How to Start a Career in Healthcare Administration

Choosing a career is a huge decision you’ll make throughout your life. Of course, you’re never locked into anything, but many jobs require specific knowledge that you can’t just make up on the spot. When you want to commit to something, you need to take that into account. If you’re passionate about helping people and providing care and compassion to individuals in need, you may be looking into the healthcare field. Within this area, there are plenty of jobs and professions beyond becoming a doctor or a nurse. Hospitals and clinics couldn’t run without the help of healthcare administrators.

Getting into healthcare as an administrator can be a different path than going to med school. You typically only need a business degree and good people skills. You’ll also need to prove you are organized and can work in high-intensity environments. This is a great way to combine your interest in the medical field with your experience in administration. If this career seems like a good path for you, here are a few tips to help you get involved.

What does a career in healthcare administration entail?

First, it’s important to understand what a career in healthcare administration would involve. A healthcare administrator is responsible for keeping hospitals, clinics, and public health systems running. By keeping track of inventory, communicating with staff, and taking care of the building, these individuals take care of almost every non-medical aspect of running a healthcare facility. They offer protection and make sure systems are durable. From financial reports to business analytics, they act as a project manager for the entire operation. If you choose to go down this path, you will be responsible for a large account of what goes on and how treatment options are administered.

Know if you have the right skillset and temperament.

The first tip for someone pursuing this field is to be sure you’re cut out for it. Working in a hospital can be a difficult and draining situation. You’re constantly surrounded by illness and sometimes death. Especially working with certain specializations like in hospitals that help treat types of cancer. Even when you’re not in the room during treatment, being around breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, and more can be disheartening. Of course, you also have the success stories and hopeful recoveries that you get to celebrate as well. There is a risk factor with every job that it could take a lot out of you, just be sure you’re ready for this with your administration job in health care.

You’ll also need to be sure you have the right skill set for the job. You may not be removing tumors or healing broken arms, but you have valuable attributes to bring to the team as well. Administrators need to be prepared to make quick, tough decisions. You need to be able to command a room and gain the respect of your team from the doctors on the floor to your janitorial staff. You need to have the skills of a human resources manager with the organizational capabilities of a project manager. Be sure you’re up for the task so you can run the most efficient hospital possible.

Pursue education in your desired field.

To become a healthcare administrator, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, a master of science will help give you more credentials. There are majors you can explore in college to get a degree in healthcare management. You can also pursue a master’s degree in the same area. However, this exact graduate program is not absolutely necessary. Your dream of working as a healthcare administrator can be achieved in many different ways. A graduate-level business degree focusing on business administration may also help you get into this area. This kind of MBA program will help you understand your roles as a financial manager and give you the proper leadership skills you’ll need to excel. Any graduate-level education with health or business courses can help you land a job in healthcare administration.

Practice communication skills.

As an administrator, you are working with a number of different people. From the team you manage to the patients you follow up with to vendors who help keep the building running, you need to practice positive communication skills. You’re responsible for tying everything together. Whether it’s talking to a concerned patient about health problems and alternative medicine side effects or chatting with the construction guys who are installing fire-resistant roofing, you’re the go-to person. Stay available and ready to communicate in the best way.

Network and get additional experience.

There are many different areas of healthcare administration you can work in. As with any career, you’re going to need to network and gain as much experience as possible before you begin. Get to know different specializations and analytics programs to understand where you fit in the world of healthcare administration.

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