Healthcare administration careers represent one of the fastest-growing careers within the healthcare industry. The field of healthcare itself is growing at such a rate as to outstrip nearly every other career path in the United States and is estimated to be responsible for nearly three out of every 10 new jobs created over the next decade. For students earning a masters in healthcare administration online or offline, this is very good news indeed. Healthcare-focused students will graduate into a wealth of new opportunities in both traditional and emerging disciplines within the vast healthcare field, unlike their peers in other tracks who may struggle against the ongoing sluggish job market in most areas. Learn about the three basic steps you need to know to take advantage of such strong job growth and launch your career in healthcare administration as quickly and profitably as possible.
Your first step will necessarily be to research the field of healthcare, scanning all the while for healthcare administration-focused positions and choosing an area of the healthcare field that you want to invest your energy, skill and education into. There are different areas where your skills and education will be greatly needed, from major hospitals and rehabilitation centers to small group practices and healthcare business consulting firms. Healthcare administration itself, which is basically the study and practice of the systems that make any size organization under the healthcare umbrella function effectively and profitably, translates well to every area, so if you have a particular interest in geriatric medicine, oncology, pediatrics, counseling, rehabilitative services, education and prevention, or other fields, it is good to identify your interest early and use this knowledge to hone your job search towards opportunities in your chosen area.
Step TwoFrom here, your second step will be to identify the right graduate program for your needs and career goals. While having an advanced degree at the masters or doctorate level is not required to find a job in healthcare administration, it is certainly a requirement to ascend up the corporate ladder to the executive ranks and for many management-level positions as well. Not only will obtaining your graduate level education prepare you to find a job at a better salary with better benefits, but it will also open a number of career doors for you that would otherwise remain closed to you. You may have to take care in timing the start of your graduate degree program, which typically will take one to two years to complete, but it is worth it to build an advanced degree into your overall career plan right from the start so you don’t limit your career opportunities.
You will need to make several key decisions, including when to go to school, where to go and what type of program to choose. Some schools offer both online and offline classes for some or all coursework that is required; so choosing a school with this option can aid in working your coursework into your work schedule. Because a graduate level educational program is more individualized and you will rely in much larger part on your own ability to self-motivate, taking online classes can be the best way to work an advanced degree into a busy schedule.
Step ThreeFinally, your third step to launch a new career in the field of healthcare administration will be to begin searching for jobs. This will be applicable whether you are planning to remain with your current employer or to look for a new employer after you graduate with an advanced degree. You will want to use your years in your degree plan to network with your professors, graduate advisors, college program administrators, local professionals, peers and anyone else who may be able to help you land the job you most want.
Because an advanced degree only attracts a smaller percentage of employees who plan to spend their careers in healthcare, you will have access to networking opportunities that your peers who only hold bachelors degrees will not have. Be sure to make good use of the opportunity and also identify the employers you most wish to work for and contact them while you are still in school to see if you can win an internship or conduct a collaborative research project so you can build your relationship with them before you are ready to apply for a job.
About the AuthorTony Blaine is a master’s student who thoroughly researched healthcare administration career options before choosing this career path.