You will most likely engage with a receptionist, a nurse, a doctor, and, in some cases, radiology or another expert during your visit to the doctor’s office or hospital. However, a healthcare administrator is working behind the scenes to ensure that the institution operates appropriately.
The field of healthcare administration lies at the nexus of business and medical practice. It is a sector in which you may put your leadership and organizational abilities to make a genuine impact in the lives of others.
Learn more about what healthcare administrators do, why you may want to pursue a career in healthcare administration, and how you can get started on this lucrative career path in this article.
What is the role of a healthcare administrator?
In the healthcare industry, administrators (sometimes known as medical or health services managers) are in charge of monitoring and regulating the activities of healthcare facilities. In any setting, whether a doctor’s office, hospital, elder care home, or outpatient clinic, the healthcare administrator is in charge of coordinating the institution’s daily operations or department in question.
Tasks and Responsibilities
While the specific responsibilities of healthcare administrators may vary depending on the size and function of the company, the job has many characteristics with other leadership roles. As a healthcare administrator, you may be responsible for the following tasks daily:
- Ensure that all applicable healthcare rules and regulations are followed.
- Taking care of one’s money
- Recruiting, training, and managing employees are all aspects of the job.
- Maintaining meticulous records of all medical and office supplies.
- Working with care providers and other workers to coordinate their work schedules
- Keeping track of medical records for patients
- Processing insurance claims on behalf of insurance companies
- Patient care must be improved in terms of both quality and efficiency.
Working at a smaller office or facility usually entails taking on most of these responsibilities (if not all). If you work as an administrator at a big hospital, on the other hand, you may supervise or collaborate with a group of managers, each of whom has a distinct area of expertise.
Essential abilities for those working in the healthcare administration field
As a successful hospital administrator, you’ll put your business insight and understanding of healthcare policy to work to make a significant difference in the lives of your patients and staff (and the patients who come to seek care). In addition to many universal talents (empathy, communication, organization, leadership, and critical thinking), you may position yourself for a successful career by comprehending the following concepts:
Budgeting: Provide high-quality healthcare while also achieving budgetary objectives.
Patient care: Learn about best practices that may help you provide a better patient experience.
Health legislation and policy: Stay up to date on the latest legal developments to ensure that your institution operates in compliance with the law.
Software: Billing and coding software and electronic record systems aid in the organization of records and accounting.
What are the benefits of pursuing a career in healthcare administration?
Working as a hospital administrator offers you the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by ensuring that they have the most excellent possible experience. A doctor or nurse may only see a dozen people each day in their practice. Because of your job as a healthcare administrator, you will have the potential to impact hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals favorably. Having an effect from behind the scenes is possible even if you do not have a medical degree or direct patient care experience.
By 2022, the worldwide healthcare industry is projected to expand at a rate of almost nine percent per year. Because of this need, healthcare administration may be a lucrative and personally satisfying professional path to pursue.
Degrees earned online vs. in-person.
It makes no difference what level of degree you choose to pursue; you have the option of completing your studies either in person or online. Each alternative has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
When you study in person, you may take advantage of the supportive environment and resources offered on most college campuses. The timetables for classes are often strict. It may be tough to manage a job, a family, and other responsibilities at the same time when this occurs. If you have your heart set on a particular healthcare management program, you may find yourself having to move to complete your studies.
Studying online enables you to continue obtaining the necessary job experience in the healthcare industry while also earning a salary at your convenience. Even if you do not want to relocate, you may get a degree from a prestigious institution while studying from the same instructors who teach your in-person classmates.
Health Care Administration Training Programs
While exact coursework may differ depending on your degree and institution, you may be required to attend courses in subjects such as:
- Healthcare delivery systems
- Management of financial resources
- Preparing for medical care
- Health legislation and policy
- Compliance and risk management
- The state of the world’s health
Some health administration programs provide you with the option to specialize in a particular area of study, such as public health administration. Following your interests, you might pursue a career in healthcare informatics, management, law, and policy, or patient advocacy, to name a few options.
Is it worthwhile to get a degree in healthcare administration?
You may broaden your job choices in the rapidly expanding healthcare sector by earning a degree in healthcare administration. It also requires a substantial investment of both time and financial resources. Consider your professional aspirations and your personal preferences to choose which degree route is best for you.
If you’re currently employed in the sector, inquire if your company provides education reimbursement advantages to its employees. Some hospitals and clinics may reimburse you for a part of your tuition as long as you continue to work at their facility. This reduces your financial load while also enabling you to use what you’ve learned in a real-world healthcare environment as soon as you graduate.
Alternatives to obtaining a degree in healthcare management
In the healthcare sector, you are not restricted to a career in healthcare administration if you are passionate about it. Here are some additional areas to think about pursuing a degree in if you’re thinking about it:
- Public Health – If you’re interested in influencing policy or working with communities, a public health degree is an excellent choice for you.
- Health sciences: If you want to work in a clinical or laboratory environment, you might consider pursuing a degree in health sciences.
- Informatics in health care: If you are analytical and interested in data science, this profession may be for you.
- Nursing: Earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing prepares you for a hands-on job in patient care administration.
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration: If you already have job experience in the healthcare industry, obtaining an MBA in healthcare administration may help you advance into management roles.
Healthcare administrators are required to be licensed and certified.
With one notable exception, licensure and certification are not commonly needed in the field of healthcare management. Obtaining a nursing home license is required if you want to positively affect the aging population via your employment in a nursing home setting. Completing a state-approved training program and passing a national test are usually required for this position. Administrators at assisted living facilities may also be required to be licensed in certain states.
Misconceptions regarding the Roles of Healthcare Administrators
Some individuals may ignore the lucrative profession of healthcare administration because of certain prevalent misunderstandings regarding the field. The following are some interesting facts regarding a career as a health management professor that many people are unaware of:
Myth #1: You won’t be able to make a significant impact on people’s lives. Healthcare administrators have a role in the transformation of the quality of care. Professionals in the field are making breakthroughs in exciting ways that make a significant difference in patients’ lives. For example, using informatics to improve clinicians’ ability to make diagnoses, implement programs that support personalized medicine, and utilize technology to promote healthier living habits are all examples of how patients’ lives are transformed.
Myth #2: Healthcare managers are accountable for the treatment provided to their patients. It is customary for healthcare administrators to refrain from being engaged in direct patient care. They are primarily concerned with the administrative, financial, and management aspects of the corporation. Healthcare is evolving at such a rapid pace that companies realize the necessity for someone who is charged with looking at the long-term viability of the business. “That is often a different skillset from that of a physician who is responsible for delivering direct patient care.
Myth #3: Healthcare management is reserved for those who have worked in the business for a long time. “It is not necessary to have worked in healthcare for a lengthy period to progress in the profession. Many healthcare organizations have realized the need to have a broad group of people at the table. One person may have started a marketing job with a Fortune 500 firm and is now in charge of the marketing department at a hospital. The true talents and will to achieve will always find a place for those who possess them.
Myth #4: Striking a good work-life balance is tough to accomplish. It’s possible to work from home in entire departments, which is an additional benefit of being on the administrative side of healthcare.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is a job in healthcare administration a good option for you?
As previously said, working in healthcare administration is a rewarding profession. If you choose this career path, you will play an essential role in the well-being of your community by ensuring the seamless operation of one or more medical institutions. Healthcare administrators also have a wide range of options for work environments since they have the opportunity to work for several companies, both large and small.
2. Is it necessary to acquire a master’s degree to work as a healthcare administrator?
While some entry-level roles in healthcare administration only need a bachelor’s degree, many advanced positions require a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Apart from this, there are subjects and abilities that you may acquire from an MHA program that you may not have studied while earning your undergraduate degree. Learning how to utilize statistical and economic analysis to make your company more effective is one example. Another example is having an understanding of medical legislation and pharmaceutical policy.
3. Is it possible to work as a hospital administrator after earning an MPH?
In contrast to a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA), an MPH is a master’s in public health (MPH). On-campus or online MPH programs emphasizing community health and epidemiology are available; most graduates go on to work with particular groups to educate them about their health and wellness. Those wishing to pursue a career in healthcare administration are advised to get an MHA. In addition to an MHA, you may obtain an MBA in healthcare management. However, the distinction between the two is that an MBA focuses more on business concepts than healthcare management principles.
4. What is the average length of time it takes to become a healthcare administrator?
To become a healthcare administrator, you’ll need to put in six to eight years of work. You must first finish a bachelor’s degree program (which takes four years), and it is strongly suggested that you continue your education with a master’s degree. Your master’s degree may be completed in two to four years, depending on whether you are enrolled in courses full-time or part-time.
5. Medical and Health Services Manager vs. Healthcare Administrator: What’s the difference?
The roles of healthcare administrators and health services management are sometimes confused. However, there are significant distinctions between the two positions, as follows: According to a Florida Tech blog post on the differences and similarities between healthcare management and healthcare administration, health services managers are responsible for the business side of a healthcare operation, whereas healthcare administrators are responsible for staffing and compliance with healthcare regulations.