Several career options are available for individuals who are interested in health care but do not want to pursue a clinical profession. Individuals who work in health care administration, for example, coordinate and direct medical and health services for their specific work environment (e.g., nursing homes, hospitals, ambulatory services).
General responsibilities may include improving efficiency and quality of care; maintaining a current knowledge of compliance laws and regulation; supervising staff; managing finances, patient fees, and billing; and communicating to staff and department heads.
Health Care Administration: Education and Licensing Requirements
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers require health care administrators to have a bachelor's degree in health administration, as they help prepare students for high-level management positions. Depending on their intended career, students may choose a program specific to a type of administrative task, such as health information systems, or a type of facility, such as a hospital or group practice. Although coursework varies by discipline and school, there are several courses that overlap between health programs. Examples are listed below:
- Hospital organization and management
- Health information systems
- Health economics
While a bachelor's degree can be sufficient education for employment, the BLS states that healthcare administration professionals often have a master's degree in one of the following subjects:
- Health services
- Business administration
- Long-term care administration
- Public health
- Public administration
Graduate degree typically last two to three years in addition to a possible year of supervised experience.
After completing their education, individuals may need to earn a license or certification, depending on their intended specialization. Nursing care facility administrators must be licensed in all states, and administrators in assisted-living facilities need to earn a license in certain states.
The BLS notes that managers sometimes become certified in their area of practice, such as health information management or assisted-living administration. Specific licensing and certification regulations vary by state.
Health Care Administrators: Career Outlook
The BLS projects careers in health care administration to grow 23 percent nationally from 2012 to 2022, as the aging baby-boomer population increases the demand for medical services. More specifically, there may be a greater demand in health practitioner offices, as more and more services shift to this setting.
"ACHCA - American College of Health Care Administrators," American College of Health Care Administrators, May 22, 2014, http://www.achca.org/
"Medical and Health Services Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm
"Medical Practice Management, Education, Help," Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, May 22, 2014, https://www.pahcom.com/