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Bachelors and Masters in Health Management and Administration in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry forecasts that the number of jobs for healthcare administrators and medical services managers will increase by 15.5 percent over the decade leading up to 2022, representing the second fastest growth rate for a management profession across all sectors in the state.

That is an impressive figure, made all the more so by the fact that Pennsylvania is already home to the sixth-highest number of health administration professionals of all states in the nation; 13,330 as of 2014 (US Department of Labor).

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These strong growth figures, accompanied by an average annual salary of $95,190 (2014), can be correlated with two factors that are responsible for a growing demand for healthcare services, and by extension a growing demand for the professionals who administer and manage healthcare systems. Namely, a higher-than-average number of state residents 65 years of age and older – 2.1 million people or 16.7 percent of the total populace– as well as recent legislation that has expanded healthcare coverage. Expanding healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act has resulted in Pennsylvania receiving federal grants totaling $189 million to support local health centers across the state.

Earning a Health Administration Degree in Pennsylvania

Prospective students in Pennsylvania can find a range of options when it comes to earning an education for careers in the healthcare administration field. While a bachelor’s degree is necessary for many entry-level positions, a master’s degree is rapidly become a standard sign of requisite expertise for more advanced careers. Programs are offered online and on campus locations throughout the state.

Undergraduate Degrees in Health Administration

There are several different types of bachelor’s degree programs that will prepare students for careers in healthcare administration, including:

  • Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Administration (BSHA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration

The bachelor’s program takes around four years to complete and is made up of 120 semester credits. The first 60 credits are usually general undergraduate courses and core major prerequisites. Schools will often accept a transfer associate’s degree to cover the undergraduate requirements.

Following this are approximately 60 semester credits of upper-division core major coursework. These courses focus on key topics that are essential for any professional working in the healthcare administration field, including:

  • Health care informatics
  • Healthcare resources, consumers, and payers
  • Principles of management
  • Principles of marketing
  • Analysis of financial statements
  • Strategic planning and healthcare management
  • Human resource management
  • Legal issues in the healthcare business environment
  • Managerial economics

In addition to online options, students can find relevant bachelor’s degree programs in the cities of:

  • Reading
  • Philadelphia
  • Loretto
  • Williamsport
  • Allentown
  • University Park

Graduate Degrees in Health Administration

In Pennsylvania’s competitive marketplace, holding a master’s degree in the field of healthcare administration is becoming a widely accepted industry standard for senior-level executive and director positions. Relevant degree programs include:

  • 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

Graduate Program Admission Standards

Schools will often admit students who have earned their undergraduate degree in any field. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, common admission standards include:

  • Completion of course prerequisites
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA
  • Essay regarding personal career and academic goals
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Years of professional work experience
  • Some programs require current employment in the healthcare industry

The graduate program can be anywhere from 30-60 semester credits, taking between 12-24 months to complete. Many programs will additionally include a thesis paper or capstone project. These will explore important topics in-depth and can lead to a specific area of specialization within the healthcare administration field.

Core courses studied throughout the program can cover advanced theory and methodology on topics such as:

  • Global economics for healthcare managers
  • Strategy for management of large healthcare organizations
  • Medical informatics and statistics
  • Advanced healthcare policy and law
  • Quantitative methods for healthcare organizations
  • Macro data analysis and interpretation for healthcare organizations
  • Advanced healthcare financial management and accounting
  • Compliance for accreditation

In addition to relevant programs that can be found online, a number of college campuses throughout Pennsylvania also offer relevant degrees, including those in:

  • West Chester
  • Pittsburgh
  • Philadelphia
  • Bethlehem
  • University Park
  • Scranton
  • Monaca

Healthcare Administration Careers in Pennsylvania

Once graduates have earned competitive qualifications they will be prepared to start or advance their careers in a state with exciting prospects. The following careers are provided as illustrative examples to demonstrate the nature of the job market in Pennsylvania. These are taken from a statewide survey of job vacancies conducted in November of 2015.

Hershey Medical Center

  • Practice Site Manager I – Ensuring that daily operations in the Medicine Suite function smoothly through regular collaboration with the medical and outpatient directors; preferred applicants hold at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field, such as healthcare administration
  • Process Improvement Program Manager – Tasked with managing a portfolio of broad projects, developing strategies to accomplish targeted goals; preferred applicants have a master’s degree in a healthcare-related field, such as an MHA, MSN, or MPH
  • Integration Project Manager – Responsible for overseeing the integration of a significant range of system-wide enterprises, and must also produce data and reports on said integration; applicants can qualify for this position with an MHA or MBA

Rothman Institute in Philadelphia

  • Associate Director of Business Services –       Duties assigned to this professional include the management of employee credentialing, worker’s compensation, business services, and insurance contracting; preferred candidates hold an MHA, MBA, or other master’s degree

Acadia Healthcare in Allenwood

  • Chief Executive Officer – Leads all healthcare staff to meet or exceed established goals, all while ensuring smooth daily operations; preferred applicants hold an MHA or MBA

Wounded Warrior Project in Philadelphia

  • Combat Stress Recovery Regional Director – Works with regional managers to develop outdoor rehabilitative retreat programs, undertaking important duties like team building and leadership; preferred candidates have an MHA, MBA, or other master’s degree in a field like psychology, social work, or sociology

Pennsylvania’s Local Healthcare Administrator Resources

When it comes to employment and professional development organizations, graduates can find a number of helpful resources located throughout the state:

Significant Employers of Healthcare Administrators

  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia
  • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown
  • Lancaster General Hospital
  • Hershey Medical Center
  • PinnacleHealth Hospitals in Harrisburg
  • Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia
  • Geisinger Medical Center in Danville
  • Wilkes-Barre General Hospital
  • VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
  • Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center
  • Philadelphia VA Medical Center
  • Erie VA Medical Center
  • Blue Cross of Northeaster Pennsylvania
  • UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania
  • HealthAmerica Pennsylvania

Professional Resources

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