DURANT, Okla. – Following approval by the Higher Learning Commission, Southeastern Oklahoma State University is proud to announce it will now offer a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration degree, beginning in the Spring I term of 2024.
“This new degree program in Healthcare Administration is a fantastic development for our university. The Healthcare Administration program will develop leaders who serve Southeastern Oklahoma, Texoma, and the world in the ever-changing and important landscape of healthcare,” said Southeastern President Dr. Thomas W. Newsom. “This approval will also be a launching pad for additional healthcare programs at Southeastern.”
The Master of Science in Healthcare Administration is designed to prepare future healthcare leaders in an environment of academic excellence that enables students to reach their highest potential with the knowledge, skills, and habits that promote values for career preparation needed to meet the critical challenges of the dynamic environment of today’s healthcare industry.
“Offering this program in this area will increase the quality of healthcare and patient safety in the region. That’s the bottom line,” noted Dr. Amanda St. John, assistant professor and chair of Nursing and Allied Health at Southeastern. “Southeastern is an up-and-coming leader in healthcare education and I am so blessed to be a part of it!”
This mission is congruent with Southeastern’s institutional mission of providing “… an environment of academic excellence that enables students to reach their highest potential. By having personal access to excellent teaching, challenging academic programs, and extracurricular experiences, students will develop skills and habits that promote values for career preparation, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning.”
Students will take 33 hours of courses to complete the degree with 24 hours in the Allied Health program and nine in the John Massey School of Business.
Graduates will be prepared to plan, direct, or coordinate medical and health services in a variety of settings including the following: hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, etc. (U.S. Bureau of Labor, 2021). The U.S. Bureau of Labor estimates that the national demand for medical and health service managers will increase by 32% by 2030. Approximately 51,800 openings for these administrators are projected each year through 2030. State, local, and private hospitals employ just over 1/3 of these administrators.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, Oklahoma expects to see an increased demand of 3.3% for health administrators, generating approximately 900 openings per year. Regionally, Southeastern Oklahoma has a higher demand for medical and health managers with an increase in demand of 4.1% (U.S. Bureau of Labor). In 2021, Southeastern Oklahoma employed a comparable number of health administrators to the OKC and Tulsa metro areas. However, the number of health administrators to employees were half of the total seen in the metro areas (2021). According to HealthcareAdministrationEDU.org, “The Southeast Oklahoma nonmetropolitan area has the fifth-highest number of healthcare administrator jobs out of all rural areas nationwide.” Rural areas often experience health disparities, which can lead to a decrease in the quality of care offered to many Oklahomans. Health administrators are needed in Southeastern Oklahoma to serve these rural areas and improve the quality of care of these constituents. Having a regional university offering this program will increase the opportunity for current and future health care leaders to be better prepared to face the challenges of healthcare, especially in rural Oklahoma.
Research shows regionally (National & Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas), employment for the Master of Health Administration related jobs is projected to grow 14% by 2032. A regional search revealed 12,284 annual job openings filtered by master’s degree were posted in the region (2021). In the region, the number of total conferrals has increased 24% and the number of institutions reporting conferrals increased 43% (2017-2021). In the region, the average number of institutions with ‘Distance Programs’ (online) offered has increased 56% and the number of conferrals has increased 98% (2017-2021).