A health administrator directs, coordinates, and plans health and medical services in organizations such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, assisted living facilities, and public health agencies as well as similar organizations that provide health care. Depending on the facility this position may be titled as program manager, clinical director, health and services manager, or similar names so it's important to look at job descriptions when doing your employment search.

Salary Overview for Nebraska

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states health administration careers are expected to be in high demand over the next decade; nationwide there is a projected growth of 21 percent and in Nebraska alone a 16 percent change in available positions. This makes health administration an excellent career choice for those wishing to enter the field.

The annual median wage for health administrators in Nebraska is $95,060 which is slightly lower than the national wage. Because the cost of living in Nebraska is considerably lower than the national average this wage means a higher standard of living than in most states. The lowest 10 percent of health administrators, which typically represents those with the least amount of education and experience, earned $61,620 per year and the highest 10 percent earned $163,850. This shows the earning power of continuing your education once you begin your career in the field.

Almost one-third of health administers hold a bachelor’s degree and another third hold a master’s degree or doctorate. Many earn their undergrad degree in another field such as nursing or health information systems and continue to learn as they gain experience, giving them an edge on other job applicants once they earn their graduate degree.

Once you decide on a career in health administration you will find professional organizations invaluable to your education and career. These organizations provide events, networking opportunities, continuing education, and many more benefits to those in the health management field.

Undergrad Program Overview

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Health administration is a unique field because it requires a combination of medical knowledge and business acumen. You'll need to be detail oriented, have good communication skills, interpersonal and leadership skills, and the ability to be analytical and technically savvy. While every undergrad program is different you should make sure the one you choose gives you a well-rounded base of knowledge in all aspects you'll need to oversee a major medical facility.

A bachelor's degree is required by most employers, so this should be your first education goal in order to have access to low and mid-level management employment. Higher level jobs such as hospital directors and executives usually require a graduate degree, so when you choose an undergrad program be sure it is acceptable for credits in a master’s degree or doctorate.

Undergraduate Coursework

Health administration is a rigorous program because of the wide range of required skill sets. Aside from a specific degree in health administration many opt for a health services management, nursing, or business degree and complete their minor with other coursework representing the classes needed to work in health management. For example, a nursing degree might be supplemented with business and accounting classes and a business program with medical terminology and health information systems coursework would probably qualify you to enter the field. Here are some examples of health administration undergrad classes:

  • Accounting and budgeting
  • Epidemiology
  • Healthcare policies, laws, and ethics
  • Healthcare legal issues
  • Healthcare research
  • Health economics
  • Health information systems
  • Health services management
  • Hospital organization
  • Human resources administration
  • Medical terminology
  • Strategic planning

In addition, because the position involves personnel management your program should include leadership courses such as speaking, writing, and proper use of English so you can communicate effectively with your employees. Because most positions require experience your required internship is an excellent opportunity to showcase your knowledge and display on-the-job training after you graduate.

Graduate Program Overview

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To advance in your chosen career you should continue your education with a graduate program in your chosen field of specialty. A master's or doctorate in health administration will demonstrate you are at the top of your profession in regard to knowledge and skills and will open the door to the highest level of employment opportunities. Graduate programs typically take two to three years and may include supervised experience on the job.

Graduate Coursework

Depending on the program, specialty, and school you choose your graduate course work will be varied. For example, here are the required courses for a typical degree:

  • Foundations of Public Service
  • Organization Theory & Behavior
  • Advanced Management & Leadership for Public & Nonprofit Professionals
  • Analysis & Decision Making
  • Policy Design & Implementation
  • Public & Nonprofit Budgeting
  • Planning & Evaluation
  • Capstone Project

In addition, you will choose specializations or concentrations in your own field of interest, such as:

Specializations

  • Information & Technology Management
  • Criminology & Criminal Justice

Concentrations

  • Emergency Management
  • Local Government
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Public Policy
  • Public Management

Your Capstone Project is a qualitative analysis or case study of a specific topic that demonstrates your cumulative knowledge in the field.

Although there is no general licensure or certification requirement for health administrators those who are employed in nursing homes are required to be licensed by the state as the NebraskaNursing Home Administrator Licensure, so you should plan to apply for your license as soon as you meet the state requirements. Certification is specific areas is offered by several associations and demonstrates you have the knowledge and experience represented by your degree, so you should plan on acquiring one or more certificates in order to compete for the best jobs. Here are three organizations that offer certification for health administrators:

  • American Health Information Management Association
  • American College of Health Care Administrators
  • Professional Association of Health Care Office Management

Job Prospects for Nebraska

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As previously mentioned, Nebraska is experiencing a robust growth in the health administration field. The majority of job openings are in Omaha and Lincoln as they are the major cities in the state. Here are some samples of job openings from Indeed.com as of July 2018:

Nursing Home Administrator

Altitude Health Services - Omaha, NE
Requirements:

  • Must have a current NHA license in Nebraska
  • Experience: Nursing Home Administrator: 2 years
Executive Director/ Building Administrator

High Plains, Lincoln, NE
Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in related field preferred
  • Must be licensed in good standing if required by the State Licensing Authority
  • Experience with financial reporting and managing multiple budgets
  • Subject to criminal background check
Health Services Administrator

Correct Care Solutions, Omaha, NE
Requirements:

  • Associate's degree or greater in Nursing
  • Three (3) or more years administrative, management and supervisory experience
  • Delivery and administration of correctional medical, dental, and mental health care recommended
  • Organizational experience in operations and planning required
  • Sound decision-making skills required
  • Experience in managing budgets and analyzing contracts preferred
  • Current CPR Certification
Hospital Administrator (WCHS)

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Winnebago, NE
Requirements:

  • Minimum of three to five years of previous experience in Hospital Administration
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration, Hospital Administration or similar type of degree. Master’s degree is preferred
  • In depth working knowledge of the CMS Conditions of Participation for hospital certification requirements.
  • Must have an understanding of Self-Governance, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.
Facility Administrator

Ambassador Health of Lincoln - Lincoln, NE
Requirements:

  • Must be willing to obtain a Nebraska Nursing Home Administrator License
  • 3 years of experience in skilled nursing facility setting.
  • Bachelor’s degree required
Office of Health Statistics Administrator

Nebraska State Government, Lincoln, NE $27.84 - $41.76 an hour
Requirements:

  • Master's degree in Public Health, Business Administration, Public Health Administration, Health Care Administration, Public Administration, or related field
  • 2 years of experience in health informatics, data management, data analysis, or epidemiology, and computer science.
  • Management experiences including responsibilities for planning, implementing, budgeting, monitoring, evaluating a program or service, grant writing, and legislature review.

Largest Employers of Health Administration Professionals in Nebraska

Although the largest employers of health administrators are in the major metropolitan areas of Omaha and Lincoln there are employment opportunities throughout the state at hospitals, physician groups, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. The western, central, and northeastern areas of Nebraska each have about half the number of facilities as Lincoln and one-quarter as many as Omaha. Here are the largest employers of health administrators in the state:

Nebraska Medicine Omaha
Health & Human Services Dept. Lincoln
University of Nebraska Med Center Omaha
Nebraska Medicine Omaha
Bryan Medical Center Lincoln
Children's Hospital and Medical Center Omaha
CHI Health St. Elizabeth Lincoln
Methodist Hospital Omaha

Associations for Health Administration Professionals in Nebraska

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Throughout your education and employment in health administration you'll find membership in professional organizations to be an invaluable asset to your career. Through these organizations you'll be able to network with your peers, access books and papers relevant to your field, find out about upcoming events, keep abreast of the latest laws and regulations affecting your company, find continuing education courses, and have job opportunities at your fingertips. Although you may complete your graduate degree and earn the job of your dreams, healthcare policies are in constant flux and you'll find the need to stay aware of current events and changes in your field. Here are some professional organizations for health administrators you can join in Nebraska:

  • Nebraska Health Care Association
  • Nebraska Medical Group Management Association
  • Nebraska Health Information Management Association
  • Nebraska Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association

In addition, there are many national organizations that you may benefit from. Mnay offer a student membership that can be upgraded to professional membership once you graduate and become employed as a health care administrator:

  • Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
  • Healthcare Administrators Association
  • American College of Healthcare Administrators
  • American College of Healthcare Executives
  • American Hospital Association
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • National Association of Health Services Executives
  • Association of University Programs in Health Administration