The growing healthcare industry is diverse and needs workers in many different settings. That includes healthcare administrators who provide leadership and management for healthcare operations.
Students attracted to the field often have differing goals and interests. Some may want to move into hospital administration or overseeing a large department within a hospital or health system. Others may have an interest in managing assisted living centers or running public healthcare clinics. The opportunities are immense and extend to health insurance, pharmaceuticals, and federal, state and local government agencies.
Whatever the case, earning a Master of Healthcare Administration represents an important step in a journey that ends with a position in one of these challenging but rewarding organizations.
The federal government projects that across all fields, the demand for healthcare administrators and managers will grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17 percent increase in the number of healthcare administration and management jobs between 2014 and 2024.
The list below offers a look at the variety of places where people with a graduate degree in healthcare administration work.
Leadership in healthcare organizations centers around hospital administrators. This job remains one of the most demanding in the healthcare field. Hospital administrators must demonstrate leadership and an ability to work with a variety of healthcare professionals and possess strong business skills. Hospital administrators are required to be competent and skilled in many areas, including a thorough understanding of healthcare and insurance regulations.
Long-term Care Facilities (Nursing Homes, Assisted Living)
Two major trends have led to an increased need for trained healthcare administrators in long-term care settings. First, the population of the United States continues to grow older. In 2014, the number of Americans 65 and older reached 46.2 million. By 2060, that number will reach 98 million. Second, long-term care organizations are being pushed to improve quality and performance. That means administrators in these settings offer crucial services. They continue to assure the financial health of the organization, but also focus more efforts on improving the quality of care provided to patients. They also must coordinate with hospitals and outpatient care to help manage complex chronic conditions to avoid unnecessary readmissions to hospitals.
Public Healthcare Administration
Public healthcare for example, offers career opportunities for people with MHA degrees. As the overall population grows, so does the demand for healthcare services provided in public settings. These include the following.
Schools, Colleges and Universities. Educational settings offer healthcare services for their students. In the larger settings, healthcare services can require large operations, with healthcare administrators managing and overseeing personnel, quality of care, and budgets that typically run very tight.
Prisons. The state prisons, private contract prisons and county jails provide healthcare to inmates, ranging from routine physicals for long-term stays to emergencies due to illness or injury. Public healthcare administrators must possess knowledge of regulatory requirements, the legal rights of inmates, and how government bureaucracy works in order to assure quality and effectively manage operations.
Public health clinics. Essential government services include the provision of preventive healthcare services through public health clinics. These settings may also provide disease management and treatment services, often to the uninsured. Clinics typically operate in accessible community locations. They offer primary care, family planning and sometimes dental care. Some also offer more expanded services, including pediatrics, women’s care and internal medicine. Trained administrators are essential to assuring effective use of limited public funds for these programs.
Private Practice Groups
The vast majority of physicians in the US now operate as part of large group practices. In order to allow doctors to focus on patient care, an administrator handles the business side of the group, overseeing staff, finances and operations.
Pay and Skills
The BLS reported the following as the median annual pay for healthcare administrators in various fields in May 2014, the latest numbers available:
- Hospital administrators – $102,060
- Public healthcare administrators – $101,190
- Private practice administrators – $85,600
- Nursing and residential care administrators – $78,540
Note that pay remains dependent on the exact position, size of the operation and setting.
Common to all of these work settings is the need for managers with the skills and competencies to lead, communicate, and oversee operations, staff and budget.
For those interested in healthcare administration, a wide variety of job options await, offering stable and lucrative careers. All of this makes earning a Master of Healthcare Administration degree a wise choice for those wanting a leadership position in the healthcare industry.