Health administrators are in charge of planning, coordinating, or directing health and medical services in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, clinics, public health agencies, physician’s groups, and similar organizations related to the field of healthcare. It's important that you know this career has different titles in employment searches. Program manager, health and social service manager, practice administrator, clinical director, and director of nursing are all job descriptions that fall in the category of health administration.

Salary Overview for Nevada

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) health administrators will be in very high demand over the next decade. The projected employment will be at 21 percent across the nation, and slightly higher in Nevada at 22 percent. This means you should have no problem finding employment once you finish your degree program.

Health administrators enjoy an excellent salary. The median annual wage is $106,820 in Nevada, which is considerably higher than the national median. Because Nevada's cost of living is slightly lower than the national average the median income is even higher.

The lowest 10 percent of health administrators, typically representing the group with the least experience and education, is $57,880 and the highest 10 percent earned $167,770. This means once you earn your graduate degree and have several years of experience you can expect to earn approximately $110,000 per year more than when you first enter the field.

Approximately one-third of health administrators hold a bachelor’s degree, which is usually the requirement for employment. Another third holds a master’s or doctorate, which should be your long-term goal for education.

Many people in this field begin their career in another area of healthcare and continue their education to enter administration. Nursing and health information systems undergrad degrees are good examples of this type of career path. If you're just entering college you should make a long-term plan to earn your master’s degree in whatever area you decide to specialize in as soon as possible in your education.

Undergrad Program Overview

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As mentioned above, if you want to advance your career in the field of health administration you should plan to eventually earn your master’s degree, so you should take this into consideration when planning your undergrad path. Make sure the school and credits will be accepted in a master’s degree program, so you can streamline your schooling as much as possible.

The health administration program is quite rigorous because it combines business, accounting, and the health field. Because the position involves overseeing a wide range of employees you can also expect to take courses in proper English, writing, and speaking in order to communicate effectively with employees, employers, and peers. Here are some examples of the other types of classes you'll be taking in your undergrad program:

  • U.S. Health Care System
  • Health Care Law
  • Develop Leader in Health
  • Management Health Service
  • Health Care Finance
  • US and NV Constitutions
  • Health IS Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Quantitative Planning
  • Managed Health Care
  • Health Politics and Policy
  • Organization/Management: Long Term Care
  • Health Information Systems
  • Medical terminology
  • Human resources administration
  • Accounting and budgeting
  • Healthcare policies, laws, and ethics
  • Healthcare legal issues
  • Strategic planning
  • Healthcare research
  • Epidemiology

In addition, most bachelor’s degree programs include an internship as part of the curriculum. If you choose wisely you can use your internship to gain valuable experience in the field; many in the health management field go on to gain permanent employment from their internship as they have already proven their knowledge and skills to their employer. If you already know what area you'd like to work in you can focus your internship on your area of choice. For example, if you plan to work in Tribal health administration you should look for an internship with a Nevada tribe. If your goal is to work with the elderly look for an internship in an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Graduate Program Overview

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You can expect to spend another two or three years earning your master’s degree. Once you have your master’s you'll be eligible for the highest paying jobs in the field, such as hospital administrator, director of nursing, health information manager, or an executive position on a major hospital board.

By the time you begin working on your master’s degree you'll know what specialty area you want to work in, and that will have a lot to do with the type of coursework your degree entails. For example, if you plan to become an information systems manager your curriculum will be heavy with computer systems classes. If you're going to specialize in hospital administration your focus will be on budgeting, statistics, economics, and human resources. Here is a sample program for a Master of Health Care Administration degree:

  • U.S. Health Care System: Programs and Policies
  • Epidemiology in Health Services Management
  • Management of Health Service Organizations and Systems
  • Health Care Accounting and Finance
  • Human Resources Management of Health Care Organizations
  • Health Care Economics
  • Operations and Quality Management of Health Services
  • Information Systems in Health Services Management
  • Advanced Health Care Finance
  • Strategic Management of Health Services
  • Internship in Health Care Administration
  • Health Care Law and Ethics for Managers
  • Biostatistical Methods for the Health Sciences

As you can see, an internship in included in the degree program. You may also need to complete a thesis before graduation. Although certification is not required to become a health administrator there are several certificates available and it is highly recommended you become certified as it demonstrates you are knowledgeable and skilled in your field of choice. If you plan to administrate at a nursing home, you must obtain state licensure.

Job Prospects for Nevada

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The majority of jobs in Nevada are in the Reno and Las Vegas metropolitan areas but there are opportunities throughout the state, especially in assisted living, retirement, and nursing home facilities. Here are some samples of job openings posted on Indeed.com as of July 2018:

Long Term Care Administrator: Executive Director

CareMeridian, Reno, NV
Requirements:

  • Current and active an Executive Director (Nursing Home Administrator) license issued by this state.
  • Preferably one (1) years experience in a leadership/management role.
  • Current Administrator license appropriate to the facility licensure issued by this state.
  • Current Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification for Health Care Providers.
  • Able to effectively communicate (verbally and in writing) with physicians, staff, residents, and their families and/or authorized representative, and other members of the community.
  • Hospital Administrator Program
  • Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center, Las Vegas, NV Requirements:
  • Master’s degree required (MBA, MHA or related program).
  • Two to three years of hospital management experience at a mid or senior level.
Administrator, Nursing Home

Avalon Health Care Group, Reno, NV
Requirements:

  • Licensed Administrator and currently licensed by the State.
  • Master’s degree in Business Administration, Healthcare Administration, or related field
  • Minimum least 10 years experience.
  • Veteran preferred
  • Completion of an AIT program or prior experience asan Administrator or an Assistant Administrator is required.
  • Basic computer skills, including email use.
  • Must be able to travel occasionally, including overnight stays.
Regional Practice Manager

Vera Whole Health, Reno, NV
Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in administration
  • Minimum two year’s managerial experience in health care clinic.
  • Experienced developing, implementing, and evaluating annual and long-term operating and fiscal plans.
  • Current Healthcare Provider BLS certification.
  • Strong computer skills including experience with MS Office suite.
Patient Experience Program Administrator

DaVita Medical Group, Las Vegas, NV
Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree required in related field, master’s degree preferred Experience in Microsoft Office
  • Experience with data analytic interpretation.
  • Ability to work with many cross-functional teams.
  • Work and communicate in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills.

Largest Employers of Health Administration Professionals in Nevada

Although the largest employers of health administrators are in the Reno and Las Vegas areas the biggest growth projection for job openings is in the west central counties of Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, and Mineral. That means you should keep an open mind about where you'll seek employment and stay updated on opportunities as you complete your degree.

Reno currently employs the majority of health care administers, mainly in the Renown Group. Here are the top five employers in Nevada:

Renown Institute for Heart Reno
Renown Regional Medical Center Reno
Renown Health Reno
Southwest Medical Associates Las Vegas
Valley Health System Las Vegas

Many other opportunities are associated with these major employers, so look for nearby openings with industries connected to the major medical groups listed above. Here are some other industries that offer health administrative openings in Nevada:

  • Doctors’ offices
  • Insurance companies
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Public health agencies

Associations for Health Administration Professionals in Nevada

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As you complete your eduction in health administration you should plan to join as many professional organizations as possible. Membership in these groups have many benefits such as the opportunity to network with your peers, find local events pertaining to your field, stay updated on changes in laws and policies, and have access to books and papers as well as continuing education courses. When you're ready to find an internship or graduate you can also turn to professional associations for job postings and leads.

Nevada has three main organizations for your field:

  • Nevada Public Health Association
  • Nevada Health Information Management Association
  • Nevada Medical Group Management Association

In addition, there are many national organizations you can join to have access to conferences, webinars, and other benefits:

  • 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