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. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Health Informatics
      • Master of Health Information Management
      • MS in Nursing
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Bachelor: Health Science
      • BS in Health Information Management
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Government - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Public Administration - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • MBA: Health Systems 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
    4. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
      • MSHS in Clinical and Translational Research
      • MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
      • MSHS Clinical Operations & Healthcare Management
      • MSHS in Biomedical Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • Dual Degree: BSHS in Clinical Research Administration/MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
      • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics
      • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
      • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. South College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin w/Con Health Care Admin
  • Campus Locations:
    9. College of Health Care Professions

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Coding and Billing-Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
  • Medical Office Administration Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Government - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

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?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
  • MSHS in Clinical and Translational Research
  • Dual Degree: BSHS in Clinical Research Administration/MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
  • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • BS: Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

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?

South College

  • Bachelor of Business Admin w/Con Health Care Admin

What is your highest level of education completed?