6 Quality Entry-Level Healthcare Administration Jobs for Getting Established
Healthcare administration careers are not for the faint of heart. The healthcare industry is notoriously complicated, and as healthcare providers everywhere work towards safer, healthier and happier patients, they need healthcare administrators with an eye to the future.
If you're considering this kind of role, you probably know you'll need to be a manager, organizer, listener and planner. Health administration professionals make an impact in the lives of healthcare professionals as well as patients. That’s a big part of what makes a career in healthcare administration so appealing.
But entry-level jobs for administrative careers can be confusing. When you’re just starting out in this field, it’s not likely that you'll walk in the door of your first role and make consequential decisions in a high-powered board meeting.
You’ll need to work your way up first. So what are those entry level healthcare administration jobs that can get you started on your way?
What’s out there for healthcare administration newcomers? To help answer that, we used job posting analysis software to identify some of the job roles most commonly seeking candidates with a degree in healthcare management or administration with zero to two years of experience.1
6 Solid healthcare administration jobs for getting established
1. Nursing home administrator
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities represent a huge pillar in the healthcare industry. These healthcare administration professionals oversee the functions, quality and services of a nursing home or other long-term care facility. This is a direct healthcare administration position, which can get you working in your ideal scope right away.
Nursing home administrators need a thorough understanding of law and regulation around their institution so they can guide the facility correctly. They manage staff, policies, programs and plans. They perform audits to make sure their facility meets quality standards and the needs of their residents. These healthcare professionals are also key when it comes to improving the processes and efficiency of care.
These healthcare administrators work closely with finances, training employees, negotiating contracts and evaluating insurance agreements and risk management. If your interest in healthcare administration leans toward financial management, you might find this position particularly satisfying. Depending on the facility, these administrative roles may focus on a specific area—for example, patient admissions, facilities management or billing.
2. Clinical quality improvement specialist
Ideally, everyone working in a healthcare facility will flag problem areas and barriers to quality care. But in a complex environment with a near-constant stream of patients, errors or oversights can ripple through any system.
The goal of clinical quality improvement specialists is to identify and address these potential issues to improve patient outcomes, satisfaction and the overall efficiency of a facility.
These professionals dig into existing systems like medical record keeping, hospital policies, treatment plans and staff training to identify areas for improvement. They research best practices and new developments in medicine and technology to keep their institution as up to date as possible.
This role requires the ability to analyze data and make well-researched recommendations to critical stakeholders within the organization. To an outside observer, some of the changes recommended may seem relatively small in practice (for example, Mount Sinai Health System’s “lose the tube” initiative to reduce unnecessary catheterizations and their possible complications), but their cumulative effect can be substantial.
3. Medical biller
If you want to get into healthcare administration, you'll need a good understanding of how the money works. Medical billers, coders and other medical records specialists classify and enter patient information into electronic health records (EHR) systems.
They assign codes to patient illness and injury or to the service performed by a healthcare provider. Medical billers typically assign codes for insurance and billing purposes. Careful and ethical handling of patient data is a must.
Since these professionals often work very closely with the connected systems of healthcare and pass information to insurance companies or other providers, this role can be a great place to start your healthcare administration career. These healthcare professionals tend to get a big-picture understanding of the billing and payment process, as well as the complex system of rules and regulations guiding them.
4. Coding auditor
Coding auditors check the work of medical records specialists to identify errors in provider documentation, prevent fraud and reduce inefficiencies in payer reimbursement. They report problems with repeat errors or coding issues, train medical coding clerks and improve coding processes.
These professionals need to know ICD-9 and CPT® codeswell to review documents accurately. They will likely have more contact with healthcare management professionals than medical billers, as well as the additional responsibility of reviewing medical billers’ and coders’ work. It should be noted that while job postings for these roles may fall into the zero-to-two-year experience requirement range, there’s a good chance employers will prefer candidates with additional experience in a medical billing and coding role.
5. Medical administrative assistant
Medical offices need administrative support to run smoothly, just like any other office. But they have plenty of quirks specific to healthcare. A medical administrative assistant, also called a medical office manager, will supervise office staff, order inventory, create schedules and implement office policies.
These healthcare professionals also help maintain medical records, collaborate with physicians, nurses and lab staff, and keep a close eye on how their office adheres to healthcare regulations.
Medical administrative assistants need to have careful, ethical standards for themselves and their staff while protecting patient privacy and ensuring compliance with the law.
Since this position puts you in direct supervision over a medical office, it’s an excellent choice for your entry level healthcare administration job. You'll gain lots of experience working with other healthcare professionals and keeping the office of a healthcare facility running smoothly.
If you have ideas about how to make a healthcare facility more efficient, this position might even allow you to put some of them into action.
6. Patient services representative
A patient services representative (also called a patient care provider) is typically the point-person for patient scheduling, referrals and communication to the patient about needs like medication, transportation to appointments, insurance questions and more.
These professionals work with patients to educate them about their care and connect them with what they need. Patient services representatives work closely with insurance, billing and patient accounts—giving them a deeper look at how services, health insurance policies and pricing impact patients.
In this role, you might also advise patients about different community support or financial assistance programs. If your interest in healthcare administration is connected to patient experience or advocacy, this role could be ideal for you.
As a patient services representative, you might work with health insurance companies, health services managers, medical billers and coders and lots of other professionals as you try to connect the dots for patients.
Getting into the healthcare administration business
If you were drawn to some of the entry-level healthcare administration jobs listed here, you’ll be even more excited to see where a career in this field can lead. Healthcare administration isn’t for everyone, but for the right people, it’s the perfect career to influence important changes.
Healthcare administrators aren't usually at the forefront of the public eye, the way nurses or physicians might be, but their power to change the healthcare industry is significant. If you believe in making changes that can increase the sustainability, safety or overall satisfaction of patient care, this kind of career could be the perfect choice for you.
Now that you have a few ideas about where you could start with healthcare administration, get a deeper look at what the rest of your career journey might hold. Who better to share that, than healthcare administration professionals themselves? Learn from their experience in our article “What I Wish I Had Known Before Starting a Healthcare Administration Career.”
1 Burning-Glass (analysis of 11,528 job postings for candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Health/Health Care Administration/Management and 0 to 2 years of experience, Jun. 1, 2021 - May. 31, 2022).