Health Care Administration and Public Health: Two Fields With Promising Outlooks

With the healthcare field rapidly changing, the demand for qualified, knowledgeable administrators continues to rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for medical and health service managers is expected to increase 17% between 2014 and 2024. Compared to the BLS’ prediction of 7% growth for all total occupations, this means there are likely more employment and advancement opportunities for professionals in this field.

Additionally, opportunities in a variety of public health professions are expected to increase. Depending on which career path you choose, vocations in this arena are predicted to grow anywhere between 10% and 36% in the next decade. If you have a genuine interest in and dedication to improving the wellness of others, now may be a good time to either change careers or seek higher education to take advantage of these trends.

Contributing Factors in Job Growth

One major factor that will contribute to the overall rise in healthcare employment is the aging of the Baby Boomer population. According to Forbes Magazine, the percentage of senior citizens in the United States population is expected to reach 9.3% by the year 2030. Several major metropolitan areas, especially in Florida and parts of the Northeast and Midwest, currently have large numbers of older residents. However, increases have recently occurred in cities in the South and West such as Atlanta, San Jose, Denver and Los Angeles.

Also, the BLS believes that the improvement of medical technologies and the growth of medical practices in both size and number may drive greater demand in healthcare vocations. With more physicians expected to enter the profession within the next ten years and with the practice of medicine becoming increasingly dependent on technology, these trends should also translate into a need for more administrators to effective manage both staff and resources.

Begin Your Path With Work Experience

If you’re already in the healthcare industry, then you have an advantage. Your experience in the field may give you a leg up on career changers as you seek employment. Work history in a related vocation is usually the first step towards a management position or a career shift. For example, serving in an administrative or clinical position in a healthcare facility would certainly increase your qualifications. If it’s a public health career you’re after, beginning in an entry-level position might be a logical start to your path, whether it’s public health education, research, biostatistics or another vocation.

More Education May Give You an Edge

It’s very possible that you will need more than on-the-job experience to snag a position in administration or in the public health field. The minimum schooling for both medical facility administrators and public health officials usually involves a bachelor’s degree. Undergraduate education in business administration, health administration, public health or nursing is generally required.

However, hiring managers typically have a strong preference for education beyond the undergraduate level. Pursuing a master’s degree, such as the USC EMHA (Executive Master of Health Administration) or the USC MPH (Master of Public Health), helps you boost both employability and earnings. The BLS’ statistics as of 2013 confirm this, with health services managers who have master’s degrees earning 29% more on average than individuals who only have a bachelor’s degree. And with master’s degree holders in other health vocations making anywhere between 19% and 44% more, going back to school may be a very smart move indeed.

Take Advantage of an Advancing Field

If you’ve been thinking about switching careers — or pursuing management positions if you’re already in the healthcare field — there’s no better time than the present. With anticipated employment increases in healthcare administration, public health vocations and other related jobs, gaining valuable on-the-job experience is crucial. However, attaining a master’s degree is a wise way to improve your prospects even more. Plan and act now to achieve your goals, and you’ll be able to do what you love in a promising field.