What to Do With a Health Administration Degree: Career Info

Sep 29, 2019

A health administration degree is the ideal foundation for a career as a medical and health service manager. These professionals may become a hospital administrator or a clinical manager. Another option is to work as a health information manager and oversee the updating and storage of patient records.

Essential Information

While doctors and nurses are the face of the healthcare field, these professionals rely on managers and administrators to create and maintain an effective and efficient organization. Individuals working in health administration are responsible for organizing and supervising both small health clinics and major hospitals, and job duties often depend on the type of facility in which an administrator works.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 18% for medical and health services managers
Median Salary (2018)* $99,730 for medical and health services managers

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options in Health Administration

Those with a degree in health administration should possess the training to manage healthcare facilities, including hospitals, doctor's offices, health insurance providers and health science research laboratories. Common duties include budgeting, creating facility-wide policies, organizing project teams and attending board meetings. Administrators must have strong communication skills and be effective leaders.

Hospital Administrator

Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that medical and health services managers, sometimes referred to as administrators, supervise the daily functions of a healthcare facility. Many manage particular departments, such as surgical or oncology. Some general administrators manage the entire hospital. They must verify that each department meets certain healthcare standards, such as having a particular amount of nurses on the floor. Often, they report to investors or a board of directors to discuss hospital business.

Clinical Manager

Unlike general administrators, clinical managers supervise individual departments. These specialists sometimes work as associate administrators who report to a head administrator during routine meetings. Most help create and enforce hospital rules. They also devise goals for department members to achieve, approve budgets and advocate for their department. Since many departments work together, such as emergency and post-surgical, clinical managers coordinate the efforts of their departments with those of others to boost efficiency.

Health Information Manager

Health information managers assure that private information provided by patients and personnel is kept safe and confidential. These individuals supervise data entry specialists and verify that information is being sent correctly with the proper forms. As computer software changes, managers must know how to use the new equipment and set up training meetings to teach staff members. Most managers run database reports to make sure information is being correctly input and properly accessed.

Degree Requirements

Degrees in health administration or healthcare management are widely available, but degree level requirements vary based on position. For example, the BLS stated that those with a bachelor's degree tend to start off their careers in smaller facilities or by supervising individual departments. Most bachelor degree programs related to health administration include coursework like accounting, statistics, leadership and healthcare law.

Those with a graduate degree may act as senior administrators over entire hospitals or research facilities. While many obtain a master's or doctorate degree in health administration, some major in business administration, public works or health sciences, per the BLS. Most programs last 2-5 years and include courses on topics like healthcare policies, professional ethics, healthcare economics and management strategies. Many programs require students to participate in multiple internship residencies to build real-world experience.

There are many career options for individuals with a health administration degree. Some opt to work as hospital administrators while others may choose to pursue a career as a clinical manager or health information manager. In 2018, the BLS reported the mean salary for medical and health service managers was $113,730.

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