A degree in healthcare administration prepares graduates for leadership roles in the healthcare industry, providing a combination of business and financial training with coursework in healthcare principles, policy and ethics. Healthcare is big business in the United States, making job opportunities plentiful for professionals with the skill set needed to keep things running smoothly. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that healthcare administration jobs will increase by 22 percent over the next decade, faster than the average rate of growth for all professions. Possible job titles include healthcare administrator, medical services manager or healthcare executive. While hospitals are the leading employers of healthcare administrators, a variety of other companies and agencies also hire health administration graduates. Work environments range from small private practices of one or two practitioners to major global organizations with thousands of employees.
Hospitals and Outpatient Centers
The majority of healthcare administration professionals work in hospitals, outpatient centers or other healthcare facilities, working to ensure that these facilities run efficiently while providing effective care. In these settings, healthcare administrators may manage one division or department or may be in charge of running the entire facility, depending on the size of the organization, the number of employees and the professional's level of experience. They may supervise staff and may communicate closely with doctors or other medical personnel.
Nursing Homes and Home Health Services Companies
After hospitals and physician's offices, nursing care facilities and home health services are the next leading employers of healthcare administration professionals, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. In nursing home settings, healthcare administrators supervise staff, oversee admission and manage finances while ensuring that care standards are maintained. Home health services companies hire healthcare administrators to oversee operations and finances and to hire and supervise staff.
Changing regulations and rising costs have created a need for health administration professionals in a number of settings beyond actual healthcare facilities. Insurance companies hire healthcare administration graduates to research, assess and analyze the costs of providing healthcare, and to propose strategies and policies for ensuring that the company remains both profitable and competitive. Possible job titles include client manager, director of strategic planning, quality improvement coordinator and research analyst.
Government Agencies and National Associations
Some healthcare administrators may seek employment with state or federal agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, or with national organizations such as the Red Cross or the American Hospital Association. These types of agencies and organizations need professionals who can analyze health legislation and policy, plan and organize community health programs, and direct departments within the organization. In these types of positions, health administrators may have the opportunity to help shape important healthcare policies in the United States.
Healthcare administration students with a particular career path or desired work environment in mind should try to tailor their curricula to their goals and interests, whether through electives, specialization tracks or internships and field practica. Employment opportunities and types of companies will of course vary depending on location, and greater job options may be available to candidates in possession of a master's level degree. For motivated individuals with business savvy, leadership skills and an interest in healthcare, a healthcare administration degree can open the doors to a number of work environments.