A doctor of health administration degree prepares candidates for executive level positions at medical care facilities, including hospitals. They can pursue career options such as hospital chief financial officer, hospital chief executive officer and hospital chief operating officer.
Having a Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) degree can help healthcare professionals obtain many top leadership jobs. Although some employers may prefer candidates who hold DHA degrees, it is far more common for employers only to require master's degrees for health administration positions.
Students in DHA programs will spend 3-5 years of full-time study dedicated to applied research pursuits in their field, in addition to writing their dissertation. In comparison, students can complete master's degree programs in health administration within 2-3 years, and most students finish their programs by completing thesis projects, although not all programs require these projects. Graduates from health administration programs can pursue such positions as hospital chief financial officer (CFO), hospital chief executive officer (CEO), and hospital chief operating officer (COO).
|Career Titles||Hospital CFO||Hospital CEO||Hospital COO|
|Education Requirements||Master's degree or higher||Master's degree or higher||Master's degree or higher|
|Projected Job Growth for all Chief Executives (2014-2024)||-1%*||-1%*||-1%*|
|Average Salary for all Chief Executives (2015)||$185,850*||$185,850*||$185,850*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CFOs carry primary responsibility for the quality of their institutions' financial reports. These professionals ensure accuracy in financial statements and help formulate goals and devise strategies to implement those goals. They must work with budgets and oversee how money is being spent within their hospitals.
A hospital CEO retains responsibility for everything that goes on within a hospital. CEOs decide what the ultimate goals for the organization should be. The job is very management-oriented, and CEOs must meet frequently with other hospital executives to maintain organization. Some hospitals have boards of directors, and CEOs must work with these boards. The overall budget may be planned out by the CFO, but the CEO has the final say.
COOs act as liaisons between executive personnel members of each department. These professionals check on the activities occurring in each department and make sure that one department's activities do not interfere with another. COOs also verify that each department is adhearing to the mission goals and guidelines of an organization. If individual departments are showing signs of poor progress, COOs meet with department leaders and other executives to determine potential strategies for improving operational efficiency.
Salary and Job Outlook Statistics
Salaries vary considerably, depending upon the size of an organization and the level of training and education a professional holds. The BLS stated that the average annual salary for all chief executives was $185,850 as of May 2015. The potential to earn much more is ever present, and PayScale.com reported the salary for the top-paid 10% of CEOs at $320,000 in 2016. During the decade between 2012 and 2022, the BLS predicted that open positions for all chief executives, such as CEOs, CFOs and COOs, would decline by 1%.
Employers for top level hospital administration positions look for either a master's degree or a doctor of health administration, with the former requirement being more common. Salaries vary for executive level positions at hospitals depending on the size of the organization, level of training, and education with the average annual salary for all chief executive officers being about $186,000. The job outlook for chief executive officers is declining.