How to Become a Healthcare Administrator
Aspiring healthcare administrators get their degree in either healthcare management, nursing, health administration, public health administration, or even business administration. Management and healthcare focused degrees that actually combine any business-related classes with classes in hospital organization, medical terminology and health information systems are the cream of the crop for future healthcare administrators.
An example is earning your degree in healthcare administration/health information management will commonly also include classes in accounting/budgeting, healthcare services management, human resources, ethics and law, strategic planning and healthcare information systems. Each of these areas get you prepared to become a healthcare administrator or medical services manager. If you have a goal of advancing to upper levels of healthcare management, a masters degree will be required.
It should also be known that many healthcare employers ask their aspiring medical and health services managers and healthcare admins to have work experience in a clinical or administrative role in a hospital or healthcare setting. An example is that if you want to be a nursing home administrator, you will in many cases, have to have years of work experience as a registered nurse.
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What are the Skills Needed to Become a Healthcare Administrator?
Communication skills – Communicating what the expectations are from your staff is critical.
Be detail oriented – Organization and attention to the details is as important a skill as any to be a successful manager.
Leadership skills – Good managers always have solid leadership qualities.
Technical skills – Having solid knowledge of the technical side of the industry is vital to a successful healthcare manager. Be it medical coding or the technology being used in the healthcare field.
Do Healthcare Administrators Need to Be Licensed?
There are some states that also require the passing of a state specific exam on top of the national licensing exam. Licenses are most commonly required for those planning on working at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Here is a list of all the state board contacts for licensing from the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards.
If you are not working in long term care or nursing homes, a license is not typically asked for but you may need experience as a social worker or a registered nurse. If you want to get licensed as a healthcare manager even of it is not required, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, the American Health Information Management Association and the American College of Health Care Administrators offer certifications. Getting certified will only benefit you and your career path.
What Does a Medical Services Manager Do?
Though most in the medical field do want to help people and that is why they work on the job already, it is no different than any other management role where motivation is key and has to be a constant from management. Other functions is scheduling and recruitment, which can be really time consuming and requires a lot of attention to detail and knowing your staff really well. It is common to have to work with strong minded employees like surgeons and physicians along with low level employees like nurse aides, medical assistants, and medical coders. Knowing this up front shows that confidence and knowledge are vital to the job. All that being said, as manager of the whole facility, money matters, so accounting and budgeting will be hanging over your head the whole time too. As you can see, all the skills we listed above come in to play when becoming a successful healthcare administrator.
Healthcare Administration Salary and Jobs Outlook
Government – $110,460
Hospitals – $108,730
Outpatient Care Facilities – $92,390
Physicians Offices – $90,920
Nursing Homes – $84,260