degrees that specifically address the skills health administrators need:
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Management
Undergraduate degrees are usually comprised of 120 semester credits and take four years to complete. The first 60 credits cover general undergraduate requirements and prerequisite courses for more advanced classes in the major. Schools will often accept an associate’s transfer degree to fulfill these initial 60 credits.
This is followed by approximately 60 credits of upper-division courses that cover important subjects in the chosen major, which can include:
- Healthcare economics and finance
- Legal healthcare business issues
- Organizations and information systems
- Strategic management and organizational change
- Financial statement analysis
- Business planning for healthcare management
- Business and administration leadership
In addition to online options prospective students can find relevant undergraduate degree programs offered at campus locations in:
- Crestview Hills
- Highland Heights
Graduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Management
Students looking to gain competitive qualifications, and especially professionals looking to advance in their careers, will need to consider pursuing a graduate degree in this field. The foundation this level of education provides is becoming a widely recognized standard that tomorrow’s professionals are expected to possess.
Examples of graduate degrees relevant to an advanced career in healthcare administration include:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) (concentration in Healthcare Management or Administration)
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
- Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA)
- JD/MSHA dual degree program
- MSN/MBA dual degree program
- MHA/MBA dual degree program
Graduate Program Admissions
Graduate programs will usually accept students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any field as long as they have completed the necessary undergraduate prerequisites or make arrangements to do so). This is just one of the common admission standards shared by many healthcare administration master’s programs in Kentucky. Other requirements include:
- Professional work experience and/or current employment in the healthcare industry
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal essay
Graduate Program Details
While every graduate program is unique, students can usually expect to spend 18-24 months completing between 30-60 semester credits of coursework.
Many programs culminate with a final thesis paper assignment or capstone project. This can focus on a research subject in-depth or it might include fieldwork combined with an observational assessment report.
Important areas of study and focus that are covered in a graduate program include:
- Advanced financial management for healthcare organizations
- Quality and performance improvement using evidence-based methods
- Advanced healthcare policy and law
- Aggregation of quantitative methods for evaluating healthcare organizations
- Strategic management for large healthcare organizations
- Medical informatics
- Service line development
- Leadership and ethics
Students can find opportunities to pursue a master degree in the healthcare administration and management field online, as well as through universities located in:
Healthcare Administration Jobs in Kentucky
Earning a relevant, competitive education will allow new students and advancing professionals alike to pursue a greater number of career opportunities throughout the state. The following examples are provided to illustrate what graduates can expect to find in Kentucky’s professional environment. These were taken from a job survey conducted in October 2015 and are here to serve as examples only:
Norton Healthcare in Louisville
- Coordinator of Clinical Effectiveness –Responsible for leading workgroups while implementing proven performance improvement strategies; applicants can qualify for this position with a master’s degree, such as an MHA or MBA
- Director of Patient Care Services – With the goal of providing quality patient care, this professional leads the nursing team and administrative staff; applicants must have a master’s degree in business, nursing, or another related field like healthcare administration or healthcare management
- Practice Manager with Gastroenterology – This professional works in a physician’s office, providing leadership, management, and evaluations for the office team; applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree, while preferred applicants will have a master’s degree, such as an MHA or MBA
Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton
- Chief Executive Officer – this position requires the incumbent to manage all daily aspects of the hospital, namely organizing, planning, and directing hospital staff to achieve specified goals; applicants must have an MHA or MBA
Logan Memorial Hospital in Russellville
- Chief Nursing Officer – the incumbent in this position will hold the ultimate administrative responsibility for the actions of nursing staff; applicants must have a valid nursing license with preference given to those with an MHA or MSN
Local Resources for Healthcare Administrators and Managers
Prospective students as well as experienced professionals can find many relevant resources located throughout Kentucky. These can provide further information regarding careers and professional development along with networking opportunities.
Largest Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers
- Baptist Health Louisville
- University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington
- Norton Hospital in Louisville
- Baptist Health Lexington
- Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin
- Saint Elizabeth Edgewood
- Baptist Health Madisonville
- Lexington VA Medical Center
- Robley Rex VA Medical Center
- VA Outpatient Clinic in Hopkinsville
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Kentucky Health Information Management Association
- Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities
- Medical Group Management Association – State of Kentucky Chapter, Bluegrass Chapter
- Kentucky Society of Healthcare Engineers
- Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives
- Healthcare Financial Management Association
- Health Management Associates
- Health Care Administrators Association
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for Medical and Health Services Managers.
Job growth projections sourced from the Kentucky Center for Statistics and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.
Salary figures and job market projections represent state data, not school-specific information.
Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2021.