According to The Atlantic, the health care industry has become the largest source of jobs in the U.S. Hiring will likely continue in the years ahead due to the ongoing need to provide personal, local care to an aging American population. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the health care and social assistance sector will have a higher rate of job growth than any other U.S. industry between 2016 and 2026. Expectations of rising demand and stable employment are excellent motivators for professionals who already work in health care and individuals who are considering pursuing a degree in the field, such as a Master of Science in Health Administration (MHA). Studying health care can also prepare students to take on leadership roles in their organizations while developing skills to help their teams provide higher-quality patient care.
High Demand for Health Care Workers
About 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day, according to CNBC. As a result, there is a massive need for health care workers to take care of these older citizens. CNN Money reports that 2.3 million new health care workers will be needed by 2025 — a staggering number that has hospitals, outpatient facilities, and home-care providers struggling to hire enough qualified professionals as patient numbers soar. This scarcity of qualified workers is a major reason why work in health care is booming.
Furthermore, the BLS reported that between 2016 and 2026, the number of medical and health services management jobs in the U.S. is expected to grow by 20% — significantly faster than the national average of 7 percent. Another reason for the strong health care job market is that while automation and globalization have destabilized labor markets in many American industries, health care has been “substantially resistant to both,” according to The Atlantic.
As the sector continues to evolve, there will be a growing need for qualified health care administrators to lead their organizations and adapt to changing needs and priorities. Some health administration occupations that are currently in high demand include:
Clinics are medium-sized health care organizations that offer outpatient medical services. In most cases health clinics provide primary care, but some also administer specialized services, such as reproductive, ambulatory, or mental health care. Clinical managers oversee the business and administrative operations of these facilities, with a goal of ensuring that the clinic delivers quality care while still remaining profitable. Their daily tasks include setting goals for their teams, managing finances, and coordinating staff, but they may also be involved with developing internal policies and creating reports that guide the organization’s operations.
Being a capable clinical manager requires a combination of strong leadership competencies, as well as a foundation of knowledge about the structure of health care systems. The basic requirement to become a clinical manager is usually a bachelor’s degree in health care administration or a related field, but MHA graduates have more advanced training in the managerial concepts involved with leading complex health care organizations.
Health Information Managers
Health information managers lead technology teams that are responsible for securing sensitive patient information. Their work largely revolves around managing large volumes of data, while developing and implementing company policies to keep that data safe. Because health information management is a highly technical role, these professionals must be educated on the latest trends in information technology. To prepare students for this leadership role, MHA programs provide instruction in key technical skills as well as methods for managing and organizing employees.
Nursing Home Administrators
Nursing homes house and provide health care services for people who are unable to live independently. Nursing home managers carry out human resources duties and manage administrative activities for their organizations. Human resources responsibilities typically include recruiting, hiring, training, and supervising employees. Administrative tasks can range from managing financial resources to overseeing maintenance and upkeep for the facility.
All states require nursing home administrators to acquire state licenses. The most common requirement is completing an accredited training program and passing a national exam, but the specific requirements vary depending on the state in which an applicant plans to work. The typical minimum education required for this role is a bachelor’s degree, but completing an MHA curriculum can equip aspiring health care professionals with the tools they need to be more competitive in the hiring process.
Administrators Leading the Way
Health care administrators provide leadership to others in their field. They also play a central role in filling in the gaps in the health care workforce. These leaders are often responsible for sourcing, organizing, and placing workers where their skills are most needed.
How to Become a Health Care Administrator
Prospective health care administrators usually have at least a bachelor’s degree in health administration, health management, business administration, nursing, or public health administration. Because of the complex skills required in this role, however, employers often prefer applicants who have master’s degrees.
A Master of Science in Health Administration (MHA) program provides students with the accelerated level of knowledge and experience that is required to become an effective health care administrator. The degree entails over 100 hours of hands-on experience and courses in ethical, legal, social, and political issues relevant to the modern health care industry. The graduate program usually lasts two years.
Essential Health Care Administrator Skills
For those wondering about pursuing an MHA, it is important to also consider the skills, traits, and competencies necessary to be successful as a health care administrator. Some of the most important heath care administrator qualities are below.
Attention to detail: This crucial trait enables health care administrators to manage scheduling, billing, and other sensitive information for institutions such as hospitals and outpatient facilities.
Organizational skills: Health care administrators are called on to see the bigger picture. They are responsible for coordinating administrative procedures, billing, and schedules. They also organize the people working within their institutions by filling staff positions or rotating workers who fit better into different roles.
Technological proficiency: Health care administrators must stay current on the technologies and analytics that their organizations use on a regular basis, such as electronic health record (EHR) systems and hospital intranets.
Interpersonal communication: A health care administrator must be able to communicate with colleagues, staff, and the public clearly and diplomatically. This often includes discussing potentially sensitive issues, such as personnel matters, finances, and legal liability.
Knowledge of health care concepts: Health care administrators must have a deep working knowledge of health care laws and regulations to ensure that their facilities are compliant and protected from liability.
Graduates of Regis College’s online Master of Health Administration program are equipped with the skills to become successful leaders in a variety of health professions. Find more details about courses and future career options on Regis’ MHA program website.