Health administration is a great career choice for business minded people who want to make a difference in a hospital or medical setting. Earning an average annual salary of $112,360, healthcare administrators in the state of Oregon can expect to enjoy both a hefty paycheck and steady employment.

Oregon Healthcare Industry Outlook

Oregon also has one of the highest rates of insurance coverage in the country. 94 percent of its residents have health insurance, higher than the national average of about 91 percent.

This may be due in part to the fact that Oregon has a significant baby boomer population; according to The Oregonian, several counties in the state have a median resident age of over 50 years old. As they continue to age, they’ll need increasing access to health care and help navigating services.

If this sounds like an enticing career path, you’ll be glad to know that Oregon offers lots of education opportunities for students working toward a future in health administration. Keep reading to learn more about the education and career path of a healthcare administrator in Oregon.

Undergraduate Health Administration Programs

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Oregonians pursuing a career in health administration will first need to complete an undergraduate degree before entering the workforce.

A bachelor’s degree in health administration can be completed either online or in a campus college setting. A few popular degree choices for this career path 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

These bachelor’s degree programs typically take four years of full time education to finish and require the completion of 120 semester credits. Students usually take their required general education courses and major prerequisites during the first two years and 60 credits, tackling the classes required for their chosen bachelor’s in the second half of their program.

Undergraduate Coursework

Some of the topics students should expect to cover throughout their bachelor’s degree include:

  • Healthcare resources
  • Healthcare information
  • Principles of management
  • Financial analysis
  • Human resources
  • Healthcare industry marketing
  • Healthcare economics
  • Legal issues surrounding healthcare administration
  • Management economics and strategy

Students typically have the option to complete their bachelor’s in health administration online. They may also attend a brick and mortar university campus if they choose; Oregon has schools in many of its larger areas, such as Portland, Eugene, and Corvallis.

Graduate Health Administration Programs

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After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, students who choose to further their education with a master’s in health administration have several options through which to do so.

Some of the best choices for graduate degrees include:

  • 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 Admissions

Though it’s best to check with each school’s admissions office prior to applying, most health administration master’s programs will admit students who hold a bachelor’s degree in any field, not just health services related.

Along with their application, students should expect to submit the following:

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

Most health administration master’s degree programs require between 12 and 24 months of full time class work to complete, usually made up of 30 to 60 semester credits. After completing the required coursework, some programs require students to work on a research or capstone project before being eligible to earn their graduate degree.

Job Prospects for Health Administrators

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Listed below are a few examples of the types of jobs that are available for health administrators in Oregon. While these are meant to be used as just a representation of the career paths that can be followed with a degree in healthcare administration, the following are a sampling of real job opportunities in the area.

Executive Assistant - Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Portland, OR

The Executive Assistant reports to the Hospital Administrator and is responsible for providing high-level administrative support the Hospital Administrator, Director of Patient Care Services, and the Board of Governors. This position is responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships and serving as a liaison with key members of the leadership team including Headquarters personnel, Department Directors, and the Chief of Staff. This position performs advanced level administrative functions, is responsible for project management, and managing day-to-day operations of the Administration Office.

Qualifications:

  • Experience in a hospital setting is preferred
  • Associate degree in business, healthcare administration, or related field is required; Bachelor’s degree is preferred
Clinic Manager - PeaceHealth, Eugene, OR

Responsible for: facilitating an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach in the delivery of care and programs; partnering with clinic Physician(s) and operational leadership to provide effective and proactive management of clinic operations ensuring exceptional services to patients; achieving annual operational and financial goals; and for managing provider caregivers (typically up to 30 providers) and other assigned staff. Typically, responsible for managing multiple and/or large sites/departments/services lines.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required preferably in business and/or healthcare management or an equivalent combination of education and experience that provides the caregiver with the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job.
  • Master’s degree in business or healthcare management is preferred.
Practice Manager - Willamette Dental Group, Bend, OR

Strong leader to hire and coach staff, develop a supportive environment for the providers, and manage daily office activities. Ensure quality and efficiency standards through staffing, scheduling, patient flow, performance management and other office goals.

  • Takes ownership of entire office including, but not limited to, marketing, financials, staffing levels, employee engagement, patient count, and office efficiencies
  • Regularly monitors all key performance areas of office: budget, staffing levels, schedules, collections, Balanced Scorecard, outside & internal referrals, doctor productivity, and makes adjustments as necessary
  • Ensures that all company policies and procedures are followed and that all core values are exemplified and reinforced

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in healthcare administration, management, business, or related field
  • Minimum three years' experience in management role preferably within the healthcare field
  • Moderately proficient with Microsoft Outlook, Word, and Excel software, familiar with Microsoft PowerPoint and Access software
Chief Operating Officer - Providence Portland Medical Center, Portland, OR

The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the overall operations of the hospital including facility planning, recruitment and retention of staff, supervision of significant clinical services and in the absence of the Administrator, direction of the hospital. The COO reports to the Portland Service Area Chief Executive for specific assigned service lines.

Required qualifications for this position include:

  • A Master's Degree in Health or Hospital Administration, Business Administration or a related field.
  • At least 10 years of increasingly responsible experience in healthcare and hospital management.
  • Working knowledge and understanding of the trends and changes taking place in health care and their implications.
  • Working knowledge of managed care including capitation and contracting issues. Knowledge of the principles of continuous quality improvement.
Vice President, Oncology Services - Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR

The VP for Oncology provides strategic and operational leadership for the development and delivery of clinical oncology services at various delivery sites on the OHSU campus, in the 5-county metro area and at satellite/partner sites throughout the state and beyond. These duties include fiscal and budget management, strategic planning, clinical operations both professional and technical, support of clinical research deployment and management, new business development, facilities and resource management, and supporting both faculty recruitment/retention and fundraising activities.

Qualifications:

  • Minimum master’s degree in business, healthcare administration or related field
  • At least 10 years’ experience in healthcare management to include expertise in business development, clinical operations, contracting and finance is required
  • Experience in key level management position in Oncology, academic medicine or group practice strongly preferred Strong working knowledge of budget development, physician billing practices and contract development is required
  • Proven leadership skills are imperative

Major Employers of Oregon Health Administrators

Health administrators in Oregon should familiarize themselves with the following companies, who employ a large amount of people working in the field.

The biggest employers of health administrators in the state of Oregon include these organizations:

  • Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center (Corvallis)
  • Health Net of Oregon
  • Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center (Clackamas)
  • LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon
  • Oregon Health and Science University Hospital (Portland)
  • PacificSource Health Plans
  • Providence Saint Vincent Medical Center (Portland)
  • Providence Portland Medical Center
  • Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
  • Rogue Valley Medical Center (Medford)
  • Salem Hospital
  • Saint Charles Medical Center (Bend)
  • VA Portland Health Care System
  • VA Roseburg Healthcare System
  • VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center (White City)

Professional Organizations and Resources

Health administrators in Oregon are advised to join at least one local or national trade organization. This is a great way to stay on top of news and updates within the field, as well as ongoing networking opportunities.

Some of the options for professional health administration organizations in Oregon include:

  • Oregon Health Care Association
  • Oregon Health Information Management Association
  • Oregon Medical Group Management Association
  • Oregon Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • Oregon Society of Healthcare Executives
  • Healthcare Financial Management Association, Oregon chapter

Nationwide organizations for health administrators include the following groups:

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

Many administrators find it worthwhile to join a group; networking with peers and colleagues on a regular basis can go a long way in keeping your professional skills sharp.