Health Service Administration: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for health services administrators. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Health Service Administrator?

Health service administrators are responsible for the management of health care operations at facilities like hospitals, physician's offices, diagnostic centers, nursing facilities, government agencies and health insurance companies. They coordinate medical service delivery, oversee staff, manage the budget and insurance billing, and ensure regulatory compliance. They also attend investor meetings on behalf of the facilities that they work for.

The table below gives you an overview of what you need to know to enter the field.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree (master's degrees are not uncommon)
Education Field of Study Business administration, public health, health services, long-term care administration
Licensure RequiredRequired for nursing care facilities managers in all states; some states also license assisted living facility administrators
Job Growth (2014-2024)17%, much faster than average (all medical and health services managers)*
Median Salary (2015)$94,500 (all medical and health services managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Responsibilities of a Health Service Administrator?

You will operate in leadership roles that are commonly referred to as health care managers, health care administrators and health service administrators. Your duties will vary by the type of organization being managed. For example, managing the operations of a radiology center differs from managing a nursing home facility.

Some of your responsibilities might include budget planning and implementation, program development and evaluation, department activity and protocol coordination, and personnel management. If you work at a small facility, you would typically be responsible for managing the details of daily operations. If you worked at a larger facility, you would most likely delegate the management of daily operations and oversee global operations for the organization.

Depending on your education and training, your approach to health service administration may be as a generalist or clinical manager. As a generalist, your function and approach would be in a broad-based business management capacity. As a clinical manager, you would have more specific responsibilities that require a greater degree of medical experience or training. For example, if you function in a clinical management role at a cancer treatment center, you would need to have some degree of training or experience in oncology.

What Education Do I Need?

Your educational requirements will greatly vary by each employer and/or career track. For example, some facilities will hire health service administrators who have significant on-the-job experience in lieu of a formal education. However, securing a greater range of career opportunities as a health service administrator begins with obtaining a bachelor's degree, which is a minimum requirement for many entry-level positions.

Bachelor's degree programs in health services administration cover general business courses, such as accounting and human resource management, as well as major courses, such as health care management and health care law. Graduate degree program options include those that provide more comprehensive training to be an executive generalist or those that offer concurrent, integrated training in management and medicine. Graduate degree options include a Master of Science in Health Administration and Master of Science in Health Care Administration.

Some states require licensing that is contingent upon the type of facility you manage. For example, in 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported that all 50 states require that you pass a licensing exam to work as a health service administrator at a nursing care facility (www.bls.gov). However, licensing is not usually required for other areas of health service administration.

What Salary Could I Earn?

Your salary as a health service administrator will depend on many factors, such as your education and training, geographic location and job title. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers, a category that includes health care administrators, earned a median salary of $94,500 in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to pursue a career in facility management, you could think about getting a job as a social or community service manager. Instead of working in a medical facility, you would play a leadership role in an organization that provides individual and/or family services, such as a nonprofit organization or government agency. A more general possibility is a job as an administrative services manager, where you could work for organizations in a wide range of industries, from education to finance. For any of these management jobs, you will usually need a bachelor's degree and some work experience in the field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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