Health Administration Degree
A health administration degree educates professionals on how to manage the business aspects of the health care system. A professional will be able to run a hospital department as a specialist or supervise an entire facility as a generalist. Without health administrators, health care would be costly and inefficient.
Health administrators typically have excellent interpersonal communication skills. They often must oversee a number of people. Health administrators may have to moderate budgetary discussions and keep doctors focused. A decent interest in or sense of business matters is helpful. Keeping a balanced budget can be difficult with all of the competing interests inside a health care facility. Sometimes difficult decisions must be made in regards to medical care. A health administrator will need confidence and determination to stick to a course of action. Some knowledge of computer science is helpful as medical technology continues to advance.
A master’s health administration degree is considered to be the standard requirement for a generalist health administrator. Upper tier positions such as a hospital administrator require a master’s degree due to the wide variety of issues that must be handled. A bachelor’s degree can be sufficient for some entry-level positions in departments or smaller facilities. Also, simple work experience sometimes is accepted in a physician’s office. However, both bachelor’s degrees and work experience are becoming less common as more employers look for health administrators with master’s degrees.
The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education had accredited 72 master’s programs in health administration as of 2008. Health administration was also known as health care management or health services administration in some programs.
In every state, a license is required for a health administrator. Common requirements for a license include:
- A minimum of a bachelor’s degree
- Passing an examination
- Undergo a state-mandated training program
- Submitting continuing education credits for license renewal
Additional requirements may be required by individual states. Assisted living health administrators often had to apply for a license specifically covering assisted living issues.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary for a health administrator was $80,240 in May of 2008. Health insurance and retirement benefits were still common, but were beginning to be lessened or phased out for some entry-level positions. Top tier health administrators occasionally earned bonuses for exceptional performance. Average salaries tended to vary widely depending upon facility size and responsibilities. For example, health administrators who were overseeing facilities with 6 or less doctors had an average salary of $82,423. For facilities with 7 to 25 doctors, the average salary for their health administrators was $105,710. And health administrators who ran facilities with 26 or more doctors had an average salary of $119,000.
As of 2008, there were about 283,500 jobs for health administrators and related positions. Roughly 38% worked in hospitals. An additional 19% were employed in doctors’ offices or care facilities.