Even before he graduates from the University in December, Mohaned Farah’s career has taken off.
The 25-year-old parlayed a senior internship into full-time employment in hospital human resources—a fortunate turn for a student who worried about finding work in a tough job market and paying off college loans.
“One of my biggest concerns entering college was finding a job,” said Farah, who will earn a degree in health care management and works full-time for Centura Health’s South Denver Group. “I was extremely excited when I was offered the position. A lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
Health care management is a growing field and MSU Denver has been a leader in it since 1972. Now marking its 40th anniversary, the University's program has some 300 students who are studying the business side of health care—a varied career path that is expected to grow 22 percent by 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
The employment prospects are many. MSU Denver graduates might work in management positions for nursing homes, hospitals, the insurance industry, IT companies, HMOs, think-tanks, or even in the program from which they graduated.
That’s the case with Amy Dore, a tenure-track assistant professor in health care management. She graduated in 1996, spent nine years as an administrator of a dental clinic where she did her student internship, and started teaching part-time at the University in 2002.
“Teaching was always in my mind,” she says. “This is a profession in which you feel you’re always giving back.”
Applicants to the program must meet general studies requirements as well as pass support courses in economics, statistics, accounting and marketing. As seniors, they must complete a 300-hour internship. The program plans to offer a new course next semester on health care entrepreneurship and quality management.
“We adapt to changes in the market,” says Nancy Sayre, program coordinator for health care management and assistant chair of the Department of Health Professions.
Hundreds of schools across the U.S. advertise undergraduate programs in health administration, health management or health policy, according to the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. The University’s program is only one of 47 at the undergraduate level certified by the association.
“It means we adhere to rigorous standards as far as what courses the students have to take, competencies they need to achieve,” Sayre says. “It’s a seal of approval.”
The program certainly has Farah’s seal of approval.
“All the teachers are really, really good,” he says, specifically citing Kevin Zeiler, an assistant professor who, like Dore, is a graduate of the program. His classes and others “really prepared me for challenges being faced right now by all these hospitals. I was well informed and knowledgeable about these issues when I got the internship.”
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