Health Administration is a growing and exciting field that offers both top salaries and high job satisfaction for those who feel the call to healthcare, yet do not wish to be direct providers. Administrators find work in a wide range of environments and can craft a career that suits their personal and professional goals within the wider healthcare industry. If you live in Hawaii, you are sure to find growing opportunities as your population ages, especially if more people are able to access healthcare.
Hawaii Healthcare Admin Salaries
For salaries, few states match or beat Hawaii. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 medical and health services managers made an annual mean wage between $116,710 and $143,710. Note that the state does have a relatively low population of employed professionals in this field. The BLS shows that Hawaii has between 70 and 1,500 total professionals in this field. Thus, a few highly paid professionals could skew salary statistics.
No matter what state you are in, you are bound to find all sorts of workplaces as you purse a career in healthcare administration. That is, administrators are needed in all sorts of facilities. You could work in large organizational structure such as a hospital, or you could be in a smaller clinic. Administrators work in mental health hospitals, geriatric-care homes, assisted living, and HMO-type organizations that manage several clinics.
Get Started with an Undergraduate Degree
While you might be able to find an entry-level position with an associate degree, your career will really get started when you graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
There are many programs that will prepare you for a career in health administration. As you sort through them all, there are a few things to consider. First, consider the location and other logistical aspects of the program. You will need to ensure that you can attend the classes, so a local, traditional campus will be helpful. If your favorite program is in another town or state, ask yourself if you're willing to move in order to complete your education.
These days, you might be able to find a program online, or one that offers a mix of traditional and online classroom environments. Such programs are often great for students who maintain full or part-time working hours. That is, if you are working you will only be required to take a certain percentage, if any, of courses in a traditional classroom. As a resident of Hawaii, a fully online course may be one of your better choices, as more programs than not are on the mainland.
Once you are open to taking a full degree online, your options open up quite a bit. More and more traditional colleges and universities are offering online degree programs. Where once people on Hawaii were rather restricted from taking courses in, say, North Carolina, now those courses are a click away.
When you have decided that healthcare administration is the career path for you, you will want to evaluate your prospective academic career with a more discerning eye. That is, you should evaluate the academic worthiness of the program. There is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing of students who chose the wrong program and now have degrees that aren't of much value in the marketplace. With that in mind, the first thing to consider is your program's accreditation.
Accreditation is bestowed on an institution by an independent agency that evaluates the curriculum, the faculty, as well as current and former students to determine the program's efficacy. In general, you should look for programs that have regional accreditation. One other way to determine if a school is worthy is if they are acknowledged by graduate schools. This will mean more research, but if you select a few potential graduate schools, contact them to see if a transcript from your undergraduate program will be honored when you apply. They may only offer a contingent response, but if they do accept those transcripts, then you have found a school worthy of your time and energy.
You'll also want to evaluate your potential faculty. After all, they will be your primary point of contact between yourself and the university. There is no clear-cut way to assess whether real-world experience makes a better instructor or if stronger academic credentials are preferred. For that reason, you might want to seek a program that can offer a balance of experienced and pure-academic instructors. That is, while an experienced instructor may offer more practical insights, they might not be as adept at conveying their knowledge as an instructor with a lot of classroom experience. In general, look for instructor whose academic specialties match your interests.
Along your way to a degree, you are likely to take many different courses. Some of the classes you might take include, but are not limited to:
- Medical ethics
- Medical terminology
- Business communications/writing
- Healthcare accounting
- Medicine in the United States
Keep in mind that there is likely to be a lot of overlap between healthcare administration, management, accounting, and computer science/information technology in your university. You will thus want to find your particular strengths and interests and find a program that matches your goals. That is, if you are keen on technology, look for a university that has both a strong healthcare admin program as well as a computer science/information technology program. This way you can inform your major concentration with courses in the technical realm.
Once you have completed an undergraduate degree, it is wise to start considering a graduate degree. While you may want a break from studies, at least start perusing graduate catalogs. This is because, as more people attain an undergrad degree, a graduate degree is increasingly valuable, and some employers will expect it for higher-level positions. Don't find too late that your undergrad degree limits your career within your hospital or other healthcare system.
Graduate Degree Options
When you seek a graduate program, you might start looking at MBA programs that offer a specialty in healthcare administration. In fact, there are four degrees that you can choose from:
- MBA in Health Administration
- Master of Science in Health Administration
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Science in Health Policy and Management
Graduate School Curriculum
During your grad school years, you will go deeper into topics that you have likely already covered in your undergrad coursework or in your professional experience. A small sample of the courses you might face in grad school include, but is not limited to:
- Public Health Policy
- Healthcare Law
- Medical informatics
- Human resources in healthcare
- Medical ethics
- Healthcare technology
- Management in healthcare
Prior to submitting applications for graduate school, you can start preparing your credentials. If you are working for a few years prior to entering graduate school, make sure that your job duties align with your long-term goals. That is, try to position yourself for maximum long-term personal and professional success. This might involve taking internships in your desired field, such as public health or a hospital accounting department.
Keep a record of your experience so that you can detail your your hard work on a grad school application or interview. You will want to set yourself apart from the other candidates, and focused experience will help. It is also vital to establish good relationships with your co-workers and supervisors whom you will likely ask for letters of recommendation.
Healthcare Administration Jobs in Hawaii
The healthcare field is constantly growing and changing, but here is a sampling of jobs available in Hawaii as of July 2018:
- Director of Clinical Operations, Home Health – this job asks for experience with program design, home care, management, and leadership.
- Health Information Management Assistant – you'll need experience with RHIT and medical terms
- Community Allied Health Educator – medical technologists, RMAs, and CMAs should apply
- Community Relations Coordinator – those with marketing and customer service are a good fit for this position
- Director of Marketing and Recruitment – budgeting and staff administration are two skills you'll need here
Largest Healthcare Employers in Hawaii
Some of Hawaii's top employers are in the healthcare sector. In fact, Kapiolani Medical Center, located in Honolulu, is the second largest employer in the state, boasting over 5,000 employees.
- Kapiolani Medical Ctr
- Queen's Medical Ctr
- Hawaii Health Systems Corp
- Kaiser Permanente Medical Ctr
- Kapi'olani Health
- Pali Momi Medical Ctr
- Kuakini Health System
Health Administration Associations in Hawaii and Nationwide
As a healthcare administration professional, you will want to join one or more associations. These associations enable you to keep close contact with fellow professionals, facilitate ongoing education, promote career development, they host conventions, and even provide leadership opportunities. The HAH, for instance, provides legislative support at the state and federal level. They advocate for your profession.
The Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH) is an association that acts as the local affiliate for many national organizations:
- American Hospital Association
- American Healthcare Association
- National Center for Assisted Living
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice
- Council of State Home Care Associations
- American Association for Homecare
Your healthcare administration career can begin today when you begin the search for an ideal degree program. The future is looking bright!