Virginia is becoming one of the fastest-growing states by population. It also has lower unemployment rates and higher median incomes than most other states. Though the overall poverty rate is quite low (the second lowest in the nation), the poverty rate varies greatly throughout the state’s different regions. Due to unaffordable premiums or various other reasons, approximately 13 percent of Virginia’s population was uninsured as of 2012. Most of these uninsured citizens are from regions with higher poverty rates.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has drastically cut down on the number of uninsured citizens, providing coverage to about 47 million who could not afford it. Because more people have health coverage, many more patients are seeking the treatments they need.
This has allowed for many occupations in the healthcare field to experience significant growth rates. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, medical and health services management occupations are set to experience a growth rate of 21 percent between the projection period of 2012-2022.
Not only is this a rapidly growing field, but it also boasts competitive compensation and benefits. Healthcare administrators and managers in Virginia earn average salaries of $101,050 annually (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014).
Earning a Healthcare Administration Degree in Virginia
Those seeking a degree in healthcare administration in Virginia will find that there are a wide variety of program options to choose from. Many students opt to enroll in flexible, online programs, while others choose from the numerous on-campus programs across the state.
Undergraduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration
An undergraduate degree in healthcare administration is a great way to gain a general understanding of the healthcare industry, and a bachelor’s degree will provide a solid foundation for those pursuing a career in this field. There are a few different program options to choose from when seeking an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration:
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration or Management (BS)
- Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA)
Most undergraduate programs are made up of 120 credit hours, typically allowing students to complete them in 4 years. The first 60 credits are usually general education requirements, and the last 60 credits are more specific to the healthcare administration field. Common topics that are addressed in these undergraduate healthcare administration programs include the following:
- Introduction to the healthcare system
- Finance and accounting
- Medical terminology
- Business administration
- Human resources
In addition to many online degree programs, on-campus programs are available in the following Virginia locations:
Graduate Degrees in Healthcare Administration
For those seeking careers in management or leadership in the competitive healthcare field, earning a master’s degree has become a must. A wide variety of degree programs exist for Virginia students seeking a graduate degree in healthcare administration:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
- Master of Science (MS) in Health Policy and Management
- Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA)
- MHA/MBA dual degree programs
Graduate Program Admission Criteria
Though these requirements may vary between schools, the most common criteria used in graduate program admissions include the following:
- Prerequisite courses
- A minimum undergraduate GPA
- Official undergraduate transcripts
- Current or prior employment in the healthcare administration field
- Personal statement or essay
- Letter of recommendation
These programs are typically made up of anywhere from 36 to 60 credits, and students are usually able to complete them within 24 months. Students may be required to complete a final capstone project or thesis upon completion of normal coursework.
Topics covered in these courses often include:
- Finance and budget management
- Community health
- Economics of the healthcare industry
- Strategies for decision making
- Law, policy, and regulations of healthcare
- Leadership and management
- Quality control and improvement
There are numerous online healthcare administration programs available to Virginia residents. Those seeking traditional on-campus degree programs will find that they available in the following Virginia cities:
Healthcare Administration Jobs in Virginia
Once students have earned their degrees, they can put their studies to good use in the workplace. The following list of job descriptions has been compiled in order to shed some light on what employers look for in applicants as far as education and prior work experience.
These job descriptions have been provided for illustration purposes only.
Sentara Medical Group, Norfolk
- Director of Operations Improvement
- Leads quality control and improvement team, responsible for pinpointing areas where healthcare services can grow and become more efficient in order to better serve patients and employees; Both a bachelor’s degree and 8 years of healthcare management experience are required.
Wound Care Center, Richmond
- Program Director
- Manages operations of the outpatient wound care center, including budgeting, staffing, performance, and human resources; bachelor’s degree in business or healthcare administration is required, master’s in the same disciplines are preferred as well as management and marketing experience.
Virginia Beach Correctional Center, Virginia Beach
- Health Service Administrator
- Oversees daily operations at the correctional center healthcare department, managing a team of healthcare professionals; ideal candidates would have 3-5 years in management in correctional or healthcare management. A bachelor degree in nursing or healthcare administration is required; graduate degree is preferred.
Centra Health, Lynchburg
- Practice Administrator
- Monitors operations at multiple practice sites, overseeing programs and services, manages staff. A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or business and five years of relevant experience is required; candidates with a graduate degree are preferred.
Top Employers and Professional Resources for Healthcare Administrators in Virginia
There are many professional resources available to healthcare administrators and managers in Virginia. These may be of use to those in search of professional support, training and educational materials, or employment.
Virginia’s Largest Employers of Healthcare Administrators and Managers
- Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond
- Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Norfolk
- Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church
- University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville
- Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Roanoke
- Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, Richmond
- Sentara Williamsburg Regional Center, Williamsburg
- Winchester Medical Center, Winchester
- Centra Lynchburg General Hospital, Lynchburg
- Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax
- Virginia Medical Group Management Association
- Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
- Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority
- Virginia Rural Health Association
- Virginia Health Care Association
- Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources
- Virginia Department of Health
- American Association of Health Care Administrative Management
- American College of Health Care Administrators