Have you ever considered a career in healthcare administration? If you are already working in the healthcare field, if you love helping others with their healthcare needs, or if you find leading a team of healthcare professionals toward a common goal an attractive concept, you may want to consider a second career in the field of healthcare administration.

If you are just starting out, that's okay too. We will show you how you can start a career and training in this lucrative and exciting career and start you on the path to becoming a healthcare administrator or hospital executive. It all starts with your education background and willingness to continue your training beyond the average person working in healthcare today.

North Carolina Healthcare Industry

If you live in North Carolina and you are looking into starting a new career in healthcare administration, there's never been a better time to start. The North Carolina Department of Commerce, Labor & Economic Analysis Division reports that the average healthcare administration salary in North Carolina is currently at $106,160 per year. This is about 2% above the national average at the time the data was collected.

The Durham/Chapel Hill area is known to have one of the highest paying entry-level salary positions for healthcare administration to date with a current salary of $72,480 per year. Most healthcare administrators in North Carolina earned an average of $136,880 in the Winston-Salem area, which puts that area in one of the top-performing salary ranges in the state.

The starting salary for new graduates in the field was around $70,000 per year. The top-performing healthcare administrators earned approximately $125,000 on average per year.

Undergraduate Program Review

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If you are considering a career in healthcare administration, you should start with a bachelor’s degree in the field of healthcare administration from an accredited university or college.

Most undergraduate degrees can be achieved within four years with a combination of liberal arts and specialty courses in the healthcare field. The degree is a 120-credit hour degree. Ideally, the Bachelor's in healthcare administration should prepare students entering the field of healthcare to handle jobs as the hospital or other administrators in both the private and public sectors.

Course requirements:

The typical course requirements for this degree are listed below.

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Health policy and information management
  • Healthcare law and ethics

Master's Degree Preferred

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If you seek a career in healthcare administration, your best course of action is to seek your master’s in health administration. The master's degree prepares students to pursue senior positions or director jobs in a variety of public and private health settings such as hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, public health systems, and many more.

The Master's program proves to potential employers and healthcare institutions that you have that extra training that focuses on the skills needed for higher level positions within the healthcare field.

Some of the more popular master's degrees include:

  • MBA (Master of Business Administration) with a health focus
  • MHSA (Master of Health Services Administration)
  • MHA (Master of Healthcare Administration)
  • MPH (Master of Public Health)

In addition to furthering your education in public health administration with the master’s degree, this can also open the door to other opportunities in the healthcare industry such as combining your masters with different degrees or training.

For example, if you are already an MD (medical doctor) and wish to become a hospital administrator, you can add the MPH to your degree to open the door to more administrative positions within the hospital that you work.

Goals of the Degree and Training

The ultimate goal of the healthcare administration degree and the training that follows is to prepare graduates for a well-rounded career in several different positions and settings. Leadership roles require the ability to communicate with people on many different levels and departments successfully, so the degrees consist of many courses dealing with effective communications training, as well as leadership best practices, and many other skills.

Job Prospects for North Carolina

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Current job prospects in the state of North Carolina indicate that the healthcare administration field is wide open for new graduates, as well as anyone who works in the healthcare industry but wishes to move up into leadership roles within their organization or clinic.

Some of the recent job openings in North Carolina on job boards are mentioned below:

1 Clinic Manager, East Carolina University (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
There is a current opening for clinic manager at Chapel Hill on the campus of East Carolina University. It is advertised as a top leadership role that reports to the Associate Dean and works as the administrator of the Office of Clinical Affairs. The responsibilities include handling much of the financial aspects of the clinic and coordinating with all of the other departments to keep the clinic running smoothly.

It is necessary to have the skills and knowledge to know what reports to file and when as well as other duties as assigned such as facilitating and planning the daily schedule of the clinic and seeing patients.

This job pays according to the level of experience and education.

2 Assistant Professor of Healthcare Management (Fayetteville State University)
(Fayetteville, North Carolina)
If you wish to use your degrees and experience to teach others to help in the capacity of hospital administration, you could look into this kind of job offered at Fayetteville, North Carolina. You'd be responsible for teaching the skills necessary to run hospitals, doctors' offices, and clinics and to assist students in this field in learning the regulations of the healthcare industry, among other things.

This is a university position and pay will be based on the salary schedule worked out by the university and their personnel policies.

Largest Employers of Health Admin Professionals in NC

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To date, the largest employers of healthcare administration professionals in the state of North Carolina were hospitals and clinic, where the top-paid administrators in Winston Salem, North Carolina earned an average salary of around $114,240 as of 2014. Second were doctors' offices and university settings, where there is a growing need for health administrators who had a strong background in both administration and healthcare areas.

The need for specialists in the medical field is continuing to grow while the need for strong leadership is also increasing. This requires a new approach to handling issues within hospitals and clinics and to be able to control events as they come up professionally and effectively.

Strong abilities in communications, healthcare law, and the finer points of hospital logistics are all required to effectively run a clinic or hospital.

That's why getting a strong foundation in both healthcare and business administration is essential to get the best start in your career as a healthcare administrator.

This is not to say that everyone who goes into healthcare administrator positions is a doctor, nurse, or nurse practitioner. In fact, most are not. While it is a good idea for hospitals and clinics recruit doctors and other staff when possible for these positions, most doctors do not opt to apply for hospital administrator positions. So this means that they will be on the lookout for other candidates to fill the job.

Professional Associations

If you are seeking a degree and career in the healthcare administration field, you should look into the professional organizations that serve as resources or help you keep up with the changing demands of a growing industry of healthcare. The NCHA (North Carolina Health Association) has as its primary goal to find the most economically-friendly approach to healthcare for North Carolina residents through a concerted effort across all levels of healthcare professions.

Outlook for the Future for Healthcare Jobs in North Carolina

North Carolina will continue to have a need for applicants in the healthcare field, including in the field of healthcare administration. By preparing for these careers now, you can pave your way to a lucrative career in hospital administration by working on your bachelor’s and master's degree in this highly rewarding field.

It is expected that the future of healthcare administrators will continue to grow in North Carolina and that this will contribute to a job growth rate of 26.4% in the near future. It is important to note that this growth in the healthcare industry will fluctuate based on location, so it would be wise for people wanting to go into this field to watch the job boards for changes in the demand as they plan their educational path in the coming years.

How Technology has Influenced the Job Market

One factor that has continued to influence the job market in healthcare specialties has been the changing technology world that is continuing to change at the same time as the healthcare industry. New machine learning inventions and medical diagnostic machines and other tools have created the need for administrators in hospital roles who not only can take a leadership role but who also keep up with the changing technologies that can benefit patients and hospitals in the future.

The key role of the healthcare administrator is to think of healthcare delivery and administration as a patient-centered career that involves all of the elements of healthcare and attempts to create the best experience for staff, patients, and the community at the same time.

How to Get Started

So, if you've read this far, you are committed to getting your credentials in healthcare administration. Now you need to know how to begin to launch your career in healthcare. If your goal is to become a hospital administrator or executive, here is one path you can take to that goal.

  • Get your bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration
  • Work in a hospital or clinic for a couple of years to get some experience.
  • Pursue your master’s degree in health services administration or public health
  • Apply for an apprenticeship or training in an administrator's role

This is just one path you can take to achieve your goal as a healthcare administrator. There are other ways you can get to where you want to be. You need to develop a plan that will help you get the skills, knowledge, and practice you need to effectively do your job once you get to the point of looking for positions within this rewarding industry.

To get started on your new career, start with a search for colleges and trade schools that focus on healthcare administration training. Two schools we found that offer this degree include The George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health