Healthcare is an unimaginably enormous industry in the United States. While most people think of doctors and nurses as the core of healthcare, the truth is that healthcare providers would be much less effective at helping patients achieve health without the support of legions of healthcare administrators.
Healthcare administration is a field associated with the operation of healthcare facilities. Most often, healthcare administrators are business professionals with skills like business leadership, accounting, finance, marketing and more.
However, healthcare organizations operate markedly differently from typical organizations, and thus, healthcare administrators tend to have specialized experience to help them navigate the unique and confounding landscape of the U.S. healthcare system. In return, healthcare administrators have the opportunity to earn notably high salaries, especially at the highest levels of the career field.
So, how do you become a healthcare administrator? Fortunately, there are a few paths you might take to achieve healthcare administration career dreams.
Are You A Business Professional?
Healthcare administration is essentially the business side of the healthcare industry, and thus, professionals with a career-worth of experience in business can contribute their expertise to the proper functioning of the healthcare industry.
Like organizations within any other industry, healthcare facilities require a range of business knowledge and skill, from operations and data analysis to budgeting, quality assurance, marketing, customer service, law and regulatory compliance and more. Suffice it to say that there is a role within healthcare administration for almost any experienced business professional interested in pivoting into this field.
Joining healthcare administration as a business professional could be as simple as applying for an available position that suits your work history and interests.
However, you might improve your ability to function in the healthcare industry by enrolling in online courses that offer some foundational instruction in healthcare administration. You can look for courses related to healthcare management, public health, healthcare law, healthcare trends and more.
Once you are situated in your administrative role, you might go out of your way to listen to the perspective of healthcare providers, who in addition to performing the day-to-day work supported by healthcare administration are likely to know more about the industry than you and thus can supply you with invaluable information to guide your decision-making.
Are You A Healthcare Provider?
Doctors and nurses have a unique perspective within the healthcare industry. As those responsible for meeting and treating patients, healthcare providers understand better than the typical business professional how a facility functions at the ground level and what might be changed to improve patient outcomes now and into the future.
Many healthcare providers become burned out by practicing medicine, especially in unpredictable, high-stress environments like hospitals. Transitioning to healthcare administration roles can provide ex-providers more structure over their workday while increasing the authority they have over the processes and policies of their organization.
In many cases, healthcare providers are welcomed into healthcare administration roles with little additional training. Because they already understand the needs of the healthcare environment, doctors and nurses tend to thrive in particular administrative positions.
To make the pivot into healthcare administration as a provider, you might volunteer for more administrative responsibilities within your current role. Then, when you feel that you have adequate administrative experience, you can apply for available positions within the administrative side of your organization.
Are You Just Starting out?
Not everyone interested in becoming a healthcare administrator has a career of related experience that they can lend to their intended role. While many of the most attractive positions within healthcare administration may demand decades of work in the field or else advanced degrees, most anyone can get started in this field without any career experience whatsoever.
There are dozens of positions within healthcare administration that are well-suited to beginners, such as medical administrative assistants, who perform many of the most essential tasks for keeping healthcare facilities organized and functioning well. Jobs like these can be accessed with basic training from online programs, which can be completed in less than one year.
Whether you want to join the healthcare industry because you relish the opportunity to do something important with your work, or whether you are interested in healthcare administration for the earning opportunities, you can find a way into this field regardless of your past work experience.