The health care field is booming, with an estimated 2.4 million jobs being added in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Projects this increase to bolster the industry until at least 2026.
An increasingly aging population is one of the reasons. A heightened focus on end-of-life care means the hospice population is also expected to grow.
If you’re considering a job in healthcare, we’ll explain why becoming a hospice administrator may be the right career choice for you.
What Is Hospice?
Hospice is an end-of-life treatment option for patients that have days, weeks, or up to six months left to live. The medical focus of hospice work is on comfort, not healing. Preventative care and the elimination of disease are not part of a hospice’s purview.
Many hospice patients have a terminal illness and some have been getting sicker for years. Others will be healthy, but of significantly advanced age. Hospice populations are skyrocketing and will continue to increase as Baby Boomers continue to get older.
What Is a Hospice Administrator?
A hospice administrator is the healthcare executive in charge of the day-to-day operations of a hospice or end-of-life facility. You hire and manage employees, handle budgeting, and keep track of supplies. A hospice administrator might also work with others in the healthcare field to form partnerships or cross-promote.
If you’re considering a job in the field, it’s important to know what skills you need. You’ll also want to meet the requirements for hospice work and administrative job titles.
Hospice care jobs require education and certification. But you need soft skills such as compassion and cleanliness standards as well. A hospice administrator can have a rewarding job given the right training and attention to patient care.
Consider a Masters Degree
A graduate degree is not always required to rise in the ranks of the field. But, a graduate degree can help a hospice worker advance to the director or administrator level quicker. Many healthcare executives throughout the field have a masters degree or higher.
Advanced degrees in health administration, management, or healthcare business will help train a future hospice director. Many graduate schools require approximately one year of supervised administrative experience.
Consider a Supplemental Hospice Administrator Certification
Academics and supervision aren’t the only things people who want to run a hospice need. Many people in hospice care jobs seek out administrative or executive certifications from accredited institutions in the field.
The Certification for Home and Hospice Care Executives granted by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice is the gold standard for hospice certification. If you want to expedite your rise to the highest levels of hospice work, you will want to get certified.
Assessing Your Fit
Soft skills are also important for hospice work. Soft skills are also important for hospice work. The ability to create and maintain relationships along with a keen business sense are as necessary as advanced degrees and certifications.
You will also be working with people at the end of their life. It’s key to make sure this is your passion and that you have the heart for the work. Unfortunately, patients don’t often leave hospice care alive.
Hospice Administrator Salary
As a healthcare executive, you’re expected to perform many job duties. And you should get paid well for them.
As of October 2018, the average hospice executive salary in the United States is $115,354.
The median range of salaries is wide — from about $103,721 to $126,821. Your education, certifications, length of time in the field, and location can greatly affect your compensation.
It’s important to advocate for yourself as a hospice executive. You know what your bottom line is for pay and it’s your responsibility to negotiate for it. Many times, your compensation may change depending on the services and amenities offered to patients and how well your staff is performing.
Cultivate a reputation for excellence while pursuing your education and certifications. High quality work and exceptional character will help you in your career.
Key Roles and Responsibilities
Hospice care jobs require training, supervision, and adherence to a code of ethics. As an administrator, you’ll also need to be comfortable with the business aspect of the job.
Make sure you know how to produce a balance sheet and interpret it for others. You’ll need to know how to be ethically and medically compliant. You’ll also need to know how to maintain electronic medical records.
Keeping a list of organizational goals and tracking your progress will help keep your unexpected costs at bay.
Hospice administrators are also responsible for the overall vision of the company. For example, will you partner with local businesses, such as funeral homes or flower shops? And who will serve as the “face” of your company?
These are all things you need to know in order to be an effective hospice administrator. Some of this you’ll learn in classes or training, but you should be prepared to learn on the job, as well.
Certain hard analytical skills are necessary for hospice care workers. Quantitative analysis, financial literacy, and technological knowledge are some of the most in-demand skills for the job.
But, as mentioned, you also need to have soft skills.
Listening, the ability to establish trust, and a positive attitude are all ways to inspire your employees to better care for your patients.
People skills are in high demand for the administrative job titles at a hospice. You will need to know how to conduct interviews, hire, and occasionally fire people. Dealing with grieving families is also par the course in your chosen field.
The most critical skills for a hospice administrator are compassion and empathy. If you can reach out to those at the end of their life and show that you care, you’ll succeed in your work with hospice patients.
Learn more about the five necessary qualities of healthcare administrators.
Getting Started in Hospice Care Jobs
You may have your mind set on being a hospice administrator — but you’ll need to work your way up in the field. Having the right education and hospice certification will go a long way in catapulting you up the career ladder.
Get started by working in healthcare or hospice, to make sure you have the heart for the job. Find mentors and continue your education while you work in the field. There’s nothing like real-world experience.
A high level of burnout is typical of hospice administrators, so make sure you’re preparing for the emotional toll managing an end-of-life facility can have. Training and self-care are crucial in any job, but especially in hospice work.
If you’d like to learn more about a career in healthcare administration and how to get started, click here to read our FAQ. A fulfilling career awaits!