What Can You Do with a Health Administration Degree?

Question: What can you do with a health administration degree?

A health administration degree, which requires a professional, graduate education, will open opportunities for you. With this masters degree, you will handle the business side of medical and health care institutions.

The United States has bright employment prospects for health care administration degree holders. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) refers to this occupational group as medical and health services managers, and projects an increase in employment by 22% between 2010 and 2020.

Health administration degree job opportunities

Here are potential job openings where a health care administration degree will be an advantage to you:

Administrative assistant – also called assistant department head in large hospitals. This is an entry-level position which requires an associate or a bachelor’s degree in health care administration.

Assistant administrator – also called department heads and an entry-level position in smaller hospitals. The assistant administrator usually works under the direct supervision of the top hospital administrator.

Health care administrator – this is the typical job title of entry-level health care administration jobs in nursing home facilities, rehabilitation centers, physicians’ offices, and assisted-living centers.

Insurance underwriter – health care administration degree holders who have good business sense and strong interpersonal skills have the right qualifications for an insurance underwriter. They will have the necessary background to analyze risks, evaluate health and injury claims and deal with customers.

Chief health information manager – this is a management level position in multidisciplinary hospitals. A health information manager will be responsible for patient records and database, and may also supervise management information system and telecommunications.

Health care executive – this is a management level position that requires at least a master’s degree in health care or business management. This will involve managing large hospitals or medical equipment corporations.

Hospital administrator – this position entails a good deal of responsibility. The jobholder usually possesses advanced or higher-level degrees, such as master’s or doctorate degrees in healthcare administration. He or she will be responsible for managing a hospital or clinic, oversee a group practice for some physicians, or supervise a department, state or national health agencies.

Clinical manager – also called clinical administrator. Health care and medical professionals, who later prefer to work behind the scenes, may consider taking up a master’s degree in health care administration on top of their medical, nursing, or physical therapy degree. They can then qualify for clinical manager positions to handle administrative management functions of the department that needs their clinical specialty. This is a senior-level management position.

Human resource executive – this is a position that can be found in hospitals, medical facilities, government health offices, and managed care facilities. The responsibilities of a Human Resource Executive include recruitment and hiring of medical personnel, management of compensation and benefits, assessment of training needs, conduct of training and program development for professional growth of employees.

Other related jobs there are many other job titles, such as chief nurse executive, medical director, and executives and managers for support services, general services and hospital facilities, ambulatory care, marketing, and community relations.

Alternative options

If healthcare administration jobs are not occupations you would likely relish doing most days of the week, there are also alternative career options for you.

Social work – a health care degree can pave the way for another degree. You can earn additional units from a social work degree program and later work for administrative roles in social work agencies and organizations, such as child welfare and women’s assistance centers, and mental health institutions.

Unlikely places, like computer systems design and pharmaceutical industry – these two places hire only a few health care administration degree holders, but they also happen to be the two highest-paying industries for health care administrators. The salary statistics released by the BLS in 2012 shows that this occupational group earned a mean annual wage of $146,160 from the computer systems design industry and $142,210 from the pharmaceutical industry.

Work environment

Health care administration is a very broad field. The work condition varies with the setting and may take place in multidisciplinary hospitals, community hospitals, doctors’ clinics and offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, cardiac care, cancer treatment center, half-way facilities, assisted-living homes, laboratories, outpatient clinics, government institutions, social welfare organizations, insurance offices, and even schools.

Their functions are as varied, too. They take care of budget, planning, human resource, records and information system, and whatever goes on behind medical clinics and departments. They are the unseen and unsung heroes behind medical fleets.

Career outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary for medical and health services managers, the title used for health care administrators, was $88,000 in 2012. The BLS sees a growth of 68,000 jobholders in this occupational group between 2010 and 2020. This represents 22% growth which is much higher than the national growth rate for all occupations.

If you already have a degree in health care administration, you should check out these figures. Those working in specialty hospitals or clinics, such as cardiac and cancer care facilities, earned higher mean annual wage in 2012 at $112,830; while those working in medical and surgical facilities earned a mean annual wage of $104,680. These figures are higher than the average wage for this occupation which was reported at $98,460 in the same year.

See if you happen to live anywhere near these states. BLS recorded them as the top 5 states that paid the highest salaries for health care administrators: New York, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. New York and California also have the highest levels of employment for health care administrators.

Start now

Are you taking the first step toward a health care administration degree? Find a program that is accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.

Do you already have a degree in health administration? Take your first job. Don’t be too choosy about job titles and salaries. It’s not the time to sleep on a very valuable degree. You have to gain experience and it pays to start now.

I hope this answers your question, what can you do with a health administration degree?