It’s never too early to begin thinking about the future, and high school students who hope to someday work in healthcare administration can use high school to form a solid foundation for college.
Healthcare administration covers a range of job options from working for a hospital or health network to overseeing a long-term care facility or research facility. For those who don’t want to work in the private sector, public health advocacy groups and nonprofit organizations offer opportunities.
High school students considering a healthcare administration career should focus on classes covering science, math, computer science and communication to best prepare for college. High school students should consider taking two to four years of these core courses, particularly Advanced Placement classes.
Healthcare administrators need to be well-versed in written and oral communication, so English, writing, history, social science and literature courses also are important.
Because healthcare administrators must be familiar with the business, medical and personnel aspects of a facility, a broad range of courses, including business administration, provide a helpful foundation.
Finally, there are electives that may prove helpful such as a foreign language, knowledge of physical education and personal wellness.
Outside of Class
High school students interested in healthcare administration can help their chances when applying for college by what they do in addition to classwork.
Internships offer one way to gain experience in healthcare and help improve a college application. Some intern programs are paid, but others are not.
Agencies such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have internship programs. State and local health departments and agencies may be another source for internships. Private companies, large and small, also provide internships for high school students or recent graduates.
Local hospitals or healthcare facilities – nonprofit and for-profit – may also be places to find internships.
Large healthcare organizations or nonprofits such as the American Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders or the World Health Organization can be another source for internships.
Volunteering is another way to gain experience. Nonprofits such as the Red Cross, American Heart Association or local organizations have a number of volunteer opportunities.
Internships and volunteer work provide exposure to the healthcare field, on-the-job experience and tend to be viewed favorably by college admission offices.
High school students who target this career path early by focusing on the necessary educational requirements and gaining hands-on experience will be best suited to take advantage of an expected increase in healthcare administration jobs propelled by increased access to insurance and an aging population.