Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Administration

Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Administration

Health care is the largest industry in the United States, and the second largest employer. A rapidly growing industry, health care represents one of today's most dynamic fields, offering a wide range of opportunities.

The Health Policy and Administration (HPA) program in Penn State Harrisburg's School of Public Affairs, in collaboration with Penn State Mont Alto, has been designed to prepare students for mid-management and policy positions or graduate study in the field of health care. Students in this major will develop the skills and knowledge needed to understand the complex societal problems of providing access to quality health care at a reasonable cost.

HPA is a blend of courses in liberal arts, business administration, and the health sciences designed to prepare students for careers or further study in health care. HPA students study a multidisciplinary curriculum that prepares them to work as health services managers or health analysts.

Career Outlook/Job Opportunities

Health services managers, also called health care executives or health care administrators, plan, direct, and coordinate medical, health, and/or long-term care services. They might manage an entire facility or specialize in managing a specific clinical area or department, administrate a program or manage a practice for a group of providers.

Health analysts are employed throughout the health care industry gathering, compiling, modeling, validating, and analyzing data needed by different organizations of providers, payers, and policy makers. Analysts help these organizations understand the current trends in the health care system and to make well-informed decisions. Both health services managers and analysts must be able to adapt to changes in health care laws, regulations, and technology.

Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than all other occupations. Medical and health services managers, also called health care executives or health care administrators, plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They might manage an entire facility or specialize in managing a specific clinical area or department, or manage a medical practice for a group of physicians. Medical and health services managers must be able to adapt to changes in health care laws, regulations, and technology.

Quick Facts: Medical and Health Services managers
Entry-Level Education

Bachelor's Degree

Number of Jobs, 2016 352,200
Projected New Jobs, 2016-2026 69,800
Job Outlook 20% (Much faster than average)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical and Health Services Managers, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (visited June 18, 2017).

Graduate Study

The HPA program also prepares students for graduate study in business, law, medicine or allied health fields, health administration, health services research or policy, and public health. The School of Public Affairs offers the Master of Health Administration program, which is a 36 credit program that equips students with the knowledge and skills required to manage and lead various types of healthcare organizations in a highly complex, competitive, and rapidly-changing environment.