If you’ve never worked in healthcare administration, you may think the healthcare administrator career path is closed to you. But that’s not true. Here are some steps you can take to start a healthcare administration career.

Earn a Healthcare Administration Degree

Almost all healthcare administrator jobs require you to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. For higher-level jobs, consider a master’s degree—in particular, a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA).

You don’t need a background in healthcare management to enroll in an MHA program. But if you choose to pursue an MHA, you’ll gain valuable knowledge that can help you launch your healthcare administration career. In addition to focusing on administrative skills, a master’s in healthcare administration program will ground you in the essentials of the healthcare industry, helping you build an in-depth understanding of the insurance-based reimbursement system, government regulations, medical ethics, health informatics, and more.

And thanks to online education, earning your master’s is more feasible than you might think. Through an MHA program at an online university, you can complete your coursework from home. Plus, the online learning format gives you the freedom to complete your coursework when it works best for you—making it possible to work full time while earning your degree.

Some online MHA programs even offer a competency-based degree path, which provides additional flexibility. In a competency-based degree program, you learn at your own pace and earn credits by mastering specific subjects. The faster you master subjects, the faster you can earn your MHA degree.

Join a Professional Group

When it comes to finding a good healthcare administration job, belonging to a professional organization can be quite helpful to your career. Professional groups offer job boards and networking opportunities, and many offer resources for students. The right professional group for you depends on which area of healthcare administration you wish to enter.

Get to Work

Once you’ve earned a healthcare administration degree and have decided whether or not to earn certification or join a professional group, you’ll be ready to start your healthcare administration career. While top-level jobs typically require previous experience, many jobs are available to those just starting out. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the healthcare industry will create 72,000 new positions for medical and health services managers between 2016 and 2026. One of those jobs could be yours.