Healthcare administrators play a crucial role in making sure many of our medical institutions continue to run smoothly and effectively while providing the care that patients need. It’s a great career option for those who are interested in the medical field and have large ambitions for leadership and growth opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at why you might consider a career in healthcare administration.
There's Never Been a Better Time to Pursue a Career in Healthcare Administration
As the U.S. population grows older, the requirements for healthcare are increasing. This means an increase in the need for detail-oriented people who can work “behind the scenes” in healthcare. Plus, healthcare administration is rated the #1 job in business by U.S. News & World Report. You can become a healthcare administrator in four years or less. This career requires an associate or bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or a related field.
Things to Consider When Mapping Out Healthcare Administration Career Paths
Those who work in healthcare administration usually care about making a difference in patients’ lives. It’s an important part of working in the medical field, but here are a couple of other things to keep in mind as you think about taking your career in this direction:
What's the Job Outlook for Healthcare Administration Career Paths?
Employment of healthcare administrators is projected to grow by 28% by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An estimated 136,200 jobs are expected to open up each year as more and more Americans require healthcare services. Someone needs to coordinate all that care – why not you? The median annual wage for healthcare administrators in 2021 was $101,340. The lowest 10% of healthcare administrators earned less than $60,780, while the top 10% earned more than $205,620. On average, the highest-paid healthcare administrators worked in hospitals.
Healthcare Administration Career Job Settings
The most common place for healthcare administrators to work is in hospitals – 30% of the roles in this field are found in a hospital setting. In addition, healthcare administrators work in:
- Doctor’s offices
- Nursing and residential care facilities
- Government jobs
- Outpatient care centers
Where Will a Healthcare Administration Career Path Take Me?
Once you have your associate or bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, you might wonder if pursuing your Master of Health Administration (MHA) is worth it. The short answer is, yes. MHAs earn a higher salary and ascend to higher levels in their careers. Many schools offer part-time MHA programs for busy adults, including online classes. Some MHAs can be earned in just one year. There are many positions available for healthcare administrators, whether you have an associate, bachelor’s, or a master’s degree. Here are some of the most popular healthcare administration career options.
Healthcare administrators working as clinical managers can typically be found overseeing the many departments of a hospital, such as surgery or pediatrics. Job duties include:
- Staff evaluations
- Legal compliance
- Department administrative and organizational tasks
Nursing Home Administrator
Rather than working in a big hospital, this job will take you to specialized facilities where doctors and nurses care for the elderly. In addition to the above-mentioned duties for clinical managers, working at a nursing home will include:
- Admissions of new residents
- Staff management
- Maintaining building standards to keep the facility up to code
- Staying on top of licensing requirements
Health Information Manager
Do you like computers, organizational systems, and IT? You might make a good health information manager. Their job includes:
- Working with patient records
- Maintaining up-to-date computer systems
- Keeping up with laws and regulations regarding patient privacy and healthcare record systems
- Tracking large amounts of data
Certifications and Licenses
Certifications and licenses vary by where you want to work as a healthcare administrator. Generally speaking, no healthcare administrator job requires certification. However, there are two organizations — the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) — that offer certifications in specialty areas you might consider. These include, but are not limited to:
- Health Information Technology Certified Manager (HITCM)
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
- Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
These certifications show potential employers that you’re serious about your career, and prove you’re committed to healthcare administration excellence. Should you choose to follow your healthcare administration career path to a nursing home, your state may require special licensure. The National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Board (NAB) has more information on state requirements and how to obtain your license.
What Classes Can I Take to Pursue a Healthcare Administration Career Path?
That depends on where you are in your healthcare administration career path. The classes you may need to take to prepare to work in healthcare administration will depend on whether you’re just starting out or you’re finishing up more specific requirements. If you’re just starting on your degree, focus first on general education classes, like English Composition or College Algebra. These courses are often prerequisites for healthcare administration degree programs. If you’re further along in your education, you can turn your focus to more specialized courses. Healthcare administrators need to be experts in many fields, including finance, law and ethics, community health, health information systems, and public policy. Plus, if you want to pursue your Master of Health Administration (MHA), you may need to specialize even further. You might be looking to fulfill health science and business requirements for your chosen program, like Medical Terminology, Accounting, Business Ethics, Principles of Management, or Organizational Behavior. StraighterLine has a wide range of courses that can help you fulfill both general education and core curriculum requirements for your healthcare administration career path.
Fast Track Your Healthcare Administration Career Path with StraighterLine
Most healthcare administration degree programs require a similar set of classes to earn your degree. So take the first step in your healthcare administration career path with StraighterLine's self-paced, affordable online courses. Your credits are guaranteed to transfer to any of our partner schools or through the ACE credit transfer service to over 2,000 colleges and universities worldwide.
Check out our health science and business courses today to get started on the career pathway that is right for you.