Healthcare Administrator Careers

NUMBER OF JOBS

303,00

JOB OPENINGS

68,000

JOB GROWTH

22%

AVG. SALARY

$84,270 /yr

$40.52 /hr

All Stats from BLS.gov

Healthcare administrators oversee the smooth and efficient delivery of health care in many different settings, working behind the scenes to plan and coordinate medical services.

While they don’t directly provide health care themselves, administrators play a vital role in the delivery of care. Their duties often include making sure the health care facility they work for is compliant with relevant laws and regulations; managing billing and finances; develop process improvement strategies; overseeing schedules; liaising with investors or governing boards; manage patient loads; implementing new technologies that improve systems and data management; and managing hospital records.

Depending on the size of the facility you work in, you might find yourself managing an entire health care facility—or just one specific department within a larger hospital or health care organization. You also might work on your own or have an entire team of people under you.

Who will you work for?

In general, the Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that the large majority—39%—of healthcare administrators are employed in a state, local, or private hospital. Others find work in home health care facilities, outpatient care centers, nursing care facilities, and other health care organizations. A few likely places to find work include:

A nursing home. Healthcare administrators play a vital role in nursing home, overseeing resident admissions, managing facility finances, and overseeing staff scheduling and management.

A department within a larger hospital. Some healthcare administrators specialize in individual departments—such as surgery, emergency care, physical therapy, or nursing. Your job responsibilities will vary depending on the specialty you have, but overall they are likely to include setting general policies and procedures department-wide, assessing staff work, developing improvement initiatives, and managing budgets and reporting. Department-specific health care administrators often take a very hands-on role in the management of care.

A private practice. If you work for a smaller private practice, you’re likely to manage all facets of administration for that facility. This might include patient billing and scheduling, facility maintenance oversight, recordkeeping, finances and budget management, technology management, and more.

A technical department within a healthcare administration office. Some healthcare administrators specialize in different areas, such as billing, finances, or the technical side of things. A Health Information Officer, for instance, is generally responsible for patient records—ensuring they are accurate, up-to-date, and secure. Part of that job might include identifying and implementing new technologies that improve the ways patient records are managed.

What degree or licensure do I need?

A traditional or online Bachelor’s degree in healthcare management is often the minimum level of education required for an entry-level position in healthcare administration. It’s also possible to enter the field with a less focused degree in business.

However, Master’s degrees, such as this online Masters of Business Administration in healthcare management, are becoming more and more common. Many people use the Master’s to focus their education record in healthcare administration, and focuses may include health services, long-term care administration, business administration, or public health.

Topics covered in most healthcare administration-related degrees include accounting and budget management, HR administration, strategic planning, healthcare law and ethics, health information systems, and hospital organization. There are also opportunities to focus on specific types of healthcare organizations, such as mental health facilities, group medical practices, or nursing homes.

If you don’t have a degree in healthcare administration, it may still be possible to land a job on the administrative side if you come from a medical or healthcare background. For instance, a registered nurse with some administrative experience may be hired to handle the administrative needs of a nursing facility. This is particularly common with specialized departments within a larger hospital setting.

As for licensing, every state requires certain types of healthcare administrators to be licensed. This is particularly true for nursing care and assisted-living facility administrators. The requirements for licensure differ by state. Most of the time, the administrator must have earned at least a Bachelor’s degree, complete a state-sanctioned training program, and pass a licensing exam. Some types of healthcare administrator positions do not require licensure, however.

How much will I get paid?

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual rage for people in this profession was around $84,270 according to May 2010 numbers. Those in more entry-level positions can expect to earn around $51,280, while the highest earners receive around $144,880.

Typically, you will be paid more if you are working for a larger facility—and if your level of responsibility is higher.

What’s the job outlook?

The demand for professionals in this field is expected to grow 20% in the coming decade—a fast rate of growth driven by the aging of the baby boom population. This demographic change is expected to put a lot of pressure on the country’s healthcare infrastructure, spurring the demand for more healthcare facilities and a larger number of services within existing facilities. Of course, all those new facilities will need people to coordinate care—and that’s where the healthcare administrator comes in.

Demand is expected to be especially strong in medical group practice settings—as hospital services shift and technologies improve. This is a growing field with decent pay and a lot of stability—a good choice for anyone looking for a dependable career.