Field of Study: Health Services Administration
Programs in health services administration prepare people to plan and manage health services organizations. Students learn to apply the policies and laws of public health and business to the delivery of health systems. They also learn to balance budgets, handle human resources, and market health services.
When you think about health services, you may automatically think of doctors, nurses, and hospitals. But health services can be found in addition to hospitals and other places that provide health care. Think about environmental organizations that work to improve the quality of our air. Or consider occupational safety organizations that work to prevent injuries on the job. These are just a couple of examples of organizations that provide services to promote human health and wellness.
Just like health care organizations such as hospitals, health services organizations depend on effective administration to run smoothly. As a student of health services administration, you learn what it means for an organization to run smoothly. You then learn how to put meaning into action.
As a health care administrator, you manage employees in different departments and obtain resources for your organization. You prepare and maintain budgets and perform other administrative duties. To do these jobs, you need to know how health care systems are organized. You also need to know the legal aspects of the field.
Moreover, just like other kinds of administrators, you need to know how to supervise people, place them in the appropriate positions, solve problems, and make decisions. You also need to know how to handle financial and marketing issues such as accounting and fundraising. As you can imagine, this field combines a solid understanding of health care, good business sense, and the ability to communicate effectively in many ways.
In this program, you study public policies related to health services and systems. You take courses in business and the principles of public relations. You learn to manage finances as well as support staff. You study legal and ethical matters related to health services. You also study statistics and other research methods so that you can analyze health services trends. You learn to use this analysis to design and implement an organization that meets specific health needs and behaviors.
Many schools offer programs in health services administration. You can earn a bachelor's, a master's, or a doctoral degree in this program. You can also earn a postbaccalaureate certificate. A bachelor's degree typically takes about four years of full-time study after high school. Getting either a master's degree or a postbaccalaureate certificate usually takes five to six years and a doctoral degree generally takes ten.