What to Expect From a Career in Health Care Administration

December 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Medical & Healthcare Jobs

The health care industry presents an attractive option to people looking for a lifelong and rewarding career. Many current health care employees, and graduate students, consider pursuing a role as a health care administrator. However, without knowing exactly what to expect, it can be difficult to start the process. Fortunately, you can learn what to expect from a career in health care administration by understanding what this profession entails and decide if the role is right for you.

What Is Health Care Administration?

This broad term covers any sort of management position within a health care facility. Health care administrators are also known as health services managers, health care executives or medical coordinators. Each position will be unique — a health care administrator may manage a specific department or the entire health care facility. Health care administration can apply to a broad number of roles in a variety of facilities:

  • Consulting firms
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Medical group practices
  • Public health departments
  • University-level research institutions
  • Managed care facilities
  • Retirement homes
  • Mental health facilities

Every day, health care administrators make decisions and shape policies that will affect the level of care patients receive. They also deal with a wide range of topics and interact with almost every supporting department and are responsible for many aspects of the facility’s operations. Below are some of the areas in which a health care administrator works:

  • Financial management
  • Human resources
  • Information systems
  • Nursing administration
  • Medical staff relations
  • Overall planning and development

Is This Kind of Administration Right for Me?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a health care administrator is $85,000. Additionally, the overall number of available positions is expected to increase by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020. This translates to one tempting career path. As a prerequisite to enrolling in programs for healthcare administration degrees, you must possess the adequate characteristics to successfully perform the job.  According to Thomas C. Dolan, Ph.D. and health care executive, an ideal health care administrator has the following attributes:

  • Academic TrainingA degree from a school that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Management Education will qualify you for the position. This is considered a bare-minimum prerequisite, with previous work experience expected for most positions. Previous internships and fellowships are also preferred—this conveys you have a commitment to continuing education as well as professional development.
  • Adaptability You must be able to merge your career objectives with the health care organization that employs you. Your personal goals cannot conflict with performing your job. Additionally, you must be able to work well with peers, subordinates and superiors. Conveying a positive attitude and professional appearance is desirable for health care management roles.
  • Communication SkillsYou will be interacting with nearly every employee in the health care facility. As such, you must possess outstanding written and verbal communication skills. Additionally, you must be able to develop and present proposals and reports. Prepare now by practicing courteous communication on a daily basis.
  • Dependability and JudgmentAs an administrator, you will carry a lot of responsibility. You must be able to show up to work on time every day. If you are prone to taking unnecessary sick or personal days, this role is not for you. Additionally, you must possess excellent judgment. You must be able to evaluate any decision with the patient in mind so they can receive the quality of service they deserve.

Becoming a Health Care Administrator

Establishing a career as a health care administrator is a goal that will take time to accomplish. Once you have become one, you will be continually perfecting your skills to efficiently perform your job. As you prepare for this exciting role, consider if you have the skills necessary to excel at it. You must possess adaptability, excellent communication skills and dependability. If you fit the bill, you have the potential to be an ideal health care administrator. Enroll in a program now to begin your academic training for one of the many rewarding healthcare administration jobs.


About the Author: Albert Johnson is a contributing writer and full-time health care administration grad student. He has been drawn to health care since a young age but found himself attracted to administrative roles in the field.


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