Pursing a Career in Healthcare Administration: Your First Steps

Healthcare administrators are also known as healthcare service managers or healthcare executives. A healthcare administrator is a professional who handles the business aspects of a medical organization. Such organizations include nursing homes, hospitals, community health centers, and clinics.

Are you considering pursuing a career in healthcare administration? Then you’re on the right track. According to the BLS, it’s projected that there will be a in demand for healthcare administrators in the next ten years.

This means that there will be a lot of potential job opportunities for you in the industry. However, before rushing to become a healthcare administrator, you need to know what steps to take to build your career.

Therefore, below is a step-by-step guide into becoming a healthcare administrator.

What Is Healthcare Administration?

Before pursuing a career in healthcare administration, you need to understand what the term means. Healthcare administrators handle the daily operations and business processes of medical facilities. They often handle the efficiency of the employees, staffing issues, and finances.

If you choose to become a healthcare administrator, you could work in different settings. These include outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals. According to the BLS, healthcare administrators are categorized under the “Medical and Health Services Managers. They also earn a median salary of $100,980 based on the May 2019 report.

The responsibilities of healthcare administrators are quite challenging. However, the career is very rewarding.

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What are the Responsibilities of Healthcare Administrators?

Every medical facility needs a healthcare administration. This allows the healthcare providers to focus on providing the best care to patients. The healthcare administration handles the day-to-day business aspects of running a medical facility.

The administration also handles the planning of future improvements of medical facilities. However, the responsibilities of a healthcare administrator may vary. This depends on their job description and the type of facility.

Below are the responsibilities of a healthcare administrator:

  • Improving employee efficiency
  • Overseeing the hiring and onboarding process of doctors and nurses
  • Handling staff salaries
  • Coordinating employee schedules
  • Ensuring that the medical facility is adhering to healthcare rules and regulations
  • Addressing the professional and basic needs of nurses, doctors, and all other medical staff members
  • Maintaining up-to-date health records of patients
  • Budgeting and managing finances

The above are the primary duties of a healthcare administrator. However, not all will apply to each position. Your roles and responsibilities will depend on your employer and your job description.

Steps To Pursuing a Career in Healthcare Administration

Now you know who a healthcare administrator is and what their responsibilities are. Therefore, it’s time to look at the educational requirements of pursuing a career in this field. The below five steps will help you carve out a new career path in healthcare administration:

  1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step is earning a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. You can also opt for a degree in related fields. These fields include business, public health, or even a clinical discipline.

Whatever you choose to pursue, ensure that the coursework is a mixture of business and healthcare courses. This will adequately prepare you for future responsibilities.

  1. Gain Hands-on Work Experience as a Healthcare Administrator

Gaining on-the-job experience is essential before starting your master’s degree. Some Master’s degrees require students to have up to three years of on-the-job experience. Other master’s degree programs prefer students who are already working in the field.

However, not all programs have this requirement. But having experience will help you stand out from the crowd, making you more competitive. The best way to get some experience in the field is by applying for an internship or working in an entry-level job. You can also work part-time during your degree program.

  1. Consider Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration

Earning a master’s degree will help you advance in your career. When doing your master’s degree, you can choose to do online or on-campus learning.

If you prefer doing online courses, check out these healthcare management online courses. Look for a course that best suits your schedule.

Ensure you also look for a program with certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). This certification is proof that the learning institution is reputable. It also shows that you will be adequately prepared for your career.

  1. Earn the Necessary Industry Certifications

Applying for a job with extra certifications will help boost your job prospects. There are many certifications for people pursuing a career in healthcare administration. These include:

  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
  • Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional (CHAP)
  • Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP)
  • Executive Certification (CRCE)
  • Professional Certification (CRCP)

Each certification has different qualifying requirements. However, most of them vary based on work experience and level of education.

Qualifying requirements also vary based on the certifying organization. But you will be required to take an exam and pass.

  1. Apply for a job

Have you completed your educational requirements, including your master’s degree? Do you have the necessary work experience? If you do then, you’re ready to start looking for employment as a healthcare administrator.

When you start looking for a job, it’s advisable to narrow it down to specific facilities. These include hospitals, government bodies, nursing homes, or clinics. Ensure you choose a facility that aligns with your long-term goals and basic skills.

Must-Have Skills for Healthcare Administrators

When starting a career in healthcare, there are specific skills you should acquire. These skills help you maneuver the tasks at hand with ease and efficiency. As a healthcare administrator, you will be responsible for numerous processes and tasks. Therefore, it’s essential to be detail-oriented while working towards the bigger picture.

Below are essential skills you need to succeed as a healthcare administrator:

  • Background knowledge about healthcare rules and regulations
  • Easy to adapt to different situations
  • Leadership skills
  • Business and finance expertise
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Technological skills

These skills will help you communicate with your staff members and understand their needs. They will also help you run the business aspect of the medical facility. For this reason, it’s advisable to start working on the skills before you start applying for jobs in the field.

Now You Know the Qualifying Requirements of Pursuing a career in Healthcare Administration

“Is healthcare administration a good career choice?” This is the first question on people’s minds. And the answer is yes.

Healthcare administration is among the best career options in the market today. However, before pursuing a career in the field, ensure you understand the qualifying requirements and the skills you need to acquire.

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