That’s right: you are in charge. Make no mistake though; this is no easy task. You get to handle complaints from physicians and staff, from patients, from the public and from insurance companies. You might manage an entire medical facility or a specific department but you will need to adapt to changes as healthcare regulations, laws and of course technology are in constant change. Got all that, Chief?
Great: now time to get educated.
First off, you need a bachelor’s degree. You can pretty much guarantee the need for a Master’s as well, so sit tight in school and be prepared to continue right into graduate school after achieving your undergraduate degree. The bachelor’s will prepare you to gain admission to graduate school, so any liberal arts BA or even a BS should do. Ultimately you will want a master’s degree in Hospital Administration, although some get an MBA and take coursework in Hospital Administration.
Graduate programs for Hospital Administration are generally 2-3 years of study and many include a year of supervised administration work experience. Expect coursework in the following:
- health economics
- healthcare information systems
- laws and ethics
- strategic planning
- human resources
- accounting and budgeting
- hospital organizations and management
Some programs will have you choose a specialization, so think about what kind of facility you’d like to work in. Some popular choices are:
- nursing care home
- mental health
- group medical practice
Hospital Administrators are expected to work full time, sometimes beyond full time. If an emergency rises you may be required to show up during nights and weekends.
Administrators of medical and health services are similar to administrators in other fields, they keep things operating smoothly. Hospitals are businesses, sure some are nonprofit, some are for-profit, but the duties are same. They include:
- supervising doctors, assistant administrators and other hospital staff
- managing work schedules
- managing finances (patient fees and bills) as well as some fundraising efforts
- keeping up to date with laws, especially concerning healthcare
- ensuring quality in services in daily operations
- keeping all records organized within the facility
- representing the organization or company at board meetings and investor meetings
- possibly making public appearances and/or press conference
According the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Medical and Health Service Managers held approximately 315,000 jobs in 2012, with the highest percentage being in Hospitals (39%).
Payscale.com reports the median annual wage for those in this field was $97,198 with the top 10% earning more than $150k. Of course this information does not hold in account pay bonuses, which can often double or even triple base salaries in this particular field. Of course, compensation varies with years of experience as well.
BLS also projects employment of Health Service Managers to grow 23% form 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. As baby-boomers age we can expect healthcare jobs to increase in demand. Administrators are in need to manage and organize their needed care.