As the health care system in the United States expands to meet growing demand for medical care, the demand is growing for administrators to manage health care facilities. Many people are choosing to get a bachelor’s degree in health care administration so they can take one of many jobs in this burgeoning field.
What Is Health Care Administration?
All businesses need skilled professionals to run them. Hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, clinics, and other health care facilities are no exception. A person who gets a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration is qualified to work in the business administration of any of these facilities.
A health care administrator ensures that hospitals run smoothly. They track trends and implement changes to improve patient care and the efficiency of the organization. They supervise employees such as doctors and nurses, ensuring that there is an adequate staff who are trained in key areas. They help to oversee hospital budgets and ensure that there is adequate income to cover improvements needed to keep up with the latest technology. Health care administrators have a diverse range of responsibilities and make a meaningful contribution both to their facilities and to the communities.
Training in Health Care Administration
Earning a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration will require a variety of classes. Communication, finance and budgeting skills are all important for a healthcare administrator to understand. Healthcare in general faces many businesses related challenges.
While there is a wide range of things that a health care administrator needs to know, these are all covered in the required classes for a bachelor’s degree in this field. People who enter health care administrations with a bachelor’s degree are well-prepared for this diverse and growing field.
A Growing and Changing Field
With recent changes to health care in the United States, healthcare administration professionals are more important than ever. They must run an efficient and cost effective business that keeps patients both healthy and happy. Health care administrators keep up with changes in both medicine and regulation, ensuring that their facility is offering the most modern care possible and remains in compliance with every-changing laws and regulations.
Career Possibilities in Health Care Administration
There are many different careers available to someone with a healthcare administration degree. Here are a few of the most common:
- Hospital CEO
- Hospital department manager
- Hospital CFO (chief financial officer)
- Nursing home administrator
- Clinic administrator
- Medical office business manager
- Dental office administrator
- Chiropractor office manager
- Insurance company analyst
- Government policy maker
- Government lobbyist
- Human relations personnel
- Facility operations specialist
- Manager of health care staffing agency
- Hospital marketing staff
- Facility project manager
- Insurance contract negotiator
- Lab/Testing facility manager
In general, people do not graduate with a bachelor’s degree and become CEO of a large hospital immediately. Most are hired by a smaller facility or in a smaller role at a large one and gradually work their way up to more prestigious and higher paying roles in health care administration.
Average Workday of a Health Care Administrator
Health care administrators who work in a hospital may not always work a typical 9 to 5 schedule. Hospitals are open 24 hours and usually have administration working at all times as well. Hospital administrators typical answer to a board of directors and spend their days working with doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and people who are involved in the business operations of the facility.
Health care administrators who work at smaller facilities usually work a more typical business work week, which is five days a week in eight hour shifts that end in the early evening. This is especially true if the facility is one that closes at night and on weekends, such as a doctor’s office.
While at their jobs, the duties of people who have a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management vary widely. People who work at a large hospital or other large medical facility will often have a very specific role, such as working in personnel management or cost efficiency. Those who work at a smaller clinic or a private office will perform a wider range of duties, including making and tracking goals, hiring and managing personnel, and budgeting.
Compensation for Careers in Health Care Administration
A health care administrator earns a much higher than average salary. The national average is more than $88,000 a year plus a very generous benefits package. Individuals working at hospitals and larger facilities may expect to see higher salaries. In addition, people who go on to specialize in a niche field of health care administration or to complete a master’s degree will earn more. There is ample room for promotion and career growth in this field.
Qualities of a Good Health Care Administrator
There are a few personality traits that are important for anyone wishing to become a professional in health care administration. First, healthcare administration professionals must have a passion for health care and a deep desire to help others. This fast-paced is fast-paced and stressful at times; having passion and dedication is crucial to keeping up with this pace.
Second, a health care administrator must have exceptional social and communication skills. Health care is increasingly becoming a collaborative field where communication is essential. Health care administrators must be good at working with people in a variety of contexts and from a variety of backgrounds, including doctors, nurses, patients, support staff, and insurance employees.
Third, a health care administrator must have critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These professionals need to make important decisions quickly and choose options that are in the best interests of employees and patients. In addition, they have to identify problems in their facility and present solutions that are measurable, then implement these solutions and measure their success.
A health care administrator needs to have a very specific set of qualities. However, a wide variety of personalities can be successful and fulfilled in this career. Because there is a huge range of different careers available, people who have a degree in this field can easily find a setting where they feel happy and fulfilled.
Demand for Health Care Administration
As the Baby Boomer generation hits retirement age, the demand for health care is increasing. In addition, medicine is rapidly switching focus from treating disease to preventing it in the first place, which requires an increasing amount of administrators. These issues have contributed to rapid growth in the field of health care administration. The United States Department of Labor Statistics estimates that the field has grown 23% in the past few years and will continue growing rapidly in the future.
Not only is the number of people needed in this profession growing, but the types of work they do as well. Health care administrators were once used mainly by hospitals and larger health care corporations. They are increasingly being used to increase efficiency and improve patient care in even the smallest facilities such as doctor’s offices and chiropractic businesses.