Health Care Administration Degree Programs & Training Schools

In a professional medical facility (i.e. a hospital or private practioner’s office), healthcare administrators are responsible for the overall business-side management and coordination of health cares services within a professional healthcare facility. And more often than not, health care administrators both oversee and administer the day-to-day operation of a larger health care system that encompasses many different hospitals and other professional medical facilities. Indeed, without the work of professional health care administration, patients would not be able to receive the most efficient, coordinated medical services possible.

Usually, careers as healthcare administrators begin with the successful completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree program in a related medical administration field. But other top-level administration positions require at least a master’s degree and career credentials because of the complex and fast changing nature of the health care industry as it relates to the current political and economic environment.

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Job Requirements of Health Administration Positions

Known as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, these business and management professionals outline, administer, and oversee the effective implementation of a patient’s health care. Typically, healthcare administrators work to dynamically organize the health care services within a particular department of a larger medical facility.

But an experienced healthcare administrator works to coordinate the effective delivery of health care among multiple medical facilities which may be part of a larger healthcare system, private or public. Some day-to-day job responsibilities may include tasks such as:

  • Delegating the daily operational procedures of a healthcare department to any assistant administrators or other health care professionals.
  • Managing personnel, human resources, facility finances, and the patient admission process and standards of operation.
  • Coordinating different medical treatment modalities out of the same facility. For example, implementing inpatient residential treatment and outpatient medical services in additional to pharmaceutical management.
  • Maintaining sound business practices as they relate to the healthcare industry.

Entry-level Positions in Health Administration

As mentioned above, the minimum requirement to begin a successful career as a healthcare administrator begins with a bachelor’s degree in a related field. These fields include areas of specialization such as business administration, public health, and public administration.

Typically, entry-level positions become available within a specific department of a larger medical facility. The job of a clinical manager is a good example of an entry-level job in the field of healthcare administration.

Clinical managers coordinate the implementation of a department’s policy in addition to establishing the clinical goals and operations of their departments as well. Clinical managers also oversee the overall quality of a healthcare workers performance.

Interestingly, clinical managers maintain departmental budgets too, which shows that a career in healthcare administration requires a unique set of skills. These entry-level healthcare administrators also manage the daily operations among other medical professionals under a clinical manager’s administrative supervision.

Another entry-level position open to those with degrees in healthcare administration field is health information management, an increasingly in demand career. Since the most recent federal government regulations have mandated that medical facilities maintain secure electronic records, health information managers must posses a unique set of administration skills as well.

Because of the nature of their work, health information managers are required to be proficient and knowledgeable with regards to the latest medical information hardware, software, and database technology. In the current environment of sweeping healthcare reforms, health information managers have been charged with the additional responsibility of maintaining up-to-date, thorough medical records in addition to being responsible for the security of medical records too.

Upper-level Health Administration Careers

A position as chief administrator of a medical facility or larger medical system requires years of related experience in healthcare administration and a master’s degree or higher credential in some instances. Most often, upper-level administrators are more general in their approach to the operations of a medical facility. In short, doctors make the day-to-day medical decisions, but chief healthcare administrators coordinate with assistant administrators and department leaders to administer the broad policies of a medical facility.

Top-level administrators may choose to work for smaller medical facilities as well and oversee all business operations, finances, billing, and admission policies for a number of doctors who employ the services of a single, experienced healthcare administration professional. But larger facilities often employ a team of healthcare administrators charged with personnel management, medical billing and coding, budget planning, and patient-doctor policies.

Employment Opportunity

As discussed above, the recent federal government overhaul of the entire healthcare system is expected to change the way healthcare administrators conduct their jobs and delegate responsibilities to assistant administrators, clinical managers, and health information managers accordingly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conservatively estimates a 16% growth in job opportunities for healthcare administrators in light of the recent changes to the country’s healthcare system.*

The median annual income in 2008 for all healthcare administrators across the country stood at approximately $80,000. But the upper 10% of wage earners in this medical field took home over $100,000 annually. The biggest deciding factor in determining the amount of income a professional healthcare administrator can earn is the size of the medical practice facility in which they work.*

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

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