Similar to business owners and CEOs of large companies, health care administrators oversee the finances, hire staff, work with government regulations, and other challenging activities. But a fulfilling aspect that sets health care administration careers apart is the desire to provide quality patient care and make a positive difference in the community.
Growing Need for Health Care Professionals
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the next 40 years will see a profound increase in the population of Americans at the age of 65 and older. A huge reason for this increase is that many baby boomers - the largest generation of Americans born in U.S. history - started turning 65 in 2011.
This means that more skilled professionals will be needed to provide an array of services for seniors living in their own homes or at a skilled nursing facility. It also means that the overall need for experienced professionals who can successfully run health care organizations in this ever-changing industry is growing.
Finding Rewarding Career Opportunities
For those looking to start their health administration careers, this is good news. With the growing number of patients, more professionals in the health care field are continuing their education and training in order to provide the best quality of care to patients. According to the U.S. Census, California has the largest number of elderly; Florida, meanwhile, has the highest percentage of elderly. These two states have recently focused on boosting health care employment to address the growing needs of the community. Many other States have made similar investments in health care infrastructure and human services in their efforts to improve outcomes and control healthcare costs.
Hospitals might employ 30% of all healthcare administrators, but hospitals aren't the only employers in search of qualified staff. Those with a Masters in Health Care Administration can also find careers with:
- :: Mental health organizations
- :: Outpatient care centers
- :: Emergency clinics
- :: Nursing homes and elder-care facilities
- :: Hospice care clinics
- :: Group physician practices
- :: Rehabilitation centers
Unlike nurses or doctors, health administrators do not typically deal directly with patients on a day-to-day basis. They often help to shape health care policy within the community, make needed changes to patient care, and work to improve the overall health care system. Today, an estimated 300,000 health care administrators are working throughout the United States, from middle management to CEO positions including:
- :: Clinic administrator: Often working at emergency or medical clinics, these professionals hire and train staff, create schedules, and conduct important staff meetings. Depending on the position, other responsibilities might include maintaining the facility and even overseeing costs and billing.
- :: Insurance underwriter: An insurance underwriter reviews and determines whether applications should be accepted or rejected. They evaluate data to identify the degree of financial risk for each patient and communicate that information to other health care professionals on behalf of the insurance company.
- :: Chief nursing officer: Chief nursing officers advise management on best practices in nursing and patient care, while working with health care leaders to establish benefit programs for nurses. They are typically involved in hiring and training the nursing staff.
- :: Director of risk management: Ensures that all risk management policies and strategies are in compliance with government and local regulations. Depending on the employer, these leaders in the health care field also work with other medical offices, business and community groups to discuss issues and the needs of the community.
- :: Home health care administrator: These administrators oversee nurses and other health care workers who provide care in the patient's own home. Often working behind the scenes, these hardworking professionals ensure that staff and patient needs are appropriately met. Additionally, a home health care administrator might be tasked with funding, staffing, and employee training.
For those with a Master's in Health Care Administration, the employment opportunities are on the rise. Whether you choose to work in a health care facility, for a private consulting firm, or at an insurance company, the skills learned in a health administration program will prepare you for a number of rewarding careers.