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If you love the idea of helping patients but feel more comfortable working with balance sheets than bodily fluids, there’s a fast-growing alternative to consider. Beginning this fall, Carthage will offer a major in healthcare administration.

The new bachelor’s degree program combines coursework and practical experience. It’s designed to equip students with a well-rounded skill set to manage healthcare facilities, shape healthcare policy, or direct innovative healthcare projects.

All healthcare administration majors will complete a yearlong, paid rotation at a local hospital, setting Carthage’s program apart. Guided by experienced professionals, students will observe and participate in several different hospital departments, including operations, human resources, quality improvement, and patient services.

Partnerships are already in place with two of the region’s biggest healthcare systems, Advocate Aurora Health and Froedtert South. Professor Joseph Tenuta, who developed the program, says others are likely to follow.

Employment data shows that Carthage is positioned in a hotbed of opportunity. Nearly 12,000 jobs already exist for medical and health services managers in the Chicago metropolitan area — which includes Illinois’ North Shore and Kenosha.

And the demand keeps escalating. Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 28% job growth for the occupation through 2032.

Crossing academic boundaries, the Carthage healthcare administration major pulls in existing courses in accounting, allied health science, business management, economics, marketing, nursing, and social work. Faculty members with extensive experience in healthcare management and policy will share “real world” insights and case studies.

The program will delve deeply into patient rights, healthcare disparities, and ethical decision-making, preparing students to lead with integrity. Prof. Tenuta predicts Carthage graduates will find opportunities with hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, consulting firms, and public health agencies.