The health care sector is the nation’s largest employer. In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau found that roughly 20.5 million professionals were employed in this field, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects health care to add 2.4 million jobs between 2019 and 2029.
Individuals researching the health care administration job outlook will find that the demand for experienced professionals who can run and maintain health care facilities remains strong. Employment opportunities for health care administration are robust, and candidates can pursue jobs in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, private practice medical groups and long-term care facilities.
Students interested in this career path should begin by developing the knowledge and skills to succeed. An advanced degree in a related discipline, such as an online Executive Master of Health Administration (EMHA), can help prepare graduates to pursue jobs in this fast-growing field.
What Do Health Care Administrators Do?
Health care administrators’ job duties vary based on several factors, such as the facility an individual works for and the size of that facility’s staff. However, common job duties may include the following:
● Recruit and train staff
● Set and monitor departmental budgets
● Maintain the facility’s records
● Track office and medical supplies
● Keep records of expenses
● Suggest cost-reduction strategies
● Ensure the facility maintains compliance with federal, state and local health care regulations
● Create work schedules
● Represent the facility before governing boards and at investor meetings
● Oversee and manage financial aspects of the facility, such as billing and patient fees
● Inform staff of new policies and changes to existing policies
Where Do Health Care Administrators Work?
The BLS reports that in 2019, state, local and private hospitals employed 33% of all health care administrators. Other common employers of health care administrators include physicians’ offices (12%), nursing and residential care facilities (10%), governmental institutions (8%) and outpatient care centers (7%).
Most health care administrators are employed full time in an office, although some professionals work more than 40 hours per week. Additionally, individuals working at facilities that are open 24 hours a day, such as hospitals and residential care facilities, may need to work nights or weekends. Some health care administrators may need to be on call in case of emergencies.
Qualifications to Become a Health Care Administrator
Although the qualifications to become a health care administrator vary by employer, most professionals hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as health management, public health administration or business administration. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a graduate program, such as USC’s online Executive Master of Health Administration. As such, master’s degrees are common among health care administrators.
Aspiring health care administrators can also pursue various professional certifications, such as Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional (cHAP), Certified Medical Manager (CMM) and Certified Healthcare Access Manager (CHAM). Individuals seeking certification must meet certain education and professional experience requirements, and some certifications require candidates to pass a written examination. Although certification may not be required for a position, it can demonstrate that an applicant has advanced knowledge, experience and expertise in health care administration.
What’s the Job Outlook for Health Care Administration?
Employment opportunities in the field are expanding. The BLS projects that the employment of health care administrators, whom it classifies as medical and health services managers, will grow by 32% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations (4%).
Two groups are largely driving this growth: aging baby boomers, who will need more care, and current health care administrators approaching retirement age, whom facilities must prepare to replace within the next decade. The BLS further notes that candidates who have completed an advanced degree in a related field, such as an Executive Master of Health Administration, will likely have the best job prospects.
Health Care Administration Salary
BLS data show that as of May 2020, the median annual wage for health care administrators was $104,280, with earners in the top 10th percentile making more than $195,630 per year. Salary ranges vary based on a number of factors, such as geographical region, experience, highest level of education and industry sector.
For example, as of May 2020, the median health care administration salary for individuals working for the federal government was $116,380, whereas the median annual wage for professionals employed by state, local and private hospitals was $112,870. Health care administrators employed by nursing and residential care facilities reported median annual earnings of roughly $89,880.
Be Part of the Future of Health Care Administration
Employment in the health care sector is expanding rapidly, and the future of health care administration remains bright. Students interested in pursuing high-level administrative roles in this fast-growing industry must start by developing the skills to help health organizations improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and address access and equity.
USC’s online EMHA is designed to provide graduates with the leadership and decision-making skills needed to address the nation’s most critical health care issues. Coursework covers topics such as how to deliver cost-effective care, organizational and clinical effectiveness, and patient safety and quality of care.
Discover how USC’s online Executive Master of Health Administration program can help prepare you to become a future leader.