HLA Frequently Asked Questions

We recognize that you will have some questions regarding the new Healthcare Leadership Administration Program. These FAQs have been designed to address the most common questions we hear. If your question is not addressed, please donít hesitate to contact us.  

Is the HLA major right for me?

The HLA major is a bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree specifically targeted to allied health professionals who have associateís degrees (AAS, AS) and wish to earn their bachelorís. HLA may also be a good choice for AA degree holders with professional experience in a healthcare setting.

It is important to note that this degree is not appropriate for some students. This degree is not designed for students without associateís degrees and without healthcare experience.

Because this degree is fully online, it is best suited for students who are self-directed, comfortable in the use of computers and able to be successful in an online learning environment. If you prefer a program that is delivered in a traditional classroom setting, this program may not be a good fit. 

What is a bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree?

A BAS degree is a bachelorís program that is designed to meet local workforce needs. Often, BAS degrees are designed as completion programs that accept a greater number of college technical credits toward the degree and provide an academic pathway for graduates of two-year programs (AAS, AS, AA). For these reasons, the BAS model typically allows students to earn a bachelorís degree more quickly and cost effectively.

Winona Stateís HLA program is designed to build on each studentís technical education and professional experience and provide the education needed to develop management and leadership skills for success in todayís interdisciplinary healthcare settings. 

What careers are available to HLA BAS holders?

The Bureau of Labor Statisticsí Occupational Outlook Handbook anticipates employment growth of 22% for medical and health services managers between 2010 and 2020, well above the average of 14% for all occupations. A recent review of job openings in Southeast Minnesota and Western Wisconsin identified numerous open positions in healthcare leadership including: nursing home administrator, healthcare project manager, on-site health and wellness program manager, clinic manager, regional director, healthcare program development manager, hospice administrator, director of managed care, system director of imaging services, compliance coordinator, practice manager of orthopedic clinic and others.

Employers seeking medical and health services managers include hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, sleep centers; dental, optical, and veterinary clinics and government organizations focused on public health and policy. 

What if I eventually plan to go to graduate school?

Graduate programs vary widely in their entry requirements. If you are planning to attend graduate school we recommend that you research the admission requirements of each program of interest very carefully. This will allow you to determine whether or not Winona Stateís Healthcare Leadership & Administration degree is the best choice for you.  

Is HLA appropriate for nurses?

Nursing professionals seeking leadership roles typically follow an academic pathway that includes a two-year RN degree followed by a Bachelor of Science Nursing and possibly a Master of Science Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice. Winona State offers nursing programs at all of these levels. If you are a nurse seeking a bachelorís degree, we recommend that you first speak with the nursing department to discuss your educational options. If after consulting with nursing you believe that HLA is an appropriate degree program for you*, please contact us at hla@winona.edu or 508.457.2315.

*Important note: Nursing scope of practice dictates that LPNs are not permitted to supervise RNs. Therefore, LPNs are encouraged to first earn a RN degree before pursuing any bachelorís degree program. 

Does HLA have program admission requirements?

Yes. Individuals interested in the HLA major will need to be admitted to Winona State and will first declare a Pre-HLA (PHLA) major. Before admission to the HLA program, students will need to demonstrate that they have earned an associateís degree, hold a minimum of junior standing (60+ credits), have completed the Communication requirement (Goal 1) of Winona State's General Education Program (GEP), and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above. Students who possess professional experience in a healthcare setting will receive priority in the admission process. Please see the HLA Program Admission for full details.  

How long does it take to complete the program?

Completion of the HLA program depends on the associate-level coursework that is accepted in transfer and the amount of courses a student is able to complete per semester. Winona State will accept up to 30 credits of college technical credits toward the HLA major through articulation or formal approval. General education courses approved through the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum will also be accepted. Additional coursework may also be accepted after review by WSU transfer specialists. The HLA program offers two course scheduling options, including a two-year plan (PDF) and three-year plan (PDF), which allow you to complete your degree in a timeframe that meets your individual needs. 

What should I know about taking classes online?

Success in online programs requires that a student has adequate technology skills, a good deal of self-discipline, and ready access to a computer and software that meet or exceed minimum program requirements. In addition, access to high-speed Internet and multimedia player software for audio and video content will enhance success in an online learning environment. For more information and tips about online learning, visit WSU Online.

Winona State University and Bemidji State University are committed to offering only the highest quality online coursework and programs. HLA courses are developed and peer reviewed to meet rigorous Quality Matters Rubric standards.


Do I have to take all HLA classes online?

While the HLA major coursework will be offered completely online, some of the courses are also offered to non-HLA majors in a traditional classroom setting or using a hybrid online/classroom model. HLA students are allowed to take these courses, but may need instructor permission to do so. We encourage students to take the HLA cohort courses as these are specifically tailored to healthcare professionals. 

What if I've been out of school for awhile?

The HLA program was specifically designed for working allied health professionals who wish to complete a bachelorís degree to strengthen their leadership skills, advance their careers and differentiate themselves in a challenging job market. We anticipate that most students admitted to the HLA program will have been out of school for some timeó5, 10, even 15 years or more! Weíve developed the HLA program using a cohort model that will allow you to share ideas with fellow students, learn from their experiences and expand your professional network. 

Contact Us

Student & Campus Services
Winona State University-Rochester
Student Services (SS) 128
859 30th Ave. SE
Rochester, MN 55904

Shellie Nelson, Ed.D., ATC
HLA Program Director