What is Healthcare Administration?
A health administrator is also known as a health manager and is in charge of the healthcare facility's operations. Despite the fact that health administrators are rarely directly involved with patients, they are responsible for developing and maintaining healthcare systems that address the health of their communities. In order to ensure smooth operations at a healthcare facility, administrators carry out many different responsibilities.
Most health administrators work in offices, but they often interact with other professionals, such as physicians, surgeons, nurses, and technicians. Many of these jobs will not have direct patient contact, nevertheless, some require patient interaction. Workers may also need to speak to insurance personnel. Obtaining a career in this field requires strong communication skills, experience in health care delivery and financial structure, knowledge of medical terminology, and understanding of the structure and dynamics of patient care organizations.
Health administration professionals face a sunny outlook for employment and salary prospects in the state of Florida. If you are either a professional in this area, or you plan on entering this profession, you’ll need, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in health administration.
Healthcare Administration Education in Florida
Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration (BSHCA)
As an undergraduate student in healthcare administration, you’ll take your general education courses before you declare your major. Once you’ve done this, expect to take general business courses, which will prepare you for your role as an administrator.
Your classes should give you good understanding of health systems and how they affect the patients who access them. Take courses in leadership so that, when you land your first job as a health administrator, you’ll be well-equipped to direct your team of employees and medical professionals.
You know how much healthcare is costing and you probably have an idea of how much it might cost in the near future. As a health administrator, you’ll have to find where to cut healthcare costs, and do so in such a way that delivery of health services to individual patients won’t be overly affected.
If you’re more interested in health administration from the informatics point of view, there are programs with that focus. You’ll focus a good portion of your studies on computers and information technology. Along with other health administration classes, you’ll gain a solid foundation for your health administration career.
Your health administration coursework should equip you to work in either a mental health setting, nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, medical group practices, in insurance companies, public agencies or almost any other type of healthcare setting. Look for courses in health science, aging services and health administration, as you look for the most appropriate undergraduate major for your goals.
Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA)
If your plan is to pursue your master’s degree in healthcare administration, you may be able to have even more of an impact on the agency where you’ll eventually work. During grad school, you can pursue a specialty focus such as public health, healthcare informatics, human resources, healthcare finance, or healthcare accounting, to name a few.
In general, you’ll take communication courses, business courses and healthcare industry-specific courses that will equip you for the work you’ll be doing. You can also take graduate elective courses that will enrich your knowledge, giving you an additional edge over others planning to enter this field. If you want to gain additional knowledge in a different field, public administration, business or social work will help you round your learning out more.
Many Master of Healthcare Administration programs require that graduates complete an internship as part of the requirements for graduation. If you haven’t had any health services management experience that includes budgeting or personnel duties, an internship will give you the experience you need.
As you determine which healthcare sector in which you want to work, your internship will give you valuable exposure. Expect to spend roughly 15 to 20 hours each week working in your (unpaid) internship placement. In accordance with your enrollment as a graduate student, this placement will be within an upper level management office in the healthcare organization you have chosen. Instead of coming to the university for a face-to-face class, you’ll communicate with the internship coordinator via weekly memos.
Another option is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Healthcare Administration. These programs prepare you for both private and public-sector leadership roles. Your curriculum will consist of general business classes that are relevant to a healthcare, but then you can concentrate on healthcare administration in the latter part of the graduate degree program. You’ll find one difference in these classes—they have a community and clinical viewpoint that will enable you to focus your thinking in those terms.
You’ll take classes that emphasize the core competencies, such as strategy and leadership. You’ll also learn public policies and community orientation. Other classes will stress economics, financial management, public health, communication skills, professionalism, technology and management science. Here, you’ll also have to complete an internship or other field experience.
Careers and Salary Outlook
Salary and Earnings Potential
The median pay for a health administrator was $48.55, as of 2019. Annually, a health administrator may earn $100,980, again, as of 2019. Between 2016 and 2026, the employment of health administrators is anticipated to grow approximately 20 percent.
Healthcare Management professionals take a directing and planning role in the coordination of health and medical services. They may administer an entire hospital or a private practice clinic. Or, they may oversee a department or a specific medical clinic. As a part of their job roles, health administrators are responsible for ensuring that changes in healthcare practice are carried out in compliance with state and national law and regulations. As they direct healthcare technology, the healthcare administrator will also be responsible for ensuring a successful transition to new or existing information technology.
Here is a good idea of the kinds of health administration jobs for which you can apply once you’ve graduated. They are listed within Florida, and the scope of positions advertised is wide.
- An assisted living facility advertised an opening for an executive director. If you have a desire to work in another area of healthcare, look for a position as a health services manager.
- Practice manager positions are open throughout Florida, each requesting different levels of experience.
- If you are interested in gauging the performance of others in the healthcare field, then perhaps a practice performance manager position would interest you.
- If you are interested in working within a correctional institution, a health services administrator position is available.
- If you prefer working in a smaller, slower-paced setting, a physician practice administrator is also available.
- A health administration position with an emphasis of business integrations may interest you as a career.
- A professional position within a hospital setting, as a medical director or hospitalist may also interest you. Or, if you want to work within an assisted living/independent living environment, a health services director may interest you.
How do the words “executive director” sound? If you like them, your health administration degree will fit the education portion of the job requirements nicely. A similar position as an administrator or practice coordinator position require similar skills and educational backgrounds. If your graduate classes involved informatics work, then you may qualify for a position as a health information management manager. You may also qualify for a position as an executive director/nursing home administrator.
Additional Helpful Resources
Prominent Employers in Florida
For the jobs you can qualify for once you have your degree, you should start looking at the employers looking for those managers.
Baptist Health South Florida employs more than 14,000 people. This is a network of hospitals and research facilities within Florida. South Miami Hospital is one of its facilities.
CHG Healthcare Services employs about 1,400 people and has a presence in the state of Florida. The company is privately owned.
The Mayo Clinic has a presence in Florida, which is no surprise. When you hear “Mayo Clinic,” you know that this privately-owned corporation provides the highest quality of medical care to its patients. Overall (not within Florida only), The Mayo Clinic employs approximately 43,000 employees.
Bradenton is one of Florida’s largest cities. Within the private sector, several healthcare organizations employ a large number of people.
Manatee Memorial Hospital employs 1,200 people.
Blake Medical Center claims 849 employees.
Westminster Towers & Shores employs 214 employees and provides services to its senior residents.
Adventist Health System, in Orlando, employs just over 17,000 people. It is a not-for-profit healthcare organization focused on Christian healthcare. As its name suggests, it supports the Seventh-Day Adventist healthcare organizations located in both the Southwest and Southern areas of the U.S.
Florida Hospital employs 14,225 workers and provides services to Central Florida residents and those around the world.
Orlando Regional Healthcare System provides employment to 12,754 people and operates as a not-for-profit healthcare network. ORHS provides advanced medical treatment and procedures to the people who come in for healthcare.
Health Administration Associations
Several organizations within Florida exist to allow healthcare administrators and managers to meet each other, network and learn from each other.
The Florida Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is one resource for education, information, industry contacts and a good exchange of ideas for member administrators. This group’s mission is to “advance the art and science of medical practice management to improve the health of our communities.”
The Florida Hospital Association is another association you can join as a health administrator. If your position means that you help to run a Florida hospital, your membership in the FHA allows you to keep up-to-date on health care issues, current news, health initiatives and even current legislative issues.
The American College of Health Care Administrators is another group you should consider joining. Here, you’ll be collaborating with other health administrators from other hospitals in your state.
Membership here means you’ll be able to connect to other healthcare associations, such as ElderSource, The Florida Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and the Florida Health Care Association.
Once you become a member, you’ll be able to use a peer-to-peer hotline that enables you to get guidance, answers and suggestions at any time your hospital encounters an issue.
The national association of the American College of Health Care Administrators can offer you an additional opportunity that marks your professional achievements in your field. Achieving “Fellow” status indicates to other health administrators that you have worked hard in your field.
The ACHCA blog will provide you with valuable information that will guide you in your daily decisions. Once you become a member of this association, make sure you visit the blog regularly.
Becoming a healthcare administrator is closer than you think. With the education you need, you are well on your way to this exciting field of “business within healthcare.”