South Carolina offers strong prospects for upward career mobility and top salaries for its professional workforce employed in the healthcare administration field. For example, the South Carolina Employment Security Commission projects that the number of jobs for medical and health services managers will grow by 17.1 percent over the ten-year period leading up to 2028. In 2020 this group of professionals earned an average annual salary of $106,360 statewide, and of all metropolitan areas in the United States, Florence had the eighth-highest concentration of medical and health services managers (US Department of Labor, 2020).
The factors behind the positive employment environment for health administrators have to do with state’s demographics and increasing access to healthcare services. The US Census reports that in 2019 the state’s population who was at least 65 years old totaled around 937,066 residents or 18.2 percent of the total populace. That’s higher than the national average, and represents a demographic that will continue to drive up the demand for healthcare services, and by extension, the demand for health services administration.
Supported by a $141 million federal grant for community health centers as part of the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of South Carolinians who lack health insurance is also decreasing. A mid-decade Gallup poll revealed that the number of residents with health insurance had already increased markedly since passage of the ACSA, and by 2020 89.2 percent of state residents had health insurance. Like the state’s aging population, these newly insured residents will also increase the demand for health services, contributing to the demand for skilled professionals working in healthcare administration.
Health Administration Degrees Available in South Carolina
New students and experienced professionals in South Carolina have several choices when it comes to earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in health administration. These include online opportunities as well as programs located on college campuses.
Undergraduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Management
Students can prepare for careers in healthcare administration by completing relevant undergraduate degree programs such as:
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Services Administration
The bachelor’s degree program consists of at least 120 semester credits and takes around four year to complete. The first half is spent completing undergraduate requirements and prerequisite courses for the major. These initial 60 credits can often be fulfilled with a transfer associate’s degree.
The latter half of the programs consists of upper-division courses that focus on the major field of study. These can include classes that focus on topics like:
- Healthcare resources, consumers, and payers
- Principles of management, leadership, accounting, and advertising
- Legal issues in the healthcare business environment
- Health care informatics
- Healthcare economics
- Managerial economics
- Operations and supply chain management
- Organizations and information systems
Prospective students can find relevant programs online as well as in cities like:
Graduate Degrees in Health Administration
Experienced professionals already know that having a graduate degree in the field of health administration is quickly becoming the industry standard. Relevant 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)
- MSN/MBA dual degree program
- JD/MSHA dual degree program
Common Requirements for Graduate Admission
While every school has its own admission requirements, programs will often admit students who have earned their undergraduate degree in any subject. Other common admission standards include:
- Completion of course prerequisites
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Personal essay regarding academic or career goals
- Letters of recommendation
- Several years of professional work experience
- Some programs require current employment in the healthcare industry
Graduate programs vary in length and credit load, ranging from 12-24 months and 30-60 semester credits. As the program nears completion students may be called upon to complete a capstone project or thesis paper. This can focus on a specific element within healthcare administration or serve as a program summary that ties important concepts together.
The core coursework that makes up the graduate program can cover topics like:
- Advanced healthcare policy and law
- Quantitative methods for assessing healthcare organizations
- Decision making based on data and statistics
- Strategy for management of large healthcare organizations
- Global economics for healthcare managers
- Medical informatics
- Financial management for healthcare organizations
Prospective graduate students can find relevant programs online as well as in cities like:
- Rock Hill
Healthcare Administration and Management Jobs in South Carolina
Graduates who have earned their degree in the field of healthcare administration can apply for employment opportunities throughout the state. The following job descriptions are provided as illustrative examples only to give a sense of what South Carolina’s professional marketplace is like. These are sourced from a statewide survey of job posts completed in November 2015:
- Service Line Director for Oncology Services in Georgetown – Providing administrative leadership is the primary responsibility of this professional, including in the areas of regional strategies, enterprise growth, and the maintenance of network affiliations; candidates must have an MHA, MBA, or MSN
- Lean Facilitator for Physician Practice in Murrells Inlet – Responsible for leading and facilitating staff events and projects that systematically improve efficiency; applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, organizational development, nursing, or a related field, while preferred candidates will have an MHA, MBA, or related master’s degree
Abbeville Area Medical Center
- Chief Executive Officer – The CEO is responsible for all daily activities at this hospital, especially ensuring that staff fulfills all hospital goals and is held accountable for their performance; applicants must have an MHA or MBA
Bon Secours Health System in Greenville
- Central Business Office Director – Provides leadership and oversees managerial financial decisions, especially as they relate to system-wide receivable accounts; preferred candidates hold an MHA or MBA, and may substitute related work experience for a master’s-level education
Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia
- Office Manager – In charge of ensuring the patient care environment is efficient, safe, cost-effective, and exceptional; applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, such as in the field of healthcare administration or healthcare management, or a work-experience equivalent
Local Resources for South Carolina’s Healthcare Administrators
New graduates and experienced professionals can find a number of career and professional development opportunities in their local community.
Largest Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers
- Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston
- Spartanburg Regional Medical Center
- McLeod Health in Florence
- Carolina Hospital in Florence
- Roper Hospital in Charleston
- AnMed Health in Anderson
- Bon Secours Saint Francis in Greenville and Charleston
- Conway Medical Center
- Aiken Regional Medical Center
- Beaufort Memorial Hospital
- Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach
- Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston
- Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas
- BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
- South Carolina Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives
- South Carolina Medical Group Management Association
- South Carolina Association of Healthcare Access Management
- Healthcare Technology Management Association of South Carolina
- South Carolina Hospital Association
- South Carolina Chapter of the 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 South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation 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.