Career Advice

Healthcare Administration Careers

Career Advice for Becoming a Leading Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare is expanding and evolving at an explosive rate and is showing no signs of slowing down.  There are always news reports of the nursing shortage, but it takes much more than nurses to make the vast, cumbersome enterprise of healthcare to succeed.  Whereas nurses comprise the most significant number of healthcare professionals, this in no way undermines the necessity and value of other healthcare providers and paraprofessionals.  Healthcare is continually reinventing itself to rise to the challenge of new regulations and technology while achieving excellent patient outcomes.  The leading healthcare administrator of the future is challenged to be on the leading edge of thought while having both feet planted firmly on the ground.  The healthcare administrator to lead the charge into the future of healthcare requires both educational qualification and personal qualities to perform the job well.

Requirement for Healthcare Administration Positions

Healthcare is a demanding and evolving field, and the challenges are heightened at the helm.   For this reason, the necessary degree for entry into healthcare administration is a baccalaureate degree, and many positions require graduate degrees.  

Baccalaureate candidates prepare by taking advantage of expanded liberal arts classes, such as communication, psychology, and problem-solving.  For often, a baccalaureate graduate can obtain an entry-level position and work their way up to more prestigious and higher paying jobs.  The future CEO or CFO who wishes to work for a specific organization would do well to study the organizational structure and mission statement to help tailor their learning to fulfill the organization’s needs.

A degree in healthcare administration provides coverage of the full range of knowledge necessary for this position.  Graduates take classes in communication, finance, budgeting, and human resources.  Healthcare administrators lead and manage people in all areas to help the facility run smoothly.  Along with obtaining excellent grades in a quality healthcare administration degree program, there are personal attributes that can make a good leader into a great leader and pave the way to better job opportunities.  Healthcare administrators lead and manage people.  This requires tact, discipline, organization, flexibility, analytical skills and a passion for healthcare excellence.

Where Do Healthcare Administrators Work?

The best healthcare administrators are in high demand and can work just about anywhere, with the right skills and qualifications. About forty percent of healthcare administrators work in hospitals, but every healthcare organization needs excellent leadership.  In addition to hospitals, healthcare administrators work in the following areas.

  • Nursing Home Administration
  • Clinic Administration
  • Medical Office Business Management
  • Chiropractic Office Management
  • Dental Office Management
  • Insurance Company Analyst
  • Government Policy Maker
  • Human Resources
  • Lobbyist
  • Healthcare Staffing Agency
  • Insurance Contract Negotiator

Suggestions to Heighten Healthcare Administration Skills

There are essential components of health administration that are not as tangible as a framed degree from a prestigious university.  The importance of a quality education cannot be underestimated, but there are qualitative components which are equally as important.

  • A top healthcare administrator should learn independent thinking and leadership skills.  
  • They need to have an intelligent understanding of the emerging and ever-changing healthcare market.
  • The smart healthcare administrator will choose immediate staff carefully, professionals they value and trust.  Some say that several of these people should be smarter than you are to keep you on your toes.
  • Analytical skills are crucial and so are being able to grasp and understand quickly changing technology and innovation.
  • A healthcare administrator manages the business of the hospital, and at the end of the day, customer service defines a superior experience for the patient. The excellent healthcare administrator must have a passion for healthcare and people because great patient outcomes are the ultimate measure of a facility’s performance.   
  • The healthcare administrator who understands the importance of building a brand and a loyal customer base is critical to organizational growth.
  • Every healthcare administrator acts as a change agent for their institution, and this may not come naturally.  Physicians and nurses are sometimes slow to change, and the administrator must demonstrate strength and resolve to lead their team members into new territory and convince the team members of the benefits of new business models.
  • Adaptability is a fundamental attribute of healthcare because it’s continually changing.   
  • A superior healthcare administrator is a cheerleader of sorts for their team.   It is imperative that they be able to communicate the shared vision and goals of the organization so all team members align.  Healthcare is teamwork, and all members of the team need to have common goals.  The healthcare administrator must have clarity of thought and action to avoid confusion among team members.  They must take charge confidently and compassionately.
  • Healthcare must be efficient, so the healthcare administrator needs to know and implement decision-making skills.   The task at hand is to run an organized and efficient business that represents patient and staff needs, and it’s not easy. The ability to analyze data is a healthcare administrator’s friend because measurement equals effectiveness.  
  • One of the essential tools that a healthcare administrator utilizes is communication. They need to extrapolate data from multiple sources, get input, actively listen, and make the right decision based on the information received.  The individual needs to be able to talk to doctors, nurses, angry patients, family members, janitors, and business vendors to name of few.  Communication should be active, invested, compassionate, succinct, and delivered in a way that the recipient can understand the information.  That is quite a challenge.

Great Job Opportunities Abound

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for healthcare administration is $96,000.  There is a growing demand for qualified healthcare administrators who possess the educational qualifications and even more of a market for thoughtful, committed individuals who are passionate about patient care.   The individual who combines committed passion for superior patient outcomes with a personal leadership style of excellence is the best choice to lead an organization into the future of healthcare.