What Is Health Care Administration?


health care administration blog illustration

Health care administration is the side of health care we don’t think much about. But this behind-the-scenes work allows frontline health care workers to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. Ideally, top-notch administration leads to better outcomes and a healthier community for all.

So, who are the administrators at work here? They are not clinicians and they don’t work directly with patients. They do implement policy and coordinate staff and systems to make continuous improvements.

By working on the administrative side of health care, they create an environment in which all facets—facilities, services, budget, staff and programming—function smoothly and help patients get the best possible care.

Health care administration includes health service managers and health care managers. Often, this professional field is rooted in hospitals—but it’s also essential to physician groups, nursing homes and home health agencies.

You’ll also find health care administrators in the public sector, at work for the city health department, for example. Or in the private sector for employers such as pharmaceutical companies, health insurers, consulting firms or medical equipment suppliers.

Some people choose to focus more heavily on policy, working with organizations like the American Red Cross or the American Hospital Association to coordinate with local, state or federal governments.

Health Care Administration Salaries

In the United States, more than 300,000 people work in health administration, from supervisors to CEOs. And the field is booming. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 6% increase in administrative services managers by 2029, faster than the average growth across all industries.

Careers in health administration typically pay between $50,000 and $170,000 a year, with a median salary of almost $100,000.

Job Responsibilities

Health care administration has become ever more essential as the size and complexity of our nation’s health care systems grow. The responsibilities that fall under that general job description include:

  • Human resource management
  • Financial management
  • Accounting and budgeting
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Strategic planning
  • Marketing
  • Patient advocacy
  • Dispute arbitration

Given that the work covers such wide-ranging roles, it can get intense. Shortages of nurses and other health care workers represent an ongoing challenge. Meanwhile, costs continue to rise, and financing and reimbursement grows more complicated. Finally, worries about safety, quality and efficiency will probably never go away.

But health care administration can be a rewarding field, where the decisions that are made directly affect the well-being of workers, patients and the community.

Technology and medical practices constantly evolve, which means there’s always something new to learn on the job. Every day is different, with both daily and long-term decisions to be discussed, decided on and implemented.

Earning a Health Care Administration Degree

A master’s degree is the standard credential among health care administrators. Professionals need:

  • In-depth knowledge of health care delivery and finances.
  • An understanding of medical terminology.
  • Mastery of how patient care organizations are structured.
  • Leadership skills, and soft skills such as communication, diplomacy and consensus-building.

Learn Health Care Administration at Elmhurst

Develop the skills you need to join this growing career field! At Elmhurst, you can earn your master of business administration with a specialization in Health Care Administration. Use the form below to let us know you are interested in finding out more!

Fill out my online form.


Illustration by Partners in Crime
Posted Jan. 19, 2021

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