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Is a Healthcare Administration Degree Right for You?

Posted By Staff Writer on March 24, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a doctor or a nurse to get a high-paying, fast-growing job in the healthcare industry. With a healthcare administration degree, you could launch a rewarding new healthcare career. And the best part? You won't have to perform surgery on anyone to get there! So, how do you know whether a healthcare administration degree is right for you? Read on to find out more.

What exactly is healthcare administration?

When you think about it, running a healthcare facility, such as a hospital, really isn't too different from running a business. Without sound business practices, healthcare sites couldn't serve their customers (patients) effectively. As an administrator, you'll be in charge of a healthcare organization's business operations. You'll help ensure that patients receive the best care possible. Depending on the location, size, and type of facility you work for, your responsibilities can vary greatly. Your duties could include anything from handling budgets to managing medical staff. Other responsibilities might include things such as negotiating with vendors, keeping track of inventory, and starting community health programs. In other words, if you're looking for a dynamic career where you could make a real difference in people's lives, healthcare administration could be a great match for you.

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If you're wondering if a healthcare administration degree is worth it, just look at the job outlook. Jobs in healthcare are growing fast and offer great stability even in a struggling economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the economy will create over 56,300 new healthcare administration jobs by the year 2024. That's a growth rate of 17 percent—much faster than the average for all occupations.1

Health Care Admin Chart

Getting started: earning your healthcare administration degree

To become qualified for healthcare administration jobs, you need to start by earning a bachelor's in healthcare administration degree. Some students opt to go for their master's degree.2 This, however, isn't always a requirement. Depending on the areas you want to specialize in, you may also need a number of professional licenses or certifications.3 Your healthcare administration degree will teach you a mix of medical and business management skills, so you can become an effective administrator in today's healthcare system. At California College San Diego, for example, here are some subject areas you'll learn about:

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  • Accounting
  • Pharmacy technology
  • Healthcare finance
  • Healthcare economics and policy
  • Long-term care management
  • Medical lab processes and procedures
  • Healthcare operations
  • Human resources
  • Medical terms, law, and ethics
  • Drug administration
  • Medical billing

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  • Healthcare policy analysis
  • Issues in managed care
  • Organizational behavior
  • Managing healthcare personnel
  • Quality assurance
  • Healthcare information systems
  • Legal considerations in healthcare delivery
  • Healthcare marketing and planning

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After you finish your degree, you could launch your career at a large hospital, perhaps working as an administrative assistant. Or, you could start as an assistant department head in surgery, physical therapy, maternity, or another area. Another option is starting in a smaller hospital, clinic, or nursing care facility, where you could work as an assistant administrator. There are also great opportunities in private medical practices, outpatient care centers, and rehabilitation clinics.