Are you looking for a career that combines your organizational and communication skills? Do you want a career that pays well while still giving you the opportunity to positively impact the lives of the people who live in your neighborhood? If so, then a career as a healthcare administrator might be the right choice for you.
What Does a Healthcare Administrator Do?
Briefly put, a healthcare administrator, sometimes referred to as a health services manager, is responsible for all the non-clinical operations of one or more healthcare or medical facilities. This might include setting the policies and procedures of the facility as well as creating and managing the budget; making sure the facility follows federal, state and local healthcare laws; and implementing ways to improve the patient experience at the facility.
While healthcare administrators don't interact with patients on a daily basis like doctors and nurses do, their decisions and actions directly impact the level of care patients receive.
Healthcare Administrator Career Outlook
The field of healthcare administration is growing quickly. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs in healthcare management is expected to grow by 32 percent between 2020 and 2030, adding around 425,000 jobs in the US in that time. That's much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs in the United States.
The BLS reports that the average annual salary for a healthcare administrator is $104,280 or about $50 per hour. However, this figure is just an average of all workers in that job. The salary you earn will depend on your job responsibilities, your experience, the type of health care facility in which you work, and the region of the United States where you work.
Healthcare Administrator Duties
Healthcare Administrators are charged with a diverse list of responsibilities. While job descriptions vary depending on the facilities, core duties include setting the health services policies and procedures of the facility; creating and managing the facility's budget; making sure the facility is following federal, state and local healthcare laws; managing the admissions and billing staff; acting as a liaison between clinical staff and patients and their families; and implementing ways to make the patient experience better at the facility.
Essential Skills for Healthcare Administrators
Success in health administration depends on having a certain skill set. Leadership skills are important, as the health administration career path involves managing staff and often leads to additional leadership roles, all the way up to that of hospital CEO.
Good communication skills—both oral and written—are also important, as a large part of the administrator's job is communicating the policies of the medical facility to patients, families, and staff.
Multitasking and being able to pivot from one task to another is another skill that will help in your career as a healthcare professional. It's a rare day when an administrator can concentrate on a single task without interruption.
Lastly, being able to work well with people of all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds is essential. In health administration, you'll find yourself dealing with people from varied backgrounds and creating teams made up of staff, administration, and clinical employees.
Careers in Healthcare Administration
There are a myriad of jobs and career paths you can pursue when you have a healthcare administration degree. Some of the entry-level positions available to you include home health administrative assistant, long-term care administrator, medical office manager, patient services representative, medical billing manager, and healthcare recruiter.
With more experience, and in some cases an advanced degree, you can find yourself in one of the following jobs:
A hospital administrator oversees all the non-clinical aspects of a healthcare facility.
Medical Staff Director
A medical staff director oversees the department that hires and credentials medical personnel at a healthcare facility.
Nursing Home Administrator
A nursing home administrator has a similar function to a hospital administrator, just at a different type of facility.
The top person at a hospital, the CEO is ultimately responsible for all the clinical and non-clinical personnel of a hospital as well as policies, setting fees, and ensuring the facility makes a profit or, in the case of a non-profit organization, raises enough from fees and fund-raising to cover costs.
Director of Patient Care Services
A director of patient care services is charged with making sure that the level of care meets the hospital or clinic's high standards.
Director of Public Health Information Management
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of public health information. A director of public health management works for a medical facility or a federal, state, or local government agency and makes sure that the information released to the media and public is accurate and up to date.
Steps to Become a Healthcare Administrator
A bachelor's degree in healthcare administration or a related field is typically mandatory to get a job in healthcare administration. To move up the career path, it's important to pursue varied work experience in the field.
You can also make yourself more attractive to those hiring healthcare administrators by gaining additional certifications in the field, such as becoming a Certified Medical Manager, a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management, or a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional. Many universities around the US offer relevant certificate classes and bootcamps, both in-person and online, that can help you earn these designations.
Pursuing an advanced degree, such as a master's degree in healthcare administration or a Ph.D. in the field, is often necessary to move up the career path in healthcare administration and work as the head person at a major healthcare facility. For some jobs, a degree in nursing and relative experience is necessary.
Earning your degree in healthcare administration from Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales University offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees in healthcare administration, including a BS in Healthcare Administration and a BS in Public Health. Our four-year bachelor's degree programs are steeped in public health and business principles. They will help you to develop the ability to make data-driven solutions to deliver efficient, high-quality healthcare services. Plus, they will teach you skills for "evaluating healthcare systems through data analysis, policy development and a core understanding of public health theory." The healthcare administration degree program may be completed in-person at Johnson & Wales' campus in Providence, RI. The public health degree program is available at the Providence or Charlotte, NC campus. Both programs may also be completed online.
Online learning gives students the opportunity to do coursework and listen to lectures according to their own schedules (within a few parameters). This is ideal for students who live far away from a campus or have full-time jobs, families to care for, or varied religious and civic responsibilities.
About Johnson & Wales University
Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private university, accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The university currently has an enrollment of more than 8,600 undergraduate, graduate and online students. In addition to its degree programs in healthcare administration and public health, Johnson & Wales offers more than 100undergraduate and graduate degree programs in its College of Health and Wellness and six other colleges. Financial aid is available to qualified students who enroll in the healthcare administration and public health programs. The vast majority of JWU students (96%+) receive some type of financial aid.
Take the first step toward becoming a healthcare administrator by earning your bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Johnson & Wales University. For more information about completing your degree online or on-campus, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.