How Do I Become a Medical Administrator?

Research what it takes to become a medical administrator. Learn about possible licensure and education requirements, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Medical Administrator?

A medical administrator is a manager at a healthcare facility. They are responsible for ensuring that all operations run smoothly so that patients receive quality care. In order to make sure that this happens, they coordinate personnel, manage financial issues, maintain records and make sure that all safety and security protocols are followed. Medical administrator jobs are available in many different health care settings, including physician's offices, nursing homes, physical therapy clinics and individual departments within large hospitals and medical centers.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Education Required Bachelor's degree (for small clinics), master's degree (for large facilities)
Education Field of Study Business administration, health administration, health sciences
Licensure Licensure required in some facilities and states
Key Responsibilities Manage clinic or facility operations, analyze expenses, hire and train employees, create policies and procedures
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for all medical and health services managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $94,500 (for all medical and health services managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Be a Medical Administrator?

A bachelor's degree and work experience may be sufficient if you are interested in managing a small health clinic or department, but to run a larger facility, a master's degree is required. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most medical or healthcare administrators have earned a master's degree (www.bls.gov).

Before entering a medical administration graduate program, you must first earn a bachelor's degree. Relevant bachelor's degree programs include business or health administration, but some graduate programs will accept students with other liberal arts degrees. Courses in business or health administration might cover subjects such as accounting, management, finance, communications, health policies and ethics. You can earn your degree in four years and online options are available.

After earning your undergraduate degree and passing any required graduate admissions exams, you may choose to pursue a master's in business administration, health sciences or health services administration. You might take classes such as organizational management, leadership, planning and quality control while in a business administration master's program. Health sciences and health administration coursework will include health law, information technology, health ethics and public policy. These degrees can be earned in 2-3 years. After graduation, you could be hired as a department manager or supervisor and eventually move to a position overseeing a larger organization.

What Continuing Education Options are Available?

While working as a medical administrator, you may want to build on your education and knowledge. The American Academy of Medical Administrators offers online seminars to strengthen management and leadership skills (www.aameda.org). You can also attend conferences to network and share ideas with other professionals.

Licensing Requirements

Medical administrators who manage nursing care facilities are required be licensed in every state. You must have a bachelor's degree, pass an exam and attend a training program approved by the state. Administrators in assisted-living institutions may also be required to be licensed in some states. Licensing is not required for medical administrators working at other facilities.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

Medical administrators provide management and leadership while running clinics, departments or entire healthcare facilities. You are responsible for ensuring that your facility or department is operating efficiently. In a smaller facility or clinic, you may oversee the hiring, training and scheduling of employees. At a larger facility, you will create policies and procedures and verify that employees are following them. You may also analyze operating expenses and create budgets.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking to play a supervisory role in a health-related organization, you might want to think about a job as community service manager, where you would facilitate operations in an organization or agency that offers social services to the public. Alternatively, you could get a job as a human resources manager in a business or organization, where you would focus specifically on staff management and relations between employers and employees. For either of these jobs, you would need to get a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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