Health administrators fill a valuable role in the healthcare sector. Their duties are varied, ranging from insurance and related issues, compliance with national and state regulations and overseeing changes to healthcare laws and regulations, helping their organization to stay in full compliance.
Nationwide, median hourly pay for a health administration professional was $47.29 as of 2017; annual median pay was $98,250, also as of 2017. If you want to begin a career as a health administrator, you need, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in health administration. Having a background in business means you’ll be able to make good decisions. However, you should have some exposure to a health-related field, so you understand the potential outcomes of your decisions on the job.
Undergraduate Program Overview
As you begin your college classes, get your core or general education classes completed. Once you’ve actually declared a major in health administration, you’ll find that your classes will mostly focus on business courses related to the healthcare environment.
These classes will include marketing, personnel management, quality improvement for healthcare services, and management and information systems.
If you are interested in a particular focus of health administration, such as technology in healthcare, global health problems, operations management and managing the medical practice, let your adviser know. They will guide you in choosing the right course prerequisites so that, when you sign up for those specialized classes, you will be academically equipped to participate in and complete these courses.
With your bachelor’s degree in health administration, you’ll be well-equipped to get to know and understand this rapidly changing field. This means you’ll also need to take several business courses. These include community outreach, finance and employee management. You should also understand how to work with government funding, so that your employer doesn’t inadvertently use the funding in ways that are forbidden.
Now that the Affordable Care Act has been law for the past few years—and the federal government is requiring several drastic changes to its operation, you will need to understand the ACA, also known as ObamaCare, so that your healthcare organization will be able to stay in full compliance with the ACA. Because of all these rapid changes, your role will be even more important than it is today.
Graduate Program Overview
As a student in the graduate health administration program, you’ll be required to take several regular business courses as you prepare to take the health-focused courses that will lead to earning your degree. There are a wide variety of programs available to students in Delaware, both locally and online. Here is a look at some of the graduate programs available around the state:
At Wilmington University in Wilmington, you’ll be able to enroll in the Business Administration program as a graduate student, allowing you to focus your courses on health care administration. For undergraduate students interested in health administration, Wilmington University does offer a Health Sciences to the MBA Healthcare Administration concentration. And, if you are a working professional, the university does have an accelerated course option.
Within this college at Wilmington University, you can also take the graduate certificate in health care administration. This requires completing five courses satisfactorily. Once you complete all of these classes, you’ll be awarded your graduate certificate. They cover such topics as health policy, economics, health care administration, legal concerns, health insurance and its reimbursement and marketing.
At Widener University, enroll in the Health Care Management MBA. As its title suggests, the course focuses on business management knowledge. After graduating, you’ll be able to lead your employees as your health care organization delivers health services to its patients. Your specialized business knowledge also enables you to use healthcare data in such a way that you’ll be able to increase healthcare delivery outcomes, which is good for your organization’s patients.
At the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, you’ll be able to take the MBA concentration in Healthcare Management, which is the health administration major for graduate students.
Within this major, you’ll work on developing or improving your leadership and business skills.
Your instructors will be the Lerner School’s faculty as well as faculty from the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences. Expect your courses to focus on such topics and issues as e-service delivery, healthcare reform (the ACA), informatics, population-based care and patient experience.
The available career options in this major are quality service manager, health care administrator, healthcare analyst, medical practice administrator, health care systems manager, director of operations and senior business associate.
Job Prospects for Delaware
While Delaware is a small state geographically, its need for effective healthcare delivery is large, especially now that more people hold health care coverage. Here are some jobs you may be qualified for once you graduate:
- Health Information Management
- Hospital Adminstrators
- Clinical Operations Director
- Director of Nursing Services
- Social Services Senior Administrator
- Senior Living Facility Administrator
- Associate Executive Director
- Program Manager – Health Initiatives
- Chief Health Officer
- Clinical Operations Director – Primary Care
- Health Administrator – Private Medical Practice
- Orthopedics Administrator
- Practice Manager in Endocrinology
- Government Health Agency Director
- Clinical Trial Administrator
- Administrative Director of Preoperative and Surgical Services
These are just some of the many job titles that can open up to you once you earn your degree in Healthcare Administration.
Largest Employers of Health Administration Professionals
As you begin applying for health administration positions, you should know which Delaware healthcare employers are the largest. With these employers, you have a better opportunity to find that health administration job you plan to get. While you may have a chance at finding such a position with a smaller employer, your chance of a successful outcome are better with healthcare employers with larger numbers of employees.
- The Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington has a workforce of 10,000 workers. Its companion hospital, Christiana Hospital, located in Newark, employs 7,000 people.
- Bayhealth Milford Memorial in Wilmington employs 3,000 people.
- The nationally known pharmaceutical, Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals in Wilmington employs 2,500 workers.
- The state agency Division of Aging & Adult in Newark employs 2,500.
- In Dover, the Bayhealth Medical Center employs 2,392 people.
- The Alfred I Dupont Hospital, in Wilmington employs just over 2,000 employees.
- In Lewes, Beebe Healthcare has 1,743 workers.
- Located in Dover, Bayhealth Kent General employs 1,500 people.
- Siemens Healthcare, in Newark, employs 1,500.
- In New Castle, the Christiana Care Health System employs 1,100 people and in Wilmington, St. Francis Healthcare has 1,100 workers.
Associations in Delaware
The Delaware Health Information Management Association (DHIMA) state association is a component of the American Health Information Management Association, or AHIMA. This is the foremost health information management association in the world, which makes membership a true goal to achieve.
The Delaware Organization of Nurse Leaders is affiliated with the American Organization of Nurse Executives—a true health administration association. The organization is a recognized non-profit consisting of executives, nurse leaders, managers, educators, administrators and researchers in Delaware. Its main focus is administration of the nursing workforce in the state.
Health Care Administrators Association relies on its members connecting and networking with each other. This single resource is the main reference for health administrators who want to remain current on issues pertinent to the field. No matter your professional role as a health administrator, you will benefit by associating with others in the group.
As with other states, the American College of Health Care Administrators is one of the top national or state associations for you, as a health administrator, to join.
The American College of Healthcare Executives is another premier association for you to consider. You’ll further your professional connections and be able to stay on the edge of developments in your field.