In Health Care Administration, New Entrants Must Face-Off against Massive Online Institutions, says Gray Associates’ CEO, Robert Atkins

October 3, 2017

Compared to many other academic programs, Health Care Administration attracts high student demand for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.  However, from an institutional vantage the market is extremely competitive, and colleges and universities should tread cautiously before entering the field, says Robert Atkins, Chief Executive Officer of Gray Associates, a higher education consulting firm.  Mr. Atkins presented the market analysis during the firm’s monthly webinar, held September 21.

“The program’s overall score in our Program Evaluation System puts it in the 90th percentile of the approximately 1,400 IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) programs, but that means there are 140 other programs with as good or better prospects,” he said.  ”If you’re in it (Heath Care Administration) you’re probably fine, but if you’re thinking of getting in you have a much more complex question.”

Gray’s Program Evaluation System is a strategic analysis tool used by colleges and universities to make decisions to Start, Stop, Sustain or Grow academic programs.  It analyzes data on over thirty variables in four categories:  student demand, competition, employment outlook, and strategic fit.  Using this data, Gray’s Program Evaluation System  can assess any academic program in the IPEDS CIP (Classification of Instructional Program) taxonomy.

What does the Program Evaluation System say about Health Care Administration?  With more than 102,000 inquiries and a nearly equal number of Google searches, Health Care Administration ranks in the top 2% of all academic programs for student demand on a national level.  It also had 19,400 completions, putting it in the top 5% of all programs.

While there is strong student demand, there is also intense competition.  Nationally, approximately 515 institutions offer Health Care Administration programs, ranking it among the most competitive programs.  Nearly half are distance learning (online) programs, including the four largest, based on number of completions.  In addition, the field has nearly a $40 cost per click for Google keyword searches, making Health Care Administration keywords more competitive than 60% of all other programs.

The employment outlook for Health Care Administration is strong, with 28,742 job postings, according to Burning Glass Technologies, and total employment of 62,436, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.  However, salaries are low to average, i.e. in the 40th percentile, for people working in the field who hold only bachelor’s degrees.  People below age 30 had average salaries of $36,774 while for those between 30 and 60 the average salary was $74,349.

In addition, employers are likely to be seeking stronger academic credentials in the future. Master’s degrees now account for 46 percent of program completions, and Mr. Atkins expects that figure to rise.

The related employment field, Medical and Health Service Managers, is growing.  Mr. Atkins forecasts that job postings measured by Burning Glass Technologies will surpass the 286,999 listing for 2016.  There were 213,180 postings year-to-date through August.

The mean salary for job postings that included the information was $79,000.  However, only 10 percent of job postings included salary information.  Among postings listing minimum education requirements, 62 percent specified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree.  Only 11 percent required a master’s degree.

Many positions in the field required both a clinical and management background.  Of the 10 most-cited skill clusters, half were health care-related while the other half were in business, finance, information technology or administration.  “There is tremendous demand at very big companies for people with both health care and management skills, Mr. Atkins said.

The full report can be viewed here:

About Gray Associates

Gray Associates, Inc. is a higher education consulting firm.  We help clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies to maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.  Gray uses proprietary analytical techniques and an industry-leading database combining information on inquiry volumes, demographics, competition, and employment, to help faculty and school leadership develop institutional strategies, select programs, pick locations, and prepare curricula.

Media contact:
Ellis Simon, 516-524-6804,

Company contact:
Mark Keleher, 617-366-2831,

Gray Associates

Gray Associates, Inc. provides the best available data, software, and facilitated processes to help higher education institutions make high-stakes decisions regarding academic programs, pricing, and locations.

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Gray Associates, Inc. is a software and services firm focused on higher education. We help education clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies that maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.

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