It is easy to assume that you must have a medical background to pursue a career in the healthcare administration industry, but that is not at all the case. While some medical assistants and nurses do choose to transition to health administration, professionals from various industries are free to apply. Having previous experience in a health discipline will most certainly strengthen your chances when competing for a position, but there are a variety of ways to get classified as a qualified candidate.
One of the great things about health administration, aside from the fact that the field is growing, is that there are so many different types of opportunities in one industry. From payroll and human resources to marketing and information technology, there are a long list of roles that you can play. Read on and find out how to strengthen your application to work in health care administration.
Getting a Formal Undergraduate Education in a Relevant Area of Studies
The very first step to entering the world of health administration is having a college degree. If you do not possess a degree, you must start by earning your Bachelor's from an accredited school. Some of the degree offerings include Healthcare Management, Public Health and Health Informatics. Once you choose a relevant degree, you must dedicate yourself to proving yourself through your academic record. It may not break you to be missing a medical background, but failing to perform in school can affect your ability to earn a graduate degree. Since a graduate degree is almost always required by employers for health admin positions, you can see how important the undergrad years can be.
Completing an Advanced Degree Program in Healthcare Administration
There are two very different routes that you can go to earn your advanced degree. You can either study for a terminal Master's degree, or go down the professional path and student for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Students who possess a B.A. in a relevant area of study and who want to fill technical roles may prefer to earn their M.A. or M.S., however, students who majored in an unrelated field can only earn an advanced degree by studying for an MBA. One of the advantages of an MBA is that it will enable you to manage a healthcare facility and then switch to another industry if you want to change careers. You should compare all of the majors before you decide which program is right for you and your career goals.
Get Some Hands-on Experience
If you have absolutely no professional healthcare background, you should get a background as you are studying for your degree. You can complete internships while you are on school breaks or volunteer to work in hospitals or for public health agencies like the World Health Organization, the American Red Cross, or the Department of Health and Human Services. Not only will the experience be invaluable, but you can network and get try out different areas of the field.
A health administrator plays an important role in various medical settings. With a large supply of students graduating from MHA programs, the field is a competitive one. Be sure that you are equipped with what you need to compete so that your medical background is enough to land you a healthcare administration position.