Should You Go into Healthcare Administration? Here’s Why It’s a Great Choice for Career Changers

If you’re looking for a change of career, then you may not have considered healthcare administration. Whether you’ve worked in healthcare before or are in a completely different business and looking to change over, there are several routes into healthcare administration and varied roles that might suit your existing skills and experience. Here is why you may want to consider a career change into this growing industry and how you can get started.

The healthcare industry is huge

Firstly, you should think about the size of the healthcare industry, as a broader industry will give you a lot of different career options. In the USA, there are nearly 6,000 hospitals, a mixture of private and not-for-profit, with almost a million beds available for patients at any one time. All these patients generate paperwork, insurance claims, and lots of other administrative tasks that need to be handled and overseen. That’s not considering the many different healthcare settings across the country where patients are seen every day. It’s no wonder health and social care is the 4th biggest industry in the country. This can give you stability and means you can find roles across the USA.

It’s set to be a highly in-demand career

A lot of people change careers because their current industry becomes obsolete or is going through a difficult patch. If you change careers, you want to know that the skills and experience you gain are in-demand. Healthcare administration skills are highly sought-after, and the job outlook is good, with a growth of about 18% expected in the next decade. This could, therefore, give you a stable second career.

The aging population means the healthcare industry will grow

If you’re still concerned about changing industries, and unsure whether healthcare is right for you, it’s worth noting that the USA has an aging population. By 2040, there will be twice the number of over-65s in the USA, which will mean many different types of healthcare will be needed, from assisted living facilities to physiotherapists and dentists. All these healthcare environments will require not just medical staff, but also a team of admin staff and managers, which can mean lots of potential job openings in the next few years.

Healthcare administration covers many different subjects

Healthcare administration is an interesting area of study. You learn a lot about:

  • Leadership – this will help you manage a team and bring out the best in them
  • Operations – learn how to manage projects, finances, HR, strategies and patient safety
  • Decision-making – working in healthcare means making tough choices which need to be made within specific frameworks and under pressure
  • The healthcare system – healthcare is a complex industry, so you’ll need to learn about how all the parts work

If you need a challenge and want to learn something new, this is a great area to focus on and can lead to many different careers.

There are different options for studying

Moving into healthcare administration doesn’t necessarily mean you need to give up your job and go back to college full-time. There are several different options, for example, if you already have an undergraduate degree, you can look at taking online MHA programs, which prepare you for a career in the industry and cover everything you’ll need to know to get started.

There are many advantages to studying healthcare administration online:

  • It allows for a higher degree of flexibility
  • You can combine studying with an internship or paid job to gain experience
  • You’ll often pay less in fees than when you attend a traditional college
  • There’s no commute to college, and it’s ideal for those who don’t have a local course nearby

Taking your masters online is excellent for career changers, as they can study while still working and then get into your new role once you graduate.

Healthcare administration allows you to work in different settings

Working in healthcare doesn’t necessarily mean working in a hospital. You can basically work in any kind of environment where care is being administered, and many of the skills are transferable.

Some careers you could consider include:

  • Hospital CEO/CFO
  • Department manager
  • Nursing home manager/administrator
  • Clinic manager/administrator
  • Dental office manager
  • Healthcare agency manager
  • Insurance company analyst
  • Hospital marketing

Most graduates start at a smaller facility, or in a lower-level role, then work their way up, often opting for further training to get them into a specific niche. It’s also worth remembering that healthcare is a changing industry, so additional professional training and development will be part of the job. Therefore, it’s excellent for those who love learning.

Average salaries in the industry

Salary and benefits are important considerations to career changers because, at this point in your life, you’re likely to have financial commitments that need to be considered.

The good news is that healthcare administration is generally a well-paid career path. Medical and health service managers can earn six-figure salaries, and the larger the facility you work for, and the more you develop your career, the better the wages. For example, the CEO of a large hospital can earn $500k plus bonuses, putting your salary well above average.

Another perk of working in healthcare is the excellent healthcare benefits you will enjoy. Healthcare is a significant expense for many families, so having a great health package can be a considerable benefit. You should also look for extras such as paid time off or other perks, which are used to attract the best candidates in healthcare.

Shifts can fit around other commitments

Unless you work in a small clinic, you’re unlikely to do a nine to five job if you work in healthcare. In hospitals, 12-hour shifts are common, with a day and night shift for clinical staff, and there will usually be a few administrators around at unsociable hours like evenings, weekends, and overnight. This is because, even outside of office hours, there will be emergency situations and difficult decisions to be made.

While shifts can be annoying at times, and you’ll have to miss the odd holiday, some people find that these shift patterns fit in well with family. For example, they may do three long shifts a week, then have more time to spend with loved ones, making it a good career choice for those with lots of commitments.

A career that makes a difference

For many people, the motivation to change a career comes from wanting to do something that makes a difference. If you’re seeking a career change where you can care for others, then there’s no better industry than healthcare, and while you may not have a hands-on role as an administrator, you will make a big difference.

Healthcare administrators follow the standards set by agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), ensuring the care given to each patient is of high quality. While private hospitals don’t have to follow these guidelines, they need to do so if they are admitting Medicare patients. Healthcare administrators need to ensure that patient data is secure, records are well kept, and that they get the best possible outcomes for their treatment.

While you may end up working within a big hospital, as a healthcare administrator, you can see the effects of the hard work you put in every day. As you become more senior, you can make operational changes and work on initiatives, which can make a difference in people’s lives and the standard of care they receive.

Many people find that they derive job satisfaction from being able to do good things and make a change in the world, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then this may be a career to consider.

Location is not a limit

There’s a long list of careers that are limited to cities, which means if you want to pursue them, you have to potentially move to an expensive area or face a long commute. However, healthcare is everywhere; even the smallest town has clinics or is within a short drive to a hospital. You can either choose to move to one of the cities with higher than average salaries or move to an inexpensive area and enjoy a lower cost of living.

If you live in an area with limited job opportunities, then take a look at what’s available in healthcare. Odds are, even if there aren’t many other jobs, they will still need healthcare administrators. It’s worth doing some research into what’s available in your area, average salaries, and benefits, to see whether the change would benefit you.

Healthcare administration is an interesting, varied career where you get to make a big impact on the lives of others. By keeping things running smoothly, you help improve the standards of care in your hospital or clinical setting, which leads to better outcomes for patients. There are benefits to you, from a good salary to a career within a stable industry, which can make the extra studying worth it.