With the state of the economy constantly in flux, the health care industry has maintained a large number of career opportunities. During the 18-month recession from December 2007 to June 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the health care industry actually added 428,000 jobs and has continued to grow steadily since then. With a degree in health care administration, you can feel confident knowing you are directing your efforts toward a fulfilling and thriving career.
A Booming Industry
One main contributor to the booming health care industry is the growing U.S. population and the fact that we are living longer. According to a report prepared for Congress, data in 2003 showed that life expectancy at birth for the American population was 77.5 years old. Information projects that in 2050, the average life expectancy will be 84-86 years old. As the average life expectancy increases, the health care industry will have no choice but to expand in every way possible. Data from the BLS suggests that employment of medical and health service managers is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2010 to 2020.
You are most likely aware of the more popular health care careers that have been around for decades, but with new technologies and needs, specialized jobs are growing in a variety of settings. These are just a few emerging careers that are available to you with a Master’s Degree in Health Administration.
New Career Opportunities
Patient Advocate/Care Coordination
The health care system can be scary and confusing for patients and their families. As a patient advocate, you would help them in many different situations. Being flexible, having a wide range of knowledge and good interpersonal skills are vital to being a successful patient advocate. Although your responsibilities could be completely different day-to-day, some tasks might involve:
- Guiding patients through transitional periods like transferring to an assisted living facility or going home after a long hospital stay.
- Assisting with decision-making, offering advice and discussing all possible options in a particular situation.
- Providing emotional support to patients and their families.
- Going to appointments with patients to ensure the right questions are being asked and to make sure they are receiving the appropriate care.
- Being a liaison between the patient and their insurance company; handling any paperwork, claims, questions, and disputes.
Health Informatics Specialist
This career has stemmed from the need for health care providers to organize their files and data more effectively. This is a wonderful choice for an individual who has a great deal of interest in the field of information technology (IT) as well as health care. Contact with patients does not generally play a large part in this career as it involves working independently or with other health care professionals. Tasks for Health Informatics Specialists include:
- Analyzing and reporting medical data.
- Managing medical databases.
- A firm understanding of all codes and abbreviations used in health care settings.
- Inputting patient’s medical data into the computer.
- Assessing ways to improve current systems and implementing those changes.
With our aging population, there will be greater need for leadership in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and home care.
Jobs in the health care administration field are plentiful and open for well-educated, motivated individuals to fill. Whether you are looking for a career in a hospital, clinic, emergency room, acute care, FEMA or even the Department of Public Health, the number of options out there are impressive. After graduating with an online Master’s Degree in Health Administration, you can begin a rewarding and successful career that will have a lasting impact on many lives.