Hospitals and medical services require resourceful and intelligent administrators to ensure that patients have their medical histories recorded and analyzed so they receive optimal healthcare services. Healthcare administrators are integral parts of hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics. Other healthcare institutions such as health insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical research companies also require highly trained healthcare administrators.
If you are a detail-oriented student who would like to use help save people’s lives and improve the health of your community, a degree in healthcare administration might be a good choice for you. Let’s take a look at some common questions about healthcare administration degrees:
What is a Healthcare Administration Degree?
A healthcare administration degree is a postsecondary degree that is offered by programs which are designed to train students to become effective healthcare professionals. Healthcare administration degrees are offered across all levels of academia, from professional certificates to associate’s degrees, and all the way up to doctorates. All healthcare administration programs build particular skills that will help students function in the business and record-keeping side of healthcare services. While these skills are geared towards the healthcare industry, they have many other applications as well. Some of the skills that you can expect to build in a healthcare administration degree program include:
- Research Methods: Healthcare administrators need to be resourceful and have the ability to identify patterns and issues within the logistics of healthcare. Students will take classes such as epidemiology and statistics to prepare them for roles where they will need to collect and analyze patient data.
- Information Technology: Most of the medical and billing records for patients are kept in computer archives. Students will learn how to navigate and manipulate healthcare software from companies such as MEDITECH, Cerner, and McKesson, among others.
- Economics: Students will learn the aspects of economics that will be required to fulfill their job in healthcare. Understanding accounting, insurance, and medical billing is required in most healthcare administration jobs.
- Biology: While healthcare administrators are not expected to provide medical care for patients, they are expected to have an understanding of anatomy and basic biological concepts that inform how patients are cared for.
- Communication and Organizational Behavior: As an office administrator, healthcare professionals will need to be able to organize and motivate their staff.
- Law: Students in healthcare administration degree programs will learn the legal side of healthcare so that they can comply with complex laws and ethics.
If these seem like skills that you would like to build for your career, then a degree in healthcare administration would be a great choice. Check out our list of top healthcare administration doctorate degrees to look at some degree programs. If any of the schools might be a good match for you, be sure to follow the links to their website and request more information.
What Can You Do With a Healthcare Administration Degree?
The jobs that graduates are qualified for often depend on their level of degree and their specialization within the program. There is a wide range of roles available for medical and health service administrators and managers at a variety of medical institutions. In addition to doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals, that provide direct care for patients, there are pharmaceutical and insurance companies that organize the logistics of providing medical care, and who employ healthcare administration graduates to fulfill many of their jobs. Some of the specializations within the professional field of healthcare administration include:
- Program Director: Program directors oversee hospitals, clinics, and health services to ensure that they are run smoothly and that all employees are fulfilling what is required of them. Program directors are some of the most important healthcare professionals as they are accountable for the daily operations of institutions that help save people’s lives.
- Patient Advocate: Patient advocates are professionals who ensure that patients are comfortable and have their medical needs met while they are undergoing lengthy medical rehabilitation which can put inordinate amounts of stress on patients’ lives. These roles are similar to social workers, except they have specialized knowledge of the healthcare system.
- Finance Specialist: Having strong accounting and finance skills is important in any medical institution which deals with the high costs of pharmaceuticals and medical services.
- Administrative Manager: Administrative managers oversee the operations of medical services behind the scenes. They ensure that patient records are archived and accessible.
If you are looking to specialize in one of these roles, you should look for a degree program that offers courses which are geared to the specific role of your choice. To help start your search, OnlineCollegePlan offers resources, such as the ranking mentioned in the previous section. If any programs in our list pique your interest, there are convenient links to their school website so that you are able to request more information.
Should I Get a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration?
While most upper-level healthcare administration jobs can be earned with a master’s degree or professional certificate, there are some highly sought-after positions that may require you to earn a doctorate in healthcare administration. Since doctoral degrees require large investments of time and money, you should have a good idea of what you want to do with your doctoral degree. Additionally, doctoral degrees in healthcare administration are highly concentrated in a specialized area, so you should know exactly what you will be doing with your doctoral degree. Some roles in healthcare administration that may require a doctorate include:
- Program Director: Program directors oversee the day-to-day operations of medical services. The nature of their positions require them to be organized, conscientious, and experienced. While a doctorate degree in healthcare administration might not be necessary for the position, it will give you the credentials to differentiate yourself from other applicants at major healthcare institutions.
- Hospital Chief Operating Officer: COOs provide leadership and vision for hospitals and other medical institutions to ensure that they are utilizing their resources and strengths to offer optimal healthcare services. They are in charge of growing the institution and maintaining their financial health.
- Chief Executive Officer: CEOs are the highest level of healthcare administrators, as they are the head administrator of hospitals and other medical institutions. They are responsible for the overall functioning of hospitals and are required to make life or death decisions that will affect their patients.
These top positions in healthcare administration offer lucrative six-figure salaries to compensate for the high levels of responsibility that they incur. If you think you’re cut out for the highest levels of healthcare administration, then you should check out some of the top healthcare administration doctorate degree programs to find the school that will put you on the right track.
What Jobs Can You Get With a Healthcare Administration Degree?
Healthcare administration degrees are some of the safest academic degrees when it comes to the job market, as they train students for specific career options. While the skills that you build in a healthcare administration degree program can be applied to a wide range of career tracks, most graduates will go into the field of healthcare. Some of the most common jobs for healthcare administration degree holders include:
- Medical Transcriptionist: Medical transcriptionists ensure that doctor’s notes and records of appointments with patients are recorded and archived in a manner that allows them to be accessed easily. Medical transcriptionists are required to have high-level typing and computer skills and need to understand medical language and jargon. There are currently 57,400 medical transcriptionists employed in the United States.
- Medical Records and Health Information Technicians: Medical records and health information technicians organize medical data so that doctors, researchers, and public health officials can access medical histories and keep tabs on current health trends. This job requires a deep understanding of information technology and the medical professions. There are currently 206,300 medical records and health information technicians employed in the United States, and that number is expected to increase by 13% over the next decade.
- Medical Assistants: Medical assistants work in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices and complete paperwork to assist doctor’s and nurses. They help patients check in, bill their insurance, and inform them of financial obligations, among many other duties depending on the needs of their healthcare center. There are currently 634,400 medical assistants employed in the United States, and that number is expected to increase by 29% over the next decade.
- Medical and Health Service Managers: Medical and health service managers plan, direct, and oversee medical services at hospitals, nursing homes, and group medical practices. They can manage departments, hospital wings, or doctors offices, and are in charge of keeping their hospital up to date with current healthcare laws, regulations, and technology. There are currently 352,200 medical and health service managers in the United States, and that number is expected to increase by 20% over the next decade.
- Top Executive: Top executives, such as hospital directors, COOs, and CEOs, are the top-level administrators at their various institutions and oversee the direction and growth of their company. There are currently 2,572,000 top executives employed in the United States, with that number expected to increase by 8% over the next decade.
If you can see yourself in one of these careers, you should check out top healthcare administration programs to see if there are any that meet your academic and professional expectations.
What is the Average Salary for Healthcare Administration?
The average salary of healthcare administrators can depend on a number of different factors, such as employer, location, and experience. Most healthcare administration jobs are full-time and come with full employee benefits and retirement plans. The average salaries for some of the most common healthcare administration jobs are:
- Medical Transcriptionist earns $35,250 per year, which comes out to $16.95 per hour.
- Medical Records and Health Information Technicians earn $39,180 per year, which comes out to $18.83 per hour.
- Medical Assistants earn $32,480 per year, which comes out to $15.61 per hour.
- Medical and Health Service Managers earn $98,350 per year, which comes out to $47.29 per hour.
- Top Executives earn $104,700 per year, which comes out to $50.34 per hour.
Healthcare administration jobs are stable career options that will provide regular work hours and healthy professional environments. Graduates with degrees in healthcare administration are highly sought after on the job market. If you are looking to qualify for upper-level healthcare administration jobs that offer high salaries, you should consider applying to a top healthcare administration degree program. If you find any schools that will help you qualify for the job of your dreams, you should follow the links to their website and request more information.
What Organizations or Associations Can I Join as a Healthcare Administrator?
There are many organizations and associations that are available for healthcare administrators, depending on their specific role and institution. These organizations help support healthcare administrators by providing them with various resources, including professional networking, up to date information on healthcare laws and regulations, and job openings. Some of the most popular organizations for healthcare professionals include:
- American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE): With 40,000 members, the ACHE is the largest healthcare administration organization. It is focused on providing support for healthcare CEOs.
- Medical Group Management Association (MGMA): With around 33,000 members and a wide range of resources, the MGMA is a great organization for healthcare managers. Its primary focus is to support group practice managers.
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM): The AAHAM is a great organization that supports professionals who work in the financial side of healthcare. They provide information and resources so that their members can stay up to date with recent changes in healthcare law.
- Professional Association of Health Care Management (PAHCOM): The PAHCOM is an organization that supports smaller practices, such as single or group physician clinics.
- American College of Healthcare Administrators (ACHCA): The ACHCA offers services that help administrators of geriatric institutions such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
- Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP): The AHCAP provides resources for healthcare administrators who provide support for healthcare executives such as CEOs and COOs.
As you can see, there is a wide range of healthcare administrator organizations to choose from. Fortunately, when you enroll in a healthcare administration degree program, your professors and advisors will be able to tell you which organizations will be the most beneficial for you to join.