Health care is a key public policy issue in the U.S., and much debate in the political arena revolves around issues including health insurance coverage, public health initiatives, and health-related research. If these topics interest you, consider a major in health administration. People in the field of health care administration are leaders and are interested in serving others and solving problems. They have effective communication and analytical skills, as well as the ability to motivate others. These stills are necessary because health administrators must communicate effectively with numerous stakeholders, including patients, doctors, investors, and policymakers.
As students, they learn the maze of laws that affect the health care industry and how to interact with personnel. Graduates are prepared for entry-level management positions in hospitals, clinics, public agencies, and other health care organizations.
Classes and Assignments of a Health Administration Major
While majoring in health administration, students take courses in areas such as management, epidemiology, health law, health finance, and economics. They will learn about the nation’s health care system, as well as the challenges that health care organizations, from pharmaceutical companies to government agencies, face. Students will also learn technical skills involved in planning and delivering health services, such as how to manage finances and deliver care. Some programs may require students to participate in an internship at a hospital or another health care organization. Regardless of whether this is mandatory, students should seek opportunities to attain field experience while still in school. Students should also note that the majority of health administration programs are offered at the master’s and doctoral degree levels, so students must already have an undergraduate degree before they can specialize in health administration.
Degree Levels for a Health Administration Major
- Bachelor’s. Online bachelors health administration degrees open doors to entry-level opportunities at health care organizations such as hospitals and clinics. Courses in accounting, budgeting, hospital organization, and health information systems provide students with a solid foundation. However, students should consider pursing a graduate degree to attain management opportunities. With only a bachelor’s degree, it may be difficult to work up to a top-level position in health care administration. Students are therefore advised to pursue online masters health administration degrees or online PhD health administration degrees.
- Master’s. A master’s degree in health administration or related field, such as public health, will land students jobs in the health care industry. However, they may start out as assistant administrators or managers of non-health departments. Graduates must be willing to work their way up the corporate ladder. Eventually, they may attain positions as executive-level administrators, responsible for policy directives. As managers, they may assess the need for services, equipment, and personnel. Students may also want to consider MBA programs that offer a specialization in health care administration.
- Doctoral. A Ph.D. in health care administration prepares students for careers in academia, as well as careers in research and policy analysis. Students aim to understand and analyze the technical problems and policy issues within the health care industry. Ph.D. students may address social issues such as equity, efficiency, and political feasibility in forming health care policy. They may also contend with practical issues, such as organizing, financing, and evaluating health services.
A Future as a Health Administration Major
Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the country, so it offers a vast array of business opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the industry will generate 3.2 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018, which is more than any other industry. The duties of health administrators are vast and varied. Determining factors include the size and the operations of the health facility. Wages also vary, based on an individual’s experience and expertise. According to PayScale, a hospital administrator may earn anywhere from $39,776 to $180,859. Of course, this range may fluctuate.
Students with a degree in Health Administration are considered well prepared for
becoming Medical and health services managers.