Utah’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the nation, with the state’s healthcare sector serving as one of the primary drivers for this growth. Its requested FY2022 budget includes $5.07 billion for the state’s Department of Health. This represents an increase of $1.18 billion from the actual budget for the department just two years prior.
Managers and directors are the professionals who ensure Utah’s healthcare industry stays on track and meets its growth targets. As the state’s healthcare industry continues to expand, so too will the job opportunities for these professionals – and quite dramatically according some informed estimates.
The number of jobs for medical and health services managers is projected to see remarkable growth over the decade leading up to 2028. The Utah Department of Workforce Services estimates that the number of jobs in this field will increase by an impressive 29.8 percent over that period, with 520 job openings annually.
Healthcare Administration Degrees Available in Utah
Utah offers a number of graduate degree options for experienced administrators interested in executive positions, 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 and Management
Examples of relevant undergraduate degree programs available in Utah include the following:
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration (BSHA)
- Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a Health Administration focus
Bachelor’s programs usually take at least four years to complete and are comprised of at least 120 semester credits. The first half of the program prepares students for more advanced topics in the major. Schools will often accept a transfer associate’s degree to fulfill basic undergraduate courses.
The second half of the program focuses on important topics within the major field, including upper-division courses that cover subjects like:
- Legal issues in the healthcare industry
- Supply chain and operations management
- Organizations and information systems
- Business leadership and management
- Principles of advertising and marketing
- Analysis of financial statements and invoices
- Strategic planning and healthcare management
- Human resource management
- Healthcare finance and economics
Relevant undergraduate programs are offered through online schools as well as college campuses located in places like:
- Salt Lake City
Graduate Degree Programs in Healthcare Administration
Experienced administrators in Utah can vouch for the fact that holding a relevant graduate degree is quickly becoming the recognized standard for more advanced positions. Utah residents can find several relevant programs at the graduate level, such as:
- 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)
Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs
Most graduate schools admit students with an undergraduate degree in a healthcare related discipline like nursing, while undergraduate degrees in business, accounting and finance are also common among health administration graduate students.
While every school may have its own unique admission requirements, many requirements are standardized. Common requirements include:
- Related work experience
- Completion of course prerequisites
- Personal essay addressing academic and professional goals
- Current employment in the healthcare industry
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Letters of recommendation
Graduate programs can vary in length from 12-24 months, and in credit load from 30-60 semester hours. Many programs will include a capstone research project or final thesis paper where students focus on a particular topic or specialization like client relations or business management.
Overall, the master’s program will cover important issues in the field of healthcare administration, preparing graduates with an advanced understanding of subjects like:
- Healthcare informatics
- Healthcare consumers, resources, and payers
- Advanced principles of healthcare management and leadership
- Advanced marketing and advertising in the healthcare industry
- Management strategy for large healthcare organizations
- Global economics for healthcare managers
- Advanced medical informatics
- Management based on quantitative data and statistics
- Advanced legal issues in the healthcare field
- Compliance for accreditation
In addition to online programs, in-state schools offer relevant graduate degrees in locations such as:
- Salt Lake City
Healthcare Administration Jobs in Utah
The recently passed Affordable Care Act (ACA) has extended health insurance to tens of thousands of state residents, with a recent 2014 Gallup survey finding that 86.7 percent of all Utah residents – 2.55 million people – had health insurance. There is also the potential for even more growth in Utah’s healthcare sector if state lawmakers decide to expand Medicaid coverage through the ACA. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates this would insure an additional 74,000 state residents. These are significant factors in driving job growth in the field of health administration.
Utah’s health administrators work in places like hospitals, assisted living centers, and for insurance companies. The following jobs and associated requirements are provided as illustrative examples only to give a sense of the professional environment in Utah.
Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City
- Human Resources Consultant II – This professional provides strategic direction and support to management and employees regarding recruitment, employee relations, and compensation; applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree and are preferred to have experience in a healthcare setting
- Women’s and Newborn Operations Director – Providing strategic and operational leadership, this professional coordinates clinical services as well as patient and family communications; applicants must have a master’s degree in health administration, nursing, or business
- Hospital Administration Summer Intern – This position is designed for future healthcare leaders who are looking for an opportunity to transition from the classroom to the workplace in a team environment; preferred candidates will be enrolled in an MHA, MBA, MHSA, MPH, MPA, or JD graduate program
Brigham City Community Hospital
- Director of Imaging Services – This professional will lead the radiology department within this hospital, being responsible for developing and applying hospital policies to achieve long-term goals; applicants must have a current radiologic technologist certificate and a BS in Radiologic Technology, an MHA, or an MBA
Department of Pediatrics with the University of Utah in Salt Lake City
- Coordinator of the Administrator Program – This professional works within the Department of Pediatrics to coordinate, monitor, and develop research and educational programs; applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as healthcare administration
Resources for Healthcare Administrators and Students in the Field
Utah is home to a significant number of major healthcare companies that look to retain the most skilled administrators throughout the state. It is also the headquarters of local professional organizations that provide resources for career development.
Significant Employers of Healthcare Administrators
- Intermountain Medical Center in Murray
- University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics in Salt Lake City
- Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden
- Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo
- Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton
- Dixie Regional Medical Center in Saint George
- Jordan Valley Medical Center in West Jordan
- Logan Regional Hospital
- Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful
- Mountain View Hospital in Payson
- HealthSound Rehabilitation Hospital of Utah
- VA Salt Lake City Health Cary System
- Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah
- Utah Healthcare Executives
- Medical Group Management Association of Utah
- Utah Health Information Management Association
- Utah Case Managers Association
- 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 Utah Department of Workforce Services 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.