The health care sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., and careers in health administration are expected to grow along with it.

Health care administration professionals manage health care systems including hospitals, hospital networks, or clinics, and work to make sure patients receive the best possible care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals interested in or currently pursuing a career in health care administration can expect job growth of 17% from 2014 to 2024, which is much higher than the average for all occupations.

Capella University health administration faculty member Darleen Barnard, DHA, highlights three careers in health administration at all levels—entry, mid- and senior-level—and what skills and education are required for each.

 

1. Medical Billing Specialist (Entry Level)

Medical billing specialists take data provided by medical coders to submit claims to insurance companies and invoice patients.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Claims processing to third-party payers.
  • Managing payer remits including payment posting and denials management.
  • Ensuring accurate reimbursement according to contracts and fee schedules.
  • Monitoring patient accounts.
  • Overseeing patient billing including collections, payment plans, and charity care.

Degree: Bachelor’s degree preferred, such as a Bachelor’s in Health Care Administration.

Relevant degree coursework:

  • Health Care Finance and Reimbursement
  • Information Systems
  • Quality, Risk, and Regulatory Compliance

 

2. Hospital Administrator (Mid-Level)

Hospital administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a hospital, clinic, or public health facility.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Developing and managing hospital department operating and capital budgets.
  • Managing department personnel and human resource functions including payroll, salaries, job descriptions, employment, and performance evaluations.
  • Managing physical properties.
  • Working with clinical staff to ensure high quality patient care.
  • Making sure compliance and regulatory requirements are met.
  • Overseeing billing and reimbursement functions.

Degree: Master’s degree (such as a Master of Health Administration) with 3-5 years of experience or a bachelor’s degree with 5-10 years experience.

Relevant degree coursework:

  • Health Care Finance and Reimbursement
  • Policy & Law
  • Information Systems
  • Quality, Risk, and Regulatory Compliance
  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Leadership

 

3. Hospital Chief Operations Officer (Senior Level)

Chief operations officers are typically responsible for the day-to-day operations of a hospital. The COO ensures that the organization’s strategic initiatives are carried out, and that quality of care, patient safety, and patient satisfaction are all a top priority. The COO is also the primary administrative contact for employees.

Responsibilities may include:

  • Overseeing strategic initiatives.
  • Developing and managing an organization-wide budget.
  • Promoting a positive patient experience.
  • Maintaining safety standards.
  • Streamlining services or developing new services.
  • Working with department heads to monitor employee performance, streamline services, and manage physician relations.

Degree: Master’s degree or doctorate (such as a Doctor of Health Administration in Health Care Leadership) with a minimum of 10 years of management experience. A certification in management may also be preferred or required for COOs.

Relevant degree coursework:

  • Health Care Finance and Reimbursement
  • Policy & Law
  • Information Systems
  • Quality, Risk, and Regulatory Compliance
  • Strategic Planning
  • Organizational Leadership

 

 

Learn more about Capella’s online health administration programs.

 

See graduation rates, median student debt, and other information at Capella Results.
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