Your Career in Healthcare Administration

Involvement in the business side of healthcare changes the landscape of the industry and helps you make an impact on a larger scale. Learn all about this side of healthcare with these articles.

About Discover Health Admin

The business side of healthcare needs a dedicated workforce to grow and improve healthcare operations nationwide.

Health administration professionals are responsible for the business aspects of healthcare, from staffing to budgets and planning, long-term vision and strategy and operations management of healthcare facilities, insurance companies, doctor groups and much more. Coursework in health administration programs prepares graduates for the unique challenges and opportunities they will face in a healthcare setting.


Exciting Health Administrator Careers

Now that you’ve declared a major in healthcare administration, no matter what degree level, you are entering into a challenging, but exciting career path.

If you’re in an associate degree program, the health administration classes you take will be oriented toward supportive administration roles, such as coding and billing. These career roles are vital for medical providers and for their patients.

For undergraduate courses, you’ll take business classes and classes that are aimed at teaching healthcare as a business. You’ll also learn ethics and legal aspects of health administration. Graduate-level classes will teach you the same thing, but at a much more advanced level.

Once you graduate, you’ll be able to find work in a hospital, nursing home, health clinic, insurance company, social welfare office, patient records office, as a consultant administrator, hospice administrator, health care program director, and home health care administrator.

Healthcare Administration Education Path

The classes you’ll take in an associates program in healthcare administration prepare you for entry-level employment in any one of several health care settings. Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll be able to work in a mental health hospital, a hospital, schools or nursing homes.

Degree Options

This program takes up to two years to complete. You’ll take classes in healthcare management procedures, health laws and policies, epidemiology, anatomy, physiology and computer skills.

At the undergraduate level, you’ll progress to learning about business concepts, as well as health care related to various populations. You’ll also learn about health care delivery practices, health information systems and environmental health and safety. Finance, accounting and economics will be a large part of your learning. Once you’ve graduated from your undergraduate classes, you may choose to earn a graduate degree in health administration. If you earn your MPA (Master of Public Administration), you are able to work in a health setting in a nongovernmental organization (NGO). With a Master of Public Health, you’ll function well in a health administrator role—you’ll be able to handle the fast changes in policy and law. An MBA-HCA is the Master’s in Business Administration with a specialty in Health Care Administration. You’re qualified to work in this highly specialized field, especially today—the course work is especially designated for those wanting to enter the health care industry.

What’s New in Healthcare Administration

Things on the ground are changing rapidly for healthcare administrators all across the country. The Affordable Care Act is under continuing challenges to its constitutionality and legality—the Supreme Court will be making decisions about the ACA for several years into the future. Health informatics will continue to grow. Health administrators who work in the health informatics sector will be in ever-increasing demand as well. Health administrators will be tasked with ensuring compliance to various state and federal laws. Drug shortages continue to frustrate health administrators across the country. Healthcare administrators work every day on finding ways to improve health care delivery processes. This is intended to push the need for re-admissions down. Improvements are also focusing on overall compliance with privacy, and state and federal laws.

Health administrators are, more and more, expected to hold doctoral degrees. This means that facilities are requiring health administrators to have even higher skills in management and leadership. Additionally, health administrators will be expected to develop cross-functional abilities, so they can understand other important functions of their organization. Health care undergoes changes almost every day. Administrators should be able to keep up with these changes and have strategies available to help their health care organizations make the adjustments. As a result of the requirements of coverage under the ACA, health care facilities should be ready for the additional services their patients will need.

“Specialization” is the trend today. All across the country, new facilities that specialize in one narrow aspect of medicine are opening. The shortage of healthcare professionals continues. Hospitals and other health providers are competing every day to hire the medical personnel they need so they can deliver services quickly and efficiently to everyone in need.

Career and Salary Outlook

Health administrators (medical and health services managers in the Occupational Outlook Handbook) can anticipate better-than-average hiring opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for health administrators between 2016 and 2026 stands at 20 percent, which is higher than average. In 2016, there were about 352,200 health administrators working in health organizations. By 2026, there should be roughly 424,300, which means this job field added a little more than 72,000 health administrators. The median pay in 2017 was $47.29 per hour; annually, it was $98,350.

Skills Needed

Health administrators lead the healthcare facility in its operations and are responsible for not only day-to-day operations, but long-term strategy and adherence to the ever-changed laws and policies impacting healthcare. Health administrators must possess complete knowledge of their industry and health organization within the complex world of healthcare, and be able to think critically, analyze information, develop solutions and communicate effectively with staff and stakeholders. Health administrators must be goal-setters, ethical, confident judgment-makers and be able to make the right decision even when profits are considered. It is vital for health administrators to accept responsibility when a decision doesn’t yield desired results, and they should also be able to adapt and adjust to unexpected situations. Even an unexpected change in the interpretation of the ACA may require health organizations to change how they deliver healthcare services to their patients. The administrator should be able and willing to change and to make required changes.