Healthcare Administration

Healthcare Administration: The Cornerstone of the Industry

Professionals in healthcare administration run the gamut of operations in medical settings. From overseeing staff, assisting with budgeting and finance, and making critical decisions that affect a whole organization, health administrators hold a critical position in the medical industry.

Administrators tend to wear multiple hats no matter what medical setting they work in; departments such as human resources, finance and operations, admissions, and more are all home to healthcare administrators, and they usually have responsibilities to tend to in each department.

Some administrative positions are held by health specialists who supervise specific clinical services in the medicine. With extensive job-specific training and involvement with implementing policies and procedures for their departments, they work closely with other managers to plan and coordinate operations for a health system. For larger organizations, healthcare administrators can even have their hand in policy making and in the development of business strategies.

Overall, healthcare administrators are an integral part of the health care industry as a whole.

Healthcare Administration Education and Training

To begin a successful career in the health care industry, it is highly likely that a master’s degree will be required. A bachelor’s degree will help start professionals off in the industry, but very few will be able to work up to a top-level or a middle-management position at a larger facility without continuing their education past the bachelor’s degree level

To secure an executive position, a master’s degree in hospital or nursing administration, public health, public or business administration, and other related fields is almost always a requirement, and a doctorate degree is not uncommon.

Those pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in preparation for a career in Health Administration should expect to take courses in hospital organization and management, accounting, budgeting, health economics, management principles, and health information systems. Often, programs allow students to specialize and develop their expertise in one or more types of areas, like administration for mental health facilities, nursing homes, clinical operations, health systems, or general hospitals, and this specialization is key in securing a position in the industry.

Like many other positions in healthcare management and administration, strong leadership skills, along with the ability to analyze data and communicate effectively, are needed to be successful in this field.
But earning a degree and sharpening leadership skills is is not enough; applicants for a healthcare administration position must be willing to work their way up from the bottom of the corporate ladder, usually starting as assistants or managers to non-medical departments. Many executive-level administrators have upwards of ten or more years of experience in the healthcare industry and have held many positions along the path to the executive level.

Healthcare Administration Careers

Healthcare administration positions are in high demand and can be had at nursing homes, large hospital systems, home health agencies, and even smaller clinics and facilities, thus making the responsibilities of an administrator quite vast and varied.

Most healthcare administration professionals work in an office environment, even when they are housed in a hospital or clinic, and with the wide variety of job responsibilities described in the paragraphs above, it is easy to see that their work is often fast-paced. In larger facilities and health care systems, administrators have to oversee more staff, but can delegate operational duties to different department heads, leaving their time mainly devoted to policy creation and direction.

Smaller facilities normally have less staff support, so administrators are heavily relied upon for a number of different operations and are normally left with larger work loads.

Within the field of healthcare administration, salaries can vary depending upon the job title and location of the position. Among the highest paid within this field are the administrators and executive “C-level” positions, with averages from about $95,000 to $115,000 or more.

Assistants to administrators at larger facilities like hospitals typically provide support in the execution of top-level, high-impact decisions. Depending on their expertise and experience, some assistants oversee the activities of clinical departments such as nursing or surgery, or they may even direct the operations of non-health areas like public relations, finance, or staffing.

Top ranking, high-level executive administrators are highly educated and can responsible for overall policy creation and direction. However, as mentioned before, their duties tend to vary depending on the size and operations of the facility where they are working. At this level, administrative executives can have the responsibility to oversee system compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and agencies. Other main responsibilities of these positions are to oversee and assess the need for new or updated equipment, services, and staff, while also making recommendations and suggestions regarding an expansion or change in services offered.

Healthcare administrators devote a lot of time and effort to help hospital systems or other health facilities run at their highest efficiency, and they have a lot of responsibilities to uphold. As such, many years of education as well as experience in the medical industry are required to be successful, but their vital role in the smooth running of health facilities is one of the most important in the industry.