Thinking about becoming a healthcare administrator? This page will help guide you through some of the key aspects of the job.
You will learn about the future job outlook, average salary, education requirements, and job responsibilities. This page will help you make an informed decision about whether this is the field that you really want to jump into long-term.
Working as a health admin isn’t easy, but it’s a job that pays off both in terms of salary and the benefit it provides patients. Without administrators, the healthcare industry would not be able to function. After all, hospitals need to be run like a business, just like any other industry.
Check out the sections below for a more in-depth healthcare administration job description. If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
The job outlook for health administration is very strong. In fact, the entire healthcare field is expected to experience double digit growth over at least the next 10 years due to the aging of the US population and the demand for health services.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 20 of the top 30 fastest growing occupations are going to be in the health field. Some of these positions include personal and home health aides, diagnostic sonographers, and physical therapists. With each additional health worker that’s added to the workforce, more health administrators will be needed to help manage them.
The following chart shows the consistent growth in healthcare jobs since 1990. The growth rate will be expected to increase to keep up with demand for services after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Again, the primary reason for growth over the next 10 years will likely be the aging population. The healthcare field will have almost no choice but to grow as more people require health services.
Healthcare is one of the highest paying career options, even for new grads. The average annual salary for an individual working in healthcare administration was nearly $96,000 in May of 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Keep in mind that it is unlikely that you will be making this much money straight out of school if you don’t already have work experience. An individual with 1-2 years of work experience might expect to make somewhere around $60,000 coming out of their Master degree.
Individuals with 5-10 years of experience who have decided to go back to school for a Master level education can expect to make $90,000 or more in the health administration field. Some could receive salaries much higher than this.
The salaries in the chart above indicate a range based on level of education. You can see that the higher levels of education receive a higher starting salary in most cases. The MBA and MHA are usually a bit of a toss up.
The eduction requirements for a health administrator can vary widely. It should also be mentioned that requirements have changed over the years.
In the past, you might be able to get a strong starting position straight out of college or even high school if you were lucky. However, with the strong push toward hiring individuals with more formal schooling it is highly recommended that you have a Master degree if you want a job in healthcare administration.
Some of the most popular degrees for health administrators include:
- Executive MBA
- MPH – Health Administration Focus
Many physicians and nurses are hired into administrative roles. One of the main reasons for this is that they have a strong knowledge of the healthcare profession, something not easily picked up by someone coming from a different industry.
Health organizations hire individuals from all different backgrounds, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re going to be excluded from an administrative role. However, it would be wise to obtain one of the above degrees if you have aspirations of getting into a high-level position in the health field.
If you are interested in finding schools, please visit our schools page.
The responsibilities of a health administrator are wide-ranging. It often depends on the area of focus and the size of the organization.
Larger health institutions tend to be more complex and require more varied skills from their administrators. However, small organizations can also be quite complicated.
The following is a list of some of the key responsibilities of individuals in the health admin field, and other fields for that matter. Your job may include some or all of these. Again, the requirements vary from organization to organization, so keep that in mind as you look for job opportunities. If you’re getting ready to interview don’t be afraid to ask for specific responsibilities.
Planning – A broad term, but important nonetheless. As an administrator, you will be responsible for planning the future direction of your department or service. The constant policy changes at the state and federal level make this more of a challenge.
Management – This is another broad term, but a health administrator is expected to manage and direct the daily operations of a particular health service.
Financial Operations – Every health organization is a business. As a business, it will rely on the success of cash flows and investments to succeed long-term. It will be your job to monitor assets, make proper investments, balance budgets, and coordinate staff based on patient demand and needs.
Marketing – A health admin may not be the person who carries out the actual marketing, but you will be the one deciding what type of message you want to send to the community about your particular health service.
Community Relationships – Again, you will be expected to manage the message of your marketing. In addition, you may be expected to address and work with the public in certain situations. This can be both positive and negative.
Traits of a Successful Health Admin
Healthcare in general is quite complex and requires a plethora of skills and traits to be successful. Some traits relate to the way you work with other people, while others relate to the way you treat yourself. Maintaining a positive attitude toward your work is critical to succeeding in the healthcare field.
The following is a list of 10 traits of great leaders. As an administrator, you will not only have to be business savvy, but you will also have to be a leader. If you feel that you posses these traits, health administration may be the right field for you.
These are just a few of the key traits that most successful administrators possess.
Is This The Profession That You Want?
If you are at a stage in your life where you are trying to figure out what path to take next, be sure to take into account all of the variables associated with your decision.
Would you enjoy working as a health administrator?
Do you have many of the traits listed above?
Are you a people person?
Can you handle a complex and stressful work environment?
These are all questions that you should think about before jumping into healthcare in any capacity. If you can’t answer yes to these question, you may want to look elsewhere for different career options.
However, if you are up to the challenge, you will find that healthcare administration is an incredibly gratifying line of work. The work that you do will have a direct impact on the lives of hundreds or thousands of patients.
It can be difficult to find a job that allows you to go home each day knowing that you helped save or improve an individual’s life, but becoming a health admin will give you that opportunity. That’s my reason for choosing this field.