Inside Healthcare Administrator Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Teamwork Matters...
I was surprised to find out that teamwork is vital in the field. Working in school most work was done solo but in the field everything is done within the framework of a team." (Hospital Administrator; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, male
School: Studied Health Policy And Finance at Wagner - NYU in New York; completed Master degree

"Moving Up Is A Breeze...
Most people would be surprised at how quickly one is able to advance. Additionally, one may explore different areas of the field such as being a process expert or benefits analyst" (Healthcare Administrator; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Psychology at Purdue University in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

"Patient Contact, Vacation Time...
I was surprised that the hospital I work for provides more vacation time than any other company. I'm surprised that working In medical records requires very little patient contact." (Medical Records Technician; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Maine, female
School: Studied Medical Office Administration at Eastern Maine Community College in Maine; completed Associate degree in 2006

"People Oppose Medical Science...
I was surprised to learn how many people were opposed to immunizations. For a medical science that has prevented thousands of deaths, it's surprising to learn people are opposed and would prefer to have a disease outbreak than prevent it." (Immunization Manager; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Wyoming, female
School: Studied Psychology at Western Oregon University in Oregon; completed Bachelor degree in 1997

"Food Service In A Healthcare And Hospital Environment Is Unique...
I was so directly influential in a patients perception of their hospital stay. When a person is in the hospital they are very vulnerable and scared, any unpleasant experience can evoke that fear or hostility. The quality of a patients food and the way it is served can be a very important and impactful part of each day, and their stay." (Manager; 2014)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Business Administration at Menlo College in California; completed Bachelor degree in 1983

"I was surprised to find out how much I had to understand, know and learn more about laws, statutes and acts than I even needed to know about health care itself. There is such a tremendous legal side to health care than just patient care." (Health Care Insurance Analyst And Specialist; 2013)

Career: 21 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, female
School: Studied Health Care Insurance Specialist at Southland College in Louisiana; completed Associate degree in 1995

"I was surprised that healthcare administration is not limited to hospitals. They are needed in clinics, non-profits, government work, and even businesses. It is a varied and heterogeneous field." (Health Management; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Health Management at UCLA in California; completed Master degree in 2011

"Knowledge Is Power...
Most people would be surprised by the amount of knowledge you have to have for this associates degree. The amount of things you need to know and memorize is ridiculous. Most of it can be pretty much instantly looked up, but they expect you to have a good part of it memorized." (N/A; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Healthcare Management at Nashville State Community College in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 2012

"I was surprised to find that even though I kept advancing at the organization I was at, the pay was not increasing as I would like. I believe this field is tough to make a very competitive salary in, which I wasn't expecting on the administrative end." (Nonprofit Health Administration; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Health Administration at NYU in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2003

"Public Speaking Skills Are Key To Being A Successful Consultant...
I was surprised about the amount of technical education some of my colleagues have. As a benefit consultant, I need to be very engaged with Microsoft Excel and the other Microsoft suite tools. I was surprised about the amount of public speaking that benefit consultants have to do. I thought there would be more work behind the scenes." (Benefit Consultant; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Healthcare Management at Robert F. Wagner School Of Public Service - NYU in New York; completed Master degree in 2005

"MBA In Healthcare Management Not Worth It Without RHIA/RHIT Certification...
I was surprised to find that my MBA in Healthcare Management was not really worth anything without an RHIA or RHIT certification, which entails another year or so of schooling." (Program Manager; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Healthcare Management at American InterContinental University Online in Illinois; completed Master degree in 2011

"Opening Your Eyes To Healthcare...
The medical field is a great field to work in. However, for some people it might night be as easy as it seems. Most people are not ready for the invasive procedures and surgeries when they leap into this field. Furthermore, you will be dealing with people directly and taking care of their needs while they are sickly or even contagious. Although it may be demanding, gruesome, and sometimes out of a normal comfort barrier, it is a very rewarding job!" (Medical Assistant; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Medical Assisting at Great Lakes Institute Of Medical Technology in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"Change Is Never Ending...
I work in a health care system of 30,000 employees. What surprised me the most? 1) Change is a constant factor in healthcare - and I need to learn to change and adapt my way of doing things. 2) Healthcare is a calling. Not everyone is cutout to work in healthcare. No matter what you do, you have to care about people and healthcare in general." (Human Resources Specialist; 2013)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Organizational Leadership at Cornerstone University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 1995

"Social Skills Are A Must...
A lot of people are very tense when they meet me. It takes a lot of social skills for my job." (Chiropractor; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Biology/ Pre-Med at Cleveland State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Several Responsibility In One Job Title"...
In my profession, every day at work is a surprise. The things I have seen and had to deal with, was nothing compared to what they told me about in class. My job is not just paper work, I have many positions that I have to fill in too. which depends on who's on vacation, or out sick that day. Sometimes I have to give shots, or draw blood. I was surprised when I realized I had to do all of these at the same time, and not on separate days. I guess it has something to do with the economy. People would be surprised that this job provides stability. There are many job opening in this profession. New ones are being posted everyday." (I Am A Medical Assistant.; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied I Went For Medical Assistant. at I Attended The Allen School. in New York; completed Certificate degree in 2010

"Hospital Systems Administration; A Great Career...
What surprised me most about this profession is the amount of work available to such a select group of qualified individual. while no specific training was required experience in administration is seen as a great advantage" (System Administrator; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, male
School: Studied Electronics Engineering at Spencerian in Kentucky; completed Associate degree in 2004

"What Happens Behind The Scenes...
I have been in healthcare 28 years and most recently moved positions from a hospital base to a satellite office. I was most surprised to learn what actually transpires prior to scheduling a patient for an imaging procedure. Before my transfer, I was exposed to very little overall customer care. I am now involved in the entire process including obtaining authorizations for imaging procedures, scheduling patients for their studies and following up with results, communicating with physician offices." (Lead Registrar At An Imaging Center; 2013)

Career: 28 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Organizational Management at Malone University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Hospitals: Behind The Scenes...
I was so surprised to find out how much goes on "behind the scenes" in hospitals and doctor's offices." (Pharmaceutical Sales Representative; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Healthcare Administration at University Of South Carolina in South Carolina; completed Master degree in 2008

"There is a lot of customer service involved. Interacting and making patients feel more comfortable is required more often than I thought it would." (Front Office Coordinator; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription/Medical Administrator at Georgia Medal Institute in Georgia; completed Certificate degree in 1998

"Ungrateful For What They Get...
I was surprised that there is a lot of people willing to work hard hours for very little pay. I have been in my current position for 3+ years have not received a pay increase of any kind. Also I work specifically with the HIV/AIDS community and something most people don't know is that we will pay for these peoples rent." (Health Education Supervisor; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, male
School: Studied Public Health at University Of Nevada, Las Vegas in Nevada; completed Master degree in 2012

"Ample Opportunities For Leadership...
I was surprised to find ample opportunities for management and leadership." (Health Specialist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Infectious Diseases at Harvard in Massachusetts; completed Doctorate degree in 2012

"Helpful Career Office...
I was surprised at all the support I received from my college. I was worried about finding job placement and my school did it for me." (Health Management; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Washington, male
School: Studied Business Management at Whatcom Community College in Washington; completed Professional degree in 2012

"More Environmental Workers Than Meets The Eye...
I was surprised at the amount of workers in the environmental field. From the outside, it looks like not many people care about their environment. But there is a very vast community of people that truly care about their environment and work together to improve their area." (Environmental Health Officer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Biology at Keene State College in New Hampshire; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"This profession is a lot about plan review and making sure good science is done. There is really not much research that is done, more implementation of planning. As an Environmental Health Specialist I have to deal with people from the federal government down to the local community groups and communication is key in getting our voice across." (Environmental Health Specialist; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Hawaii, male
School: Studied Marine Science at University Of Hawaii At Hilo in Hawaii; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"It has surprised me in the fact that I have had the chance to affect so many lives personally. I thought that I would be doing secondary work for an upper level, but I have really gotten the chance to engage with the community hands on." (Health Official; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, female
School: Studied Public Health at University Of Alabama At Birmingham in Alabama; completed Master degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Nursing Home Administrator: "The most challenging part of my job is adhering to the many, many state and federal regulations. The nursing home industry is a very highly regulated industry and many of the regulations have not kept up with the advance practices and care that are provided in nursing facilities today. The regulatory survey process which we are subjected to is difficult and often punitive, not recognizing the many positive things that are going on in facilities today. Generally, the public has a negative opinion about nursing home care and we as an industry need to constantly educate people about the care we provide. The best part of the job is working with the elderly residents of our facility. They are history and producing a smile, getting a kiss or a thank you from a resident can make my day. Producing positive outcomes for patients who come to us in crisis is very uplifting." (2011)

Medical Practice Administrator: "The best part of my job is that every day is different. It's never boring and I'm not always sitting at my desk. I like working with my staff to help them with a personal issue as well as helping my office as a whole function better. The worst part of the job is that sometimes it's very stressful and you have to keep your cool when a patient is yelling at you for something you didn't do. It's also difficult to do everything for everyone. Sometimes I feel as though I'm being pulled in a million directions." (2010)

Sleep Disorders Center Manager: "Some of the best things about the job are that the work is never the same, which keeps you motivated and eager to learn more about the field of sleep. The technology is always growing too, so there is new equipment, software, and techniques that provide better and more elaborate results. A negative part of the job, as manager, is that my business happens almost 24 hours a day: the patients and technicians mostly come in at night and the inspections, meetings, cleaning, and troubleshooting happens during the days. You have to manage your work time well." (2010)

Non-Profit Manager: "Best part of my job is seeing the looks on people's faces or hearing them sigh in relief over the telephone when they find the help they need. The worst part is not having enough resources to offer to people who really need them." (2010)

Medical Group Administrator: "The best part of my job is getting to know my staff, and feeling that my daily "rounds" are not intrusive, but a way, instead, of making myself approachable and available, especially to those employees who have thoughts and ideas about how we can improve our operation. The worst part of my job is facing the prospect of budget cuts, which may or may not mean having to either cut back on existing staff or not fill an open position. Like everyone these days, we are all doing more with a lot less staff." (2009)

Career Background

Healthcare Administrator

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"The Unique Environment Of Healthcare Food Service...
Success in Healthcare Food Service requires much broader experience than a typical hospitality or food related career. The special dietary knowledge and medical specialties are unique to working in Healthcare Food Service" (Manager; 2014)

"Study, Study, Study...
Spend plenty of time memorizing things, even in your off time. It will help you in the long run and make your job easier." (N/A; 2014)

"Hospital Systems Administration A Great Field...
begin exploring the aspects of hospital systems early, becoming a registered technologist is a good way to gain experience in systems administration." (System Administrator; 2014)

"Look Towards The Silver Lining...
Being a successful medical assistant is a demanding and fast pace career. Even though you might be discouraged at first, keep your chin up. It becomes a routine that anyone can readily master with time and patience." (Medical Assistant; 2014)

"Know Your Public Policy...
In order to be successful as a healthcare administrator it is important to stay abreast of the every changing local and federal policies regarding healthcare. Also, the field is best for the individual who adapts easily and quickly to change." (Healthcare Administrator; 2014)

"Keeping Your Job"...
To be successful in this job, you have to have a lot of patience, care, and understanding for people. You have to be able to do more then one job in the course of the day. Most of all always be respectful of the patients, no matter how rude some of them are." (I Am A Medical Assistant.; 2014)

"Key Notes To Remember...
If you want a job as a chiropractor, you have to make people feel comfortable. It's also important to get clients as early as possible." (Chiropractor; 2014)

"Don't Give Up...
This job is hard work with long hours and a lot of travel, but it's worth every second." (Pharmaceutical Sales Representative; 2013)

"Know Yourself...
1) Make a personal inventory of who you are, your skills, your strengths and weakness. It takes more than a degree to succeed in healthcare. It has to be more than just a job - more than just the money." (Human Resources Specialist; 2013)

"A Strong Math And Writing Background Can Improve Marketability...
Gaining skills in writing, math, and statistics as well as science/research make you more marketable." (Health Specialist; 2013)

"Get Training For Your Specific Interests...
The best tip I can offer to anyone considering a job in healthcare is to obtain the training required for your specific area of interest. What I have found most helpful is medical terminology. Not only was it an interesting class, but I enjoyed learning the medical terms necessary to succeed in my career." (Lead Registrar At An Imaging Center; 2013)

"Meet People In The Field...
Work with as many different people as possible. Network starting now!" (Hospital Administrator; 2013)

"Public Speaking And Technical Prowess Are Key Skills...
It is important to become as technical as possible, while still maintaining good public speaking skills." (Benefit Consultant; 2013)

"Trust What You're Doing...
Learn to roll with the punches. Not everyone is going to believe in what you're doing, but know you're doing the best for those around you." (Immunization Manager; 2013)

"Don't Be Picky...
The hospital is a very hard company to get into if you don't have much experience. Take what ever job you can get to get your foot in the door and then move up from there." (Medical Records Technician; 2013)

"MBA In Healthcare Management? Be Sure To Get RHIA/RHIT Certified...
Be sure to get certified as a RHIA or RHIT if you plan to use your MBA in Healthcare Management. Otherwise, you may find a dead end. Jobs are out there, but with the massive run for offshoring patient healthcare records to India and other countries, well-paying careers in healthcare documentation are few and far between. If all else fails, you can become a public school teacher." (Program Manager; 2013)

"Take Business Courses...
Try to choose a school that provides business related classes within your degree to better market yourself. These classes will not only help you get a job, but do your job more effectively." (Health Management; 2013)

"Take Law Classes...
Take as many law courses as you can to help you understand exactly what is legal and illegal concerning health care. Also attend as many seminars regarding health care as you can, for example, look for local Blue Cross or United Health Care seminars in your area." (Health Care Insurance Analyst And Specialist; 2013)

"Research Hiring Organizations...
Do your research prior to the working at the organization at which you're hired. It is good to "shop around" before making a decision as to where to work." (Nonprofit Health Administration; 2013)

"Customer Service Essential...
Good patient customer service is a must." (Front Office Coordinator; 2013)

"Choose A Career That Will Make Money...
Don't go into a non-profit go to a for profit business. You will be able to make a living." (Health Education Supervisor; 2013)

"Consider Volunteering At A Long Term Care Facility...
I would suggest that you get exposed to life within a nursing facility. Do some volunteer work or apply for entry level position as a dietary aid or nursing assistant. Most (I believe) all states require that nursing home administrators be licensed by the state licensing agency. I would encourage anyone interested in this field to pursue a nursing home administrators license as soon as they can. It is difficult to study for the licensing exam or meet the requirements for licensure when you are working another full time job. Pursue a degree in health care administration which will expose you to many areas of health care management including long term care." (Nursing Home Administrator; 2011)

"Be Willing To Go Beyond Your Job Description...
Get as much experience as you can in medical offices. Be eager to learn as many things as you can about the office. (Do not take the attitude, "That's not my job." That is the quickest way to <I>not</I> get promoted.) As a manager you need to know how to do most of the jobs in the office and show that you are not afraid to get your hands dirty. Don't be afraid to take the job that seems low on the totem pole and work your way up. You will be a much better manager for it. Take some classes in Business Management." (Medical Practice Administrator; 2010)

"Sleep Tech Work Hours Are Challenging...
1. Learn from others. It is always good to have many ways of accomplishing the same thing and you may need to use more than one tactic to get where you want to go. 2. When studying for certifications or boards, it is good to study in groups. Sometimes when you hear someone else explain or define something, you understand it better than you would on your own. 3. When working as a sleep technician, you need to be able to work an overnight shift on a regular basis. This is a big commitment." (Sleep Disorders Center Manager; 2010)

"You Won't Become Rich With Non-Profit Work...
1. Know your subject matter. Do the research before you start. It is difficult to learn as you go. 2. Understand that you will not make huge amounts of money when working for a non-profit. 3. Listen to the callers very carefully and fish for further information. Sometimes what they need is not what they are asking for." (Non-Profit Manager; 2010)

"Get An MBA In Healthcare Admin...
I got to my position the hard way, by working my way up through the various jobs over a period of years. This has given me a greater understanding of what employees face in various job roles, but it was slow; it took a long time for me to reach my present goal. I would advise anyone wishing to become a Medical Group Administrator to get an MBA in Health Care Administration. You will need all the help you can get to better understand the challenges of working with budgets; managing staff and long-range planning. Health care is a very challenging field, and one that is always in flux. I will be retiring in a year and healthcare, as I have known it, will change drastically and, I hope, for the better! Cost control, insurance oversight and providing care to those currently not insured, are all areas that we have an obligation to fix." (Medical Group Administrator; 2009)