Nebraska is a leader among a growing number of states implementing collaborative healthcare programs with the hopes of improving patient outcomes and ensuring a high level of care. It is an exciting time for Nebraska’s health administrators, who develop policy for and implement these new programs designed to improve the health and well being of all Nebraskans.
For example, the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative, a recent collaboration that brought thirty Nebraska hospitals together, is dedicated to reducing complications and death following childbirth and during a baby’s first month of life. The healthcare administrators that oversee this innovative program work to join the state’s health systems in an effort to ensure the best outcomes for moms and babies in all areas of the state, particularly those rural areas notorious for being medically underserved.
The Nebraska Department of Labor, Office of Labor Market Information reported that 2,619 medical and health services managers were employed throughout the state in 2012. By 2022, the Office projects that this number will increase to 3,062, representing an average of 44 new jobs in the field each year. This strong job growth projection points to the increasing number of opportunities for experienced administrators looking to move into advanced positions in executive leadership, as well as for recent graduates with less experience in the field.
Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Health Administration in Nebraska
A career in health administration begins with a post-secondary degree, usually with a major in healthcare administration or a related field. More often, today’s senior-level positions in healthcare administration require a master’s degree, whereas bachelor’s degrees in health administration are suitable for entry- or mid-level positions, while also providing the ideal foundation for graduate-level studies.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Health Administration
Bachelor degrees in health administration are generally structured as:
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a concentration in Health Administration
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
Usually consisting of about four years of full-time study and 120 semester credits, bachelor’s degrees in health administration prepare graduates to effectively manage and allocate financial, human, and informational resources; analyze problem-solving methods; and evaluate and implement organizational objectives.
Core coursework in these programs covers such key concepts as:
- Health policy
- Healthcare law
- Healthcare economics
- Professional ethics
- Administrative law
- Organizational behavior
Master’s Degrees in Health Administration
Master’s degrees in health administration have become the standard educational requirement for director and executive-level healthcare administration jobs in Nebraska’s hospitals, integrated health systems and more.
Master’s degrees in health administration provide students with a comprehensive course of study in health policy theory and practice. Graduates of these programs possess an awareness of the intricacies of management, finance, economics, and the social sciences, all in the context of the healthcare environment. This breadth of knowledge prepares graduates to oversee the administration of healthcare systems and organizations of nearly any size and structure.
Program Structure and Design
Colleges and universities offering master’s degrees in health administration may offer residential programs (on-campus programs designed for the traditional student), executive programs (programs designed for professionals in healthcare administration), and combined, duel-degree programs (JD/MHA, MBA/MHA, MBA/MPH).
Some programs offer campus courses, online courses, or hybrid programs, which offer a combination of online and on-campus courses.
In addition, master’s degrees in health administration may be housed in any number of schools or colleges within a university- from schols of business, to shcools of public health. Therefore, their titles vary to reflect this:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Health Administration focus
- Master of Public Health (MPH) with a Health Administration focus
- Master of Science (MS) in Health Administration
- Master of Health Administration (MHA)
- Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a Health Administration focus
General admission requirements for master’s degree programs in health administration include:
- Bachelor degree from an accredited college or university
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Minimum GRE scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Admissions essays/interviews
- Comprehensive resume detailing work experience (executive programs)
Although these programs require bachelor’s degrees from an accredited college or university, an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration is typically not a requirement, as many candidates of these programs come from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Typical undergraduate degrees include business management, finance, human resources, and communications. Many others possess undergraduate degrees in healthcare-related fields.
Master’s degree programs in health administration provide students with an interdisciplinary education that focuses on management, organizational leadership, healthcare policy, and health systems. The competency-based curriculum of these programs allows students to develop advanced skills in collaboration, communication, organizational awareness, and strategic thinking, among others. Coursework includes study in:
- Analytics and managerial decision-making
- Health economics
- Healthcare accounting and budgeting
- Managerial and organizational behavior
- Healthcare finance
- Healthcare marketing
- Strategic management
- Governance, health law and ethics
Healthcare Administration Jobs in Nebraska
Graduates of health administration degree programs in Nebraska may pursue a wide array of jobs in settings such as hospitals, integrated healthcare systems, physician practices, government and academia, among others.
The following list of recent job posts in Nebraska provides some insight into the kinds of jobs available to graduates of health administration programs (From a survey of job boards in Nebraska performed in November 2015. Shown for illustrative purposes only and does not imply the assurance of employment or the availability of jobs):
Business Manager, Omaha – Directs, plans, coordinates, and optimizes processes and directs the implementation, support, and evaluation of department services to meet the needs of the organization; requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, nursing, health administration, or a related field, and at least four years of experience in a healthcare setting
Patient Account Manager, Lincoln – Manages patient account staff in processing accounts and working with designated payors to ensure proper reimbursement; requires a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, business, or a related area; MBA preferred
Business Director, Critical Care, Omaha – Develops, directs, and monitors business systems in order to meet or exceed the organization’s financial objectives; bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business administration, health administration, nursing or a related field required, master’s degree preferred
Clinical Integration Coordinator, Omaha – Coordinates the work of multiple physician-led, clinical integration working groups; bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience in healthcare planning and operations required, master’s degree in nursing, healthcare administration or a related field preferred
Resources for Professionals in Health Administration in Nebraska
Jobs in healthcare administration in Nebraska exist throughout a wide array of healthcare settings and systems. Some of Nebraska’s largest hospitals and health systems include:
- Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha
- Bryan Medical Center, Lincoln
- Methodist Hospital, Omaha
- Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln
- Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Omaha
- CHI Health Bergan Mercy, Omaha
Professional associations provide healthcare administrators with a variety of opportunities to pursue continuing education, network with others in their industry, and stay current on the latest developments in Nebraska’s healthcare sector:
- Nebraska Hospital Association
- Nebraska Medical Directors Association
- Nebraska Medical Association
- Public Health Association of Nebraska
- Nebraska Association of Home and Community Health Agencies
- Nebraska Rural Health Association