Maryland’s aggressive implementation of the Affordable Care Act—thanks, in part, to its nonprofit advocacy organization, the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Education Fund—has increased health care access throughout the State. For health administrators, these significant changes have also enhanced professional opportunities and the salaries that accompany them.
The landmark Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Law of 2012 and the Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013 have put this state in the lead when it comes to implementing the Affordable Care Act. These laws are game changers not only for the citizens of Maryland, but also for the professionals in healthcare administration.
Maryland’s online marketplace for the uninsured estimates that 150,000 residents will enroll in health plans in 2016 – that’s up from 115,000 in 2015. A University of Minnesota-affiliated health policy research center found that about 300,000 Maryland residents are eligible for coverage under the state’s health exchange.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maryland ranked among the top states with the highest concentration of health administration jobs, as of May 2014. Health administrators and medical office managers in Maryland earned an average salary of $107,260 during this time.
Health Administration Degrees in Maryland
While most senior-level positions in health administration now require a master’s degree, students in Maryland may begin to explore this career by first achieving a bachelor’s degree.
Undergraduate Degrees in Healthcare Management and Administration
A variety of undergraduate degrees in healthcare management/administration in Maryland exist, most of which are structured as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or a Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA).
Bachelor degrees in health administration or healthcare management prepare tomorrow’s leaders by providing them with a critical foundation of knowledge related to the delivery of healthcare services. Graduates of healthcare administration bachelor’s degree programs often find employment in small physician practices or in entry-level management positions with home healthcare providers, hospices, and public health agencies.
These four-year programs (about 120 semester credits) emphasize communication skills, organizational competence, and managing and developing professional standards and procedures through a comprehensive curriculum.
Typical core courses in a bachelor’s degree in health administration include:
- Information systems management
- Health care management
- Community health
- Critical issues in healthcare
- Human resource management
- Health care law
Graduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Management
Maryland is home to an array of graduate degrees in healthcare administration and management, offered both online and on campus. These programs include:
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
- Master of Science (MS) in Health Care Administration
- Master of Science (MS) in Management: Healthcare Administration
Master’s degrees, largely recognized as the industry standard among healthcare administrators in Maryland and throughout the U.S., focus on advanced topics in healthcare administration. Colleges of public health, colleges of business administration, and colleges of public policy/administration all house health administration programs. As such, these programs are often structured as:
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
- Master of Public Health (MPH)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Public Administration (MPA)
- Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
- Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA)
Master’s degrees in healthcare administration also vary according to their target student. For example, these programs may be designed as:
- Resident programs (on campus programs for the traditional student)
- Executive master’s programs (designed for the working professional; often includes online, evening, and/or part-time study)
- Accelerated programs (combines both undergraduate and graduate coursework in an accelerated format)
Admission into these programs does not generally require an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration; therefore, it is common for students to possess undergraduate degrees in everything from nursing/allied health profession to finance to accounting to business administration. However, master’s degrees in healthcare administration tend to be competitive, requiring candidates to possess:
- Minimum undergraduate GPA (along with the completion of specific undergraduate courses)
- Admissions essay
- GRE scores
- Letters of recommendation
Most programs take about two years to complete, culminate in a capstone project or master’s thesis, and include study in such core topics as:
- Managerial epidemiology and statistics
- Healthcare policy and law
- Legal and ethical issues in healthcare
- Organizational behavior in healthcare
- Healthcare finance
- Strategic planning and marketing in healthcare
Healthcare Administration Jobs in Maryland
The expertise, leadership, and guidance healthcare administrators provide are critical to a number of organizations:
- Consulting firms
- Ambulatory care facilities
- Home health agencies
- Public health departments
The following job descriptions serve as illustrative examples of healthcare administration positions found throughout Maryland and do not constitute a job offer or the assurance of employment (From a survey of job boards performed in October 2015):
Assistant Nursing Home Administrator, Baltimore: Provides a wide range of services, including assisted living, skilled nursing, post-acute medical, and rehabilitative care; bachelor’s degree in nursing home administration or a related field required, master’s degree preferred
Administrative Manager, Baltimore: Manages human resources, operational planning, and administrative oversight of the Division of Nurse Anesthetists, which encompasses financial/budget oversight, staff/human resources issues, and the overall performance of the Division; requires a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting, or a related subject, although a master’s degree in healthcare administration or a related field preferred
Administrative Director, Lanham: Provides support to the programs and regional director as to ensure compliance, oversight of administration functions, reporting, and general operations; requires a master’s degree in health and human services or a related field
Director, Quality and Patient Safety, La Plata: Directs and coordinates the daily administrative activities and personnel of the Performance Improvement department; ideal candidates possess a master’s degree in healthcare administration, business administration, or one of the clinical disciplines
Executive Director Behavioral Health, Salisbury: Provides leadership, direction, and coordination for hospital departments; ensures critical success factors are achieved; master’s degree in business or healthcare administration preferred
Resources for Healthcare Administrators and Managers in Maryland
Maryland’s expansive healthcare network, including major hospital systems and professional organizations, provide healthcare administrators and managers with a plethora of professional opportunities.
Some of the largest employers of professionals in health administration in Maryland include:
- Mercy Health Services, Baltimore
- LifeBridge Health, Baltimore
- University of Maryland Medical System, Baltimore
- MedStar Health, Columbia
- John Hopkins Health System, Baltimore
Professional associations provide hospital administrators and managers with opportunities to network with others in their profession and pursue continuing education:
- Maryland Association of Healthcare Executives
- Maryland Hospital Association
- Health Facilities Association of Maryland
- Maryland – National Capital Homecare Association
- Maryland Rural Health Association
- Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers
- Maryland Medical Directors Association