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Healthcare Administration Schools and Training Programs

As with any type of business, the business of medical care requires trained management personnel. Health services and health care managers are responsible for planning and coordinating healthcare delivery. Some health care administrators are specialists, supervising a specific practice area or department, while others are generalists, responsible for an entire health care facility.

Health Care Administration and Management Careers

Health care administrators face unique challenges due to the changing nature of patient care, and the expected increase in the need for health care services when baby boomers retire. Health care delivery is affected by numerous regulatory concerns that must be addressed. Managers are under constant pressure to hold down costs, and must work to improve efficiency and increasingly rely on techniques such as managed care and outpatient services.

Healthcare managers have to be good decision makers. They frequently have responsibility for a physical plant with expensive, specialized equipment, and hundreds or thousands of employees. An understanding of finance, information systems, human relationships and leadership skills is essential to a successful career.

Roles of Healthcare Managers in Different Sized Facilities

In large health care facilities, such as hospitals, several assistant administrators will be in charge of areas such as surgery, therapy, and nursing. Other assistants may be responsible for medical records and health information services. There will also be other managerial personnel in non-health-care-related areas. Smaller facilities, such as nursing homes, will have a senior manager with responsibilities for most operational areas.

Part of the consolidation of the health care industry involves multiple physicians establishing a group practice. In smaller practices, administrative duties are frequently assigned to a medical office manager, who will coordinate patient relations, order supplies, and manage insurance reimbursement, billing, and financing. In group practices with more than 10 physicians, a full-time administrator is used to run the business operations. In the largest of group practices, a chief administrator may have several assistants, each one assigned to a specific area, such as patient flow, financing, or purchasing.

The work of health care managers and administrators can be demanding. Because many facilities are open around the clock, an administrator can be called in at any time to solve a problem. Despite the long hours, however, a career in health care management can be very rewarding.

Health Care Administration Training and Educational Requirements

Managers of healthcare facilities must be familiar with standard business management practices and procedures, along with the specific requirements of health care delivery. While a bachelor's degree may be sufficient for entry-level positions at the department level, or in smaller practices, a master's degree is the standard educational requirement for senior-level generalists in most larger facilities. The degree may be an MBA, or a degree in public health, health services administration, health sciences, or public administration -- and can be earned from traditional or online grad schools.

Clinical managers, whose responsibilities include departmental administration, typically have training in the clinical area they supervise. For example, the director of a hospital's surgery department will usually be a surgeon. In this case, a graduate degree in health services administration would increase the individual's advancement potential.

Training in healthcare administration is offered by colleges and universities at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. To be admitted to a graduate degree program, either an undergraduate degree in business or health, or a degree in the liberal arts with experience in the healthcare field are preferred.

Most graduate programs take between two and three years to complete. Programs may be general in nature, covering all types of health care delivery, or they may be specific to one type of facility, such as hospitals or mental health facilities. Coursework typically includes training in hospital management, marketing, accounting, health economics, and health information systems.

Graduates of bachelor's degree programs can start their careers as assistant department heads or administrative assistants in larger facilities, or as department heads in smaller facilities. Graduates of master's level programs may start either in managerial or staff positions, depending on experience and the size of the organization.

Employment in Health Care Administration and Management Positions

Approximately 283,500 medical and health services managers were employed in 2008, with 38% working in hospitals, 19% in nursing or personal care facilities or doctor's offices and clinics, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov). The remainder were employed by the government, dental facilities, or other locations.

Medical and health services managers earned an average of $93,670 per year in 2010, the bls.gov reports. The top 10 percent earners in this occupation make an average of $144,880 per year, while the bottom 10 percent makes $51,280. Pay tends to be higher in hospitals, and lower in nursing homes and other personal care facilities. The size of the health care facility and the responsibilities of the employee affects earnings as well.

Employment Growth for Healthcare Management Positions

Health care management employment is expected to grow faster than average: 16 percent from 2008 to 2018 (bls.gov, 2010). Growth will be particularly high in home health care, long term care, and managed care operations. Senior management positions in hospitals will grow more slowly as health care delivery moves towards more outpatient visits and shorter stays.

This move towards outpatient services, plus improved medical technology, will drive employment in group practices and residential facilities. These facilities will become larger and more complex, and will require experienced managers to maintain profitability and control costs.

Additional Information for Healthcare Management Degree Pursuers Found on Health-Care-Careers.org:
Medical Coding and Billing Training Program

Additional Resources for Healthcare Management School Prospects:
Healthcare Administration Association
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals Organization

Campus and Online Healthcare Administration Schools

 
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Capella University

[Online]
Programs:
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Quick Summary: The world of health care is changing rapidly - will you stay ahead? Explore degree options at Capella University.

West Coast University

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Programs:
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Touro University Worldwide

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Locations:
  • Los Alamitos
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  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
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Quick Summary: Touro University Worldwide (TUW) is a non-profit university, accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, and is part of the Touro College and University System.

Platt College

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Programs:
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Liberty University

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California College San Diego

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Keiser University Graduate School

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Fremont College

[Online]
Programs:
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Fremont College traces its roots to Platt College’s founding in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879, and the Southern California branch campus was established in 1986.

Argosy University

[Campus]
Programs:
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Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.


Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

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Locations:
  • Washington
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Located in the heart of Washington, D.C. the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University is dedicated to advancing the health of local, national and global communities.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree to be qualified for this school.


American University

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Programs:
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National Career College

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Ohio Christian University

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Saint Joseph's University

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Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).


US Colleges

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U.S. Colleges has been helping students enhance their career skills since 1996.

 


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