Are you interested in becoming part of the healthcare industry while having a position of leadership? If so, you may find that working in healthcare administration is the perfect fit for your career goals. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about a career in healthcare administration, including requirements, job outlook, potential wages and more.
How to Become a Healthcare Administrator
Becoming a healthcare administrator is a huge step and it’s also a large responsibility. Healthcare administrators are generally the professionals who are in charge of ensuring a healthcare facility runs as smoothly, efficiently and cost-effective as possible. Despite the many responsibilities this career entails, it can also be extremely rewarding. It’s also very attainable with a little commitment and study.
To become a healthcare administrator, you’ll need to complete a formal training program. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare, health science or a related field for an entry-level position in healthcare administration. A bachelor’s degree should take about four years to complete. If you want to advance your education and earn a graduate degree, you can add 1 to 2 years more. In addition to completing coursework, students are required to complete a supervised internship or fellowship prior to graduation.
Although healthcare administrators in general do not need to be licenses, they must have a license if they work in nursing homes. This is a requirement in all states. They must also complete a state-approved educational program and pass a licensing exam. If you’re working in a role where you don’t need to be licensed, you may still want to obtain certification to demonstrate your knowledge and enhance your resume. You can obtain certification through the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management and the American College of Health Care Administrators.
Degree Needed to Become a Healthcare Administrator
Degrees in healthcare administration are available at the bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral level, depending on what you want to do in the area of healthcare administration. However, the bachelor’s degree is the very least one must have to hope for a career in healthcare administration. A typical degree for a healthcare administrator is a master’s degree in health services administration, public health or health sciences.
Students who may be interested in research or teaching may pursue a doctoral degree while someone who wants to just work in healthcare administration may only earn a bachelor’s degree and obtain work experience. Some students combine a public health or health administration degree with a business degree so they’re prepared for leadership positions in more areas and more industries than just healthcare administration.
Generally, students in healthcare administration programs can expect to take courses in health information management; healthcare policy and law; marketing; human resources and healthcare financing. The Association of University Programs in Health Administration offers some excellent resources on careers and programs.
Becoming a Healthcare Administrator through Online Education
If you’re hoping to become a healthcare administrator but can’t afford to quit your job to attend college full time, you’re in luck because you can earn your degree through distance learning or online education. As a distance-learning student, you can continue working and meeting other obligations, while still completing coursework at your own pace from the convenience of your own home.
Online education programs generally offer programs that are all online or partly online. Some students choose online programs to complete their general education courses and do the rest on campus. With online education offering so many different choices in learning formats, getting your degree in healthcare administration has never been easier or more convenient.
The requirements for the program will vary from school to school. In addition to completing all your coursework, you’re typically required to complete an internship working in a hospital, whether you’re in an online or on-campus program.
Job Outlook Very Strong for Healthcare Administrators
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts healthcare administrators in the category of medical and health service managers. Regardless of how they’re categorized, healthcare administrators are a group of professionals who are in demand and can look forward to excellent employment opportunities.
According to the BLS, these professionals can expect an employment growth of up to 23% during the decade of 2012-2022. The gaining population and the more active lifestyles everyone is leading will increase the demand for more medical care, which bodes well for healthcare administrators.
Typical Salaries for Healthcare Administrators
In addition to having a much-faster-than-average employment growth, healthcare administrators also earn a very good salary. According to a May 2013 BLS report, medical and health service managers earned a mean annual wage of $101,340 nationwide. However, wages for healthcare administrators may vary by level of training, years of experience, place of employment and location.
For instance, these medical professionals working in California earned a mean annual wage of $123,120 in the District of Columbia while those working in Idaho earned $75,110. Hospital administrators also earn higher wages when working in large hospitals as opposed to small medical facilities.
Trends in Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administration has been very consistent through the years. Healthcare administrators were the leaders and were in charge of how hospitals, nursing homes or other medical facilities were run and operated. However, with so many new laws regarding healthcare and health insurance, the trends for healthcare administration are also changing. In addition to requiring specific training, healthcare administrators are also expected to expand their roles and duties in an attempt to keep down costs.
Healthcare administrators will also work in more than just hospitals and medical clinics. They can now be found in care management organizations, health information technology firms, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, investment banks and more. Healthcare administration, as a whole, will become a much more versatile and comprehensive career.
Careers Similar to Healthcare Administration
Here is a list of similar careers as well as the potential earnings, according to the BLS, and the educational requirements.
- Human Resources Manager – $99,720 – Bachelor’s Degree
- Insurance Underwriter – $62,870 – Bachelor’s Degree
- Social and Community Service Manager – $59,970 – Bachelor’s Degree
- School and Career Counselor – $53,610 – Master’s Degree
- Social Worker – $44,200 – Bachelor’s Degree
- Mental Health Counselor – $41,500 – Master’s Degree
- High School Teacher – $55,050 – Bachelor’s Degree
- Rehabilitation Counselor – $33,880 – Master’s Degree
- Psychologist – $69,280 – A Master’s Degree Or PhD
- Labor Relations Specialist – $55,640 – Bachelor’s Degree