Healthcare Administrators Jobs - Hospitals, Public Health, Private Practice
Behind every clinic, hospital, public health agency, and nursing home is a hardworking healthcare administrator. These medical executives are essential, relatively invisible, players in the healthcare industry. They are also versatile leaders as they have experience in both healthcare and in management and administration.
Healthcare administrators work in a variety of settings, ensuring that patient and staff needs are met, federal and state regulations are met, and insurance requirements are fulfilled. Most healthcare administrators have a master’s degree in health administration, business administration, or public health. There are numerous specializations they might hold as well, including health information management, law and policy, finance, and advocacy.
Jobs for healthcare administrators can be found in many places, but are generally in one of four categories: hospitals, public health, private practice, and nursing and residential care. Roles in each of these categories vary, as do certification and licensing requirements. Continue reading to learn more about each workplace including duties, pay range, and typical places of employment.
Usually the largest healthcare organization in a community is a hospital. These complex institutions are overseen by a team of healthcare administrators ranging from the executives of the hospital such as the CEO and COO all the way to individual department directors. Hospitals offer healthcare administration professionals excellent work experience with the opportunity for advancement.
Administrators employed by hospitals must have leadership expertise and be strong communicators. While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for this role, most administrators have a master’s degree in health administration or a related field such as business administration with an emphasis in healthcare. Job duties include:
- Managing budgets
- Setting prices for services
- Ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations
- Overseeing the collection and storage of patient data
- Charting organizational strategy
- Maintaining relationships with insurance agencies
- Establishing institution-wide policies on billing
- Ensuring patient care standards are being met
Over a third of healthcare administrators work in hospital settings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019). The number of positions is expected to swell 18 percent between 2018 and 2028 and a healthcare administrator working in a hospital can expect to earn an average of $120,540 per year.
The well-being of communities is managed by public health agencies. The success of these nonprofits and government programs is overseen by healthcare administrators whose passion is community disease prevention and health. Healthcare administrators who work in public health have typically earned a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) with an emphasis on public health administration.
Administrators who work in public health can be found in a variety of workplaces including:
- Public health offices
- Advocacy groups
- Regulatory agencies
The complexities of public health require that administrators in this field have strong leadership skills, can manage teams effectively, have exceptional budgeting experience, and are able to consider political and economic influences. Job duties include:
- Educating the public on health issues
- Managing limited budgets
- Assessing community public health needs
- Submitting grant proposals
- Building community outreach programs
Public health administrators are not required to be licensed although certifications can improve earning potential and job prospects. According to PayScale (2019), professionals in this field can expect to earn $64,952 per year on average.
Physicians may be excellent at patient care but can lack the skills necessary to run a private practice. Consequently, they employ healthcare administrators to keep everything running smoothly.
Private practices can be primary care offices or specialist clinics. Administrators working there are required to be versatile and flexible. Private practices tend to involve more patient interaction for both the physicians and support staff. These duties may include:
- Recruiting and managing staff
- Overseeing building maintenance
- Managing the clinics finances, including accounts payable and receivable
- Ensuring regulatory compliance
- Charting the course for the business with the help of the physician owners
- Maintaining patient data and confidentiality
- Performing general administrative tasks such as setting schedules, ordering supplies, and contacting patients
- Coordinating insurance billings
Administrators working in private practice clinics are in high demand and they can expect to earn $105,810 per year on average (BLS 2019).
Nursing and Residential Care
The American population is rapidly aging. By 2034, the number of adults over the age of 64 will outnumber the number of children under the age of 18 (Census Bureau “The Graying of America” 2018). This increase in eldery population is driving demand for more and better quality long-term care facilities. As one means to control quality, all 50 states require that administrators of nursing and residential care facilities be licensed.
Requirements to be a licensed nursing home administrator (LNHA) vary by state, but most require at least a four year degree and between 200 to 2,000 training hours.
Duties for these health care managers in long term care facilities include:
- Facility oversight
- Hiring and managing employees
- Ensuring federal and state regulation compliance
- Managing patient and staff satisfaction
- Setting and overseeing the budget for the facility
- Establishing disease prevention protocols
- Implementing policies for pharmaceuticals control
- Coordinating insurance billings
Professionals working as healthcare administrators in nursing and residential care earn lower wages than professionals employed in other workplaces. On average they can expect to earn $92,750 per year (BLS 2019).
Certifications for Healthcare Administrators
All states currently require administrators of long term care facilities or nursing homes to be licensed. Certification for professionals in other workplaces is strongly encouraged, although not required. By obtaining certification, health care administrators demonstrate their expertise and can improve their earning potential. The following organizations offer certification for healthcare administrators. :
National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Board (NAB)
Professionals pursuing a career as a nursing home or long-term care administrator are required to be licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Certification is obtained by completing education requirements, administrator in training (AIT) hours, and passing the state required tests. Required test may include the nursing home administrator (NHA) exam through the NAB or a state specific exam.
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)
The AAHAM is an association specifically professionals who work in financial health care management. They oversee billing practices, collection and credit protocols, and manage revenue cycles. Revenue cycle managers are employed in all healthcare workplaces. There are five certification options:
- Certified Revenue Cycle Executive
- Certified Revenue Cycle Professional
- Certified Revenue Integrity Professional
- Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist
- Certified Compliance Technician
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
A certification from the AHIMA demonstrates a professionals competency in healthcare informatics and information management. They offer eight certifications that cover all aspects of information management, privacy and security, coding, and data analysis in healthcare. AHIMA credentials are earned through exams, education, and experience in the field.
Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)
PAHCOM offers certification as a certified medical manager (CMM) or health information technology certified manager for physician practice (HITCM-PP). Those who have earned the CMM certification have at least two years of work experience, have completed higher education courses in healthcare management, and have demonstrated competency through an exam in medical practice administration. Certification as a HITCM-PP is for professionals with the same base qualifications but have completed higher education courses in information management.
Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHAP)
A credential as a certified healthcare administrative professional (cHAP) earned through the AHAP demonstrates proficiency in healthcare management. Professionals are required to have relevant work experience and education prior to taking the certification exam. Holding the well respected cHAP designation is a mark or professionalism, education, experience, and skill.
American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
The Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) is one of the premier credentials healthcare executives can earn. It is a mark of leadership, education, and experience. Professionals must have at least five years of work experience as a healthcare manager and have at least a master’s degree in the field. They also must provide two references and documentation of involvement in at least two healthcare or civic volunteer projects. Once eligibility is confirmed, applicants must pass the rigorous Board of Governors Exam.