Approximately 406,100 health care managers are employed in hospitals, HMOs, group medical practices, and centers for urgent care, cardiac rehabilitation, and diagnostic imaging. Opportunities are also plentiful in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, home health care agencies, adult day care programs, life care communities, and other residential facilities. In addition to these traditional employers, the Association of University Programs in Healthcare Administration reports that managers can also work for pharmaceutical companies, health care consulting firms, health insurance companies, and professional associations.
A student in training as an administrative resident or postgraduate fellow may be offered a job as an administrative assistant or department head by the hospital or health care facility where the residency is served. The hospital's administrator at the place of training may also assist the student in locating a job.
Job openings can also be found by contacting the university's career services office or through state and national associations' online postings. Large professional society meetings may offer on-site notices of job openings or recruiting events. Positions in federal- and state-operated health care institutions are filled by the civil service or by political appointment. Appointments to armed forces hospitals are handled by the various branches of the services.
Although the majority of students prepare for this career with a four-year college program followed by graduate study, it is still possible to secure a health administration position through experience and training in subordinate jobs and working up the administrative ladder.
It is unusual to finish college and step into a position as an upper-level health services executive. Most new graduates first gain experience in a more specialized clinical or administrative area of a health care facility. There they can become accustomed to working with health care personnel, patients, information systems, budgets, and finances. This experience and/or graduate work often leads to promotion to department head. Those with graduate training can expect to achieve higher-level positions. Assistant administrator or vice president is often the next step and may lead to appointment as the hospital's chief executive.
Set up an appointment to speak to a health care manager to see what the job entails and how you can best prepare for it.
Volunteer or get a part-time job at a nursing home, hospital, or clinic to gain experience in a health care facility and to learn about the structure and responsibilities of a health care staff.
Read the latest news articles and research upcoming changes in health care policies regarding the Affordable Care Act to see how it affects patients, insurance policies, and health care staff.
Join a student business club or organization, such as Junior Achievement (https://www.juniorachievement.org), or become the treasurer or fund-raiser for a school organization to gain business experience.
Modern Healthcare publishes a list of “The 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” at http://www.bestplacestoworkhc.com. The list can be searched by employer size, location, average salary, and other criteria. Use this list to identify top employers.