The U.S. healthcare system is massive. To keep it functioning, we need talented doctors, nurses, researchers, and administrators. In fact, administrators are so vital to the healthcare system that medical and health services managers earn a median annual salary of nearly $100,000.1 It’s a lucrative and important career. So … how do you break in?
If you’ve never worked in healthcare administration, you may think the healthcare administrator career path is closed to you. But that’s not true. Here are some steps you can take to start a healthcare administration career.
Almost all healthcare administrator jobs require you to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. For higher-level jobs, consider a master’s degree—in particular, a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA).
You don’t need a background in healthcare management to enroll in an MHA program. But if you choose to pursue an MHA, you’ll gain valuable knowledge that can help you launch your healthcare administration career. In addition to focusing on administrative skills, a master’s in healthcare administration program will ground you in the essentials of the healthcare industry, helping you build an in-depth understanding of the insurance-based reimbursement system, government regulations, medical ethics, health informatics, and more.
And thanks to online education, earning your master’s is more feasible than you might think. Through an MHA program at an online university, you can complete your coursework from home. Plus, the online learning format gives you the freedom to complete your coursework when it works best for you—making it possible to work full time while earning your degree.
Some online MHA programs even offer a competency-based degree path, which provides additional flexibility. In a competency-based degree program, you learn at your own pace and earn credits by mastering specific subjects. The faster you master subjects, the faster you can earn your MHA degree.
While professional certification is not a requirement for most healthcare administration jobs, it can be a great addition to your résumé. Some of the most valuable certifications include:
Certified Revenue Cycle Professional: Offered by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) and designed for healthcare administration professionals who work with the capture, management, and collection of patient service revenue.
Certified Compliance Technician: Offered by the AAHAM and designed for healthcare administration professionals who work on government and insurance compliance issues.
Certified Medical Manager: Offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management and designed for healthcare administration professionals who manage or want to manage an office or practice.
When it comes to finding a good healthcare administration job, belonging to a professional organization can be quite helpful to your career. Professional groups offer job boards and networking opportunities, and many offer resources for students. The right professional group for you depends on which area of healthcare administration you wish to enter. Some of the largest groups include:
Medical Group Management Association: For group practice managers.
Professional Association of Health Care Office Management: For small-group or single-practice managers.
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management: For administration professionals on the financial side of the healthcare industry.
American College of Health Care Administrators: For administrators of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
American College of Healthcare Executives: For healthcare CEOs and those on track to one day become CEOs.
Once you’ve earned a healthcare administration degree and have decided whether or not to earn certification or join a professional group, you’ll be ready to start your healthcare administration career. While top-level jobs typically require previous experience, many jobs are available to those just starting out. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the healthcare industry will create 72,000 new positions for medical and health services managers between 2016 and 2026.1 One of those jobs could be yours.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.