Healthcare is expanding at a higher rate than the rest of the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare employment will increase by 16 percent between 2020 and 2030, resulting in 2.4 million new jobs. Healthcare administration positions will make up a percentage of the new jobs.
Healthcare administrators are professionals who manage the business operations of medical organizations such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and community health centers. Other job titles also know them (e.g., healthcare managers, health services managers, and healthcare executives). If you’re considering a career in healthcare administration, the good news is that there’s never been a better time to do it.
What Is the Distinction Between a Hospital and a Healthcare Administrator?
“The most significant difference between hospital administrators and healthcare administrators is that hospital administrators are more concerned with managing the facility’s day-to-day operations, such as hospital staffing, i.e., doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff for all clinical departments, as well as department budgets.” Healthcare administrators frequently have a broader perspective than the day-to-day activities that are typically the focus of hospital administrators. Healthcare administrators may oversee hospital/facility rules and future operations.”
What Is the Role of a Healthcare Administrator?
Healthcare administrators manage day-to-day operations and plan future upgrades to keep medical facilities running efficiently. Healthcare administrators’ job descriptions vary depending on their position, but they may include things like:
- Coordinating staff schedules
- Overseeing hiring and salaries
- Improving efficiency
- Managing finances and budget
- Maintaining health records
- Addressing the needs of doctors, nurses, and other staff members
- Ensuring the facility follows healthcare laws and regulations
Not every role will have all of these responsibilities. For example, government-employed healthcare administrators are usually focused on health policy and do not have many administrative responsibilities. You could also advance your career at a facility and assume more responsibility, such as shaping programs for the entire corporation.
A master’s degree in healthcare administration (MHA) can lead to a range of positions, including CEO, department director, and operations manager. Through coursework, internships, clinical experience, and certifications, you can choose to specialize in a particular field. Consider an MHA as a jumping-off point for your career objectives; you have complete control over your journey.
So, what are the requirements for becoming a hospital administrator? To begin, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree at the very least. However, this is usually only permissible for entry-level employees in smaller companies such as clinics. A master’s degree is critical to a career in health service management (usually a two-year program). Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), or Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees are joint among healthcare executives (MPH).
Because the quality of your master’s program will influence your ability to secure that first job, it’s critical to establish the framework for admittance into a reputable school by maintaining a solid academic record at the bachelor’s degree level. Furthermore, you should choose the program from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education’s (CAHME) website’s searchable database of authorized programs.
Healthcare management, organizational behavior, healthcare policy, healthcare legislation, health economics, healthcare funding, and human resources are standard courses in master’s degrees in healthcare administration. A rising number of universities are offering dual degrees that combine healthcare management with business administration or another comparable field (e.g., healthcare and business administration, healthcare and law, business administration with a health services concentration). The University of Minnesota’s Dual MHA/MBA program is one example.
A supervised internship, fellowship, or residency, besides didactic courses, may be included in master’s programs, which are excellent opportunities to gain relevant job experience (covered in more detail below). The MHA program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, for example, consists of a one-year didactic curriculum followed by an 11-month administrative residency.
Qualifications are vital, but relevant experience is much more critical. Work experience in healthcare administration (general or clinical) adds a lot of weight to your resume and should not be overlooked. One strategy to gain the experience needed for higher-level positions is working in an entry-level role (e.g., Assistant Healthcare Administrator). Internships, fellowships, and residencies are common ways to obtain experience. The primary line is that work experience is critical; you should be willing to volunteer or labor for free if required.
Pursue a Position in the Healthcare Administration Field
You’re ready to start looking for a career in the healthcare administration industry once you’ve completed your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, accumulated meaningful work experience, and earned appropriate certifications. It’s beneficial to focus your search on a specific sector, such as government, hospitals, outpatient clinics, or nursing homes. You must determine which work environment best suits your professional ambitions and other considerations such as salary and working hours.
Begin an internship in health administration. This will provide you with valuable work experience for your first postgraduate career. For example, you could start working in a hospital’s billing department or a public health clinic’s billing department. You could potentially accept an internship with a pharmaceutical business as a health administration intern. These will provide you with the administrative experience you require in the healthcare field. Make an effort to apply for various internships. The more experience you can obtain, the better, and some competitive internships.
Administrators in the Healthcare Field Must Have Specific Skill
It would help if you aimed to develop your skills in areas of expertise that are particularly important for health administration careers, such as communication, problem-solving, decision-making, negotiation, the delegation of authority, goal-setting, data analysis, policy development, staff management, and leadership while gaining work experience. Healthcare administrators are responsible for a wide range of responsibilities. They must be detail-oriented while simultaneously considering the broader picture. The following are the essential abilities in healthcare administration that you will need to succeed in this position:
- Leadership skills
- Technological competence
- Problem-solving abilities
- Communication skills
- Business expertise
- Knowledge of healthcare legislation and regulations
Careers and Pay for Healthcare Administrators
You will work in various healthcare settings once you graduate and earn your health administration license. For example, you could direct market research for pharmaceuticals under development for a pharmaceutical company, and you contribute to the development of research techniques and data gathering policies.
Alternatively, you could accept a position as a hospital association’s director of healthcare quality. This job could be filled by a member of an advisory group who advises on quality improvement. As a nursing home administrator, you’ll be in charge of a nursing home or other facility that serves people with impairments or long-term ailments. You’ll hire new employees, assist with training and management, and oversee financial matters as well as continuous medical care. Clinic administrators are in charge of supervising department supervisors. You might be in charge of staffing, scheduling, and running staff meetings. You’ll be in charge of implementing procedures, overseeing billing, and overseeing facility maintenance.
Patient records are organized and secured by health information managers. You’ll collaborate with IT professionals to find federally compliant software for storing electronic patient data.
The Department of Public Health and Human Services is in charge of public health and human services. Healthcare administrators work for the federal government, ensuring that every American’s health is protected. Your work has the potential to have a global impact on healthcare.
Prospects for the Future
Healthcare administration is an essential function for people’s health. As a result, it’s no wonder that medical and public health services managers are expected to witness a 20% increase in employment between 2016 and 2026. This is significantly quicker than the national average for all other vocations.
The demand for comprehensive healthcare management services will only grow as the general population maintains an active lifestyle into their older years and the Baby Boomer group ages. There will be an ever-increasing demand for doctors and other healthcare employees, which implies that managers in charge of handling medical information, hiring healthcare management staff, and organizing all of these organizations will be in high demand. In the offices of healthcare practitioners, employment growth should be the fastest.
While there is no alternative for an excellent educational background in healthcare administration, you can start with an entry-level role. Starting as a medical office administrator in medical practice will provide you with a behind-the-scenes look at the profession of healthcare administration. Because this is an entry-level role, you will be responsible for accounts receivable, answering phones, contacting insurance providers, handling contracts, and hiring and managing employees.
You will be close to the heartbeat of medical practice if you manage the human resources office. The duties and skills you’ll be expected to perform are pretty similar to those of a hospital administrator. Health administration specialists will direct several administrative functions. You will work directly with the C-suite executives as an executive medical assistant. You’ll get a firsthand look at projects and acquire experience as you manage them. Grant proposals are another option.
Don’t forget about internships for on-the-job training. These opportunities allow you to gain experience in a variety of sectors of healthcare while mastering administrative functions.
Career Paths to Consider
- If you want to work as a healthcare administrator, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
- Get a bachelor’s degree and work hard to maintain a solid academic record;
- Earn a master’s degree in one of the following (or related) fields: healthcare administration, business administration, or public health;
- Work experience;
- Develop the core skills needed to be a successful healthcare administrator