We interact with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals when we visit a hospital. However, we do not often think about the administrators working behind the scenes providing leadership and expertise that makes these facilities and the industry work as expected. Healthcare administrators straddle the line between medicine and business, using their skills to make a real difference. In this article, we explore the most important things you should know about this essential career option.
What is a Healthcare Administrator?
These are professionals who oversee the business end of healthcare facilities. They make large-scale decisions and work directly with policies and budgets to ensure the best patient experiences and the safety of the staff and guests who visit their facilities.
Even though their title makes them sound like they only work in hospitals, they also work in behavioral health clinics, pharmaceutical companies, government organizations, consulting firms, and nonprofits.
What Do Healthcare Administrators Do?
Their roles revolve around overseeing the facility itself and ensuring everything works as expected. They are typically involved in:
- Training staff members
- Managing finances
- Developing work schedules
- Monitoring spending and budgets
- Improving efficiency and service
- Ensuring the facilities comply with all regulations and laws
- Communicating with nurses, physicians, and other professionals
Because of their wide roles and the facilities they work in, they are expected to be flexible enough to handle new responsibilities as their positions and facilities demand.
What Qualifications Do They Need?
Healthcare administrators need at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. This degree teaches them healthcare and business fundamentals as they apply to the industry. These include effective communication, daily operations, strategy, budgeting, and others.
It is also common for healthcare administrators to start as nurses or other healthcare professionals. Employers see this experience as crucial since they will already understand healthcare settings and be more prepared to take on a leadership or executive role.
Some healthcare facilities also require a master’s degree. Obtaining one arms them with a deeper understanding of leadership principles, large-scale management, and executive strategy.
Healthcare Administration Growth Projections are High
The healthcare industry has been growing steadily over the past decade, meaning there is a growing need for professionals in administrative positions. According to some reports, the industry is expected to grow by more than 30% in the next five years.
This growth and higher demand for hospital administrators also make this career one of the most lucrative ones. The annual hospital administrator salary puts these professionals among the highest-paid in the field, with some states like New York and California being among those that pay the highest.
Essential Healthcare Administration Skills
In addition to universal skills like community, empathy, communication, and critical thinking, healthcare administrators require additional skills specific to their position. These include understanding patient care, budgeting, health law and policy, and using different types of software found in healthcare settings.
Whether you are choosing your first degree or making a career change, choosing hospital administration gets you into an in-demand, lucrative, and essential role. You become crucial for ensuring healthcare facilities function as expected and improving policies for better patient outcomes.