If you’re searching for a career in Oklahoma with a stable future and a sizable paycheck, look no further than health administration. With a median annual salary of $88,990 per year, health administrators oversee healthcare facilities and work to ensure that they run smoothly and according to regulations.

Career Outlook in Oklahoma

With Oklahoma ranked second in the country for concentration of health administrator jobs, the future is bright for those looking to pursue that career path. Oklahoma’s healthcare sector continues to grow steadily, and those working in the industry stand to gain job security and a steady paycheck as a result.

As Oklahoma baby boomers get older and need increased medical care, health administration jobs in the state should continue to increase. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015, 23 percent of Oklahoma residents are classified in this aging group and will need more and more medical care as they continue to get older.

Does this sound like a future you’re interested in working toward? Here’s a look at what’s expected for education in the field, what the job prospects look like, and who you should be connecting with professionally.

Undergraduate Program Overview

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Residents in Oklahoma looking to start a career in health administration have multiple options as to how they can choose to proceed with their education paths.

Programs for a bachelor’s degree in health administration are available both online and in a traditional campus setting, depending on your preference and accessibility. Undergraduate degree choices include:

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

A bachelor’s degree requires 120 semester hours and typically takes about four years of full time schooling to complete. The program is usually split between two segments of 60 credits each, with the first tackling the program’s prerequisites and the second focused on the classes needed for the major.

Undergraduate Courses

These courses may cover topics such as:

  • Healthcare resources
  • Healthcare information
  • Principles of management
  • Human resources
  • Healthcare industry marketing
  • Healthcare economics
  • Legal issues surrounding healthcare administration

For residents of Oklahoma, online resources are widely available for the program of your choosing. Otherwise, cities like Broken Arrow, Muskogee, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City are home to accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

It is usually possible for health administrators to find work with just a bachelor’s degree. Some popular jobs in Oklahoma for health administrators with an undergraduate degree include medical coding specialist, enrollment manager, assistant to the executive director, or office manager.

Graduate Program Overview

Students also have the option to continue their education with a master’s degree following the completion of their bachelor’s degree.

Some relevant graduate degree programs in the field are:

  • Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration on Healthcare Management
  • Combination of MBA and MHA dual degree
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

Graduate programs usually take between 12 and 24 months of classes to complete. In some cases, students nearing the end of their graduate studies may need to submit a thesis or participate in a research project to prove competency in a specialized topic.

Graduate Admission Requirements

Students are typically eligible for admission to a graduate degree once they’ve completed a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be held in any field and is generally not limited to those who have graduated with a bachelor’s in health administration. If any gaps exist in required courses, students may need to take the necessary classes prior to starting the graduate school program.

Specific graduate school application requirements will vary from depending on the college and program, but students can expect to submit the following:

  • Official college transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay
  • Proof of meeting minimum GPA requirement
  • Proof of professional work experience

Each school’s requirements can vary, so students should be sure to speak to an admissions specialist to make sure they have the correct information.

Job Prospects for Health Administrators in Oklahoma

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Below are a few examples of the types of jobs health administrators can expect to find in Oklahoma. These are meant to be examples only but are representative of the real job market in the state.

Program Director - Healogics in Lawton, OK

The Program Director is responsible for implementation, ongoing management and strategic growth of the program: outpatient Wound Care Center, HBO, inpatient and outreach. The Program Director oversees day-to-day program operations and is responsible for: budgeting, revenue and cost management, reimbursement, quality management, performance improvement, marketing and community education, and human resource management.

Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Nursing or other health related field, master’s in healthcare administration or Business Administration preferred and three to five years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Hospital Chief Executive Officer - Post Acute Medical in Tulsa, OK

We believe that a successful Hospital Chief Executive Officer should:

  • Be actively engaged in the community and serve as a public educator
  • Be well-versed in hospital operations
  • Be knowledgeable in marketing and medical staff development

In order to qualify for this position, the Hospital Chief Executive Officer must have:

  • A Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration, Business Administration, or related discipline
  • 5 years of upper management experience
Chief Executive Officer - AllianceHealth Deaconess in Oklahoma City, OK

As a member of the Hospital's senior management team, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will participate in operational decision-making processes necessary for the successful attainment of the hospital's mission in addition to maintaining an awareness of changes in healthcare matters that could have an impact on the success of the hospital. Works with system management to develop and implement policies and procedures, short- and long-range goals, objectives and plans. Provides leadership to hospital managers, directors and officers that will enroll support, create ownership of goals, and encourage active participate in decisions that impact the hospital. Develops and maintains positive relations with community that the hospital is located as well as the community leaders

Qualifications: A Master’s degree in hospital administration and/or business administration. A minimum of 5 or more years of demonstrated successful leadership in a healthcare facility, which includes but is not limited to: building relationships with board members, physicians, hospital employees, and community; growing hospital revenue to meet budgetary goals and objectives; and meeting necessary regulatory and compliance approvals and quality accreditations.

Regional CEO in Oklahoma City, OK

The purpose of this position is to lead manage and oversee a multi-unit hospital system in an assigned region. The position performs a variety of duties to include: management of regional partnership integration, new facility launches, planning objectives, budgetary management, hospital operations, regulatory oversight, and ensuring CNO and Hospital Administrators are in compliance with Federal, State, facility, regional and corporate goals.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's Degree in healthcare administration, nursing, business management, or related field.
  • MBA or MHA preferred
  • 5-10 years in healthcare management with progressive operation experience.
Administrative Director of Operations - INTEGRIS Medical Group in Oklahoma City, OK

The Administrative Director Operations responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Manages the operations of the multiple divisions of INTEGRIS Medical Group ensuring efficient office operations and alignment with INTEGRIS Health's mission, vision and values within the established strategic plans, goals and budgets.
  • Ensures department staff is managed effectively, including hiring, scheduling, training, evaluating performance and competency, and conducting disciplinary/counseling sessions as needed.
  • Responsible for developing practice budgets, fiscal accountability and achieving financial goals/results.
  • Develops, reviews, revises, submits and implements policies, procedures, goals, and objectives for operational divisions, consistent with INTEGRIS standards.
  • Responsible for monitoring the financial performance and physician compensation of divisions, consistent with budget targets, and INTEGRIS Medical Group benchmarks.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in healthcare administration or related business field or ability to achieve within 12 months of hire
  • 8 years of progressive management experience in a health care environment
  • Experience in a clinical setting preferred

Significant Employers of Health Administrators

Like any state, Oklahoma has a few big players when it comes to providers of jobs for healthcare administrators. Here are some of the businesses you’ll expect to see pop up frequently when looking for jobs.

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
  • Brookhaven Hospital (Tulsa)
  • Cedar Ridge Hospital (Oklahoma City)
  • Cherokee Nation WW Hastings Indian Hospital
  • Chickasaw Nation Medical Center
  • Comanche County Memorial Hospital (Lawton)
  • Deaconess Hospital (Oklahoma City)
  • Duncan Regional Hospital
  • Griffin Memorial Hospital (Norman)
  • Integris Baptist Medical Center (Oklahoma City)
  • Jack C Montgomery VA Medical Center (Muskogee)
  • UnitedHealthcare of Oklahoma

Professional Resources and Associations

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It’s recommended for health administration professionals to join at least one regional or national association to supplement your career. This is a great way to make sure you’re up to date on the latest regulations and goings-on relating to your career.

Some popular professional resources in the state of Oklahoma include the following groups:

  • Oklahoma Health Information Management Association
  • Healthcare Financial Management Association - Oklahoma chapter
  • Oklahoma Medical Group Management Association

Health administrator groups with members all across the United States include:

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
  • Health Management Associates
  • Health Care Administrators Association

These organizations all provide excellent opportunities for healthcare administrative professionals to connect and further the advancement of their careers.