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5 Careers in Health Administration

Making a positive impact on patients and elevating the quality of care at an organization requires a wide range of healthcare professionals. From nurses and doctors to technology specialists and administrators, each role contributes to shaping the system and promoting a higher quality of patient care.

The healthcare industry is one of the largest in the country, with U.S. national healthcare expenditure estimated to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028. This highlights the need for skilled and knowledgeable leaders to oversee and guide the business aspects of healthcare from an administrative perspective. 

Skills Needed in Health Administration Careers

Practicing medicine is not a requirement for healthcare administrators. This is  because leadership often focuses on approaching patient care from a different angle. While a doctor or specialist is tasked with treating a patient, it is an administrator’s responsibility to ensure the systems and environments in place allow physicians to work effectively. 

This requires a healthcare administration professional to possess a mix of job-specific abilities and soft skills, including:

  • Organizational leadership
  • Analytical skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Communication skills 
  • Business administration and operations skills
  • Data analysis
  • Quality assurance 

These skills can be honed with a Master of Health Administration. Overall employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 28% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than average.

5 Roles in Health Administration

There are various healthcare administration careers available in numerous settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health agencies, and other healthcare facilities.

1. Hospital Administrator 

This is one of the most common titles people associate with healthcare administration. The term administrator can apply to several different positions, including chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief medical or nursing officer, and chief information officer. The term may also refer to leadership roles in patient care, quality assurance, legal, communications, and more.

These professionals help ensure a hospital functions efficiently and safely to best serve patients. This involves:

  • Overseeing the day-to-day operations of an organization
  • Long-term planning and strategizing 
  • Communicating across departments and with the public
  • Managing teams and budgets

2. Medical Staff Director

Hospital administrators must focus on the overall operations of an organization, but medical staff directors narrow their focus to ensure compliance with bylaws, rules, and regulations when it comes to hiring and onboarding medical staff (doctors, nurses, etc.).  

This role is responsible for making sure every medical staff member is qualified, certified, and trained to offer the best patient care possible. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Verifying the credentials of new medical providers 
  • Ensuring providers are in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations as well as industry standards and specific organizational policies
  • Implementing the necessary changes to improve performance 
  • Coordinating peer reviews
  • Offering support in the onboarding process

3. Healthcare Marketing Manager

For those who are passionate about the communication aspect of health administration, the marketing manager route could be an appropriate fit. As a marketing leader of a healthcare organization, this role entails developing and delivering messages to internal and external stakeholders. 

Being successful as a healthcare marketing manager requires a mix of universal marketing skills and industry-specific knowledge, including:

  • Ensuring compliance with key regulations like HIPAA across all communications
  • Creating an overall communication or marketing strategy
  • Serving as a spokesperson for the organization 
  • Participating in public engagements
  • Analyzing market data

4. Senior Care Staff 

In 2022, the long-term care market was estimated at $1.05 trillion. An aging population combined with an increase in life expectancy means this sector of the healthcare field is growing rapidly. There are administrator career opportunities throughout a variety of senior care facilities, including long-term care homes, home health care, and assisted living.  

Health administrators in senior care environments are responsible for supporting aging patients mentally, physically, and emotionally. This involves:

  • Overseeing the day-to-day operations of their facilities 
  • Managing financial operations 
  • Managing care providers
  • Communicating with patients and their families

5. Financial Managers

One of the major aspects that healthcare administrators are responsible for managing is an organization’s finances. Financial managers range from CFOs to billing specialists. This goes beyond general finance principles because healthcare poses unique challenges to financial management to keep an organization’s bottom line in mind while delivering the highest quality care. This may include dealing with insurance company reimbursement, demands of cost transparency, and ever-evolving regulations.

With specialized skills, financial managers are responsible for a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Reimbursement from insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid
  • Keeping up with changing regulations
  • Adjusting to fluctuations in patient loads
  • Offering cost transparency 

How to Advance Your Career in Health Administration 

Whether you have a clinical or management background, pursuing a graduate degree in health administration can help you develop the leadership and industry skills necessary to guide your organization through an ever-changing landscape. 

Advance your career with an online Master of Health Administration degree program from Wake Forest University’s School of Professional Studies. Request more information today.

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