As the demand for medical and health services managers continues to rise, growing numbers of students and professionals are considering healthcare administration careers. The medical community continues to need strong leaders and administrators as they navigate the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery from it. As Baby Boomers retire from the healthcare workforce, and large swaths of the population age significantly, hospitals, private practices, nonprofit health organizations, and nursing homes will need qualified healthcare administrators to ensure excellent, efficient care.
For those wondering about how to become a healthcare manager and join this growing field, there are a few factors to consider. These individuals need to know how to meet the academic and experience requirements to become a healthcare administrator. They need to know what entry-level positions may be available to them and where they can find internships. And they will want to discover what the possible career paths are as they advance in the field of healthcare administration and look toward the future.
The possibilities are many for those who want to pursue healthcare administration careers — consider the steps you will need to take to become a healthcare administrator.
Education Requirements for Healthcare Administrators
Most healthcare administration careers require a bachelor’s degree in healthcare or a related field. A bachelor of science in health administration is an ideal degree program for those who want to become healthcare administrators. The curriculum in such a program combines knowledge of the healthcare system with key leadership and technical competencies such as:
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Strategic Planning
- Critical Thinking
- Group and Team Dynamics
For aspiring nursing home administrators, a degree in nursing may also be required. Other healthcare administration roles may require a master’s degree, which a bachelor of science in health administration can prepare health professionals to pursue.
Entry Level Positions & Career Paths in Healthcare Administration
There are a wide variety of roles that can start healthcare administration careers. Many of these roles are available to graduates of bachelor’s in healthcare administration degree programs. These roles include positions in clinical supervision, office management, and human resources.
Clinical supervisors work within healthcare systems to direct the day-to-day operations of offices or departments. They may monitor employee performance, serve as a first point of contact for staff and providers, and manage training for new and existing employees. Clinical supervisors often work closely with officer managers to address staffing needs, implement goals and guide the staff in achieving them, and ensure that licensure and certifications are kept current.
Medical Office Manager
Medical officer managers are employed by private practices, rehabilitation centers, and healthcare systems or hospitals to oversee administrative tasks. These tasks may include managing payroll, organizing patient records, handling billing and budgets, and hiring and training new personnel. Office managers often have budget oversight responsibilities and are designated to handle patient scheduling, day-to-day coordination of operations, and training and hiring of new staff.
Healthcare Human Resources Manager
Healthcare human resources managers are often employed by hospitals and other large healthcare systems. Their responsibilities may include the administration of benefits and compensation, recruitment and training of new employees, and ensuring that their healthcare organization stays in compliance with state and federal regulations. These professionals seek to build a positive company culture and are often a primary point of contact for employees with questions, concerns, or complaints. When necessary, human resources managers may be responsible for handling disciplinary actions, layoffs, or terminations.
Provider Relations Manager
Working with a healthcare system, a provider relations manager (or provider engagement manager) recruits and negotiates contracts with healthcare providers. As their title suggests, much of their role is relational as they develop connections with service providers, recruit physicians, and oversee the credentialing and orientation processes. These professionals are often seen as resources by the physicians they work with and they may spend much of their time answering questions, providing information, and resolving any problems that may arise. They tend to have budgetary, billing, and claims responsibilities as well.
Health Information Specialist
Health Information Specialists ensure that medical records are managed properly, releases of information are processed, and retrievals of medical records are handled correctly. Other responsibilities in HIM include tumor and trauma registries, processing forms such as birth certificates or paternity papers, and record reconciliation. They may also communicate with attorneys and insurance brokers about patients and serve as a liaison between their office and referring physicians.
Internships in Healthcare Administration
One of the best ways for an aspiring healthcare administrator to gain practical experience is through an internship. Many hospitals, healthcare organizations, medical centers, and health benefits companies offer internships for students pursuing a bachelor of science in healthcare administration. They may list these opportunities on their websites, or share them on job placement boards such as those found on Indeed, LinkedIn, or Internships.com.
Students support services at colleges and universities also tend to have resources available for students who are interested in internships. Students who are already working in the field of healthcare, may have the opportunity to speak to their supervisor about internships or projects they could participate in at their current place of employment in order to prepare for a more advanced role upon graduation.
Possible Career Paths for Healthcare Administrators
As healthcare managers gain workplace experience and education, their potential for advancing their careers grows. Consider some of the possible career paths for healthcare administrators who work their way up in the field.
Health information specialists with strong performance and a bachelor’s degree may have opportunities for promotion into management or director roles in healthcare administration. After several years in that position, directors with proven track records of success may then be eligible to apply for more senior roles such as regional director of health information management.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, a former administrative assistant may secure a job as a medical office manager. As they gain further experience and knowledge, perhaps by pursuing certifications or a master’s degree in health administration, the medical office manager may qualify for more senior roles such as clinical director or a chief administrative role.
Healthcare administrators can also work their way up within pharmaceutical companies, nonprofit health organizations, government agencies like the American Red Cross, and nursing homes. Medical supply companies, wellness programs, diagnostic labs, and healthcare marketing firms also regularly hire graduates of healthcare administration degree programs.
With the right combination of education and experience, the potential for a regularly advancing career is quite high for healthcare administrators.
Join the Growing Field of Healthcare Administration through the Central Christian College of Kansas Online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration Degree Program
The healthcare system is looking for qualified administrators, and the Central Christian College of Kansas Online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration degree program can help you become such a leader. Built with the modern healthcare landscape and working professionals in mind, the CCCK online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration program prepares students for flourishing careers in healthcare administration.
Take Jeremy Gonsalves, an online student of Central Christian College of Kansas, for example. Gonsalves works as a supervisor at McPherson Hospital. Desiring to “grow and help develop this hospital and be able to make that positive impact on my community here,” Gonsalves enrolled in our online BS in Health Administration program. He immediately found the program to be a positive, beneficial experience that directly influenced his professional role.
“I have been able to integrate all of my learnings so far,” Gonsalves said. Courses in advanced business communication have improved his emails to employees and other departments, and his professionalism has grown as a result.
Pursuing a career and further education at the same time can be a balancing act, but Gonsalves finds that the support structure of the program empowers him rather than stresses him. “It is so amazing to see so many others caring about everyone and wanting everyone to succeed,” Gonsalves says of his fellow students and the faculty. “It warms my heart to see this kind of generosity.”
Like Gonsalves, you can prepare to advance in your career with an online Bachelor of Science in Health Administration from CCCK. The program features 100% online flexibility, multiple start dates throughout the year, and one-at-a-time courses that last only six weeks each. Coursework in topics such as financial management in healthcare, organizational behavior and leadership, and U.S. healthcare systems will provide you with the business and healthcare knowledge you need.
Are you ready to develop your critical thinking skills, communication competencies, and knowledge of business best practices? Do you want to become a leader in healthcare who effectively guides individuals, teams, departments, and practices?
Take the first step by learning more about CCCK’s Online Bachelor of Science in Health Administration degree.