Earning a health care administration degree can be the gateway to some of the best job opportunities becoming available now and even more so in the near future. In contrast to nurses and doctors who provide the actual patient care that people need for medical issues, health care administrators manage the programs and services through which this care is provided. Because of the aging Baby Boomer population now requiring more care, the amazing developments in medical science, and the current and future progress with automated health records, health care administration will be one of the most in-demand fields in the next several years.
Employment Outlook in Health Care
Job opportunities in the field of health care administration are expected to increase 16% by 2016, which is faster than the national average of 12%. Most of these positions will continue to be in hospitals because of the large workforce they currently employ, but the growth rate of positions will be slower than those in other settings.
Because many procedures and services are now being provided outside hospitals at doctor’s offices and through home health care agencies, the demand for administrators in these settings will increase throughout the coming decade. Health care management companies that provide services to hospitals and other providers will also employ greater numbers of administrators.
The earnings potential in health care administration is great. In May of 2006 the median annual salary in the field was just over $73,000 with the highest earnings topping $127,000. Those who oversee large hospitals or medical practices involving more than 25 physicians make the most money.
Educational Requirements in Health Care
Although a bachelor’s or even an associate’s degree in health care administration can be sufficient for entry-level positions in smaller health care facilities, a master’s degree is usually needed for the positions with more responsibility and consequently higher salaries. Fortunately, several different online health care administration degree options are available including associate of arts, bachelor of science, and master of arts degrees.
Medical, pharmacy and health information systems
Specialties in medical records, pharmacy practice, long-term care, and health information systems can also be earned through these degrees.
Other online programs that lead to careers in health care administration include a bachelor’s degree in organizational management with an emphasis on health care systems, a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in health care management, and a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on nursing administration.
A Ph.D. in health care administration is also available online.
Regardless of the degree path chosen students with the appropriate education are prepared not only for the job market but also for the licensing exams for health care administrators required in all states. With the growing need to make health care more efficient and affordable at the same time it improves the quality of services delivered, those prepared with a health care administration degree will be in high demand.