The current and projected prospects are outstanding for professionals working as administrators in Rhode Island’s healthcare sector. Rhode Island has one of the highest concentrations of medical and health services managers in the nation. With an average annual salary of $130,620 in 2020, Rhode Island also offers the sixth-highest yearly wage in the nation for this class of professionals (US Department of Labor, 2020).
In fact, medical and health services managers made the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s list of top-50 fastest growing occupations. The state’s health administrators are expected to see a high number of net job openings between 2018 and 2028 thanks to a projected growth rate of 8.9 percent over that period.
The underlying reasons for these attractive prospects have to do with access to, and demand for, healthcare services in Rhode Island – both of which are slated to experience significant growth. Demographically, the percentage of Rhode Islanders who are at least 65 years old –17.7 percent– is higher than the national average. As this segment of the population ages it will drive up the demand for healthcare services, with a knock-on effect for healthcare administrators.
Backed by $49.8 million in federal grants for community health centers through the Affordable Care Act, a Gallup survey revealed the number of Rhode Islanders with health insurance has been steadily increasing. 95.9 percent of state residents are covered by health insurance, according to a 2020 report released by the United Health Foundation. As with the aging demographic, a higher percentage of insured residents also increases the demand for healthcare administrators.
Health Administration Degrees in Rhode Island
Rhode Island residents have a number of choices when it comes to earning a degree in health administration. Options include undergraduate and graduate degrees offered online and at campus locations throughout the state.
Undergraduate Degrees in Health Administration
While a general degree in business can be advantageous, Rhode Island state residents have the opportunity to select from several different programs that will pave the way for a career in health administration, such as:
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Services Administration
The bachelor’s degree is made up of at least 120 semester credits and takes around four years to complete. The first 60 credits cover general course requirements and prerequisites for more advanced courses in the specific major. A transfer associate’s degree can often fulfill these initial 60 credits.
The second 60 credits focus on the specific healthcare administration field, covering important subjects like:
- Principles of management, leadership, accounting, and advertising
- Health care informatics
- Principles of marketing
- Analysis of financial statements
- Strategic planning and healthcare management
- Business and administration leadership
- Legal issues in the healthcare business environment
- Managerial economics
- Supply chain and operations management
Students can complete their education through an online program or on campus locations in communities like Kingston and Warwick.
Graduate Degrees in Health Administration
Today in Rhode Island’s professional environment a graduate degree in health administration is becoming a generally accepted industry standard. In-state residents can choose among several types of relevant programs, 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)
Graduate Program Admission Requirements
While each school has its own admissions requirements, graduate programs will often admit students who have completed their undergraduate major in any field. Additional common admission standards include:
- Completion of specific course prerequisites
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Essay on career goals and academic motivations
- Letters of recommendation
- Professional work experience and/or current employment in the healthcare industry
The graduate program is between 30-60 semester credits, and takes 12-24 months to complete. During this time students will form a greater understanding of the healthcare administration field. Programs may also culminate with a thesis or capstone research project that ties together important elements of the graduate experience.
Topics covered in Rhode Island’s graduate-level courses can include:
- Advanced healthcare management
- Leadership of large healthcare organizations
- Global economics for healthcare managers
- Healthcare informatics
- Financial management for healthcare organizations
- Data and performance-based decisions
- Quantitative methods for healthcare organizations
- Compliance for accreditation
In addition to online schools, Rhode Island residents can find relevant degree programs at campus locations in places like:
Careers in Healthcare Administration in Rhode Island
The following job descriptions are provided as illustrative examples only to give residents an idea of what they can expect upon graduation from their health administration program. These are taken from a statewide survey of job vacancies conducted in November 2015:
New England Rehab Care in Warwick
- Rehab Program Executive Director – Responsible for all operations relating to inpatient, surgical, and outpatient rehabilitation, including the planning, directing, and implementation of program activities; preferred candidates hold an MHA or MBA
- Clinical Liaison – Responsible for maintaining positive relationships with existing clients, as well as initiating contact with new potential clients; preferred applicants hold a college degree, such as a BHA or BS in health services administration
Healogics in Providence
- Program Director – Responsibilities relate to overall program management, including managing inpatient care, outpatient care, as well as achieving strategic growth goals; applicants must have a BHA, BBA, nursing degree, or a degree in a related field, while referred applicants hold an MHA or MBA
Rhode Island Hospital in Providence
- Program Manager of Surgery – Working with the Comprehensive Spine Center, this professional is responsible for the direction, operation, and planning of the clinical and administrative aspects of this program; applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and either college courses in healthcare administration or a related field, or an MHA, MBA or a master’s degree in another related field
Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket and Providence
- Director of Occupational Medicine and Employee Health – Working with the vice president of support services, this professional ensures that adequate standards are met in this department for compliance with licensing and accrediting requirements; candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, business administration, or a related field
Resources for Healthcare Administrators and Managers in Rhode Island
Graduates and professionals can find a variety of helpful resources regarding employment and professional development throughout Rhode Island:
Significant Employers of Healthcare Administrators
- Eleanor Slater Hospital in Cranston
- Rhode Island Hospital in Providence
- Kent County Memorial Hospital in Warwick
- Miriam Hospital in Providence
- Newport Hospital
- Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket
- Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in Pawtucket
- Saint Joseph Health Services in North Providence
- Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence
- Providence VA Medical Center
- Rhode Island Health Information Management Association
- Medical Group Management Association of Massachusetts and Rhode Island
- Massachusetts and Rhode Island Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association
- Rhode Island Health Care 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 Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training 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.