The future is bright for those who want careers in hospital administration. Due to the increasing demand for hospitals, clinics and treatment centers to provide quality care for many people, hospital administration jobs are growing in quantity. The industry is currently competitive, with hospitals working to earn and keep the qualified candidates they hire. As a result, salaries are booming, with plenty of promotion potential through a career as a medical administrator. Health care management requires a great deal of skill and education from applicants, qualifications typically acquired during a Master’s of Health Administration program. Graduates can expect a challenging career that makes a genuine enhancement in the quality of people’s lives.
The field of hospital administration is due to expand fairly significantly in the next several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gives two reasons for this increase. First, people of the baby-boom generation are now in their late 50s to mid-70s. As they get older, their health care needs will grow. Second, the BLS observes that hospitals need trained health care administrators to streamline processes and manage daily functions so that medical staff can meet the higher demand for preventive care and treatment. Since aging baby boomers expect to live longer, healthier lives at home, the need for facilities that provide care outside of a nursing home will also increase.
As the demand for health care administrators increases, so does the competition for qualified managers. The BLS maintains data on average salaries in the field. As medical and health services management changes to meet upcoming needs for quality improvement processes, salary grows. In 2019, the median hospital administrator salary was $104,280. While this figure represents a median of all health care managers in various clinics, treatment centers, and hospitals, the pay between facility types can be quite disparate. For example, someone working as a medical administrator at a specialty hospital can expect an average of $118,800 per year for a hospital administrator salary. In short, this is a field with a great deal of salary potential and growth opportunities.
Assessing the Field
People are sometimes surprised by the sheer size of the hospital economy in the United States. In its survey published in 2021, the American Hospital Association records 6,090 hospitals in the U.S, of which about half are not-for-profit community hospitals. While these numbers might not be particularly impressive, data on the accessibility and use of these hospitals shows the increasing need for hospital administrator jobs. In all these hospitals, there are 919,559 staffed beds. Each year, more than 36 million patients are admitted to U.S. hospitals. The expenses for all U.S. hospitals total about $1.2 trillion, which explains the pressure on hospital administration to make processes more efficient and eliminate unnecessary waste.
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Educational Requirements and Skills
To land a job in health services as a medical administrator, applicants are encouraged to pursue a Master’s of Health Administration degree. In their studies, prospective health care administrators are expected to cover a variety of subjects, including accounting, human resources, ethics, law, and health administration. This broad spectrum helps to describe the kind of skills and knowledge that hospital administrator jobs require. In particular, applicants must be current on all topics and trends in health care administration, adept in their use of technology, detail-oriented, engaged in problem-solving, and comfortable in a leadership role. Some hospitals prefer prospective administrators who also hold a nursing degree or medical degree, but this additional education is not typically compulsory. With a combination of training and experience, people who work in hospital administration can enhance the way hospitals are run.
Based on the skills described, the hospital administrator job description can be quite broad, depending on the size and needs of the particular institution. However, most people who take a job as a health care administrator need not worry that they will be expected to do everything related to hospital administration daily. Rather, it means that those who want hospital administrator jobs have a wide assortment of potential departments and positions to choose from, including:
- medical records administrator
- health information technology
Depending on the job demands and the 24-hour nature of hospital work, people may be expected to work nights, weekends, or irregular shifts. Employees in the industry with a great deal of talent and experience and a good work ethic may eventually be promoted to health administration executives.
While professional certifications are not necessarily required in a hospital administrator job description, a few certifications are available in the hospital administration industry. Anyone who wishes to become a medical administrator in a nursing care facility must maintain a license in accordance with their state.
In addition, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management offers two certifications, the Certified Medical Manager and the Health Information Technology Certified Manager. The first certifies a person to act as a health care administrator in a sole provider clinic, while the second notes that the certification holder has demonstrated expertise in a variety of health care technology systems, a vital skill for the industry.
The American College of Health Care Administrators provides two certifications for nursing care facilities, including Certified Nursing Home Administrator and Certified Assisted Living Administrator. These certifications can be used toward state licensing requirements.
Assessing the Field
Many professionals in health administration careers ultimately choose to work in a hospital, but not all. Since several different facilities and industries make products or provide health care services and treatment to individuals, all kinds of businesses and institutions need qualified health care administrators. There are also medical administrator jobs in the following fields:
- pharmaceutical manufacturing
- nursing home management
- private clinic management
- home health care management
The appeal for varied institutions that can provide care to all different kinds of patients with a range of needs means that specialized facilities will continue to grow. When the industry is booming, people can search for a job that more accurately suits their career goals and expectations.
Improving Quality of Care
The major increase in demand for hospital administration jobs comes largely from reforms to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This government institution created standards in 2005 to ensure that hospitals maintained high standards for patient care and case management. While the federal government cannot dictate how privately owned hospitals operate, CMS can deny reimbursement for treatment for Medicare and Medicaid patients for hospitals and clinics that do not meet CMS quality standards. In addition, CMS requires that relevant health care facilities provide evidence that they meet specific benchmarks for medical records management, patient data acquisition, and long-term health care outcomes.
Power to Change Lives
Changing standards for hospital efficiency and patient outcomes means that hospital administrators have more power than ever to change lives. The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) notes that the industry is likely to change and grow over the years. Despite mergers and acquisitions of institutions and facilities within health care, the need for effective hospital management remains strong. In a recent study by ACHE, health care executives observed that management needs and opportunities at freestanding hospitals are steadily increasing in number and importance. This change demonstrates the awesome power medical administrators have to influence people’s lives because the day-to-day business of the clinic, treatment center, or hospital improves people’s health and their ability to function in their normal lives.
Ultimately, satisfaction in hospital administration jobs is dependent on the person who holds the position. However, the evidence shows that a medical administrator can select from all different kinds of jobs at a growing variety of institutions. They command a salary and industry growth rate much higher than the national average. As a result, people in these positions retain more power over their career paths for the duration, whether they wish to be promoted to a health care executive or have ambitions to make more lateral moves into other relevant industries.
Those who wish to hold a job in business management can choose almost any industry they like. However, as the health care field of hospital administration continues to advance, the number of hospital administration jobs also grows. Hospitals need college graduates with the skills to change processes and improve efficacy and quality of care. To do this, students need a Master’s of Health Administration, experience in the industry, and the desire to impact health care. This education and experience prepare graduates for one of the many jobs available in health care administration. Whether applicants choose to become a medical records administrator or have their sights set on a health care executive position, they know that they are helping people to live better lives.
How to Find a Job in Hospital Administration
After completing graduate school and obtaining your master’s degree, it’s time to look for a job. Fortunately, because openings in this field are increasing more rapidly than in most other fields, hospital administrators are in high demand. Below are some resources you can use to find the best possible job in hospital administration:
Within your master’s program, you will find that faculty members are active, experienced industry professionals. Not only is their real-world experience evident in their pedagogy, but their experience is also reflected in their ability to provide you with professional recommendations. They can both guide your entry into the workforce as well as facilitate it.
While similar to working with professors, mentoring is more 1-on-1 and typically involves a strong professor/pupil relationship in which the professor takes a hands-on approach in directing the student’s path. If you have a mentor (this might be a favorite professor or even someone within the university’s administrative structure), then you should feel comfortable asking this person for guidance on the types of positions best suited for your abilities, where to find them, resume review, letters of recommendation, etc. as needed.
There are several prominent healthcare administration organizations. A few of the most notable include:
- Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP)
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)
- Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA)
It is advised that you start affiliating with an organization while you are in school. Not only are professional organizations valid resources for recent research and professional connections within your area of expertise, but they are also sources where job opportunities are regularly posted and updated.
During your studies, you will likely form relationships with fellow students, some of whom will graduate and who will find employment before you. Peers can give you an idea of what the job market looks like and make recommendations. Further, while you may not live in the same community as a colleague who might favorably recommend you for a position, you can consult your peers regarding their experience entering the workforce. They can advise you on the application and interview process and be a reference source for your application packet if need be.
Local newspapers and news websites, including hospital or healthcare organizations’ websites, are additional resources that can assist you in finding available job opportunities in your area.
Job Search Engines
Search engines are useful for helping you find what’s out there. Sites like CareerBuilder.com, Simplyhired.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, and LinkedIn are useful for casting your net when trying to find employment, given that many respectable employers list job opportunities on sites such as these.
American College of Healthcare Executives
The ACHE maintains an online database of job openings in the field of healthcare administration. You can also post your resume on this website to attract potential employers. Both of these services are available at no cost to ACHE members.
Hospital administration is a meaningful, fulfilling role in the healthcare spectrum. Students pursuing careers in hospital administration have many resources at their disposal for procuring work and advancing professionally. So, if you are inclined toward healthcare and are looking to advance in terms of position and expertise, then an advanced degree focused on hospital administration is for you.
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Discover how you can manage healthcare processes, provide the best possible care, or build on a strong business background that helps a community of patients with The University of Scranton’s online Master of Health Administration program today.
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