It's true that much of the excitement in health care occurs in the emergency or delivery room, but a group of people is also hard at work behind the scenes. From payment of bills to creating employee schedules, these managers are responsible for making sure the business runs smoothly.
While office work may seem mundane to some, a degree in health care office management may lead to important roles such as overseeing an important health care project or heading up particular types of facilities. In fact, James Madison University reports that health care administrators take on leadership positions, helping to direct staff and engaging in planning and organizing. Individuals in this field also need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills to help them succeed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Health care administrative specializations
There are many facets of management related to health care, and those who want to enter the industry may want to specialize in a particular field. A specialization that's part of a four-year program can give you the opportunity to explore niche areas. Some of the specializations that you could find at health care office management schools include:
- Entrepreneurship: Increase your business and technical skills by learning what it takes to launch or manage an entrepreneurial enterprise.
- Finance: Gain skills in financial management and learn about the financial practices and theory useful in a health care setting.
- Health care management: Learn about a number of different subjects related to health care administration, including finance, health insurance, information systems, marketing and more.
- Human resources: Gain skills to help you build and develop an effective health care services team and strategies for optimizing processes or departments.
- Informatics systems: Find out how data analytics, big data and real-time systems can help to improve delivery and quality of health services.
- Long-term management: Explore the decisions and factors that go into long-term care and what influences consumers in their decision making.
- Project management: Gain leadership skills and learn how to build upon new opportunities as they arise.
Another option for entering health management is to pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration. Instead of offering specializations specific to health care, these degrees typically offer you a concentration related to health care management.
Health care administrative degrees and certifications
Most medical and health services managers obtain a bachelor's degree in health administration, according to the BLS. Health administration degrees can be valuable in readying students for higher-level management opportunities. These programs also help you to learn about relevant topics, such as accounting, budgeting, health economics, human resources, information systems and more. Not all programs will offer any or all of the specializations mentioned above, but they should help students to gain a well-rounded education in a variety of important health care areas.
After completing your degree, licensing is required if you do decide to become an administrator at a nursing care facility, reports the BLS. In some states, licensing is also required to enter administration at a long-term care facility. Requirements generally include a bachelor's degree, passing an exam, and graduating from a state-approved program. You could seek certification either through the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) or the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA).
Salary and career outlook for health service managers
Graduates of health care office management schools can look forward to strong career growth opportunities in the field. The BLS reports that jobs for medical and health services managers should grow nationwide by 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, leading to a potential 73,300 new jobs becoming available during the time. Growth is expected to be even stronger in specific states, such as Arizona, at 28.2 percent, Colorado, at 26.5 percent, and Georgia, at 29.1 percent. Another consideration is that the mean annual wage nationwide for medical and health services managers, as of May 2013, was $101,340, according to the BLS.
With significant growth anticipated for medical and health service manager careers, it may be a smart decision to consider attending one of the health care office management schools. Start by checking out some of the schools in your area.
Career Guide to JMU Majors: Health Services Administration, James Madison University, Accessed Jan. 26, 2015, http://www.jmu.edu/cap/careerguide/hsa.shtml.
Certification, American College of Healthcare Administrators, Accessed Jan. 26, 2015, http://www.achca.org/index.php/development/certification
Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
Healthcare Administration, Ashford University, Accessed Jan. 21, 2015, http://www.ashford.edu/degrees/online/ba-health-care-administration.htm
Long-term Occupational Projects, Projections Central, Accessed Jan. 26, 2015, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
Medical and Health Service Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistic, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4
Medical and Health Service Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119111.htm