With the current job market continuing to struggle for recovery from the recent economic crises, college students are now searching more than ever before to choose a career path that will lead to pleasing job prospects after graduation. Unsurprisingly, the healthcare field seems to be among the fastest growing in America and is catching the eye of students nationwide. After all, the booming healthcare industry is expected to increase by 30 percent before 2020 and expand by more than 3 million jobs over the next decade in order to fulfill the high demand for health services for the aging baby boomer population and the newly implemented Affordable Care Act. Since healthcare administrators are among the most prominent professionals in this thriving industry, the following is a detailed overview of the job description and how students can enter a fascinating and rewarding career as a healthcare administrator.
Daily Duties of Healthcare Administrators
Healthcare administrators, also known as medical service managers and healthcare executives, are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating various medical services for an entire facility or a specific department. As one of the highest leadership roles in the healthcare field, healthcare administrators often work closely with and supervise physicians, nurses, laboratory technologists, administrative assistants, information managers, and other healthcare employees. While many may have clinical expertise in a specialized field of medicine, healthcare administrators are primarily responsible for managerial duties overseeing the business and financial operations.
In the daily workday of a healthcare administrator, these highly qualified professionals are typically responsible for working to improve efficiency at delivering quality health services, staying educated on the newest regulations, supervising assistant administrators and other facility employees, managing the financial billing procedures of the healthcare setting, developing work schedules, representing the facility at governing board meetings, organizing records of services, and effectively communicating with medical staff on department needs. Since healthcare is consistently evolving, healthcare administrators also adapt policies to align with changes in state or federal laws, regulations, technological advancements, and budgets to ensure compliance for the facility.
Healthcare Administrator Work Environment
Holding an estimated 293,490 jobs in the United States, healthcare administrators carry out their duties in a variety of healthcare organizations in high-level management positions. The majority of health services managers are employed in an office setting within healthcare facilities, including hospitals, physician offices, nursing home facilities, private group medical practices, home healthcare services, outpatient care centers, mental health clinics, and substance abuse treatment facilities. In larger hospital settings, healthcare administrators may focus their efforts on achieving long-term goals and making policies for the entire facility; however, in smaller facilities, administrators are involved in most day-to-day operations from finances to the coordination of patient treatment programs.
As the individual in charge of a medical facility with varied, complex duties, healthcare administrators are required to have a strong set of business administration and medical service skills to be a successful leader. Therefore, students interested in joining this fast-growing discipline are often required to obtain a master’s degree in Health Services Administration, Public Health, Public Administration, or Business Administration for employment. Although these programs often involve two or three years of post-baccalaureate learning and at least one year of supervised administration experience, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average annual salary for healthcare administrators stands at an impressive $98,460. Therefore, becoming an in-demand healthcare administrator is well worth it for detail-oriented natural leaders with a passion for ensuring quality health services.