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How to Become a Healthcare Administrator
Should I Become a Healthcare Administrator?
Healthcare administrators, also known as medical and health services managers, work on behalf of a medical institution or healthcare company to provide quality care and coordinate services in medical settings. Healthcare administrators may work with one or more assistant administrators, and they sometimes work closely with physicians and nurses. Depending on the size of the facility, a healthcare administrator may manage the entire facility or a department. They may work for hospitals, home healthcare organizations or long-term care nursing facilities. These professionals may need to work weekend and evening shifts at facilities that are open 24 hours a day.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Health Care Administration
- Health Information and Records Admin
- Health Information Technology
- Health Management and Clinical Administration
- Health Unit Coordinator
- Health Ward Supervisor
- Medical Administrative Assistant or Secretary
- Medical Claims Examiner
- Medical Facilities Management
- Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
- Medical Insurance Services
- Medical Office Computer Technologies
- Medical Office Management
- Medical Office Specialist
- Medical Receptionist
- Medical Staff Services
- Medical Transcriptionist
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Health Information Management Association, Online Job Postings (July to August 2015), Payscale.com (July 2015)
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree program in healthcare administration provides foundational knowledge and training for entry-level management positions within the healthcare industry. Coursework and practical experience teach business skills, such as human resources management and accounting, as they relate to medical or healthcare institutions. Healthcare administration majors often include internship opportunities to provide students with practical experience. Typically, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for this field.
- Complete coursework with future education plans in mind. Aspiring healthcare administrators should begin to think about graduate-level education while completing their bachelor’s degree programs. Graduate programs may have specific prerequisites for admission, such as competence with statistics. Researching these requirements will allow students to select the necessary courses to qualify for their desired graduate program.
Step 2: Complete a Master’s Degree Program
Master’s-level fields of study, such as health system administration, can qualify graduates for healthcare administrator and management jobs. Like bachelor’s degree programs, master’s degree programs require students to complete coursework in a number of subjects, including strategic planning, economics and leadership. Graduate students must also complete field studies in a hospital or healthcare-related environment through required residencies. These programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete and may be offered full- or part-time.
- Get involved with student organizations. Some master’s degree programs may have student societies for those studying healthcare administration. These can provide learning and networking opportunities for students and working professionals.
Step 3: Acquire State Licensure
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a license isn’t required for most healthcare management staff (www.bls.gov ). However, all states require administrators of nursing care facilities to test for state licensure, and some regulate assisted living center managers as well. Regular continuing education is required to maintain such licenses.
Step 4: Consider Voluntary Certification to Stand Out
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers voluntary certification for healthcare administrators. Possessing a Registered Health Information Administrator credential can demonstrate an applicant’s proficiency in such areas as data management, informatics and management. Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited bachelor’s degree program in a health management field or an approved post-baccalaureate academic program. To maintain certification, healthcare administrators need to complete required continuing education obligations, usually every two years.
Next: View Schools
The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia recently released the Healthcare Science and Jobs Survey, which found that many.
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