Healthcare administrators play an essential role in the healthcare industry. These professionals make sure their facility is organized and that everything runs smoothly. Healthcare administration can be a very rewarding career that can open the door to many opportunities within the healthcare field.
Becoming a healthcare administrator can be hard work and requires dedication; however, the results can make it all worth it. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in healthcare administration, continue reading this guide to learn how to become a healthcare administrator.
What Does a Healthcare Administrator Do?
In any facility in which they work, a healthcare administrator is responsible for numerous important jobs that make the day-to-day operations run efficiently. While their daily tasks may vary, a healthcare administrator may do any of the following during a typical workday:1
- Keeping up with healthcare policy, law, and current and upcoming issues
- Planning, coordinating, and implementing medical and health services
- Attending and contributing to meetings with investors and board members
- Supervising assistant administrators
- Working to improve efficiency and financial effectiveness
- Communicating with medical staff and department heads
- Performing administration duties, such as staff scheduling; resolving hiring and salary issues; processing patient fees and billing; and keeping records
While these professionals don’t interact with patients on a daily basis, they interact with doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to ensure high-quality patient care and patient experience in their facility.
The Skills and Characteristics of a Healthcare Administrator
There are many skills and characteristics that would benefit someone who wants to become a healthcare administrator. For example, healthcare administrators must be organized as they are responsible for many administration and financial tasks.
Time management is also important, as a healthcare administrator could have many tasks to do in a single day and will need to be able to manage their time well to ensure that the overall operation of the facility continues to run smoothly.
Healthcare administrators need to have strong interpersonal and communication skills, as they interact with others in the facility daily and must be able to discuss issues with co-workers. This includes health topics such as health policies, and legal and ethical principles in healthcare, among others, meaning that developing expertise in these areas is essential.
The Path To Become a Healthcare Administrator
Once you have decided to enter the field of healthcare and become a healthcare administrator, you will need to take a few different steps, depending on your career goals.
Earning Your Undergraduate Degree
The first step to become a healthcare administrator is to earn your undergraduate degree. This degree should be in healthcare administration or a similar topic. This will give you a solid foundation of the necessary skills and knowledge that a good healthcare administrator will need.
In a bachelor’s in healthcare administration degree program, you will learn topics, including:
- The structure of various healthcare organizations, including organizational dynamics and strategies within them
- The public, private and social influences that shape healthcare systems
- How finance plays a part in healthcare administration
- How to navigate between many healthcare sectors and prioritize both patients and employees in the process
Earning this undergraduate degree can help you to enter the workforce at a mid-level position in the healthcare field. Some common positions include:2
- Private practice office manager
- Healthcare consultant
- Medical reimbursement specialist
- Healthcare human resources manager
Additionally, look for ways to gain experience while earning your degree, if possible, as this will help you look more favorable to future employers.
Earning a Master of Science in Health Administration
Another way to earn experience and credibility, is by earning a graduate degree. To become a healthcare administrator, you will need to earn a Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA). This degree program helps aspiring healthcare administrators take their career to the next level and become a leader within the field of healthcare.
A Master of Science in Health Administration degree program can include classes such as:
- Healthcare research methods, analysis and utilization
- Leadership styles and development
- Analysis of contemporary health care delivery models
- Essential health care business analysis
Students will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field, learning from experts who will share extensive knowledge and experience in their respective fields.
A master’s degree is a great choice for those who aspire to reach high-level positions within the healthcare field. This includes becoming a healthcare administrator, as well as holding management positions and director positions.
Gaining Additional Certification
While it’s not a necessary step to become a healthcare administrator, gaining additional certification may benefit you as an aspiring professional. For example, the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) certification/fellowship opportunities will help you demonstrate that you have superior skills, knowledge, and experience within healthcare administration that can set you apart from others in the eyes of an employer.
Some employers or states, however, may require a certain degree level or certification to apply. Be sure to check with the state in which you plan to work or investigate certain employers to see what their requirements are.
Where Can Healthcare Administrators Work?
After earning your degrees and credentials, you will be equipped to pursue a leadership role within the healthcare administration field. As a healthcare administrator, you can find work in a variety of places, including hospitals, public health agencies, physicians’ offices, long-term care facilities, clinics, government agencies and insurance companies.
How Much Does a Healthcare Administrator Earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers have a median annual wage of $104,280.3 While you will need to put in hard work and determination while in school in order to pursue a career as a healthcare administrator, it can turn out to be an extremely rewarding pursuit. You will also know that you are making a positive difference on the lives of patients through your work, even without direct interaction.
Grand Canyon University aims to provide an exceptional academic experience for every student. If you would like more information about GCU’s healthcare programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration degree and the Master of Science in Health Administration program, visit the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions or click on the Request More Information button at the top of this page.
1Public Health Online, A Guide to Careers in Health Administration in November 2021
2Nurse.org, Jobs for People With a Healthcare Administration Degree in February 2022
3The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Medical and Health Services Managers as of May 2020. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Medical and Health Services Managers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.