Healthcare administrators oversee the complex management of healthcare organizations, ensuring all of these interconnected pieces come together to deliver high-quality patient care in a financially sustainable way. While they may not be experts in any of the unique areas—finance, human resources, medicine, diagnostics, or nursing, for example—healthcare administrators work with a team of interdisciplinary leaders to drive results.
Job opportunities for medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, are projected to grow at a rate that is much faster than average over the next decade. This makes a degree in healthcare management a viable choice for those who have skills and interests that align with roles in this field.
Healthcare organizations are complex and continuously changing. For an organization to be successful, its patients must receive high-quality, effective care consistently and be highly satisfied with the level of care they receive. Its employees must enjoy what they do, believe that their work is meaningful, and have a strong desire to stay with the organization. Its policies and procedures must meet stringent safety and quality guidelines, be routinely reviewed and updated, and reflect changing research in the healthcare field. Its building and grounds must be safe and in good working condition, regularly inspected, and routinely tested and maintained. Its staff must hold specific licenses, certifications, and other recognized credentials and receive ongoing training and competency testing to care for patients. Its finances must be sustainable and support wages, salaries, operating expenses, and capital purchases.
Healthcare administrators can work in a variety of roles in a hospital or healthcare facility, from floor supervisor to administrator or executive. In general, they plan, direct, and coordinate the strategy and activity of the organization. Some of the most common duties of a healthcare administrator include the following:
Evaluating, comparing, recommending, selecting, and implementing electronic systems for a variety of functions within healthcare, including credentialing, recruitment, personnel management, performance management, quality measurement, patient satisfaction, medical records, IT ticket management, and more
Selecting, directing, supervising, and managing the performance of personnel across all disciplines (clerical, clinical, technical, maintenance, finance, etc.)
Developing, reviewing, approving, revising, and implementing policies and procedures according to best practice
Staying up-to-date with changes in the healthcare climate, including emerging research on best practices in healthcare delivery, patient satisfaction, medicine, equipment, quality, staff retention, and more
Establishing and administering budgets; reviewing and approving spending; and coordinating, reviewing, and sharing financial reporting
Planning for the future by identifying organizational strategy, opportunities, and challenges as well as by mitigating risk
Engaging with local neighborhoods and other stakeholders to solve problems that impact the community as a whole, support public health efforts, and increase awareness and perception of the organization
Responsibilities for healthcare administrators vary greatly depending on their roles and the organization. In a supervisor role, for example, healthcare administrators may spend much of their time scheduling, hiring, and coaching employees. An executive, on the other hand, will spend more time engaging with the community, driving organizational culture, and evaluating service utilization to drive improvement.
The best healthcare administrators have certain skills in common:
Public Speaking. Healthcare administrators speak publicly on a frequent basis and communicate with employees, patients, physicians, colleagues, and stakeholders daily.
Decision Making. Healthcare administrators will often make the final decision between multiple options, comparing and contrasting each potential choice to determine which opportunity poses the greatest benefit and the least risk.
Service Orientation. A desire to help others is a basic requirement of a healthcare administrator.
Managing Financial Resources. Healthcare administrators may be responsible for as much as millions of dollars annually; it’s crucial these funds are allocated appropriately for the benefit of the patients and the communities they serve.
Social Perceptiveness. As the face of an organization, especially when working in an executive role, healthcare administrators must be able to read social cues given by those around them and understand why people react the way they do.
Systems Evaluation. Healthcare administratorsoften evaluate different electronic systems to determine which best meets the organization’s needs and provides the greatest value.
Working in healthcare management typically requires an associate degree, or higher degree in healthcare management or a related field. Those with clinical degrees (nursing, radiology tech, laboratory science, etc.) can often advance into management with a combination of their clinical education and experience, but those hoping to work in health administration without providing care in a direct patient-facing role first will need a healthcare management degree. Executive roles will typically require an advanced degree, such as a master's degree or higher.
While you earn your healthcare management degree, your coursework gives you the opportunity to develop the skills you need for future employment. The skills you can expect to practice during the course of your degree program include public speaking, critical thinking, resource coordination, active listening, decision making, writing, reading comprehension, people management, persuasion, financial management, analysis, instruction, and more.
Computer Applications in Healthcare
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Principles of Management and Leadership
Human Resources Management
Business Report Writing
Principles of Accounting
Healthcare Delivery Systems, Organization, and Administration
Public Speaking and Presentations
Business Law and Legal Aspects in Healthcare
Risk Management in Healthcare Settings
The coursework within a healthcare administration program is designed to build your understanding of all aspects of healthcare leadership, from finance to human resources and quality assurance, so you can best support teams in each of these areas.
Schools that offer an online health management degree program open the door for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to continue their education, such as those who are full-time parents, must maintain a job, have packed calendars, struggle with access to reliable transportation to class, and more.
Online learning provides added flexibility for students and, often, self-paced learning that accommodates those who work quickly and those who need more time. It requires students to demonstrate a high level of initiative and personal accountability, which can be a strong predictor of future effectiveness in leadership roles. It also gives students an opportunity to develop and refine their technology skills, which will be utilized in any healthcare administration role they fill.
At The College of Health Care Professions, we serve the healthcare management education needs of a number of medical coders, receptionists, and patient care providers to help them advance their careers and complete their degrees while working and caring for their families.
We offer both an associate degree in Health Care Management and a bachelor's degree completion program in Healthcare Administration. It typically takes about two years to earn the AAS degree in Health Care Management. This degree may qualify you for roles like office coordinator, clinic coordinator, business office manager, administrative assistant, or executive assistant in a healthcare setting. Students who already possess an associate degree can complete the Healthcare Administration Bachelor Degree Completion Program in 96 weeks. Graduates of this program can pursue roles such as a nursing home administrator, assisted living administrator, supply chain manager, practice manager, quality improvement manager, or healthcare department manager.
Executive roles like CEO, COO, CFO, or CHRO typically require a master's degree or higher, but some organizations may choose candidates with an adequate combination of education and experience.
To take the first step toward launching your career in healthcare administration, contact us at CHCP to learn more about online health care management degrees today.