Many students are exploring health care administration and related fields such as hospital and health care facility management or health services administration. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) notes that 13,640 degrees were awarded in 2009-2010 in these fields, not counting additional students in public health programs. The job outlook is healthy in health care administration: Employment is projected to grow faster than the average for all U.S. occupations between 2010 and 2020.
Health care administration (HCA) merges business and medical functions, ranging from strategic planning to hospital management to data security for electronic health records. The NCES classifies the diverse aspects of this field: business management and planning, finance, health law and regulations, health care systems operations, human resources, health care policy, public relations and more. HCA opportunities span the public and private sectors.
Under the umbrella of health care management, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education includes health care administration, health services management, health planning and evaluation, health policy, and administration of hospitals or other health care organizations. Among other potential specializations are medical office management, long-term care administration, and health information or medical records administration. A concentration on health informatics management involves data security and information science as well as knowledge of the health care field.
The BLS notes that health care managers may need training in hospital organization and management, accounting and budgeting, law and ethics, health economics and health information systems. Some students specialize in a particular area or type of facility, for example, mental health. Graduate programs may include supervised experience such as an externship.
Learn more about the field of HCA, as well as related career paths, in our infographic below.
Digest of Education Statistics, Institute for Education Sciences, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_290.asp
Discover 9 New College Majors With a Future, US News, September 2012, http://www.usnews.com/bachelor/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/09/12/discover-9-new-college-majors-with-a-future?page=2
Medical and Health Services Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Medical-and-health-services-managers.htm
For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic.