In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!
Careers in health administration continue to grow despite an overall downturn in the economy. This field not only offers tremendous job opportunities across the spectrum of healthcare delivery and payment organizations, but it also permits employees to play an integral role in creating and sustaining the systems that allow healthcare clinicians to do their best work.
How do you know a career in health administration is right for you? Dr. Leonard Friedman and Dr. Anthony Kovner, authors of 101 Careers in Healthcare Management, have provided us with a helpful list of reasons why readers may be interested in this career path. If one of these scenarios sounds familiar, this book is for you!
A Note from the Authors
- You are a student and want to learn about possible jobs in the health care field. This book will suggest to you future questions you should ask educators and managers and perhaps force you to challenge some of your own assumptions about what jobs are like and about what advice current job occupants have for persons seeking jobs like theirs.
- You are thinking about a career in the health professions but wish to go beyond the typical clinical options such as medicine and nursing.You want to learn more about the job market in health care.
- You want to learn more about the future of health care management and about trends that will impact careers in health care management.
- You want to meet many recent alumni from various health programs and contact them about their experiences and employment opportunities.
- You want to learn more about education in health care management at programs other than your own. You want to learn what Len Friedman and Tony Kovner have to say about these topics.
- You advise health professions students and supply them with a ready reference book on the topic of health care management careers.
And in case you aren’t completely convinced, here is special excerpt from the book on the first listed career, that of a Budget Analyst:
A hospital’s budget analyst is responsible for a wide range of activities relating to the financial operations and fiscal health of the hospital. These activities include maintaining budget and cost-accounting databases, collecting and monitoring budget variance reports, preparing productivity and various analysis reports, and helping in the preparation of the annual operational and capital budget for the hospital. Other responsibilities can include calculating contractual allowances for third-party reimbursement, working with external auditors, and performing strategic financial analysis under the direction of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and other senior hospital leaders.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
A bachelor’s degree is a minimum expectation for most budget analyst positions. Educational background should be in finance, accounting, or another related field. Other credentials including a CPA/Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) are extremely helpful. Prior experience related to financial management, especially in a hospital, is important. Many employers expect budget analysts to have at least 5 to 7 years of relevant prior experience.
CORE COMPETENCIES AND SKILLS
- Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills
- Professional computer skills, especially with Microsoft Excel
- Excellent quantitative and analytical ability
- Strong knowledge of financial operations, hospital policies/procedures, and organizational structure
- Knowledge of 10-key by touch
- Typing 40+ correct words per minute (CWPM)
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and under a deadline
- Ability to prioritize and handle multiple projects at once
The majority of budget analysts make between $50,000 and $90,000 annually. They can also make as much as $130,000. Budget analysts with broader responsibilities at larger hospitals will likely earn a higher salary. Similarly, those working in a busier, urban area, stand to make more than someone living in a rural setting.
As the number of hospitals in the United States decreases slightly over the next several years, the demand for hospital budget analysts will decrease slightly as well. However, the outlook for these jobs remains high as the healthcare market in general continues to grow.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
- Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) www.hfma.org