Health management positions at all levels become ever more important as the U.S. population ages. While other industries and professions may see a decline in job availability, the reverse is true for the health administration profession. Health care administrators can be found in private clinics, hospitals and nursing homes. Healthcare administrators can earn about $47.29 an hour—this is the median pay for 2017. Annually, they earn approximately $98,350, which is again, median pay.

A large portion of Georgia is rural, making careers in this profession even more challenging. The necessity of reaching out to patients in small towns that have little to offer in health care options requires the health administrator to think beyond the outlines—can this patient receive long-distance services, or will it be necessary to transport them to appointments? This question, along with others, becomes a regular part of the administrator’s thinking and decision-making.

If you are planning on a career in health administration, you’ll be able to earn both an undergrad degree and a graduate degree, equipping you for job openings at several levels. And, returning to the opening sentence, you’ll be able to find the job you’re seeking among the plethora of openings.

Undergraduate Program Overview

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As you begin your undergraduate program in health administration, you’ll take your general education courses. Once you’ve declared your major, business courses, such as accounting, health care administration and business, will fill your semesters.

As you progress through your degree, expect to take finance courses. Health care informatics systems courses, information systems and human resources management will also become a big part of your learning. Enroll in required entrepreneurship courses—these, too, will be mandatory for your major.

Project management, international management, long-term care management and public administration round out your course requirements.

Graduate Program Overview

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As a master’s candidate, the expectations placed in front of you include professional roles in nursing homes, hospitals and managed care facilities.

Your required courses, will equip you with the ability to think critically—at different points during your classwork, you’ll gain more of this skill.

Look for a program where you’ll be able to practice real-life skills with simulation tools. These enable you to read and analyze case studies and challenges that health administrators might face in the work environment.

A good program enables you to role-play both simulated and traditional health administration case studies. As you do so, you’ll learn from those involved in the role plays with you.

An intense on-campus immersion experience will equip you with collaborative skills you’ll need once you have begun to work as a health administrator. These exercises help you to get comfortable in working closely with others as you solve hypothetical problems. You’ll also learn how to act professionally and use your communication and leadership skills.

As you begin working on your capstone project, you’ll be given a realistic healthcare project that you’ll work on with an approved administrator who mentors you as you do your work.

A Georgia university, such as Clayton State University, can equip you with the knowledge and skills you need. Here, you’ll use both on- and off-campus media to deepen your learning experience. Here, you’ll also learn within the competencies that are required by the Commission on Accreditation Healthcare management Education (CAHME).

A good program should have MHA objectives that help you to develop your health administration skills, independent thinking, and your health, economics and financial skills within the professional settings.

Your program should give you strong exposure to healthcare systems analysis and forecasting. You should also receive practice in developing your leadership skills. Once you graduate and find a healthcare job, you’ll be able to easily settle into a position in a for-profit or non-profit health service organization, a private healthcare organization or a public establishment.

As a master’s candidate, you will be expected to work in a community-based internship that gives you a real-world working experience. When you find a job in this field, you’ll be able to draw on what you learned and did in your internship.

As you consider your upcoming profession, keep in mind that you can pursue either a master’s in business administration or a master’s in health administration. Both of these degrees will give you the knowledge you need to carry out your professional role capably.

The MBA option is a good choice for someone who’s already employed in the healthcare field; for the grad student who has never worked in this field, the MHA would be a better choice. Your coursework in this discipline will cover mainly healthcare and healthcare administration courses. Depending on where you choose to go to school, your coursework may include other business administration courses—or it may not. By this point of your professional life, you may already be expected to possess this type of background. If you don’t have these courses on your transcript, get them out of the way so that, when you embark on your MHA, you’ll be able to understand your coursework.

If you choose the MBA focus, look for specialized healthcare courses, such as ethics, policy law, organizational behavior, management, human resources, marketing and financing. Your work will be enhanced by your educational choices. In the MBA program, your classes may consist of public relations, accounting, finance, business administration, human resources and marketing. What’s missing will be the practical health administration classes you need.

The MBA track focuses heavily on strategy, marketing, healthcare finance, health law and ethics, management of quality, healthcare leadership development, and information systems and technology. Look at your current professional background before you decide which track you will need to pursue.

Job Prospects for Georgia

Prospects for health administrators are excellent. As of July 2018, Northside Hospital in Atlanta has an opening for health administration position, which require either an MBA or MHA.

  • At DeKalb Medical, a practice manager is needed. Northside Hospital in Atlanta has a vacancy for a Coordinator of Physician Practice.
  • The Department of the Army, located in Decatur, needs a Health Readiness Coordinator.
  • Georgia Correctional Healthcare needs a Health Services Administrator in Atlanta.
  • The Strategy House in Roswell needs a Healthcare Analyst.
  • Alpha Cord in Atlanta is advertising for a healthcare administrator/medical practice manager.
  • In Atlanta, Talantage, LLC is seeking a practice manager. A practice manager II position at Memorial Satilla General Surgery is open. Both positions require a degree in health administration.
  • The Erlanger Health System has advertised for a clinical services director for its health centers. Eventually, this position will relocate to Chattanooga, TN.
  • Correct Care Solutions in Decatur needs a health services administrator. Gwinnet Medical Center is searching for a neurosurgery practice manager, which requires a minimum of five years of health care practice.

These positions were found on two Indeed websites, and were current as of July 2018.

Largest Employers of Health Administration Professionals in Georgia

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The list of the largest employers in Georgia is a long one. Some of them are well known; others related to military bases. Starting from the employer with the fewest employees and moving up to those employers with the largest numbers of employees, they include:

  • Memorial Health Foundation in Savannah, employs 3,600 people.
  • Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, employs 3,601 people.
  • Dekalb Medical Center Pharmacy in Decatur, employs 3,775 people.
  • Well Star Kennestone Hospital located in Marietta, employs 3,952 people.
  • Gwinnett Sports Rehab in Lawrenceville, employs 4,000 people.
  • Augusta University Medical Center in Augusta, employs 4,000 people.
  • Grady Health System in Atlanta, employs 4,736.
  • Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta, employs 5,000.
  • Medical Center Interventional in Macon, employs 5,000.
  • Comforce Health in Duluth, employs 5,001.
  • Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, employs 5,845.
  • Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Atlanta, employs 6,000.
  • Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Braselton, employs 6,000.
  • Northside Hospital in Atlanta, employs 7,157.

From 3,600 up to a little more than 7,000, you can see that health care jobs are plentiful. This means that, all throughout Georgia, health administration professionals are employed. When one of these professionals leaves their job, this means that you, with your education and training, may be the one to fill that position.

In and around Atlanta, several healthcare organizations employ health administrators. These include Informatica, Molnlycke Health Care (Norcross), Piedmont HC, Fiserv, Tenet Health, Wellstar Health System, Grady Health System, Fresenius Medical Care, PSA Healthcare, Georgia Eye Partners, Enterprise Medical Recruiting, Anthem, Inc., and Emory Healthcare.

Associations in Georgia

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Healthcare administrators have several options when they decide to join a professional association. Some are for nursing administrators, others for healthcare administrators and still others for hospital administrators.

The Georgia Association of Healthcare Executives (GAHE) focuses on the leadership skills of member administrators. Members can also share knowledge and network.

The Georgia Association of Health Underwriters (GAHU) is another such organization. This group welcomes health insurance agents, healthcare administrators and insurance company representatives, strengthening the private healthcare financing marketplace. GAHU operates under a strict code of ethics for every member.

The Georgia Rural Health Association (GRHA) is, as its name implies, focused on rural areas within the state. Healthcare providers, individuals and educators make up the group’s membership. The driving focus of the group is its commitment to help rural residents improve their health. GRHA also helps medical groups to improve healthcare services offered to residents in rural areas of the state.

The Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA) focuses its membership solely on health administrators. Members participate in events, network with each other and form working relationships with each other. The goal of HCAA members is to find ways to improve healthcare.

The Georgia Health Information Management Association (GHIMA) membership is made up solely of management professionals who are employed in hospitals and various healthcare settings in Georgia. It is the state’s component for its umbrella association, or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). State members must also belong to the national association.

Next Steps

Getting started in the healthcare administration field starts with education, so determining which course you should take is the first step. From there, you are eligible for a wealth of jobs and a successful career is within your reach.