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Pursuing a career in health care administration can be a lucrative endeavor to undertake. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of health service managers was $80,240 as of May 2008. Top administrators in the field made more than $137,800, according to the bureau. Obtaining a health care administrator's license is necessary if you plan on working as a nursing care facility administrator or an assisted-living facility administrator. The BLS notes that other careers in health service administration outside of such facilities do not require a license.
Obtain a bachelor's degree in health care administration, nursing or even business administration. A bachelor's degree is the educational requirement to work in an area of health care administration where a license is also needed. Regardless of what field of study you choose to pursue your bachelor's degree in, you will likely have to take additional coursework unless your degree program already meets the requirements for your state. For instance, in the state of New York, 15 hours are required in the fields of nursing home administration, personnel management, financial management in health care, gerontology and legal issues in health care management.
Pursue a master's degree. Although it is not required that you pursue a master's degree in health care management to work in the field, it can give you a leg up on the competition in the job market. Having a master's degree will help to ensure that you have met all of the minimum education requirements of the state without necessarily having to take additional courses. In fact, the state of New York allows you to substitute a master's degree for the required coursework.
Complete the necessary experience requirements needed to obtain a license in your state. Some states, like New York, offer "administrator in training" programs to help you meet these requirements, but most will consider other field experience in lieu of their program if it meets the minimum specifications. In general, one to two years of experience is necessary to be licensed.
Download, complete and apply for your health care administrator's license through your state's health department of health or other licensing body. Once you have submitted your application, the governing body can evaluate your application to determine whether or not you qualify to sit for the licensing exam.
Pass your state's licensing examination. Most states use the Nursing Home Administrator Licensure Examination. A licensing fee and a separate examination fee may be required by your state.
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Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.