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Health Care Administration and Management

Health care administrators, also known as medical and health services managers, perform a wide range of tasks in a multitude of medical settings. Typically found working in public and private hospitals, clinics, and nursing care facilities, these professionals are often in charge of the overall coordination and functionality of various medical and health services and staff within a facility. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), health care administrators may perform the following tasks:

  • Coordinate health care services and staff in a way that ensures maximum efficiency
  • Ensure compliance with current laws and regulations
  • Supervise lower-level management within a facility
  • Oversee financial matters of a facility
  • Create and manage work schedules of facility employees
  • Serve as a representative of their facility at board meetings or media events

As the BLS reports, health care administrators may serve in a different job role depending on where they work. For example, some health care administrators work as nursing home administrators. In this role, they are typically in charge of managing the financial resources of their facility, along with general management of the staff, admissions process and facility residents.

Other health care administrators find work as a clinical manager. Unlike general health care administrators, these professionals are typically in charge of a specific unit or department. Health information managers, on the other hand, focus much of their work on maintaining and securing patient records held within their facility, whether in a digital form or on paper. According to the BLS, health information managers also ensure compliance with regulatory bodies and keep records up-to-date.

How to become a health care administrator

The BLS reports that most health care administrators need to have a bachelor's or master's degree in order to gain employment. Common degrees held by professionals in this field include health administration, health services, long-term care administration, public health, public administration and business administration. According to the BLS, those who wish to work in this field should strongly consider taking the following courses in pursuit of their degrees:

  • Hospital organization and management
  • Human resources
  • Accounting and budgeting
  • Law and ethics
  • Health information systems
  • Health economics

The Princeton Review reports that health care administrators with bachelor's degrees should expect to start out in entry-level positions. However, those with master's degrees may expect to work their way up the corporate ladder to higher positions within their field, such as directors or executive positions.

Beyond completing the educational requirements to become a health care administrator, certain traits and skills sets are also appreciated. For example, health care administrators with good analytical and communication skills tend to do well, as do those with interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills. And since health care administrators tend to wear many hats, an attention to detail is also a must.

Health care administration licensure and certification

Health care administrators are required to become licensed in their profession to work in all states. However, requirements vary. As the BLS reports, most states require health care administrators to hold at least a bachelor's degree, pass a state-approved licensing exam, and complete an approved training program in order to gain licensure.

Although certification is not required for health care administrators, a few agencies do offer certification for those who desire additional credentials within their field:

  • Professional Association of Health Care Office Management -- offers certification in health information management and medical management
  • American College of Health Care Administrators -- offers certification as a certified nursing home administrator or certified assisted living administrator

Health care administrator salary and career information

Thanks to an anticipated increase in the overall demand for health care services in the coming years, employment in health care administration is expected to see steady growth. Specifically, the BLS reports that the number of jobs for health care administrators, also known as medical and health services managers, will increase 23 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022. Keep in mind that this expected surge in employment is more than twice the 11 percent growth in employment predicted for all occupations combined during the same timeframe.

According to BLS 2013 wage data, medical and health services managers earned a median annual wage of $90,940 nationally in 2013. During the same year, the top 10 percent of earners made $155,130 and the bottom 10 percent brought in $55,470. Government data shows that the following industries paid health care administrators the highest national annual mean wage in 2013:

  • Pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing. $165,400
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing. $146,710
  • Computer systems design and related services. $140,870
  • Electronic shopping and mail-order houses.$135,210
  • Data processing, hosting, and related services. $134,770

Due to a healthy job market and anticipated growth in health care, career prospects for graduates in health care administration are poised to be favorable. If you think you have what it takes to work in this growing, fast-paced field, consider researching health care administration degree programs in your area today.

Sources:

Career: Health Care Administrator, The Princeton Review, http://www.princetonreview.com/careers.aspx?cid=76

Medical and Health Services Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-1

Medical and Health Services Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119111.htm

Online Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Administration and Management, Colorado State University Global Campus, http://csuglobal.edu/undergraduate/programs/bachelors-degrees/healthcare-administration-and-management/

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