South Dakota’s healthcare industry is a vitally important part of the state. In 2020 the US Department of Labor reported that healthcare support, technical healthcare, and healthcare practitioner occupations contributed a combined 45,260 jobs to the state’s economy. Healthcare administrators play an indispensable role in managing fiscal and human resources within this sector to ensure efficient operations and top quality patient care.
As the demand for healthcare services continues to rise, so too does the demand for healthcare administrators. The South Dakota Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for medical and health services managers will increase by 10.3 percent during the ten-year period leading up to 2028. On top of this, in 2020 the US Department of Labor found that at $107,850, South Dakota’s health administrators earned a higher average annual salary than three of its neighboring states.
There are two driving factors behind the growing demand for healthcare services in South Dakota, and by extension job growth in the field of healthcare administration. The first is an aging population; the second is the expansion of health coverage. As of the 2019 US Census report, more than 17 percent of the state’s population was at least 65 years of age. The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has meant that more South Dakotans now have access to health services. A 2020 report released by the United Health Foundation found that 89.8 percent of South Dakotans are now covered by health insurance.
Earning a Healthcare Administration Degree in South Dakota
South Dakota offers no shortage of opportunities for experienced administrators vying for executive positions to earn advanced degrees, as well as for new students looking to begin their studies at the undergraduate level. Options include both online programs and programs at campus locations throughout the state.
Undergraduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration
Earning an undergraduate degree in the field of business, such as a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) can provide relevant skills for future healthcare administrators. However, South Dakota residents can choose among more relevant programs that directly address sought-after skills that are specific to this field, such as:
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Services Administration
A four-year bachelor’s program consists of at least 120 semester credits. The first 60 credits usually cover general course requirements and prerequisites for specific classes in the major. Schools will often accept a transferred associate’s degree as fulfilling this segment.
The latter 60 credits cover core major topics that are used daily in the field of healthcare administration. These can include:
- Strategic planning and healthcare management
- Health care informatics
- Human resource management
- Healthcare payers, consumers, and resources
- Analysis of financial statements in healthcare
- Legal issues in the healthcare
- Supply chain and operations management
- Restructuring healthcare organizations
Prospective students in South Dakota can find relevant bachelor’s degree programs in health administration online and at campus locations in:
- Sioux Falls
- Rapid City
Graduate Degrees in the Field of Healthcare Administration
The industry standard for more advanced executive level jobs is a master’s in health administration or other closely related degree. Options available to South Dakota residents 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)
Graduate Program Admission Criteria
Graduate programs will admit students who have earned an undergraduate degree in any subject provided they meet the school’s stated experience and course prerequisite requirements. Graduate students in health administration programs often have a background in a health related discipline like nursing, while a background in business administration is also common.
Common admission requirements include:
- Personal essay
- Letters of recommendation
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Completion of specific course prerequisites
- Professional work experience
- Current employment in the healthcare industry
Graduate programs can take between 12-24 months to complete, and range from 30-60 semester credits. The program may culminate with a capstone research project or thesis that involves the in-depth exploration of relevant topics.
Course subjects that are covered in the master’s program can include:
- Advanced healthcare management
- Strategy for management of large healthcare organizations
- Global economics for healthcare managers
- Medical informatics
- Advanced healthcare policy and law
- Quantitative methods for evaluating and improving healthcare organizations
- Data analysis for decision making
- Compliance for accreditation
- Healthcare marketing
- Decision management
Students can find relevant degree programs through online colleges and through schools with campus locations in the cities of Vermillion and Sioux Falls.
Healthcare Administration Jobs in South Dakota
Experienced and aspiring professionals in the healthcare administration field can start pursuing their ideal job upon earning a qualifying education. The following examples are provided as illustrative examples only to offer a sense of South Dakota’s job market for administrators in the healthcare sector:
Avera Medical Group in Yankton
- Health Informaticist Clinic Manager – Holds the responsibility of planning, organizing, and directing all aspects of clinical operations in this clinic; preferred applicants hold at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, nursing, education, or a related field such as healthcare administration
Avera Health in Sioux Falls
- EMR Optimization Specialist – Working with electronic medical records is an important aspect of this position, incumbents of which must actively support the use and adoption of EMRs throughout the department; preferred candidates hold at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, business, nursing, or a related field
Rapid City Regional Hospital
- Director of Regional Value Improvement System – Works closely with RVIS facilitators and coordinators to improve operational efficiency and patient outcomes; preferred candidates hold a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, business, engineering, or an MBA
Sanford Webster Medical Center and Bethesda Home, located in Sanford
- Chief Executive Officer – The CEO serves as the leader at the helm of this organization, with duties that include assessing, allocating, and responding to community needs, organizational goals, financial resources, and staffing capabilities; preferred applicants hold an MHA, while all candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, business, or another healthcare-related field
Local Resources for Healthcare Administrators and Managers
South Dakota residents can find helpful resources throughout the state regarding employment opportunities and professional development:
Largest Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers
- Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls
- Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls
- Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell
- Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton
- Avera Saint Luke’s in Aberdeen
- Avera Saint Mary’s Hospital in Pierre
- Brookings Health System
- Rapid City Regional Hospital
- Sturgis Regional Hospital
- VA Black Hills Health Care System in Fort Meade and Hot Springs
- Royal C Johnson Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Sioux Falls
- Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota
- South Dakota Medical Group Management Association
- South Dakota Healthcare Executive Group
- South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations
- South Dakota Health Information Management Association
- South Dakota 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 Dakota Department of Labor & 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.