As the economy continues to struggle, employers are starting to turn to internships over full-time employment. This allows them to vet workers and assess their quality without committing to shelling out a salary. As much as graduates would love to earn a permanent spot in a paying position right after graduation, they're probably going to have to prove their worth one or two times over first. On the bright side, most of these internships are for a short period of time, so graduates don't have to worry about sticking with a non-paying internship for six months or a year. And as with any internship, there's always the possibility that it ends in a permanent hire.
The Need to Specialize
Healthcare administrators have begun venturing outside the typical atmosphere of hospitals and physician offices. Graduates are finding work doing grant writing, with research organizations, and as a part of advocacy teams. Working in one of these "specialized" fields often isn't enough of a specialty, though. For example, those who choose to pursue grant writing are often asked by employers if they are more knowledgeable in non-profit or government grants. Even physicians are becoming more and more specialized – and they need administrators who can accommodate the particular needs of their area of expertise. For instance, there has been a rise in the number of concierge doctors who cater to wealthy executives, and their office administrators will have to know how to manage this unique healthcare setting.
Graduates shouldn't assume that they can get by on the reputation of their school and their GPA alone. Competition for jobs is fierce, so young professionals should keep in contact with past educators and follow the careers of classmates. Networking in today's world is even easier – the convenience of social media makes staying in touch with virtually anyone effortless. It also pays to maintain active profiles on sites like LinkedIn and watch what is posted on less business-oriented sites like Facebook. The internet has the power of seriously helping, or hurting, someone's career.
It would seem as if getting a degree with the word "management" in the title is enough to qualify someone as having strong leadership skills. But just because a graduate has taken business courses doesn't mean they're a strong leader. Employers are hiring candidates who have taken leadership courses, assumed a lead position in an extracurricular activity (like student government), or been the lead on a team during an internship.
A Growing Field
The healthcare sector is not only the nation's biggest job generator, but one of the only sectors that is growing at all. But hospitals and doctors' offices aren't hiring across the board. In fact, many are cutting down on positions like nurses. So how is the field still growing? A number of new government initiatives, combined with the increasing role of information technology, has led to a general restructuring in healthcare institutions. Organizations need people to deal with the new technology, services, regulations, health recording methods, and government requirements, which means hiring more administrators. Graduates need to make sure they can provide what employers are seeking and take on these additional responsibilities. And with shortages in other healthcare positions, especially among physicians, surgeons, and registered nurses, administrators must especially face the responsibility of managing a smaller staff and competing for the best employees, especially amongst a growing population of patients.
About the Author:
Iris Stone has worked as a freelance writer since 2011. Her writing has included content on medicine, healthcare, and education, although her interests are wide and varied. Prior to breaking into the freelance biz, Iris worked in sales for a health company and prior to that as an assistant in a chiropractic office. She is currently attending George Mason University and is majoring in Community Health. Check out her Google+ profile.