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What can I do with a degree in health care administration?

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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 more than 200,000 degrees were awarded in the 2015-16 school year in the field of health professions and related programs.

Health care administration (HCA) merges business and medical functions, ranging from strategic planning to hospital management to data security for electronic health records. While HCA career opportunities span the public and private sectors, the NCES classifies the diverse aspects of this field into the following primary clusters:

  • Business management and planning
  • Finance
  • Health law and regulations
  • Health care systems operations
  • Human resources
  • Health care policy
  • Public relations

Those who are not able to join a full-time campus program due to work or family responsibilities, for example, can still earn a degree by enrolling in a health care administration degree online program. Consider online programs that are accredited and offer internships that can engage you with hands-on, real-world learning experiences .Online degree programs in health care administration are offered at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral level.

What does a health care administrator do?

Health care administrators may also be called health care executives or health service managers. Here are a few of the things they're typically responsible for doing:

  • Improve efficiency and quality in delivering health care services
  • Develop departmental goals and objectives
  • Recruit, train and supervise staff members
  • Prepare and monitor budgets and spending
  • Represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards

How much do health care administrators make?

In 2016, health care administrators earned a mean annual wage of $109,370. Here are the five states that had the highest mean annual wage in 2016:

  1. Washington D.C.: $142,380
  2. New York: $135,640
  3. Connecticut: $129,710
  4. California: $122,800
  5. Alaska: $121,530

Industries and careers in health care administration

The job outlook is healthy in health care administration: Employment is projected to grow nationally around 20 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the average for all U.S. occupations. Here's a list of the top industries in which they worked and the median annual wages (BLS, 2016):

  • Hospitals; state, local and private: $104,340
  • Government: $104,110
  • Outpatient care centers: $89,480
  • Offices of physicians: $$87,540
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: $80,340

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 may choose to specialize in a particular area or type of facility, for example, mental health. Graduate degree 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.

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What Can I Do With a Degree in Health Care Administration?
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