Health Services Administration Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career in health services administration? Get real job descriptions, and education requirements to see if a career in health services administration is right for you.
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Careers in Health Services Administration

Professionals in the field of health services administration oversee some aspect of running a medical or long-term care facility, which might involve managing the business end or overseeing the delivery of patient care. Health services administration encompasses many careers, and two of them include nursing home administrator and health information manager. The table below compares these jobs:

Nursing Home Administrator Health Information Manager
Career Overview Nursing home administrators manage nursing care facilities. Health information managers oversee medical records personnel and procedures.
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Program Length 4 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Certification and Licensing Every state requires licensing. Voluntary certification is available from the American Health Information Management Association.
Job Outlook (2014-2024) Much faster-than-average growth (17% increase for all medical and health services managers)* Much faster-than-average growth (17% increase for all medical and health services managers)*
Median Salary (2016) $81,760** $51,354**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing home administrators specialize in the management of nursing homes and residential care facilities. The administrator manages the day-to-day operations, such as scheduling workers, ensuring the facility is compliant with government regulations and managing the institution's finances.

Requirements

The BLS reports that all states require you to have a license to work as an administrator in a nursing home. State requirements may include a minimum of a bachelor's degree. For example, to get a license in the state of New York you must possess a bachelor's degree from a program that includes at least 15 credit hours of courses in gerontology, personnel management and long-term care. Some states may also require you to pass an examination. Employers in large institutions may require a graduate degree. Experience may be preferred or required by certain employers or could be considered in lieu of formal education.

See examples of employers seeking nursing home administrators in November 2012:

  • A New York nursing and rehab center is seeking a licensed nursing home administrator to work in one of its 24 facilities. The successful candidate must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and be licensed by the state of New York to qualify for the position. In addition, the employer requires at least 4 years of long-term care experience to meet the requirements of the job.
  • A rehab and nursing center in Texas is seeking a nursing home administrator to oversee a 152-bed facility. The candidate must have a Texas license to operate a nursing home facility and a minimum of 5 years experience as a nursing home administrator. The job duties include the financial management of the institution, ensuring government compliance and business planning.
  • An Illinois nursing facility is looking for a nursing home administrator with a valid state license and 3 years of experience as a licensed administrator. The applicant must have a degree in business administration, care administration or a specialty in the medical field. The job responsibilities include overseeing the facility's staff, managing finances and ensuring compliance with government quality of care standards.

Standing Out

According to the BLS, one way of standing out in the field of nursing home administration is to be a registered nurse (RN), so pursuing the education required to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) could enhance employment opportunities. Some nursing care programs include gaining experience in a long-term care facility. Choosing a bachelor's degree program in healthcare administration that allows you to specialize in nursing care facilities may also give you an edge over your competition.

Health Information Manager

Health information managers oversee the records department in hospitals and healthcare facilities. The manager ensures the privacy, security and accuracy of patient records in accordance with government regulations. Health information managers usually use electronic health information systems to store medical records.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree is a typical minimal requirement for this position. Baccalaureate programs in health information management can include courses in medical coding, reimbursement systems, electronic health records, medical terminology, financial accounting, anatomy and physiology. Health administration degree programs may include coursework in healthcare information systems. Keeping up-to-date with current technology is important as health information managers are often responsible for the security of information that should be only be accessible to certain personnel within the facility.

While certification in general is voluntary, some employers may prefer that a health information manager have a credential such as the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Earning such a certification shows potential employers that you have reached a level of expertise in the field. Besides graduating from a bachelor's degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, an exam is also required. AHIMA also offers accreditation as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT).

Below are some examples of job postings for health information manager positions available in November 2012:

  • A Texas hospital is searching for a health information manager to oversee the facility's medical records department. The manager makes sure the hospital is compliant with regulations and medical records are complete and accurate. The employer requires successful candidates to have completed a degree as a registered health information administrator and possess at least 2 years of experience in medical records and health information management.
  • A medical center in New Jersey is looking for a health information manager to supervise the medical records department. The manager monitors the quality and speed of the medical records completion process. Successful applicants must have certification as an RHIA or RHIT from AHIMA. In addition, the employer is searching for a manager with a degree in health information services, electronic medical records, business administration or healthcare administration.
  • A hospital in Washington is seeking a health information manager with an associate's or bachelor's degree in health information management. Applicants need to be certified as an RHIT and have at least 5 years of experience managing a decent-sized healthcare organization. This position works with the human information management director and collaborates with other departments and staff.

Standing Out

Not all employers require certification, but it can provide you with an edge over other applicants, as well as a greater opportunity for advancement. Previous work experience with billing and coding may also be a plus.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
      • MSHS in Clinical and Translational Research
      • MSHS in Health Care Quality
      • MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research Administration
      • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
      • Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Affairs
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgt. & Healthcare Mgt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Mgt. & Human Resources
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting & Healthcare Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Health Information Management
    Associate's
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Informatics
      • MS in Nursing: Health Care Informatics
      • Master of Public Administration - Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
      • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Health Care Admin
      • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
    Master's
      • MBA - Health Care Admin
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • MS - Healthcare Management
      • MS - Healthcare Management - Informatics
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Health Care Management
      • B.S. - Health Care Management - Health Informatics
      • BS - Business Administration - Health Care Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
    Certificate
      • Executive Certificate in Health Administration
      • Health Informatics Certificate

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

What is your highest level of education?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
  • MSHS in Clinical and Translational Research
  • Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research Administration
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • Bachelor: Health Care Management
  • Associate: Healthcare Management
  • Diploma: Medical Office Admin

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MS in Health Care Administration
  • BS in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
  • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Health Care Admin
  • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
  • MBA - Health Care Admin
  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • B.S. - Health Care Management

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