Health administrators are responsible for planning, directing, coordinating and supervising the delivery of healthcare. They may be in charge of a specific department or generalize and manage an entire system or facility. In large facilities there may be several administrators who assist the primary administrator. Assistant administrators may be responsible for directing activities in such areas as surgery, nursing, health information, medical records and therapy. In smaller facilities, administers tend to handle more of the daily operations.
A career in health administration can be greatly enhanced by the completion of a degree of certificate program. Such training often leads to better pay and more job opportunities. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Health Administration Job Responsibilities
Administrators often work closely physicians in group medical practices. The administrator may oversee matters of personnel, budgeting, billing and collection, equipment outlays, planning and patient flow. Managers typically work in private offices, although in some cases they may share space with other staff members. Administrators often work long hours. Due to the fact that hospitals and nursing care facilities are open around the clock, administrators may be on call to handle problems. They may also need to travel to meetings.
Clinical administrators have experience or training in a specific area and as a result have more responsibilities than those who generalize. For instance, the director of physical therapy is typically experienced physical therapists. Medical record administrators usually have a bachelor’s degree in health information. Clinical managers implement and establish objectives, policies and procedures. They may also evaluate work quality and personnel in addition to developing budgets and reports.
Health information administrators are responsible for the security and maintenance of patient records. Regulations from the federal government require all healthcare providers to maintain secure electronic patient records. Consequently, health information administrators are required to keep current software and computer technology as well as legislative requirements. Health information administrators must also make sure that their databases are accurate, complete and available only to personnel who are authorized.
Health and medical services administrators are often responsible for equipment and facilities worth millions of dollars as well as for hundreds of employees. Administrators must be good at problem-solving, decision making and analyzing information. In addition, they must have a thorough understanding of information and finance systems. They also must be able to competently interpret data. This career field also requires strong leadership skills as well as diplomacy, tact, communication skills and flexibility.
Medical and health services administrators can advance by transitioning into positions with more responsibility, such as department head, assistant or associate manager or chief executive officer. Advancement can also be gained by moving to larger departments or facilities. With experience, some managers may also become professors or consultants.
Employment within this field is expected to grow faster than average for other occupations. Job opportunities are expected to be good, particularly for applicants who have experience in healthcare along with strong business management skills. Most employment opportunities will be present in hospitals; however, new job opportunities are expected to develop in clinics.
Health Administration Training and Education Requirements
The standard credential for most general health administration positions is a master’s degree; which could be in one of many different fields. For an entry-level position a bachelor’s degree may be adequate, particularly for smaller departments and facilities. On-the-job experience may be acceptance in physician’s offices.
Administrators must be familiar with matters related to management practices and principles. Individuals with a goal of becoming head of a clinical department will usually need a degree within the appropriate field as well as work experience. A master’s degree in health services administration or a similar field may be required in order to advance within this field.
Many graduate programs prefer for candidates to have prior work experience in the healthcare field. Competition into such programs tends to be keen. Candidates must have above average grades for admission. Graduate programs typically last between two and three years. A program may include up to one year of supervised administrative experience. Programs may also include such coursework as hospital management and organization, accounting, marketing, budgeting, human resources administration, law and ethics, strategic planning, epidemiology, biostatistics, health information systems and health economics. In some programs students are allowed to specialize in one particular type of facility; such as nursing care facilities, hospitals, medical groups or mental health facilities.
Health Administration Salary and Wages
In 2008 the median annual wages for healthcare administrators were $80,240. Earnings tend to vary according to the size and type of facility as well as by the level of responsibility.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Health Administration Certifications
In all states as well as the District of Columbia, nursing care facility administrators are required to have a bachelor’s degree as well as pass a licensing exam and complete a state approved training program. They must also complete continuing education requirements. In some states, licenses for administrators of assisted-living facilities are also required. Licensure is not required for other areas of health services and medical management.
Administrators who have a bachelor’s degree or a post-graduate degree and who have passed an exam can achieve certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator, which is offered via the American Health Information Management Association.
Healthcare Administration Professional Associations
Professional associations for healthcare administrators include:
- Medical Group Management Association
- Professional Association of Health Care Office Management
- American health Information Management Association