It’s no secret that health care jobs are in the midst of rapid growth. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that we’ll see a 19 percent increase in health care employment from 2014 to 2024 — this equates to approximately 2.3 million new jobs within that decade-long span. This number is higher than the comparable metric for any other industry in today’s job market.
This is fantastic news for those hoping to become physicians, registered nurses, chiropractors, dentists, athletic trainers, physical therapists and everything in between. What about the professionals, however, who are interested in contributing to the health care workforce in a less hands-on, patient-facing capacity?
While physicians and other medical professionals are of undisputed value, there are plenty of opportunities for nonmedical professionals to make their mark in the health care world. One of the most prominent is to pursue a career in hospital administration, specializing in the business and management aspects of health care. If you have proficient analytical, interpersonal, technical and problem-solving skills, you’d likely thrive in a position like this — one in which you could assume more of a supervisory role that involves planning, directing and coordinating medical services, or even managing an entire health care facility.
If your interest is piqued and you’re ready to begin paving the path toward a robust career in the business side of health care, read on to learn how to become a hospital administrator.
Your 5-step guide to becoming a hospital administrator
1. Do your research
If you’ve already done a deep dive into this career field and feel confident it’s the right choice for your personal aspirations, consider this list item officially checked. If not, then it may be worthwhile to dive into the facts so you can feel assured that you’re enrolling in the right program.
Some surveys reveal that as many as 80 percent of college students will change their major at one point during their undergraduate experience. The best way to avoid any additional time or money spent in college due to wasted credits is to do your research beforehand to ensure you’re on the right track from the start.
Even if you’re not ready to embark upon the job search, it can be helpful to scan any hospital administrator job openings you can find to review the skills that will be required of you in the future, the duties you’d be expected to perform in this role, the advertised salary you could look forward to and more.
2. Look for a quality undergraduate program
Hospital administrator positions will almost always require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; however, master’s degrees are also common and sometimes preferred by certain employers. It’s also true that a number of different undergraduate degrees can potentially lead to a position within this realm, such as health administration, nursing, health management or even business administration.
The important factor to look for in an undergraduate degree program that could pave your path to becoming a hospital administrator is a healthy balance of both business management and health care courses. This will ensure you’re provided with a solid foundation of business leadership skills in addition to the medical terminology, hospital organization and health informatics knowledge that will help you excel in the field.
It can also be helpful to seek out a program that will prepare you to work in a variety of different health care environments. For example, the health services administration program at Hodges University is designed to prepare graduates to fulfill management and leadership roles in the for-profit, nonprofit and public health care settings, as well as at agencies that provide non-clinical services.
3. Make the most of your undergraduate experience
Once you’ve applied and been accepted to an undergraduate program, glean as much wisdom from your professors as possible, making the most of each course you take. In many cases, health care administration professors are equipped with their own experience as practicing professionals in the field.
It’s during these years when you’ll build the wealth of knowledge and skills that will later make you a desirable job candidate. So, soak it up as you learn about the ins and outs of the United States health care system, as well as policy and law, financial management, organizational theory, health care ethics, quality control, strategic planning and management. You’ll also dive into a host of valuable liberal arts components, such as English composition and communications, that will help polish necessary technical and health care-specific skills.
Making the most of the time spent earning your degree will help you become as qualified as possible to not only land a job in hospital administration, but also thrive within that position once you get there.
4. Connect with working professionals
Whether you’re still wrapping up your degree or you’ve moved onto the job search phase of your journey, it’s never too early to forge connections with professionals who are already successful within the health care sphere. The benefits of this are twofold:
- Current professionals in health care administration roles are among the best source of advice for up-and-coming professionals, since they’re currently immersed in the health care workforce. Not only can they prepare you for what to expect as you move forward, but they can also provide you with valuable, real-time information about the industry.
- It’s also true that building relationships with seasoned professionals can be a great way to get your foot in the door for future job opportunities. Finding ways to access broader networks in the health care industry definitely won’t hurt your chances of developing a solid reputation and landing the kind of career you want.
5. Begin the job search
Once you’ve earned your degree and are ready to transition into the sometimes daunting job search, be confident. You’ve learned a great deal by researching the field, diving into your degree program and networking with industry professionals. This is a great opportunity to rely on your former professors and professional network for advice regarding your cover letter, resume, ways to gain valuable volunteer experience and interview tips.
If, for example, you’re feeling like your interview skills need polishing before the real deal, see if one of your connections would be willing to conduct a mock interview with you, asking questions they’d expect hiring managers to pose during your first interview opportunity. They might be able to offer some insight you wouldn’t have thought of as they help you fine-tune your interview skills and enhance the most relevant aspects of your undergraduate experience.
Take the next step toward a successful career in health care administration
Are you ready to begin your journey toward becoming a leader within the health care workforce? Each of the items on our list will help you get one step closer to feeling qualified and prepared to fulfill the critical leadership duties of a hospital administrator.
As you conduct your research and examine what different degree paths and institutions have to offer to your unique career aspirations, visit Hodges University’s Bachelor of Science in health services administration program page to learn more about the career possibilities that await you and the routes that can take you there. If you’re left with unanswered questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to an admissions representative for the answers you’re seeking.