Healthcare Administration

Overview

Healthcare is a business and it needs managers and administrators to lead the business. Healthcare administrators include individuals in many different positions who plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of healthcare. They also are concerned with community outreach, planning, policy making, and complying with government regulations. The structure and financing of healthcare are changing rapidly. Future administrators must be prepared to deal with the integration of healthcare delivery systems, technological innovations, an increasingly complex regulatory environment, restructuring of work and an increased focus on preventive care. They will be called upon to improve efficiency in healthcare facilities and the quality of care provided.

Administrators may be in specialists in charge of a specific department or generalists who manage an entire facility or system.   Larger facilities may have several assistant administrators who report to the top administrator and handle daily decisions and direct daily activities. In smaller facilities, top administrators handle more of the details or daily operations, such as personnel, finances, admissions, or facility operations. In group medical practices, managers work closely with physicians, overseeing day-to-day operations and helping to formulate business strategies.

Details

Potential Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Physician or other practitioner group practices
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Managed care
  • Other healthcare facilities or health systems

Work Environment

The work environment will vary with the particular work setting.  Work schedules will also vary, depending on the work setting.  Many administrators and managers work long hours.  In nursing homes and hospitals which operate continuously, administrators may be called at all hours to deal with problems.

Job Outlook

Employment of healthcare administrators is expected to increase 16 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. As the healthcare industry continues to expand and diversify, more managers will be required.  While hospitals will continue to employ the largest number of healthcare managers and administrators, employment will grow fastest in the offices of health practitioners.  Many services previously provided in hospitals will continue to shift to physician offices, and group practices are expected to grow and become more complex.

Aptitudes

  • Ability to work with a variety of people
  • Strong verbal and numerical skills
  • Ability to learn procedures related to the administration of a health facility
  • Ability to supervise others and plan and organize programs
  • Qualities of leadership, diplomacy and calmness under pressure
  • Ability to make decisions based on observation and data
  • Ability to handle a variety of tasks and detailed paperwork

Education

Requirements

The minimum educational requirement is a 4-year bachelor’s degree, but competition in this field makes it necessary to have a master’s degree in health services administration or hospital administration.  There are some nursing homes who will hire administrators with an associate degree.  People entering this field usually start as department heads or assistant administrators.

Licensing requirements are for nursing home administrators only.  No license is required for hospitals or public health facilities.  Nursing home administrators are licensed by the Nebraska Board of Examiners in Nursing Home Administration.  Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree in health services administration or an associate degree in long-term care administration, allied health, or human services, and pass the required exams.  Fifty hours of continuing education are required every two years.

Programs in Nebraska

Related / Links

Other career areas that include training or experience in both health and management:

  • Insurance underwriters
  • Social and community service managers

Professional Associations

For more information about a career in healthcare administration:

Career information adapted in part from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handook, 2010-2011 Edition, Medical and Health Services Managers, on the Internet at www.bls.gov