Working within the medical field, healthcare administrators are responsible for handling and managing various healthcare units including clinics, hospitals, and community health centers. They are an important asset to the medical world, as they help ensure the smooth and effective functioning of a given healthcare facility in which physicians can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time with patients.
A healthcare administrator’s work is typically divided into two parts:they are responsible for carrying out more general tasks, and they are given specific tasks to be carried out on a daily basis. Because the processes, systems, and technology of the medical world are constantly changing, there is an urgent need for professionals who are well-trained and adaptable to an ever-evolving environment. Healthcare administrators serve this need as effective personnel who are prepared to handle technological improvements and other administrative tasks as they arise.
Healthcare administrators have many diverse duties including handling the administration of patients and their records, public relations, material purchasing, supplies management, and even finances. In large healthcare facilities, these administrators are even more critically important, as they perform such vital tasks as supervising clinical work like surgery and therapy. In smaller units, administrators are responsible for maintaining a profitable business while simultaneously ensuring the facility delivers the highest quality care to its patients. Other crucial tasks include ensuring the facility is compliant with all laws and regulations related to it, managing patient fees and billing, creating employee and faculty work schedules, representing the organization by meeting with investors or serving on a board of governors, maintaining up to date records on the center’s services, and facilitating communication between physicians, nurses, and other members of the medical staff and their department heads.
Salary and Job Outlook
Most healthcare administrators (39 percent) work in hospitals. The remainder can be found in clinical settings like small centers, physician offices, medical schools, and nursing homes and retirement communities. Healthcare administrators enjoy a demanding but rewarding career with great opportunities for advancement and income potential. In May 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found the average annual salary for such a professional to be $84,270, though 10 percent of the administrators employed made over $144,880. Of course, salary depends on a number of factors including experience, level of responsibility, and the size of the facility.
The BLS also estimates an impressive 22 percent growth rate for healthcare administrators over the next decade. As medical knowledge and procedures become more advanced and people live longer, the medical field as a whole needs to expand to accommodate the growth in patients. Accordingly, more administrators will be needed to help healthcare facilities run as smoothly and properly as possible.
First and foremost, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration to enter this field. Most states require state-approved training and on-the-job experience, then licensure from an approved, accredited institute. Every state has different requirements, however, so be sure to check with the state health board of the state in which you want to practice before setting out to begin your new career.