A career in the healthcare industry can be appealing for many different reasons.
You’ll have the chance to help people and make a difference in your community, and you’ll enjoy other perks like job security, advancement opportunities, and a well-paying career. But many positions in the healthcare field, such as a doctor or a surgeon, require years of schooling before you can begin your career, which can be discouraging and impractical if you need to start working soon.
The healthcare administration field offers a way for you to enter the healthcare field after completing less rigorous schooling, meaning you can start your work sooner.
These careers still offer many of the benefits of the healthcare industry; you’ll still be able to help others, you can qualify for positions that carry good salaries, and you may even have the chance to work with patients directly. If you’re looking for a rewarding career, healthcare administration might be the right route for you.
Healthcare Administration: A Growing Field
When it comes to long-term career opportunities and job security, entering the healthcare field is a promising choice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare administration employment opportunities are predicted to grow by 20% between 2016 and 2026.
As of 2016, 352,200 healthcare administration jobs existed. That figure should increase to 424,300 jobs by 2026. As the industry experiences a much faster job growth than other industries, a total of 72,100 additional jobs should be created during this period.
Multiple factors influence the rapid growth of the healthcare field. The baby boomer generation is aging, resulting in an increased need for physicians, nurses, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and more.
To support the increasing numbers of facilities and services, more healthcare administration staff are needed to keep operations running smoothly. Medical group practices are expected to grow larger and more complex to accommodate the increased patient demand, and as these businesses increase in size, they will also need more administrators.
With plenty of new opportunities, the healthcare industry is an appealing choice for anyone considering their first career or thinking about a career change.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics goes on to report that as of May 2018, healthcare administrators earned an average of $99,730 per year or $47.95 per hour.
Because most administrators enter the field with just a bachelor’s degree, a healthcare administration career can be an exciting and promising choice that’s more accessible than positions requiring extensive schooling, internships, and on-the-job experience.
Types of Healthcare Administration Career Opportunities
If you’re looking for a healthcare administration opportunity where you can truly transform and refine a healthcare practice, pursuing a career as a hospital administrator may be the route you’ll want to pursue.
Hospital administrators carry plenty of responsibility, as they need to ensure that the entire hospital runs well. Their responsibilities can include everything from establishing and monitoring budgets to overseeing the hospital’s daily operations, to maintaining relationships with the press.
If you’re hoping for a career as a hospital administrator, plan to spend some time gaining work experience in the hospital setting. Most hospitals will require that an administrator hold a master’s in hospital administration at the very minimum; additional schooling may be required.
While a hospital administrator career is filled with high levels of responsibility and requires some schooling beyond the bachelor’s degree level, many other administrative roles still allow you to work in the healthcare field.
These non-medical career opportunities can include positions as office receptionists in private practices or hospitals, hospital wing administrators and coordinators, human resources administrators, medical administrative assistants, billing administrators, and more.
The healthcare industry also has opportunities for people with IT talents. Non-medical IT careers include opportunities in medical billing and coding, the data-driven fields of health informatics, and even patient portal and app development. Because technology continues to rapidly evolve, many more IT-related opportunities are sure to develop in the healthcare industry.
Skills and Characteristics Needed in Healthcare Administration Roles
The specific skills and characteristics that a healthcare administration role will require can vary depending on the specific position and its responsibilities. However, many of these administrative roles demand some common skills like the ability to pay attention to detail and to provide patients with quality customer service.
For instance, if you’re planning on a career in accounting in healthcare, you will need to be highly organized and will need some creative thinking skills to deal with the daily challenges that you may see during the job. These skills can be applied to nearly any administrative role in the healthcare field. When you’re in an accounting role, though, analytical and math proficiency becomes even more important than it might be in another role.
Some administrative roles require the ability to think clearly under pressure, and decision-making skills are often necessary. If you’re in a leadership role, you may need to be able to manage a team of employees, and the ability to listen and hold meaningful conversations becomes more important in this case.
Most positions will also require awareness and adherence to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules. Enacted in 1996, HIPAA rules help to protect private health information for patients, and medical practices must adhere to these rules or face steep fines ranging from $100 to as much as $1.5 million per violation.
Because of the significance that a single violation can hold, administrators must thoroughly understand HIPAA rules and be aware of how those rules affect their medical practices. With a detailed HIPAA understanding, administrators can ensure that the practice follows all HIPAA rules to keep medical information safe.
Getting Started in Healthcare Administration
If you’re hoping for a healthcare administration career, the best thing to do is to start exploring the many options available to you. Think about your current interests and try to find a type of administrative role that will use those interests.
If you have great customer service skills and love interacting with people, then a receptionist role that allows you to interact with patients daily might be best. If you’re highly analytical, love to crunch numbers, and have a great eye for detail, a position in billing might be a better fit.
Ohio University’s website has a wealth of resources that can help you to explore the many healthcare career options available.
Once you have a sense of the type of position you ultimately want to attain, research the requirements that those types of positions have.
Some careers in healthcare require only a bachelor’s degree, while other more specialized fields may require additional schooling or courses. Your previous work experience can also help you to get a new job since experience in fields such as customer service, management, data analytics, and budgeting are all transferable.
If you have your sights set on an upper-level administrative position, such as a hospital administrator position, then it’s time to start planning your education and career path to help you ultimately attain the position you’d like. Take a careful look at the education and experience requirements for current hospital administrator openings.
It can take years to attain the educational and on-the-job experience that this type of position will require, but you can work other healthcare administrative roles in the meantime, positioning yourself for promotions that will help you qualify for that upper-level administrative role.
The healthcare field offers countless career opportunities, and administrative positions in healthcare offer many of the same benefits as the medically-focused careers do.
An administrative career can be a long-term rewarding position where you have the satisfaction of helping people and improving a medical practice daily. With less education required than some hands-on physician or nursing roles, administrative careers can help you to enter the healthcare workforce and start advancing your career sooner.