Have you ever considered a job in the area of healthcare administration? If so, you are on the right track for a potentially lucrative and fulfilling career. In North Dakota, the statistics speak for themselves. Healthcare administration is a well-paid and rewarding career that is worth looking into.

The best background you can have if you dream of working as a healthcare administrator in a hospital, clinic, or another setting, the best experience you can have is ideally in the field of healthcare. But a background in business is also beneficial, and this can also serve as a good start for your degree in healthcare management.

If you prepare for your career in one of the recommended career paths, you should be able to look forward to a challenging but rewarding career in North Dakota. There is a growing need for healthcare professionals who have experience in both the medical and business sector. So, even if you are a business professional making a transition to healthcare, this is an excellent place to start.

The Increase in Healthcare Needs

The North Dakota oil boom has created the need for more healthcare facilities and practitioners due to the population surge and economic growth. These factors both put demands on the healthcare system that have created new opportunities for state healthcare administrators in various public and private facilities.

Overview and Salary Outlook

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The statistical career data published by the North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network showed that the current state average salary for professionals in healthcare administration was around $80,950 in 2014.

An exciting aspect of the statistics was that administrators earning within the 10th percentile was around $54,240 per year while those earning at the 90th percentile earned $94,310 annually. Healthcare administrators who were newer to the field and who were managing smaller facilities were the ones making the $54,240 annual salary. Those at the 90th percentile typically worked at higher-level facilities and larger ones that included multiple facilities in some cases.

The typical healthcare administration professional has a degree in nursing or medicine such as an R.N. or doctor who works in a particular facility. They have seen the needs of the hospital or healthcare facility in which they work, and they are motivated to move up to an administrative level to help it expand or accomplish things that they could not help with as a regular member of the staff.

Another typical type of candidate for these jobs is someone with an M.B.A. in Business Administration who has a great deal of experience and knowledge in how to run large organizations, and they understand the dynamics of what makes such organizations work. If you have this type of background, that's fine. But you will need to take some health-based courses as well to get your credentials to become an administrator for a health facility.

Undergraduate Program Overview

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To qualify for the position of healthcare administrator, the minimum requirements you'll need involve obtaining your bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration (BHA) which focuses on health information systems, managed care systems, public health and ethical issues, and marketing. These degrees consist of about 120 credit hours and four years of full-time study.

Below is a list of the typical courses that you will take with the bachelor’s degree:

  • Healthcare marketing
  • Legal aspects of healthcare
  • Healthcare administration and regulations
  • Business process improvement
  • Healthcare delivery systems
  • Organizational leadership and management

You will notice that there is a wide variety of coursework involved in the healthcare administration degree. This is because the daily life of a healthcare administrator varies and includes the need for a wide variety of different types of skills. There will be times that you will need to deal with the legal or ethical aspects of the healthcare industry, as well as the process of dealing with the usual business aspects.

The Importance of Communications Skills

It is important to note that healthcare knowledge involves a good grasp of communications skills, as well. Communications skills are essential, so there are also courses involving improving your communications. As a healthcare administrator, you will be required to successfully communicate with some different people to achieve the goals of the day. This includes patients, other administrators, staff, marketing experts, and even media and press agents.

Once you get your bachelor's degree in healthcare administration, you may want to continue by enrolling in a graduate program in the field to increase your knowledge and experience level.

Graduate Program Overview

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If you pursue your master's in health administration, you can earn your MHA through one of many real-world or online degree programs to fulfill these requirements. The MHA puts you in a position to improve your resume and educational background so that you will be more skilled in the areas that are needed by typical healthcare administration jobs.

You can obtain your graduate degree in some ways, and there are many degrees to choose from including dual programs such as MBA/MHA (a combination of a master's in business administration and one in health administration), and others.

Some of the typical course requirements of the master's degree include:

  • Public healthcare concepts
  • Marketing for healthcare
  • Analytics and managerial decision-making
  • Health economics
  • Comparative strategic analysis
  • Health law and ethics

The master's degree involves some more detailed courses that address the needs of the typical hospital administrator. Knowing the concepts of public healthcare as well as how to analyze and manage important decision-making and having a deep understanding of legal and ethical aspects is critical. You may be faced with some crucial decisions that you must make in your job, and you should be adequately prepared to do this.

Job Prospects for North Dakota

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The occupational outlook for healthcare administrators in North Dakota is expected to increase up to 23% through 2022 due to the population increases in North Dakota and other economic and healthcare factors. Jobs in the healthcare industry, including jobs in the capacity of healthcare administration, are expected to continue to grow shortly both on the national and state level in North Dakota. At the latest census, North Dakota's job force in this field surpassed the national average.

Some of the current job openings are listed below.

1 Clinical Program Director
There is currently an opening for a Clinical Program Director located in Jamestown, North Dakota. Duties include coordinating and running the clinic and handling all of the financial, scheduling, and administrative responsibilities of the clinic. An RN license is required, and clinic management experience is preferred.

2 Behavioral Health Administrator
If you have the background in mental or behavioral health, you may be interested in this type of position. This job involves heading up the administrative and executive duties of the behavior clinic in Bismarck, North Dakota. The preferred candidate needs to have reliable communications and coordination skills and to understand all of the legal and ethical aspects of administering behavioral health to the public. This job is a government-based job, and you will report to a state supervisor to carry out your responsibilities.

These are only two examples of the many job opportunities that are currently available in the healthcare industry. Healthcare administration is a broad field and includes a significant number of opportunities in a variety of settings and scenarios including small clinics, doctor's offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. You can think about what environment you would prefer to work in as you proceed with your degree requirements. Then you will have an idea of what you want to do with your degree once you are ready to look for work in this field.

Largest Employers of Health Administration Professionals in North Dakota

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The largest employers of health administration professionals in North Dakota seem to be located in the government and public sector. Due to the increasing need for healthcare in the state of North Dakota, you will be able to find employment in both the state and local job communities.

Most healthcare administrators were found working in hospital facilities whether they were on the state, local, or private sector. Hospitals accounted for about 39% of the jobs in this area. Around 26% worked in mobile health settings that included outpatient facilities and clinics. Approximately 11% worked in residential care facilities such as behavioral health, specialty health, and nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Mental health institutions and facilities are also possible facilities that you can seek employment with if you have a desire to work with mental health.

Associations for North Dakota Healthcare Administration

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To keep up with the standards that are required to perform your job in the area of healthcare administration and to take the appropriate exams to qualify yourself for jobs in this field, you should check out the North Dakota Health Information Management Association (NDHIMA). This organization was developed to promote the correlation of best healthcare practices in the state of North Dakota and coordinating information across the state with a variety of healthcare professionals. You can also find some jobs on the job board at the bottom of their website.

The North Dakota Hospital Association (NDHA) is another professional association in North Dakota that helps healthcare administrators and others in the healthcare organization to develop better techniques and ideas to share with others in the industry. The goal is always to benefit the patient and to make healthcare more accessible and beneficial for residents of the state of North Dakota.

Next Steps

The healthcare field in the state of North Dakota is booming. This is partly due to the recent oil boom and economic changes in the state. Other factors influencing this increase is the increase in population and the fact that many people are moving to North Dakota due to the increased demand.

Now is a great time to pursue your bachelor's and master's degrees in healthcare administration. The statistics show that the need will continue to increase through 2022 so the outlook is good for finding gainful employment shortly. If you wish to take your love of helping others to the next level, look into obtaining your education requirements in healthcare administration, then get some experience in this field and build your resume.

Many have already discovered the joy of serving in this capacity in the growing healthcare industry. You can, too. Start with a search for colleges and universities that offer degrees in healthcare administration and don't let anything stand in the way of your dreams!