There are several types of practice administrator positions but one of the most common is a medical practice administrator. Although this position is similar to that of an office manager, most facilities may require that you have at least a bachelor's degree in health care administration to become a practice administrator. The duties of this profession are supervisory and you will generally be in charge of office operations including billing, marketing, and accounting. Extensive experience in a related field is typically required to become a practice administrator because you usually oversee employees in various office positions.
A bachelor's degree in health care administration may take at least four years to complete and you will need to combine academics with field practice to become a practice administrator. Some of the coursework that you may need to take to prepare you to enter this profession includes human resources management, health care economics, and marketing strategies. Introductory coursework is required before you can enroll in advanced courses in your field such as health care financial management, legal and ethical aspects of health care, and field practicums. In order to enroll in a field practicum, you may be required to complete at least 12 credits in health care administration disciplines.
Field Practicums are an important portion of your curriculum because they allow you to work closely with other professionals in the field and gain hands-on experience. Most practicums are equivalent to three college credits and your time will be divided between classroom study and field work. Due to these programs being offered within your degree program, you are usually assigned an organization to work for. These experiences can prepare you to become a practice administrator because they are generally designed to familiarize you with the field. In addition to the field practice, it can be helpful to review and discuss experiences with professors and other students who are enrolled in the same degree program.
Although practicums are excellent experience opportunities, you may want to consider seeking part-time employment in a related field while you are in school. The amount of experience in related positions will be important to become a practice administrator due to the managerial nature of this profession. Your familiarity with most of the duties of other office positions will increase your ability to supervise and assist employees. After graduation, you may want to seek employment with private health practices, hospitals, and other health care facilities.