Written by: Staff Writer
Last updated: May 2020
Healthcare administrators oversee the medical services and business of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other care facilities. What is a healthcare administration degree? A bachelor's degree in healthcare administration prepares individuals for this field by teaching them about care delivery systems, the day-to-day operations of healthcare providers, and about the role of finance in healthcare. Learners pursuing a bachelor of health administration learn how to make critical decisions, communicate with stakeholders, and manage teams.
Whether students choose to earn a BA in healthcare administration or a BS in health administration, they can strengthen their education and job prospects by pursuing a master's degree in the field. Master's degrees often require more advanced courses and supervised work experience, and they generally offer more networking connections.
How Can I Become a Health Administrator?
Healthcare administrators work on the management side of healthcare. They coordinate health services for facilities, oversee care provider finances, and ensure that hospitals and clinics run efficiently. These managers might work as the top executive of an entire facility, or they could oversee specific departments or clinical areas. Some may also work specifically with information technology, making sure sensitive patient data and records remain protected. These professionals, however, also typically pursue an education in information technology.
To become a healthcare manager, students need at least a bachelor's in healthcare administration or a bachelor's in healthcare management. Some students pursue a bachelor of science in health administration, or a BSHA degree. Sometimes employers prefer candidates with a master's degree, though. Graduate programs usually include supervised work experience that may give graduates a headstart in the field.
Healthcare administrators rarely begin at the top. They usually gain work experience as administrative assistants, financial clerks, or even nurses or doctors before they can land a higher-level management role.
Licensing Requirements for Health Administrators
Individuals aiming for jobs as nursing home facilitators need licensure in order to find employment. Although every state requires licensure, requirements vary. The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Board outlines the requirements for each state. In general, though, licensure candidates can expect to take an exam and fulfill a certain number of supervised work hours as determined by the state's licensure board.
Other types of healthcare facilities, like hospitals and clinics, do not require administrators to hold licensure. However, healthcare managers can still earn optional certification to strengthen their job prospects. They can find certificates through the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, American College of Health Care Administrators, or the American Health Information Management Association.
Career and Salary Outlook for Health Administrators
When students graduate with a bachelor's in healthcare administration, they enter a growing industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a job growth of 18% from 2018 to 2028 for this field, a rate that is much higher than average.
BLS data also shows that in 2019, medical and health services managers earned a median annual income of $100,980. Of course that number varies, depending on factors like educational background and location. Years of experience matters, too. At the beginning, professionals with bachelor's degrees in healthcare administration work entry-level jobs, which pay lower salaries. Over time, however, they can find well-paying jobs in top positions.