With good long-term job opportunities, a high base salary and ample room for job growth, healthcare administration is a fast growing field. A baccalaureate student planning for this in-demand career will want to focus on completing both an undergraduate and graduate degree, especially if they are seeking a top tier position. As a result, a student will need to think about their future strategically. Their ultimate goal will be two-fold: 1) learn entry level skills in order to prepare for advanced coursework and 2) gain admission into a graduate program in public health, healthcare administration, or business administration.
Clinical and Academic Majors
The most important thing for a baccalaureate student to know is that while any major could eventually qualify them for an advanced degree in graduate school, some programs will prepare them more effectively. The first thing to consider is whether the student will want a clinical degree prior to attending graduate school. Some students train in a direct care discipline such as nursing or medicine and choose to work for several years before pursing a managerial position. Like other healthcare administrators, they can often find a position as a department manager. If they want a top tier position, however, they generally return to school for a specific degree in healthcare administration.
For professionals who know they want an administrative position early in their academic program, there are options to major in healthcare administration specifically. These programs can be particularly advantageous for students who want practical work experience prior to seeking a graduate degree. An undergraduate healthcare administration degree will qualify a student for an entry-level job in the field. When they are ready for an advanced degree, this training will make them an attractive graduate school applicant.
Although a B.S. in Healthcare Administration has advantages, there are many other majors a student might consider. Students should keep in mind that a successful health care administrator is trained in business, management, and finance. A savvy undergraduate student would, therefore, be well-served to choose any one of these majors.
There are other majors that will help a future healthcare administrator. Consider, for example, that successful administrators are highly flexible managers, multi-taskers who are qualified in many fields. As such, they are ready to work not only as hospital administrators, but as CEO’s and managers of free standing clinics, mental health facilities and nursing homes. These careers require competencies in public policy, law, economics and human resources. All of these majors and/or concentrations should be considered by the savvy baccalaureate student.
Undergraduate students contemplating a career in healthcare administration have every reason to be optimistic about their future. Not only are their job prospects bright, but career managers express high degrees of job satisfaction. While a direct care clinician can change an individuals life, a healthcare administrator can change the lives of thousands. There are few jobs more satisfying than that.