How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator banner

Healthcare administration is a critical and rapidly growing field, providing essential support to the healthcare industry by managing and organizing medical facilities and ensuring they run efficiently. If you’re interested in pursuing a healthcare administration career, you may wonder, “How do I become a healthcare administrator?” Becoming a healthcare administrator requires education, experience, and skills.

In this blog, we will explore the steps you need to take to become a healthcare administrator, including the necessary education and training, the skills and qualifications required, and the different career paths available in this exciting and rewarding field. Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to transition to a new field, this guide will provide valuable information to help you pursue your goals as a healthcare administrator.

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 28 percent between 2022 and 2032, adding around 144,700 jobs in the US to a projected figure of 654,200 in 2032. That’s much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs in the United States.

The BLS reports that the median annual salary for a healthcare administrator is $104,830 or about $50.40 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 healthcare 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:

Hospital Administrator

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.

Hospital CEO

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.” Both programs can 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 campus or have full-time jobs, families to care for, or varied religious and civic responsibilities.

ABOUT JOHNSON & WALES UNIVERSITY

Johnson & Wales University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in more than 50 fields of study. Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales has a current enrollment of around 8,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. The university is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Financial aid is available for qualified students.

For more information about completing your degree online or on-campus, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

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