Last Updated: July 10, 2021
Healthcare today is not just restricted to a set of specializations. Hospitals are going out and about to set up "health care cities," with practically every possible medical department on one campus. From orthopedics to cardiology, pediatrics to ophthalmology, fertility centers to health research - today's top healthcare facilities offer all these and much more under one banner. It is no wonder that undergraduates are increasingly looking at healthcare management for a career. Such is the dynamism of a healthcare administrator that even Forbes has ranked it among the top best graduate degree courses.
This field combines the departments of healthcare, business, and scientific research all into one where they focus on providing healthcare facilities promptly and efficiently. Healthcare administrators, unlike healthcare officials, will have the task of managing all the tasks involved under the field which begins from policy-making to creating schedules for physicians. They remain in charge of the handling of healthcare facilities and are responsible for the quality and accessibility of the same.
Choosing a School for Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administration is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. While a gamut of institutions offer this course of study, both on-campus and online, it is best for students to look for schools recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
CAHME was established in the year 1968 and is the organization that defines the sector of healthcare administration. They provide accreditation to different programs in healthcare management and healthcare administration thereby setting a standard for the quality of healthcare management education around the world. They set the criteria, support, and advice programs based on which they can improve and also provide easy access to this information for aspiring candidates. Being accredited by CAHME makes the education the candidate receives globally recognized and helps them land jobs after their education has been completed.
Undergraduate Programs in Healthcare Administration
Healthcare Administration is a field of study that will never see a decline in job prospects as long as there are hospitals being built or expanded to include various sectors. The management of each additional sector under healthcare requires people to focus on managing the departments and offering accessible healthcare systems to the people who need them. Due to the high job prospects and the opportunity of working in the medical field, candidates often take up the course especially since medical schools only provide a limited number of seats year after year.
An undergraduate program in healthcare administration spans three years and equips students with the skills to manage the everyday affairs of healthcare centers. Additionally, students get an overview of laws and policies that affect the operations of healthcare facilities. Candidates will be able to choose a field of study under healthcare administration or management that can range from hospital management to health insurance and hospital finances- all of which will require different subjects of specialization.
Eligibility Requirement for Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration
- High school diploma or GED.
- Strong scores in the subjects of mathematics, basic college-level business studies, and communication.
Core Courses in Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration
Though the courses under Healthcare Administration change from institution to institution, there are a few courses that are taught irrespective of the field the candidate wants to pursue which will be part of the background study required in the field.
- History of the Healthcare System
- Evolution of Healthcare
- Basic Illness and Disease
- Management of Healthcare
- Law and Health Regulations
Graduate Programs in Healthcare Administration
The two-year graduate program in Healthcare Administration or Management is designed to equip students with in-depth knowledge of the healthcare industry along with strong management skills. They are trained in finance, accounting, informatics, economics, human resources, management, and marketing. Graduates in health care administration can find a gamut of career opportunities at hospitals, health supply-chain providers, community-based ambulatory care centers, managed-care plans, long-term care providers, and the like. They also go onto becoming health department chiefs.
Eligibility Requirement for Master’s in Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor’s Degree with a Minimum GPA of 3.
- Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores or GMAT scores taken no later than the last five years.
- TOEFL/ IELTS scores, as specified by the institution.
- Statement of Purpose as required by the college.
- Letters of Recommendation
Core Courses under Master's in Healthcare Administration
The common courses that come under the Healthcare Administration graduate programs are-
- Managerial Epidemiology
- Legal Aspects of Healthcare Management
- Finance in the Healthcare Department
- Analysis and Management of Healthcare Operations
Top Schools for Healthcare Administration
Choosing a decent school for studying Healthcare Administration is important due to the kind of service the course talks about. Having hands-on experience in the field and procuring related internships will also be one of the criteria for landing the perfect job. Due to the vastness of the field, candidates will be able to be work in areas like health insurance, nursing homes, multi-specialty hospitals, physical therapy, healthcare finances, etc. It is imperative, then, that candidates choose courses that are best suited for their aspirations even under the Healthcare Administration course. The best programs that were ranked by usnews in 2019 are-
- University of Alabama- Birmingham
- University of Minnesota- Twin Cities
- University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
- University of California - Berkeley (HAAS)
- University of North Carolina- Chapel hill
- Rush University
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- University of Iowa
- Cornell University
- John Hopkins University
Skills Required for Healthcare Administrators
Healthcare administrators require a wide variety of important skills in order to be successful at their job. Here are some of the important skills that healthcare administrators must possess:
- Responsibility: Healthcare administrators must be responsible in order to keep important aspects of healthcare services, like appointment scheduling and budgeting, running on a regular basis.
- Efficiency: Healthcare administrators often have many tasks they are required to complete, and it is important to be able to carry out these duties in a timely fashion to work as a health administrator.
- Effective Communication: Healthcare administrators need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with their colleagues as well as other people like providers and patients in the healthcare setting.
- Organization: Healthcare administrators must be organized in order to manage large volumes of scheduling, budgeting, and other administrative duties.
- Computer Literacy: Many aspects of healthcare administration like budgeting and recordkeeping are performed using computer databases or internet searches, therefore It is important to have computer literacy in order to work as a healthcare administrator.
Basic Duties of a Healthcare Administrator
Hospital administration generally encompasses the planning and managing of medical and health-related services for an organization. Healthcare administrators coordinate these services and the actions of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They must be flexible and able to handle upgrades to technology, changes to healthcare regulations, and other variables that affect the industry. They generally work in offices and have a full work schedule. It is expected that they will have to remain on-call at odd hours and will not have a set number of work hours. Specific job duties may include:
- Scheduling work shifts for hospital staff
- Managing budgets for the institution they are in charge of
- Training and supervising staff
- Recruiting new staff
- Creating plans to improve quality and efficiency in services.
- Checking compliance with current laws.
- Maintaining facility records.
Challenges of a Healthcare Administrator
A healthcare administrator faces the task of leading an organization that has departments that are interdependent and at the same time individual functionaries. Leading such a complex work environment requires strong decision-making skills, knowledge of competitive budgeting techniques, and the ability to maintain perfect coordination and to cooperate with various departments.
Besides these, a healthcare administrator needs to establish high-class health standards and formulate strategic policies that work in the best interests of the people, besides being compliant with government rules. It is only a person with excellent leadership qualities and management skills that can succeed in this job.
Career Prospects and Salary Details
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2019, the lowest 10 percent earned a salary of $59,980 while the highest 10 percent earned as much as $195,630. The same year, the majority of medical and health service managers working in general medical and surgical hospitals, got a median salary of $104,280. The BLS also reported that medical and health service managers who worked in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry made the highest average salary at $221,360 per year. According to BLS, healthcare administrators will see job growth of 32% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the national average.
The few many jobs that candidates who have studied Healthcare Administration can take up are-
- Hospital Operations Administrator- They have the duty of organizing and overlooking the services provided by the institution and the day-to-day activities of the facility. This can include the management of staff and finances also.
Median Salary: $100,980 per year
- Chief Financial Officer- Their job description includes supervising the finances and account statements of the institution and is one of the top-most jobs available in the corporate world.
Median Salary: $393,377 per year
- Director of Patient Care Services- They act as supervisors who ensure that patient care is taken care of within specified budgets. This will include communicating with the patient and their kith and kin along with dealing with procedures ranging from handling patient admission to maintaining patient records.
Median Salary: $64,000- $71,000 per year
Statistics related to Healthcare Administration
- Projected employment increase rate by 2026: 20%. It has been reported that about 20 million new healthcare administrators were employed in the US.
- About 40% of health care professionals work with hospitals. Others are associated with small clinics, nursing homes, group medical practices, long-term nursing facilities, home healthcare agencies, specific medical departments, and public health departments.