Henry Steele
Henry Steele
Managing Editor

The field of healthcare administration looks at the management of hospital networks, healthcare systems, and public health systems. Those who are within this profession may head an entire healthcare organization, or they may specialize on a certain department (human resources, budgeting, finance, and so on). They may also manage individual medical practices. Their primary role is to coordinate, direct, and plan medical health services.

Opportunity

The field of healthcare administration seems to be in a constant state of flux. This is due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • The changing face of healthcare laws and regulations. For instance, the Affordable Care Act has only recently been implemented, but President Donald Trump is looking at ways to repeal or significantly change it.
  • Significant changes in available funds for the field of healthcare as a whole, with budget constraints becoming increasingly tight.
  • A changing population, with people becoming older, having more complex health needs, and placing greater demands on the quality and availability of care.
  • The aging healthcare workforce, with many people approaching retirement.

Because of these factors, there is a tremendous demand for healthcare professionals and, of course, healthcare administrators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for instance, reports on the projection that there will be a 17% increase in demand for medical and health services managers from 2014 to 2024, translating into some 56,300 new jobs. This is much faster than the national average. New England College, meanwhile, reports that demand for healthcare administrators is one of the fastest growing in the entire healthcare industry.

ECPI University has published a blog post about the demand for healthcare administrators. They have determined that it is the particular skills that healthcare administrators have (analytical skills, which are detail orientated; hoarding skills; organizational skills; people skills; and problem solving skills), that make them so valuable to the field of healthcare.

Career Paths

There are numerous career paths available for those in the field of healthcare administration. According to Payscale.com, healthcare administrators earn an average annual salary of $56,788. Meanwhile, Indeed.com has reported on more specific popular career options within the field. This showed that:

  • Administrators earn an average salary of $71,893 per year.
  • Practice Administrators earn an average salary of $73,053 per year.
  • Directors earn an average salary of $94,682 per year.
  • Operations Administrators earn an average salary of $56,754 per year.
  • Administrative Directors earn an average salary of $103,908 per year.
  • Health Information Management Managers earn an average salary of $73,427 per year.
  • Systems Administrators earn an average salary of $76,158 per year.
  • Regional Directors earn an average salary of $95,397 per year.
  • Executive Directors earn an average salary of $77,628 per year.

Salaries

There are numerous factors that influence how much someone can earn in the field of healthcare administration. Their job title is one such factor, and so is the length of experience they have and their level of education. Where they work geographically is also very important. That being said, the areas where salaries tend to be the highest are also the areas where the cost of living is the highest. According to the BLS, meanwhile, the five best states to work in as a healthcare administrator are:

  • The District of Columbia, with average salaries of $142,380 per year.
  • New York, with average salaries of $135,640 per year.
  • Connecticut, with average salaries of $129,710 per year.
  • California, with average salaries of $122,800 per year.
  • Alaska, with average salaries of $121,530 per year.

Payscale.com, meanwhile, has reported on four specific cities, which are:

  • Atlanta, GA, where they earn between $28,500 and $98,249 per year.
  • New York, NY, where they earn between $41,039 and $102,212 per year.
  • Miami, FL, where they earn between $29,315 and $98,165 per year.
  • Los Angeles, CA, where they earn between $44,786 and $142,980 per year.

Employers

A final very important factor that drives annual earnings is the organization that someone works for. On the average, the large metropolitan hospitals tend to pay the highest salaries, particularly if they are found in one of the five states mentioned above. Payscale.com has reported on a number of popular employers, which are:

  • The U.S. Army, where healthcare administrators can earn between $52,000 and $97,000 per year.
  • DaVita Inc., where healthcare administrators can earn between $39,000 and $82,000 per year.
  • The U.S. Air Force, where healthcare administrators can earn between $48,000 and $82,000 per year.
  • Kaiser Permanente, where healthcare administrators can earn between $74,000 and $145,000 per year.

Bachelor’s Degree

In order to obtain a good career with a lucrative salary in the field of healthcare administration, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree as a minimum. Numerous universities now offer these types of degrees, including Kaplan University. Their Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration is offered both on campus and online, for the convenience of their students. The program’s curriculum includes:

  • Leadership and Ethics in Heath Care
  • Health Care Policy and Economics
  • Operational Analysis and Quality Improvement
  • Information Technology and Systems for Health Care
  • Organization and Management for Health Care
  • Finance for Health Care
  • Strategic Planning and Organizational Development for Health Care

Kaplan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Master’s Degree

To really further your career, you may want to consider completing a master’s degree. The Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) is a popular graduate degree program, and it is one that is held in high standing by employers all over the country. Those include governmental organizations, healthcare organizations, insurance companies, private practices, NGOs, and much more. Seton Hall University, for instance, offers a Master in Healthcare Administration that is delivered both online and on campus for the convenience of its students. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), which guarantees that the degree is respected all over the country, as it demonstrates that you meet or exceed the generally accepted minimum standards of knowledge and experience for a master’s graduate in this field.

Admission Requirements

Schools can set admission requirements as they see fit. That being said, they usually have very similar requirements, as those demonstrate that the applicant has the capacity to take on a degree program at the graduate degree level. Seton Hall University looks for candidates who can:

  • Submit a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Provide three professional letters of recommendation.
  • Write a personal statement of goals and career interests.
  • Provide a resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Show English proficiency if they are non-native English speakers.

Seton Hall does not require GMAT/GRE test result scores, although many other universities do require them.

Curriculum

Schools can develop a curriculum as they see fit. This is where it becomes so important for a program to be accredited, as this means that the curriculum will meet the minimum standards accepted for the profession. The Seton Hall degree is CAHME accredited, which is one of the top accrediting bodies for studies in the field of healthcare. This guarantees, therefore, that their curriculum meets all the necessary standards and that your degree will be accepted all over the country. Their curriculum includes:

  • Research Methods and Statistical Analysis for Healthcare
  • Financial and Managerial Accounting and Costing in Healthcare
  • Healthcare Management
  • 21st Century Healthcare Systems
  • Managing Community and Population Health Systems
  • Emergency Management and Health Security
  • Healthcare Economics
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Legal Aspects of Healthcare Organizations
  • Strategic Planning and Marketing in Healthcare Organizations
  • Healthcare Financial Management
  • Quality and Information Management Systems
  • Ethics in Healthcare Administration
  • Leadership Institute

Financial Assistance

In order to get a good job in the field of healthcare administration, you need to get an education that preferably is at the master’s degree level. This means, as well, that you have to invest both time and money. You can minimize the total amount of time that you spend by studying online, enabling you to still work while studying to obtain your degree. In terms of finances, schools can link you to financial assistance programs, and most also have scholarships and grants available.

There are also numerous external scholarships and grants that you can apply for, however. They include the:

  • Corris Boyd Scholarship, to the value of $40,000.
  • David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship, to the value of $10,000.
  • Transamerica Retirements Solutions Leaders In Healthcare Scholarship, to the value of $5,000.
  • Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship, to the value of $5,000.
  • New Careers In Nursing Scholarship, to the value of $10,000.
  • Tylenol Scholarship, offering scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Gates Millennium Scholarship, offering a variety of different awards.
  • F. Edward Ebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program, offering $20,000 and a $2,000 a month stipend.
  • New England HIMSS Dvora Brodie Scholarship, to the value of $5,000.

In order to be eligible for a scholarship, you will have to meet certain requirements. Often, these requirements include holding a certain GPA, demonstrating financial need, being part of a certain organization or association, being a member of a certain minority group, studying at a certain university, living in a certain geographical area, or aiming to work in a certain field after graduation. In general, however, you should be able to find a scholarship regardless of what your personal circumstances are.

Certifications

In order to really further your career, you could consider completing certifications and licenses. These are often not required in the field of healthcare administration, but they are highly respected. This is because you are effectively demonstrating that you are committed to the standards of your profession. Obtaining a certification usually takes around six months and can cost quite a lot of money. Furthermore, you will need to maintain it through continuous education credits. However, most people who have completed certifications will tell you that it is a very worthwhile investment in terms of career prospects, and your personal satisfaction as well. Some of the certifications you may want to consider are the:

  • Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional (cHAP)
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Executive
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Professional
  • Certified Revenue Integrity Professional (CRIP)
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist (CRCS)
  • Certified Compliance Technician (CCT)

Associations

It is also recommended for healthcare administrators to become members of professional organizations and associations. This is firstly due to the fact that it proves that you are taking your profession seriously. Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to always be at the forefront of new developments, keeping your knowledge up to date. Many professional organizations also offer certifications and continuous education credits. It is recommended that you become a member of these organizations as soon as you start studying, as many also offer scholarships and grants that can help you finance your degree. Last but not least, being a member of these types of associations allows you to build a professional network of contacts, which is always beneficial in terms of furthering your career.

Some of the professional organizations and associations you may want to consider as a healthcare administrator are the:

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)
  • Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA)
  • Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHAP)
  • American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)
  • National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM)

References

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