Why healthcare administration should be on your career shortlist•
If you’re interested in the health fields, yet aren’t sure a hands-on medical job is for you, then you may find a dream career in healthcare administration. Healthcare administration, also known as health administration, focuses on the business of healthcare. Since health administration tends to be a hidden career, students often don’t know much about it. Learn what healthcare administration is and why it deserves a spot on your career shortlist.
What is Healthcare Administration?
Healthcare administration sits at the intersection of healthcare and business. Individuals may work in hospitals, clinics, business offices, academic institutions, and other environments.
No matter what the working environment, the general concerns remain the same: helping healthcare institutions operate efficiently and profitably, to better serve the health of communities. Some positions in the field focus more on patient services, where the goal is creating safe and comfortable environments for patients to receive medical care.
“We provide many different healthcare services to our veterans. We love taking care and assisting all our veterans and their health care needs.” – anonymous employer review at Veterans Administration Medical Center
Why Work in Healthcare Administration
Who doesn’t want to be all powerful? Working behind the scenes, you can influence healthcare policies that affect the wellbeing of millions. All kidding aside, if you care about making people healthier, then it is only natural to think of working on the business and policy side of things. As a doctor, you can only help one individual at a time but this way, you can have a positive effect on communities.
“A great place to work. Friendly, fun and is working hard to make communities better by providing great healthcare.” – anonymous employer review at DaVita
If you have an analytical mind, then you will enjoy the challenges of working in this field, where the emphasis is on efficiency and financial stability for large healthcare organizations. Hospitals are intricate organizations and the healthcare insurance system is large and complex, which means lots of day-to-day challenges to solve.
Last but not least, you’ll be well-paid and work reasonable hours if you choose a career in healthcare administration. Depending on the position you choose, you’ll receive anywhere from $50,000 to $170,000 per year. Unlike direct-service jobs like nurse or doctor, you’ll generally work office hours and have weekends free, so the quality of life is generally better than working directly with patients.
“Best job I ever had. Work/life balance is great.” – anonymous employer review at Veterans Administration Medical Center
Healthcare Administration Education Requirements
You can get started in healthcare administration with a bachelor’s degree. If you know you want to work in the field, then it makes sense to major in healthcare administration and gain on the job experience right away.
A graduate degree in health administration may help you get a desired position. You can apply for graduate programs in this area even if you studied something unrelated in college.
With health administration is somewhat tricky, there’s not one single advanced degree required, as there is with the legal profession. You could focus on the business side of it with a master’s in business administration and a health focus, or you could take a direct health administration path with degrees in healthcare administration, public health, or health management.
Master’s programs last two years. While programs vary, you’ll typically learn topics like Human Resources, marketing, financing, health policy, health law, and organizational behavior. While it’s helpful to have some training in economics and statistics, you can catch up through coursework and study if these disciplines are new to you.
Jobs in Healthcare Administration
Health managers work within institutions on the policy and leadership side of things by coordinating health services. You might work for a hospital as a whole or for one department or group within a hospital. Day-to-day duties include coordinating services and bringing the institution in line with developments in law, technology, and business as they related to health services.
Nurse Manager or Director
Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare system, and you could work directly with nurses in a supervisory or managerial role. Responsibilities include management, scheduling, budgeting, hiring and training, and coordinating patient care. The projected nursing shortage means opportunity here.
“Often & regularly promotes from within whenever possible” – anonymous employer review at Methodist Hospital
As a healthcare consultant, you can work with hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers, health insurance providers, and other organizations. Consultants are typically brought on for a limited time to solve issues within organizations, providing leadership and insight when it is needed.
CEO or COO
Upper level jobs within the field include CEO, chief executive officer, and COO, chief operations officer. These positions focus on the leadership side of things, helping a particular organization excel within its field. These jobs involve more business and management experience; however, you will still be influencing the shape of health.
From 2014 to 2024, positions in the healthcare administration field are projected to grow by 17 percent, which is faster than average. Combine good pay and good hours with a growing field and it’s easy to see how you can climb the career ladder with a career in health administration.