What is Healthcare Administration, Anyway?
For generations, a career in healthcare has generally been assumed to mean one thing: becoming a doctor or nurse, working with patients to fix what ails them.
However, for those who don’t have much of a tolerance for blood, or simply have more of a mind for business, there’s another option in the health field: healthcare administration careers. What many people fail to realize is that there is a lot more to keeping a healthcare system or hospital than just caring for the sick and injured.
What is Healthcare Administration?
Healthcare administration is a broad field encompassing a number of different options. Hospitals, clinics and healthcare systems hire professionals to manage the overall operations of the facilities; you might specialize in finance, human resources, communication, strategic planning or medical management. In many cases, some of the administration roles are handled by doctors or nurses who have advanced training. Most administrators develop policies, procedures and plans to ensure that the hospital or clinic runs smoothly and within budget, and oversee the implementation of those plans at the employee level.
Healthcare administration roles include everything from entry level marketing and operations assistants all the way up to vice president, president and CEO roles.
Joining the Field
Over the next decade, opportunities within the healthcare field are expected to grow at a faster rate than nearly every other field. As a result, more colleges and universities are offering programs and courses related healthcare administration, including those that lead to a health care management degree. If you enter one of these specialized programs, you’ll focus on issues facing the healthcare field, as well as financial analysis, decision making, strategic planning, change management, human resources, communication, community and public health and ethics, all as they relate to healthcare.
While it’s possible to land an entry-level job with a bachelor’s degree, in most cases, an advanced degree is required to climb the corporate ladder to the higher-paying positions. In general, successful administrators have a strong background in the foundations of the field, as well as good communication, organization and critical thinking skills.
Some positions, such as nurse manager, nurse educator or medical management and director positions, require candidates to have a medical background. It’s not uncommon for nurses, for example, to seek a healthcare administration degree to move into management positions after a few years in patient care.
When it comes to pay and benefits, healthcare is one of the top fields in the U.S. today. Pay tends to be competitive, and varies according to position and organization, but top-level administrators often earn well over six figures each year. Most organizations offer full benefits, including health insurance and tuition reimbursement, meaning it’s possible for you to earn your advanced degree while working in the field – and applying your new knowledge right to your work.Healthcare administration is an exciting and secure field. If you crave the excitement and fulfillment of helping others, but don’t have any interest in becoming a provider, than this is a good option for you.