Health administration professionals are usually responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating the services provided by one or more healthcare facilities. It’s their job to develop and implement practice policies and establish functional performance systems. Many medical and health services managers are also in charge of hiring and evaluating personnel, maintaining company financials, and creating community health programs.

California Health Admin Salary

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Because health administrators have very demanding and multifaceted jobs, they are generally quite well-paid. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers in California earned an average annual salary of $122,500 in 2017. The average hourly wage was $58.90. Those professionals in the top 10 percent of the pay scale made an average yearly salary of $196,580, while those in the bottom 10 percent made an average yearly salary of $58,350.

These figures make California one of the top 10 highest paying states for the health administration field. In fact, five of the top then highest paying metropolitan areas in the country were located in California:

  • San Francisco, Redwood City, South San Francisco
  • Vallejo, Fairfield
  • Madera
  • San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara
  • Santa Cruz, Watsonville

It’s also worth noting that California had the highest employment level for medical and health service managers in the profession. In 2017, the state employed 34,140 professionals, a number that far exceeds any other state. The areas with the highest employment level were Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Glendale.

Undergraduate Health Administration Degree Programs

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Most employers expect health administration candidates to have, at minimum, an undergraduate degree. A bachelor’s degree in health administration, business administration, public health, or a related field will generally meet the qualifications for an entry-level position. Those who seek additional education, however, will often be given preference and higher pay.

California Health Admin Schools

Many colleges and universities in California offer undergraduate programs for individuals interested in the health administration field. Some institutions with bachelor degree programs include:

  • Argosy University
  • California College San Diego
  • California State University East Bay
  • California State University Long Beach
  • California State University Los Angeles
  • California State University Northridge
  • San Diego State University
  • University of La Verne

Programs are likely to vary slightly, especially those with concentrations in a specific area. Most degrees, however, consist of at least 120 credit hours of coursework and take about four years to complete. Some students may require less time due to transfer credits; part-time students, on the other hand, may take longer to graduate. Course titles will differ, but some likely offerings include:

  • Strategic Planning and Program Development
  • Human Resource Management in Healthcare Systems
  • Quality Assurance in Healthcare Systems
  • Healthcare Policy and Administration
  • Principles of Accounting
  • Principles of Management Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Medical Billing/Coding
  • Business and Healthcare Law
  • Patient Care

Graduate Health Administration Degree Programs

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While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for many entry-level health administration positions, most successful professionals in the field have a master’s degree. The type of master’s degree earned, however, is less important. A medical and health service manager will be qualified for most jobs if he or she has a master’s degree in health services administration, health sciences, public health, public administration, or business administration.

California Health Admin Grad Programs

Many colleges and universities in California offer a graduate program for individuals interested in health administration. Some institutions with master degree programs include:

  • Argosy University
  • California College San Diego
  • California State University East Bay
  • California State University Long Beach
  • California State University Los Angeles
  • California State University Northridge
  • Golden Gate University
  • Loma Linda University
  • University of La Verne

Graduate programs typically require students to complete 30 to 60 hours of coursework. Most are designed to be completed within one to two years, although this may vary depending on previous professional work experience, credit transfer, and scheduling. While every program is a little different, common graduate-level courses include:

  • Accounting and Finance for Managers
  • Management and Organizational Behavior
  • History and Foundations of Public Health
  • Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness
  • Health Communications and Social Marketing
  • Healthcare Personnel Management
  • Healthcare Information Systems
  • Healthcare Legal, Diversity, and Ethical Issues
  • Healthcare Quality Improvement Tools and Methodologies

It’s also important to note that health administration professionals who intend to manage histocompatibility laboratories or nursing care facilities are required by the state of attain special licensure. Candidates must complete an application process through the California Department of Public Health.

Job Prospects in California

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As the state with the highest medical and health services manager employment level in the country, job prospects in California are exceptionally promising. The California Employment Development Department reports that the health care industry is growing. Already, health care occupations make up seven percent of the state’s employment and that number is expected to increase over the coming years.

Job Growth for Health Managers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health service managers will see a significant employment increase between 2017 and 2026. In fact, professional can expect demand for health administrators to grow by 20 percent in the next nine years, a rate that exceeds most other professions.

This drastic change is likely a result of aging populations across the nation. As the baby-boomer generation gets older, there will be more and more need for quality health care services. Another contributing factor is likely the fact that many smaller health facilities now have access to technology that drastically increases the number of services provided. Large hospitals are no longer the only places for patients to receive specialized treatments. As this trend continues to develop, more small and private practices will require the management skills of health administration professionals. Additionally, many more people have health insurance after the Affordable Care Act. California alone has seen an additional five million citizens gain coverage since the act’s implementation in 2010.

Overall, the job prospects for health administration professionals in California are very promising. The state reports that there are an average of 1,400 medical and health services manager position openings annually.

While health administration employment opportunities are constantly changing in California, here are several examples of the kind of jobs available in July of 2018:

Director of Compliance and Risk Management at Alliance Medical Center

Responsible for reporting to the Director of Risk Management, managing the compliance programs, developing compliance procedures and policies, relaying compliance requirements, overseeing the risk management programing, and reviewing incident reports. Master’s Degree in Public Health or Health Administration preferred; Bachelor’s Degree and three years professional experience required.

Practice Manager at Memorial Care Medical Foundation

Responsible for ensuring clinical workflow and processes are applied, managing all facility policies, maintaining safety of the site, overseeing inventories, resolving patient relations issues, and assisting in the hiring process. Bachelor’s Degree in Business or a related field is required.

Chief Operating Officer at SAC Health System

Responsible for ensuring employee productivity, enhancing financial performance, contributing to new business strategies, creating operational tactics, setting program goals, fostering communication between teammates, and oversees the credentialing process. Bachelor’s Degree is required; Master’s Degree in Health Administration or Business Administration is preferred.

*The positions listed above are for illustrative purposes only. They depict the type of positions that may be available. They are not actual employment opportunities and don’t guarantee employment.

Prominent Employers in California

Most health administration professionals will work for hospitals, physician offices, residential care programs, outpatient care centers, or government facilities. While there are job opportunities in other industries, these are the most common. In California, some of the most prominent potential employers include:

  • Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles
  • Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda
  • Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego
  • Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena
  • University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento
  • Sanford Hospital in Palo Alto
  • San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco
  • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose
  • Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa
  • Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego
  • Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego
  • LAC & USC Medical Center in Los Angeles
  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles in Los Angeles
  • Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno

Health Administration Associations in California

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California has several health administration associations available. Associations are a perfect way for professionals in the field to network, share ideas, and impact policy. Additionally, many members can take advantage of continuing education opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, training, and certification courses. These helpful resources keep professionals informed about current issues and improve their marketability for future job advancement. Being part of an association, and thus connected to other healthcare administration professionals, is particularly useful when facing potential problems or dealing with difficult situations. Some of the most prominent organizations in California include:

Healthcare Human Resources Management Association of California (HHRMAC)

HHRMAC is affiliated with both the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration and the California Hospital Association. It’s one of the largest healthcare associations in the United States, providing resources to over 500 healthcare human resources professionals.

Women in Health Administration of Southern California (WHA)

WHA is a nonprofit association for female professionals in the healthcare field. The organization offers a number of helpful resources, including access to forums, networking opportunities, and career development. WHA also focuses on raising awareness about healthcare issues.

California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF)

CAHF is an association for nursing and intermediate care facilities devoted to patients with intellectual disabilities. The organization provides continuing education for long-term healthcare professionals and is responsible for over 140,000 long-term employee jobs.

Hospital Council of Northern and Central California

The Hospital Council is made up of 185 member hospitals and health systems from Kern County to the Oregon border. It helps members pursue common goals and coordinates several health care programs within the communities served.

Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties (HASD&IC)

HASD&IC is made up of 38 hospitals and health systems in San Diego and Imperial counties. The organization provides policy direction to members and advocates for quality healthcare in order to create a healthier society.

Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC)

HASC is made up of 184-member hospitals and 40 health systems in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Venture counties. It’s committed to improving the hospital operating systems in the communities served, as well as positively impact the overall health of community members.

California Hospital Association (CHA)

CHA works to improve and advance California’s healthcare quality and performance. As a hospital trade association, HASC, HASD&IC, and the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California are three of its corporate members. Dues have been consolidated, so members receive benefits from both CHA and their regional association for one price.

While California has a number of great associations to choose from, many health administration professionals become members of national organizations as well. Some additional resources are:

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
  • American College of Health Care Administrators
  • American Health Information Management Association
  • Health Care Administrators Association
  • National Association of Healthcare Access Management
  • National Association of Health Services Executives