Why You Should Start Your Career in Hospital Administration
| 10 Min Read
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 or an MBA specializing in Healthcare Management. Graduates can expect a challenging career that makes a genuine enhancement in the quality of people’s lives.
High Demand for Health Administrators
The field of hospital administration is due to expand significantly in the next several years. This means that the amount of healthcare administration jobs are also set to rise. 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. In addition, 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.
Hospital Administrator Salary Expectations
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 the median of all health care managers in various clinics, treatment centers, and hospitals, the pay between facility types can be 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 field has many salary potential and growth opportunities.
Entry-Level Health Care Administration Jobs
People are sometimes surprised by the 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 awe-inspiring, 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.
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 businesses and institutions need qualified healthcare administrators. There are also medical administrator jobs in the following fields:
- pharmaceutical manufacturing
- nursing home management
- private clinic management
- home health care management
Hospital Administrator 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. However, if you are interested in the business side of the healthcare industry, an MBA with a specialization can also qualify you for a variety of healthcare administration jobs. 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 describe the skills and knowledge required by hospital administrator jobs. 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 with a nursing or medical degree, but this additional education is not typically compulsory. However, with training and experience, people who work in hospital administration can enhance how hospitals are run.
Health Care Professional Certifications
While professional certifications are not necessarily required in a hospital administrator job description, a few certificates are available in the hospital administration industry. In addition, anyone who wishes to become a medical administrator in a nursing care facility must maintain a license from 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. In contrast, the second note is that the certification holder has demonstrated expertise in various 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.
Health Care Administration Job Responsibilities
Based on the skills described, the hospital administrator job description can be pretty 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. Instead, 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.
Improving Quality of Patient Care
The significant increase in demand for hospital administration jobs comes mainly from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reforms. This government institution created standards in 2005 to ensure that hospitals maintained high patient care and case management standards. 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 will likely 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 incredible 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 ability to function normally.
Health Care Administrator Job Satisfaction
Ultimately, satisfaction in hospital administration jobs depends on the person who holds the position. However, the evidence shows that a medical administrator can select from all kinds of jobs at various 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 or an MBA with a Healthcare Management Specialization, experience in the industry, and the desire to impact health care. Professional experience and education from an MHA or MBA can qualify students for many healthcare administration jobs. Whether applicants choose to become a medical records administrator or have their sights set on a health care executive position, they know they are helping people 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 healthcare administration job. Fortunately, hospital administrators are in high demand because openings in this field are increasing more rapidly than in most other areas. 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 guide your entry into the workforce and 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. Suppose you have a mentor (this might be a favorite professor or even someone within the university’s administrative structure). In that case, you should feel comfortable asking this person for guidance on the positions best suited for your abilities, where to find them, resume review, letters of recommendation, etc., as needed.
Professional Healthcare Administration Associations
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 in school. Professional organizations are not only valid resources for recent research and professional connections within your area of expertise but 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 find employment before you. Peers can give you an idea of the job market 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 necessary.
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 help you find what’s out there. In addition, sites like CareerBuilder.com, Simplyhired.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, and LinkedIn help cast 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 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 for procuring work and advancing professionally. So, if you are inclined toward healthcare and are looking to go in terms of position and expertise, then an advanced degree focused on hospital administration is for you.
Put Your Passion For Helping Patients To Work
Now that you know why and how you should start a career in hospital administration, it’s time to take action. Discover how you can manage healthcare processes, provide the best care, or build on a solid business background that helps a community of patients with The University of Scranton’s online Master of Health Administration program or MBA: Healthcare Management Specialization today.
You can request more information or speak with a program manager now to get your questions answered: 866-373-9547.
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