Jobs in Health and Medical Administration: What Are My Options?
Find out about the types of jobs you can pursue in healthcare administration. Read on to learn more about required education and experience as well as potential job outlook and salary.
What Is a Health/Medical Administrator?
Healthcare administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of various medical facilities, such as hospitals and physician's offices. No matter where you work, you will likely be responsible for supervising staff, handling financial concerns and coordinating services. At the same time, the scope of your responsibilities depends on the size of the organization that employs you; for instance, those who work for small clinics may be in charge of the entire institution, while those working in hospitals or large medical centers may run a single department, like surgery or pediatrics.
If working in this field appeals to you, refer to the chart below for an outline of important information about entering this field.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree, although a master's degree is required for work in large organizations|
|Field of Study||Health administration, health services, public administration or related field|
|Key Responsibilities||Ensure healthcare facility abides by new healthcare laws and regulations, budget responsibly, supervise staff and continually strive to improve quality of healthcare services|
|Licensure/Certification||State licensure usually required for administrators in nursing homes|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||18% for medical and health services managers*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$99,730 for medical and health services managers *|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Positions Are Available in Healthcare Administration?
The position you choose to pursue would depend on the level of responsibility you're willing to shoulder. As a lead healthcare administrator, you may oversee the operations of a medical facility, such as a hospital, outpatient care center, physicians' office, home health service provider or nursing care facility. For a small organization, you would be responsible for supervising staff, budgeting, handling admissions and planning for healthcare delivery at the facility. In a large organization or facility, you would coordinate and supervise the activities of others.
As a clinic manager, you would oversee operations for a specific type of medical care, such as nursing, surgery or physical therapy. You'd be responsible for establishing policies and procedures, evaluating staff performance and assessing the quality of services provided. You might develop budgets, complete reports and act in cooperation with other healthcare managers.
In physicians' offices or a group medical practice, you'd be responsible for managing daily operations, including billing, budgeting, managing human resources and developing business plans. As lead administrator, you might supervise assistants and coordinate activities of the organization. Managed care settings operate similar to a large group practice, but additional responsibilities may include community outreach and public education about wellness and preventative care.
What Level of Education Is Necessary?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master's degree is required for lead healthcare management positions in large organizations, but a bachelor's degree is sufficient for entry-level positions in large facilities and lead positions in small organizations. Many accredited colleges and universities offer degree programs specific to health care administration. If you're interested in a specific field of medicine, then you may be required to enter that field first; for instance, if you worked as an RN, a graduate degree would improve your chances of advancement.
How Much Might I Earn?
The BLS reported the median wage of medical and health services managers in May 2018 was $99,730. For medical and health services managers working in general medical and surgical hospitals, the annual mean wage as of May 2018 was $122,460. Managers working for smaller organizations earned less. For example, medical and health services managers working in outpatient care centers earned an annual mean wage of $106,590, while those working in nursing care facilities earned an annual mean wage $93,680 as of May 2018.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Instead of managing a healthcare facility, you could find work as a supervisor for a community service organization or social service program. In this job, you would oversee staff and budgeting, while also evaluating the effectiveness and service quality of the program. Another relevant career option is a job as a human resources manager, where your work would focus specifically on staff management and employer-employee relations. For any of these management jobs, you would probably need a bachelor's degree.