Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals must devote all of their time to diagnosing and treating the sick and injured. However, for their practices and medical facilities to succeed, professionals must also manage the paperwork, budgets, and customer service issues that come with any organization. The people who take care of these administrative issues are called healthcare administrators. For them to succeed, they require education specific to their careers. Listed below you will find some of the specialized areas for healthcare administrators.
Medical assistants help out in the offices of doctors and other healthcare practitioners. Their duties vary by office. In some, they may work exclusively on clerical tasks such as making appointments, filing out insurance forms, and processing customer records. In others, they may have some medical duties such as measuring vital signs or helping with patient examinations. In many states, the only educational prerequisite is a high-school diploma, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A few employers prefer a one-year diploma from vocational or technical schools. Others require a two-year associate degrees from a community college. The formal education combines training in office skills with lessons in anatomy and medical terminology. Medical assistants also typically receive on-the-job training from more experienced assistants, healthcare administrators, or medical professionals. Opportunities for medical assistants will grow by 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. This is more than double the 14 percent increases expected for all other profession. The aging of America is the primary reason. Older individuals need more medical care, which will need administering by assistants.
Health Services Managers
Also known as medical services managers or healthcare administrators, these professionals handle the non-medical side of healthcare practices and facilities. They create budgets, coordinate services, meet with healthcare practitioners, and supervise medical assistants, secretaries and clerks. The job typically requires a bachelor’s degree in health administration, states the BLS. These programs of study include subjects in accounting, human resources administration, law and ethics, health information systems, and hospital organization and management. Large facilities, such as hospitals, may prefer managers with master’s degrees in health services, long-term care administration, public health, or business administration. Whatever their educational background, health services managers do not enter their positions right out of school. They typically start as assistants working under the supervision of experienced managers. Then they need several years of increasingly responsible experience in larger practices and departments. Some eventually progress to the head of hospitals or healthcare organizations. All states specify licensing for healthcare administrators in nursing cares. A few also demand licensing for administrators in assisted-living facilities. Either credential usually mandates a bachelor’s degree, passing an exam, and finishing a training program approved by their state. The BLS sees jobs for health services managers increasing by 22 percent, also because of the aging population. Much of the growth will be in the offices of health practitioners since many medical services are shifting from hospitals to doctors’ offices.
The simplest rule to remember for landing a job in healthcare administration is that the bigger the office and the greater the area of responsibility, then the higher the educational degree that is required. This allows individuals who may be interested in the field to try it out working in a doctor’s office after high school. They can progress to more time-involving degrees as they gain more interest in a career.