Articles

How To Get
Internships in Healthcare Administration

Any student knows that experience is sometimes hard to find, but it’s still a vital step toward progressing into your career. As a healthcare administration professional, being open and willing to take on less than desired positions is sometimes a necessary step to reaching your career goals.
 
learn more about csu healthcare degreesInternships and fellowships are extremely important in building your skill set and in preparing you for work in the field.  Although finding an internship can sometimes be stressful, it’s absolutely worth the wait. Many times, finding the internship is the hardest part of the process. Prepare yourself now for the search and it’ll be much easier, and less stressful.  Here are a few tips.

Get to Know Your Community Through Volunteering

Healthcare administrators are responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of a hospital, hospital system or healthcare organization and maintaining and improving the facility and its presence in the community. Therefore, healthcare administration internships may involve working with the CEO, COO, CFO, CMO or head manager of any department within a healthcare facility on a daily basis.
 
Healthcare administrators are the behind-the-scenes show runners that make sure everything is operating how it is supposed to. A healthcare administration internship might also entail looking over the revenue cycle and working closely with coding and billing. In essence, any position in a healthcare facility that helps run the business is a healthcare administrator position and will count as a healthcare administration internship.
 
For those seeking eventual careers in healthcare administration, it is recommended to volunteer within the healthcare industry as much as possible, whether it be in administration or not. Leaders and administrators are expected to be known in the healthcare community and to build rapport with those within organizations they’ll be working with. A hospital is a big engine in the community so getting to know not only the healthcare community but the community in general will look great to future employers in administration.
 
Volunteering is huge in starting off in administration. Be proactive, volunteer a lot and gain references in the process. The more references you have within healthcare, the better.

Get as Many Internships as You Can – And Don’t Be Too Picky

Experience is experience. There are a lot of other healthcare administration students searching for internships as well, so when a good opportunity comes your way, take it. Don’t limit yourself to one internship. Each bit of experience you gain will be a valuable resume-builder. The more experience you have on your resume, the more likely you are to impress a future employer. Some of the more well-known and prominent internships are offered by organizations such as:

  • Children’s Hospital Network
  • Mayo Clinic
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • World Health Organization
Search their websites and learn about good opportunities within healthcare. More experience equals more qualification for a wide range of healthcare administration jobs. While interning and volunteering, make sure to be on your A-game. Leave a positive impression to gain those references and connections. Be kind and professional to everyone you come in contact with. Take notes and absorb everything you learn.

Be Willing to Work for Free

Scoring an unpaid internship in healthcare administration is a lot easier than getting a paid internship. Most paid internships require a bachelor’s degree at minimum. If you can’t find an internship, a good option is to contact a local healthcare organization and offer to volunteer. Volunteering at a hospital is a good way to prepare for a more advanced internship because you can see first-hand how the hospital or healthcare facility works. A lot of medical facilities love volunteers to lead support groups and workshops for their patients or put together fundraisers and awareness campaigns.
 
Healthcare administrators also accept shadowing. If you are a visual learner, shadowing a professional might be the way to go. Many healthcare professionals had to start off working for free to gain invaluable experience. Keep telling yourself that this is short-term and will pay dividends in the end. No job that offers experience is beneath you when you are first starting out. Be open, say yes to opportunities and you will eventually be where you want to be.

Prepare Yourself for Competition

Healthcare administration is a competitive industry. One of the biggest pieces of advice that healthcare administrators give students today is to get a higher education. A lot of internships require a bachelor’s degree and some even require an MBA, MHA or an MPH. More prestigious schools have higher requirements. If you are serious about working in healthcare administration, a master’s degree will more than likely be expected.
 
After you earn a master’s degree in healthcare administration, apply for a fellowship. Fellowships are very common in healthcare administration and can exponentially advance your career. The American Hospital Association is a great resource to feed your knowledge on post-grad fellowships and find one that is right for you.

Use all Your Resources

You’d be surprised by how many students find their internships, fellowships and jobs through LinkedIn, Facebook and by word of mouth. It’s worth a shot to browse through LinkedIn and try to connect with as many people in healthcare as possible. In this digital age, more and more jobs are being offered through LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Make sure to always keep your social media profiles updated with all your experience. Each time you do something in healthcare – whether it be volunteer work, a temporary job, an internship or a fellowship – be sure to add it to your resume.
 
Don’t limit yourself to just an internet search. Use social media, ask around and make a few visits to nearby healthcare centers.
 
Sources:
http://www.naceweb.org/s10072015/internship-co-op-student-survey.aspx
http://mhadegree.org/7-ways-to-get-healthcare-administration-experience/