A degree in healthcare administration is very versatile. It gives you the option to pursue a variety of career paths, from a medical billing manager or medical office manager to becoming the CEO of a hospital or other healthcare facility. We’ll give you an overview of what you can expect with this type of career and the various career opportunities that will be open to you after you graduate.
Why Pursue a Career in Healthcare Administration?
A career in healthcare administration can be very rewarding, both professionally and financially. It’s a career that is increasingly in demand, so you’ll likely have a lot of job possibilities from which to choose when you graduate. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs in healthcare management is expected to grow 28 percent between 2022 and 2032. That’s much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs in the United States.
Healthcare administrators are also well paid. The BLS reports that the average median pay for a healthcare services manager is $104,830 or about $50.40 per hour. Keep in mind that this figure is just an average. Your salary will likely vary depending on your job responsibilities, your experience, the type of healthcare facility you work in, and the region of the United States where you work.
A career as a healthcare administrator can give you the satisfaction of helping people while doing something valuable for your community, all without having to go to medical school. By setting policies and procedures for patient care, you’ll directly influence the level of care people receive in your facility as well as interact and comfort patients and families when they are most vulnerable.
Where Do Healthcare Management Professionals Work?
Healthcare managers work in a variety of medical offices and facilities, including hospitals, community clinics, urgent care centers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Healthcare management professionals might also work in public health, for a non-profit organization or as a consultant, helping healthcare facilities improve their policies and procedures. Many healthcare management professionals also work in the numerous Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and facilities in the US and abroad, as well as in medical facilities at military installations.
What does a healthcare management professional do? Simply put, healthcare management professionals are responsible for all the non-clinical operations of a healthcare facility. This might include setting the health services policies and procedures of the facility as well as 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 and implementing ways to better the patient experience at the facility.
What Should You Expect from a Healthcare Management Degree Program?
A healthcare management degree is a four-year bachelor’s degree that includes general education courses as well as courses that directly impact your healthcare management major. These specific courses include topics such as healthcare marketing and communication strategies; healthcare ethics, policy, and law; comparative health systems; and financial management in healthcare.
In addition to on-campus learning, an increasing number of universities are offering online degree programs in healthcare management. This type of degree program is ideal for students who live too far to commute to a college campus, those who have full-time jobs, and those with child or elder care responsibilities. Online learning gives students the option to listen to lectures and complete coursework according to their own schedules (within a few parameters).
For those individuals who have already earned a four-year degree in another field but are interested in pursuing a new career in healthcare management, there are also healthcare certification programs that teach students what they need to know to begin a healthcare management career without having to earn a second bachelor’s degree. These programs can take between 3 and 12 months to complete, depending on the program. However, credits earned via certification programs generally do not transfer if a student wants to later pursue an advanced degree in healthcare management.
In-Demand Healthcare Management Skills
To be successful in a career as a healthcare administration professional, you need to have some basic skills. These include good communication skills, both oral and written, as a large part of the administrator’s job is communicating the policies of the medical facility to patients, families and staff.
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 creating teams from staff, administration and clinical employees.
Common Healthcare Management Job Titles
Healthcare management professionals have a myriad of job titles. Entry-level positions might include home health administrative assistant, long-term care administrator, medical office manager, patient services representative, medical billing manager, and healthcare recruiter.
Further along the career path, healthcare management professionals can expect to be considered for positions such as nursing home administrator, hospital CEO, hospital administration, or director of patient services.
Earning Your Healthcare Administration Degree at Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales University offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees relevant to the healthcare administration field. Our four-year bachelor’s degree program exposes you to public health and business principles. It also helps you to develop the ability to make data-driven decisions to deliver efficient, high-quality healthcare services. Plus, it will teach you skills for ‘evaluating healthcare systems through data analysis, policy development and a core understanding of public health theory.’ This degree program may be completed 100% online.
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.