When most people think of careers in the medical field they typically think of doctors and nurses. But there are many other jobs in hospitals and health facilities that are “behind the scenes,” yet still instrumental to the functionality of the entire healthcare system. A health administration degree can set you up for a fulfilling career serving others in the medical field. It is a course of study that prepares you to lead or manage in varying types of medical venues. This guide will help assist you in your path to obtaining a health administration degree and building a lifelong career.
Starting at square one
If you are looking to obtain your first higher education degree, you may be currently seeking out a school and program that aligns with your desired path toward your ideal career in health administration. Alternatively, you may already be attending a school and nearing the completion of your general education courses or getting close to meeting the requirements for an associate degree. Either of these situations leave you as, more or less, an educational blank slate with varying amounts of time left in school. If you are currently a student or are looking to transfer, it is advisable to seek out a school with a health administration degree available. This will obviously tailor your educational training to the very specific needs of a career in health administration, but it is not mandatory.
If you are already enrolled at a school that does not have the specific program you need, you can choose a course of study in a related field in order to gain a strong basis of knowledge that you can later build off of in many ways. Some programs to consider include nursing, biology, chemistry, science and business administration. These are all fields that fall under the umbrella of health administration, even if some are not quite as specific to the medical field as you would experience in your career. While these degrees would provide you with a solid base of knowledge, you may find that you are only able to get an entry level job in the health administration world upon graduating and must gain several years of experience before being able to advance your career. If you would like to continue on to fast track your health administration career, there are many graduate programs that will greatly increase your earnings and the forward movement of your career.
Adding on to previous studies or careers
If you have studied a seemingly unrelated concentration in the past or are looking to change careers altogether, do not be discouraged or feel ill qualified. Health administration is such a multifaceted career option that you can easily find a way to combine your past experiences with your newfound goals.
Just as earning a healthcare-related degree from a school without a health administration specific degree gives you wonderful basic knowledge, the same can be said for a past degree or career path. Hospitals and medical facilities of all kinds need employees in operations, logistics, finance, human relations and more. Obtaining a master’s degree in health administration is going to be key to entry into the field. Your past degree and experiences may only give you access to the most entry level positions in health administration, meaning you will have to spend significant time working your way up, but they can also help qualify you for entry into a master’s program. Upon completion of your degree you would likely find yourself very well qualified for many jobs in health administration.
Tips for all stages
Regardless of your current degree, experiences or how far you may be into your career or education, there are several actions you can take to help advance you towards being a strong candidate for a health administration program that can lead to your dream job.
If you are currently in school or soon enrolling, make sure to take your courses seriously and always maintain good grades. No matter the field you are looking to get into, a high GPA always shows good work ethic and dedication. The enrollment and admissions departments for advanced degree programs are interested in a student who has proven that they can maintain their grades while balancing coursework and regular life.
If you plan to enter the workforce before pursuing your health administration degree, seek out opportunities for hands-on experience in the medical field as a form of professional and personal development. This is always a strong indicator that you are serious about your studies and work. By being proactive and seeking out a hospital or clinic for work, you gain massively important real-life experience, and you are also showing a very high level of commitment to your craft. Volunteer work can also set you apart from others and give you experience you might not have otherwise. Again, this is one of those things in life that separates the cream of the crop from the masses.
When you have found the right program for you, take the time to ensure you’ve included all the required documents along with your application. If the application requests an essay or statement of purpose, be sure to address all the touchpoints and make sure the document is clean and error free.
Remember that health administration is a highly varied field and there are many pathways to finding happiness in a career facilitated by the degree. If you are looking to help others on the administrative side of healthcare, research programs to see which one fits into your plans.