6 Health Administration Jobs and the Skills You Need to Land Them

From a patient perspective, health care is personal. Individual doctors, nurses and support staff give personal attention to each patient in need of care. But behind patient success stories, there are departmental and organizational leaders who manage patient outcomes and ensure quality health care delivery across an organization. Health care truly is a team effort – and those teams are led by health administrators.

While health administrators may advance from nursing or other direct patient care positions, not all health administration careers demand such experience. Rather, employers across this growing industry are looking for candidates who have the management experience and leadership qualities to guide teams through change and growth – qualities you can develop through an advanced degree program focused on health administration.

Curious as to which position might suit you? Read on for a review of health administration jobs and the skills you’ll need to succeed.

Health administration careers for motivated leaders 

Health administration jobs exist in a wide range of settings including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and other places – the list goes on.

Whether you are looking to move up in your current health services department, or are aiming for organizational leadership opportunities, there are options for you. As you explore career paths, be on the lookout for health administration jobs like these.

Health director/health manager

Health director or manager job duties vary from organization to organization. Generally, these positions involve aligning the strategic goals and objectives of a health care organization with day-to-day operational activities in patient care.

If you are seeking this role, you’ll need specialized skills in project management, public health and safety, business planning and contract management. While job candidates may have experience in direct patient care, this role focuses more on the health of patient populations, rather than individual diagnoses and treatment. You’ll need to approach your work with a strategic mindset.

Clinical manager/clinical director

Clinical managers oversee day-to-day operations of health care facilities, working closely with clinical, professional, administrative and clerical staff. They implement and manage policies, set and monitor budgets, oversee purchasing decisions and generally ensure smooth operations of a department or facility. In some positions, their duties extend into clinical research and data analysis.

Since this role is tied to patient care, you could be expected to be versed in patient-centered topics like Good Clinical Practices (GCP), clinical research, data management, clinical development and quality assurance and control. As a manager, your duties would also involve motivating your team, so think about ways you can demonstrate your strengths in those areas.

Health information manager/director of medical information

The health care industry is data driven, with new technologies and data points constantly emerging. Health information managers and directors help ensure secure, organized patient information at each touchpoint of patient care.

To build a career in this area, you’ll need to be Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) with a strong background in health information technology, medical coding, data processing and process implementation, as well as familiarity with various Health Management Information Systems (HMIS). At the core of this field, however, is an ability to lead health information teams, develop data management procedures and train employees on how to ensure records are accurate, complete, secure and accessible. You’d be wise to highlight your process implementation skills when applying for these positions.

Health care consultant

Health care consultants are management analysts who help health care organizations identify opportunities for efficiency in operations, budgeting and structure. They may be employed on a part-time or full-time basis, depending on the needs of the organization, and may work independently or for consulting firms. Moreover, as a consultant you can work in areas such as remote telemonitoring, office based surgery centers, insurance companies, behavioral health, primary care practices, group practices, independent practice associations, home care, durable medical equipment, ambulatory surgery centers, revenue cycle management organizations, and yes, even for the government in various roles in CMS, State, and Local agencies.

To pursue a career in health care consulting, you’ll need to be skilled in statistical analysis and budgeting so you can identify gaps in data and research available to make informed recommendations. You may help with procedure implementation – guiding organizations on how your recommendations will be put to action. Be prepared to approach health care from a management standpoint, as opposed to focusing on patient care.

Director of facilities management

While health care professionals diagnose and treat patients, facilities managers are behind the scenes making sure they have the space and tools to do their best work. As a director of facilities management, you would be responsible for ensuring the building and its equipment are regularly monitored, maintained, repaired and developed to meet health care demands.

Your health administration skill set would be put to use in managing health care equipment and acting as a liaison with facility maintenance staff to ensure environmental health and safety regulations are upheld. To be successful, you’ll need strong financial and operational management skills and regulatory compliance knowledge, as you will need to analyze complex documents and communicate with cross-functional teams.

Health care contracting/provider payment innovation

Health care providers have complex relationships with insurance companies and payment structures (HMOs, PPOs, pay for performance, etc.). Health care contracting directors handle negotiations and administration of these relationships by analyzing payer relationships and strategically positioning the organization for optimized revenue.

An advanced health care administration education can help you stand out as a job candidate, as will work experience in health insurance, data operations, network administration or contract negotiation. On the job, you’ll communicate with physicians and insurance companies, so make sure to showcase your understanding of health care financial structures and your aptitude for strategic planning.

Position yourself for career advancement in health care

Each health administration job has its own unique job description and qualifications. Across the board, however, health administrators take on financial, legal and operational responsibilities that require astute business skills, effective leadership qualities and a dedication to supporting the ethical and moral dimensions of health care delivery.

Earning your Master’s degree in Health Administration can help you develop the vital skills needed to position yourself for career advancement in the health care industry. At Saint Joseph’s College, we offer a flexible, online MHA program designed for working professionals. Request more information today to learn more about how your education can fit into your life.