Healthcare Management Internships and Residencies
It is common for an intern or resident to get their first job in the organization in which they completed their training. These are entry-level jobs that are usually at the supervisor or department head level. Entry-level jobs can also be in a staff capacity, such as a business analyst or performance improvement specialist. Preceptors are also an important resource to interns and residents often referring them to jobs to colleagues in other organizations.
Getting that first job
Health care management programs also assist students in finding their first job. Many schools bring in human resource professionals to help with development of interviewing skills. Schools also sponsor job fairs at which prospective employers meet and greet recent graduates and after a screening process conduct interviews. Programs frequently maintain job banks where jobs are posted and available to graduates of the program. The opportunities listed may come from alumni of the program, colleagues and contacts of the professors and instructors or health care organizations that the program refers interns or residents to.
First jobs for a student right out of school tend to be difficult to obtain, primarily due to the individual's lack of experience. Prior work experience, either in health care or management in another field, is a plus, although some employers are only looking for candidates with prior health care management experience. Organizations seeking new graduates are often those in which the individual will be mentored and developed by an experienced manager. In hospitals the mentor can be a department head of a department such as performance improvement or radiology. In a nursing home a new graduate may be an assistant administrator and be developed by the administrator of the facility.
Entry level positions exist in other organizations such as consulting firms, ambulatory care facilities and government agencies. These organizations seek individuals who can perform job functions such as data analysis, report writing, or supervision of specific daily activities (insurance verification, scheduling). They are often looking for individuals who can learn new responsibilities, develop and move into higher level positions. In many cases these entry level jobs are stepping stones to positions in other organizations that require concrete health management experience.
In today's market many health care organizations seek management staff with master's degrees even for entry-level positions. This is especially true of hospitals and increasingly so for long-term care organizations. The reason is that these individuals have a broader knowledge base and may be good candidates to promote from within the organization. In addition, the specialty track and residency training provide these individuals with greater skills and experience.
Licensing and certification
Hospital administrators do not require licenses; most however do have Master's degrees. The American College of Healthcare Executives offers certification for hospital administrators and other healthcare professionals. Healthcare managers can be certified as diplomats and the n fellows by applying and meeting the requirements for these certifications. The requirements include education, experience, passing an examination and an interview and a major research project. To retain certification, health care managers need to complete continuing education requirements.
Nursing home administrators are required to be licensed. Licenses are issued by the individual states and while general requirements are similar they do vary from state to state. In terms of education most states require a BA degree with no specific major of study. A number of states only require an Associates degree or two years of college study, while several such as Massachusetts and Georgia require a Masters degree. Almost all states mandate a training program referred to as an AIT (Administrator in Training) program during which time is spent in a nursing home under the direction of a qualified preceptor. The AIT period varies from three months to two years. The national exam is administered by the National Association of Boards of Examiners of Long Term Care Administration (NAB). Candidates must file an application for the exam and pass it with a minimum score to be granted a license.
Most states also have a state exam, which can be written or oral, the exceptions being Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah. Licensure reciprocity exists in some states. Through an application filed with the state's licensing authority (often the Department of Health), licensure may be granted without another examination or going through the entire licensing process. Reciprocity is important for administrators who work for regional or national companies that have facilities in different states.
In the 1990s, several states began licensing administrators of other long term care facilities such as assisted living facilities, and continuing care retirement centers(CCRCs). In New Jersey for example, assisted living administrators are licensed as CALAs or Certififed Assisted Living Administrators. Certification includes meeting minimum education and experience requirements and passing an examination. In addition in 1998 the NAB developed a national exam for assisted living administrators.