The work of a health care administrator might not be as visible in the hospital setting as that of a doctor, nurse, paramedic, x-ray technician, or many others with patient-facing roles, but they play a vital job in the successful delivery of modern medical care.
As the Department Chair for Healthcare Management and Leadership at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Health Professions (TTUHSC SHP), Professor Ryan Schmidt has the inside track on the business of health care administration.
“Health care administration is running all the business aspects of a hospital system,” says Schmidt. “That’s everything from the from negotiating with the various organizations within our supply chain to managing finance, insurance reimbursement, human resources, IT systems, and anything else that falls under the business management side.”
Health Care Administration Career Opportunities
According to Schmidt, health care administration career paths haven’t always been so widely marketed in the past and, as such, many of the people working in the field have simply “stumbled across the opportunity.”
“Many of them are working in careers such as nursing or something else in a hospital when they learn that their bosses are actually health care administrators,” says Schmidt. “They go to meetings and find themselves talking with their managers about things such as quality, reimbursement, operations, efficiency and effectiveness. That’s when they begin to understand what health care administration is all about and they become interested in the field.”
For many nurses and other frontline hospital staff, a career in health care administration provides the perfect progression away from what can be a very physically demanding job.
“Clinical life can be hard on the body,” says Schmidt. “A lot of people considering a move into health care administration are looking for a break from those 12-hour shifts and the physical work of picking patients up and that kind of lifestyle.”
However, this doesn’t mean that all health care administrators come directly from the health professions. In fact, Schmidt considers this an advantage.
“You don't have to have experience in direct patient care to get into health care administration,” Schmidt explains.“We are looking for people with business acumen gained in manufacturing or other industries and that is not skewed by negative or sub-optimal experiences gained in a health care environment. So, people who have an undergrad in business, people who have any administrative or business skills in strategy, operations, planning, or lean six sigma performance improvement — these skills are all required in health care leadership.”
Regardless of where their journey to becoming a health care administrator begins, the destination for students is always very attractive in terms of career opportunities and available salaries.
“The biggest advantage of our programs is that we are one of the highest-paid degree programs in any college," says Schmidt. "According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the average salary of a health care administrator is well over $90,000 a year which often far exceeds other fields both within healthcare and other industries. The job market for the next decade is also growing much faster than average.”
Accelerated Online Learning in Health Care Administration
The accelerated nature of the TTUHSC SHP Master of Science in Healthcare Administration makes the program particularly attractive to busy professionals who want to balance their studies around their careers and families.
“People really like our accelerated program,” says Schmidt. “It’s the equivalent of 45-60 credit hours in a condensed 36 credit-hour program which is delivered 100% online. It covers at a much faster pace, the same content that other programs typically take much longer to cover. There is not a lot of fluff in it. This helps keep tuition costs down and provides excellent value for our students.”
The 36 credit hours are divided across 12 classes, each taking eight-week accelerated courses versus the traditional 16-week schedule. Most students take one class a term and two classes a semester.
“It's a nice, organized way of studying,” says Schmidt. “Instead of a variety of courses at once, different faculty and different due dates, it means that you can really focus all of your efforts on something specific like finance, with one professor and one style of teaching. Then you can move on to something completely different like human resources under a different professor.”
To learn more about how a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from TTUHSC SHP can help you build a rewarding career in the business of health care or to speak with a member of our faculty about enrolling in the program, visit the program page on our website.