It’s no secret that healthcare is booming and becoming an increasingly complex business. A healthcare administrator, also known as a medical and health services manager and a healthcare executive, oversees the business, financial and clinical aspects of their particular department or facility. Many larger organizations and facilities have a top administrator and several assistant administrators, each of whom oversee a specific department or area of healthcare, while smaller facilities generally have just one general manager overseeing all daily operations. Most healthcare administrators work in general medical and surgical hospitals, physicians’ offices, and nursing care facilities.
Healthcare administrators must understand both the clinical and business sides of running a healthcare operation. Their daily tasks include implementing policies, establishing procedures, setting budgets, evaluating employees, coordinating with other healthcare administrators, and writing reports. Health information managers deal specifically with patient records and information, and must maintain these records and keep them secure.
Career training for healthcare administrators
While some healthcare administrator positions at physicians’ offices can be obtained through on-the-job training and some smaller facilities require only a bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs, most healthcare administration jobs require a Master’s degree in a field such as healthcare administration, public health or business administration.
The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) suggests that students look for Master’s degree programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). The minimum requirement for a health information management career is usually a bachelor’s degree in health information management.
Education for clinical managers
If you’re interested in becoming a clinical manager or working in a specific branch of healthcare administration, know that specialized healthcare degrees can also lead to a career in healthcare management. For these jobs, you may need training and experience in your particular specialty (such as physical therapy) along with additional management training. For example, nursing services administrators are typically experienced registered nurses who have earned a Master’s degree in healthcare or business administration.
Licensure is not required for most healthcare administrator positions, though the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some states require licensure for assisted-living facility managers, and all states regulate nursing care facility administrators through licensure and continuing education.
Healthcare administrators: salary and job growth
According to the BLS, the employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow 16 percent, which is faster than the average.