What Are Career Options with a Health Administration Doctoral Degree?

With a doctoral degree in health administration, you can pursue a career in academia or obtain a leadership position in a healthcare organization. Read on for more information about these career options, including the job duties, career outlook and salary potential for each. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Doctoral Degree Career Overview

Obtaining your doctoral degree in health administration is a great way to open your career options. Outlined be are two possible careers for health administration doctoral degree possessors to consider.

Important Facts About Health Administration Doctoral Degree Career Options

Postsecondary Teacher Health Care Leader
Licensure Typically voluntary, but may be required if teaching for an occupation Mandatory for all nursing home administrators; some positions may require a registered nurse or social worker license; voluntary otherwise
Profession Certification Typically voluntary, but may be required if teaching for an occupation Voluntary, but available for a variety of areas of practice; designations available from the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, the American Health Information Management Association, and the American College of Health Care Administrators
Key Skills Critical thinking; ingenuity; clear writing and speaking ability; social nuance Attention to detail; leadership; clear communication; critical thinking
Similar Occupations Career and technical education teachers; microbiologists; postsecondary education administrators; psychologists Human resources managers; insurance underwriters; social and community service managers

Postsecondary Teacher

A doctoral degree in health administration qualifies you for faculty positions in academia. Those fresh out of graduate school begin their academic careers as assistant professors in a college or university's department of health administration. They teach undergraduate and graduate courses, such as health policy, healthcare finance and public health. They also do research and publish the results in academic journals. Universities often emphasize both teaching and research and prefer candidates with experience in both.

After several years (usually seven), an assistant professor goes through a tenure review and, if successful, is awarded tenure and promoted to the position of associate professor. A career in academia can ultimately lead to a position as head of a department, director of an academic program, dean of a school and other higher-level university positions.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for postsecondary teachers is expected to be faster-than-average, with 13% growth from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This is due to more people pursuing postsecondary education, and the BLS notes that health teachers will have stronger job growth than teachers of other subjects. Part-time teachers are particularly expected to have good prospects.


In September 2015, PayScale.com reported that professors in general earned a median wage of $88,460, with most salaries falling between $49,619 and $157,565. Assistant professors, on the other hand, earned a lower median wage of $62,297, and most made between $45,036 and $97,722. Adjunct professors made the lowest median wage of $31,316, with most of these workers making between $15,000 and $105,576 a year.

Health Care Leader

Those with doctorate degrees in health administration are qualified for top administrator positions in hospitals and other health care organizations such as nursing home corporations. These positions involve directing and planning the operations of the organization. Top-level health administrators work to improve the quality of the health care provided and the efficiency of the organization. They develop policy and usually manage assistant administrators.

Those with doctorate degrees can also pursue management and leadership positions in federal, state, and local government healthcare agencies. They may also become healthcare consultants, helping private and public health organizations improve their delivery of health services.

Job Outlook

The BLS reported that healthcare administrators would have job growth that is much faster than average, at a rate of 17% from 2014-2024. On the other hand, top executives of all industries will experience average job growth of 6% during the same period. There will be competition for top executive jobs, although having experience and an advanced degree can help.


In May 2014, the BLS reported that medical and health services managers were paid a median wage of $92,810, with most of them making between $55,890 and $161,150. Earnings varied by industry. Those working in general hospitals earned $110,840 on average, while those working in physicians' offices made less at $102,990 on average.

The BLS also reported that chief executives made a median wage of $173,320 in May 2014. The bottom 10% of these top executives made $72,750 or less a year, while the top 25% made more than $187,199 a year. In addition, PayScale.com reported that the median wage of a health care consultant was $72,956 in September 2015, with most making $46,750-$135,902.

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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