The world of healthcare and healthcare delivery is complex and changing. The value of a good healthcare administrator is important within a hospital or healthcare network, making these professional jobs much sought after. Healthcare administration requires people with good leadership skills, able to manage both people and resources for maximum effectiveness. If you're interested in pursuing a degree in this field, you may be wondering what kind of education you need. Is a bachelor's degree enough, or is an advanced degree required to become a healthcare administrator?
Bachelors Degrees in Healthcare Administration
The answer to that question may depend on what type of position you're looking for and where you're seeking it. About 40 percent of all healthcare administrator jobs are in hospitals, though management is needed in other types of healthcare facilities and networks as well. Entry-level positions in hospital management usually require, at minimum, a four year bachelors degree in healthcare administration, though sometimes hospitals will hire experienced healthcare professionals who don't have such a degree. If you lack such other experience, however, the bachelors will likely be necessary.
Many schools offer bachelors degrees in healthcare administration. The duties of a professional hospital administrator are myriad. You will almost certainly be required to handle finances as well as people, so the degree will have some focus on business practices and skills specific to healthcare. Learning to manage healthcare records, understanding healthcare law, and considering questions of medical ethics are just some of the components that go into a healthcare administration education. Students working on a BHA degree may specialize in any number of areas, including but not limited to health information management or emergency care. Practice in the field under the mentorship of a healthcare administrator may also be part of the academic program.
Masters Degrees in Healthcare Administration
The higher you hope to advance in the field, the more likely it is that you will need to pursue an advanced degree. It's become more standard for high-level healthcare administrators to hold an Masters of Health Administration (MHA). Besides that degree, there are several other masters degrees that may be pertinent, depending on your area of interest. These include the Master of Business Administration in Hospital Management (MBA-HM) and Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA).
The different types of degrees are worth looking into as you consider your career goals. If you're going into your masters level work with a BHA in hand, you may want to consider a degree with more of a business or financial focus rather than pursuing yet another degree in general healthcare management.
Whatever degree you end up pursuing, it's important to look at the overall strengths of the academic program. With the field growing, there are many programs to choose from, but not all are created equal. As you consider your own career goals, look to see if the faculty can mentor you in your areas of interest and check to see how well the program's graduates have done in the work world. Choosing the degree level and academic programs that are right for your specific interests and goals will go a long way toward ensuring your success in the field.