Bachelor's and Master's in Health Management and Administration in Tennessee

Tennessee’s healthcare industry is a vital part of the state’s economy – and the sector is growing. The state FY2021-2022 budget proposed a budget of $41.8 billion, with 20 percent of that allocated specifically for the state’s Medicaid program TennCare.

In 2019 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tennessee was home to 272 hospital facilities employing a total of 147,633 people. Tennessee is also the global headquarters for 56 significant healthcare organizations, not least of which is the Hospital Corporation of America, the largest operator of for-profit healthcare facilities in the world.

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With these significant healthcare attributes comes the potential for significant demand and opportunity for healthcare administrators, managers, and directors. In fact, Tennessee is home to a higher number of medical and health services administrators than all but one of its neighboring states, and in general, more than most states in the nation (US Department of Labor, 2020). And the number keeps growing. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects that the number of medical and health services administrator jobs in the state will increase by 20.3 percent between 2018 and 2028.

In addition to a strong presence of major players in the medical services industry, the Affordable Care Act has also bolstered the demand for healthcare administrators. A 2020 United Health Foundation report found that 89.9 percent of the state’s residents had health insurance. The state’s population of senior citizens is also a factor in this increasing demand. The 2019 US Census found that 16.7 percent of the state’s population is at least 65 years of age.

Healthcare Administration Degrees in Tennessee

Tennessee offers a variety 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 Health Administration and Management

Relevant degree programs for careers in the healthcare administration field include:

  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a focus in Health Administration
  • Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration

The bachelor’s degree program takes approximately four years to complete and is at least 120 semester credits. The first half of the degree program focuses on general course requirements and prerequisites for more advanced courses in the major. Schools will often accept a transfer associate’s degree to fulfill general undergraduate requirements.

The latter two years of the bachelor’s program focus on developing key skills in the field of health administration. Upper-division courses in the major can cover topics like:

  • Principles of management
  • Principles of marketing
  • Analysis of financial statements
  • Strategic planning in healthcare organizations
  • Healthcare economics
  • Legal issues in the healthcare business environment
  • Supply chain and operations management
  • Organizations and information systems

Prospective students can find relevant bachelor’s degree programs online and in cities like:

  • Nashville
  • Knoxville
  • Chattanooga
  • Bristol

Graduate Degrees in the Field of Health Administration

Throughout Tennessee and the rest of the United States, holding a relevant graduate degree is becoming a recognized standard for professionals who want to start and advance their careers in health administration. 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)
  • JD/MSHA dual degree program
  • MSN/MBA dual degree program
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Graduate Program Admission Criteria

While programs may have unique admissions standards, many programs will admit students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any field. Other common requirements often include:

  • Previous professional work experience
  • Some programs require current employment a related field
  • Essay on career goals and personal motivations
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Completion of specific course prerequisites
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA

It takes between 12-24 months to complete the 30-60 semester credits that graduate programs typically consist of. Core topics covered during the course of study can include:

  • Advanced management for healthcare organizations
  • Strategy for large healthcare organizations
  • Global economics for healthcare managers
  • Medical informatics and logistics management
  • Healthcare policy and law
  • Quantitative methods for healthcare organizations
  • Compliance for national accreditation
  • Compliance for state and federal regulations

Many graduate programs will also culminate with a thesis or capstone research project where students focus on a particular issue in-depth or tie together what they have learned throughout the graduate experience.

Relevant graduate programs are offered online as well as at campus locations throughout the state, including in the cities of:

  • Memphis
  • Murfreesboro
  • Nashville
  • Clarksville
  • Knoxville
  • Johnson City


Working as a Health Administrator in Tennessee

Upon earning a qualifying education, graduates can begin exploring health administration jobs throughout Tennessee. The following job descriptions are presented as illustrative examples only to provide a sense of the opportunities and associated qualifications that may be available throughout the state (November 2015):

Hospital Corporation of America in Brentwood

  • Senior Director of Clinical Resource Management – Supply expense management is the primary focus of this director level position; also supervises facility managers and regional directors; highly preferred candidates will hold an MHA, MBA, MSN, or PharmD
  • Director of Surgical Services Expense Management – The primary function of this professional is to support the agency’s overall strategies through effective leadership in clinical and non-clinical surgical services; highly preferred candidates hold an MHA, MBA, or MSN

Southern Tennessee Regional Health System in Winchester

  • Market President – This executive-level leader is responsible for driving performance and increasing market share, working closely with other executives and community representatives; applicants must have an MHA, MBA, or equivalent degree

Community Health Systems in Franklin

  • Regional Director of Operations – Dealing especially with post-acute rehabilitation, this professional implements, plans, directs, and evaluates these programs throughout the assigned region; preferred applicants hold an MHA or MBA

LifePoint Health in Brentwood

  • Director of Population Health Management – Working closely with the vice president of population health, this professional’s key responsibilities are to develop, implement, and manage newly formed programs; preferred applicants hold an MHA, MBA, or MPA


Resources for Tennessee’s Healthcare Administrators

Aspiring and current professionals in this field can find useful resources for employment and career development with local organizations across Tennessee:

Largest Employers of Healthcare Administrators in Tennessee

  • Methodist Hospitals of Memphis
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville
  • University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville
  • Memorial Health Care in Chattanooga
  • Centennial Medical Center in Nashville
  • Cookeville Regional Medical Center
  • Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville
  • Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville
  • Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville
  • Dyersburg Regional Medical Center
  • Memphis VA Medical Center
  • Mountain Home VA Medical Center
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Hospital Corporation of America
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Professional Resources

2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for Medical and Health Services Managers.

Job growth projections sourced from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and published in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database –

Salary figures and job market projections represent state data, not school-specific information.

Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2021.

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