Healthcare Administration Careers: 2022 Guide to Career Paths, Options & Salary

Healthcare Administration Careers: 2022 Guide to Career Paths, Options & Salary
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Between 1975 and 2010, the number of people working as healthcare administrators increased by 3,200%. (Cantlupe, 2017). American physicians are outnumbered by administrators ten to one in 2013. (Ross, 2013). As the number of people in need of medical attention continues to climb as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, it has become clear that there is a pressing need for additional administrative personnel. Thus, it’s no wonder that professions in healthcare management are on the rise.

Prospective students will acquire the knowledge and abilities essential to realize their career goals in healthcare management by reading this article. They will also get familiar with potential career paths that await them as they pursue further education and professional development. This guide includes a sample career trajectory to give readers an idea of the range of options available to them in the business.

Healthcare Administration Careers Table of Contents

  1. Why pursue a career in healthcare administration?
  2. Healthcare Administration Career Outlook
  3. Required Skills for Healthcare Administrators
  4. How to Start Your Career in Healthcare Administration
  5. How can I advance my career in healthcare administration?
  6. Alternative Career Options for Healthcare Administrators

Why pursue a career in healthcare administration?

1. Healthcare administrators serve the general public.

Communities need healthcare administrators. They have a direct impact on how well hospitals function. Without them, healthcare facilities will be a chaotic space and the quality of their services will be impacted negatively.

2. Healthcare administrators play an important role in the advancement of health institutions.

Healthcare administrators facilitate the improvement of health organizations. They do this by documenting the processes and medical practices, carefully evaluating them based on industry standards, and making necessary improvements happen through company policies. They also implement training programs for medical professionals to improve their capacity to contribute to the healthcare system.

3. Healthcare administrators make the pandemic endgame a possibility.

Healthcare administrators have a key role to perform in the ongoing pandemic. They are the ones readying the facility for COVID-19 patients, arranging the schedules of medical staff so the organization can respond to the best of its ability 24/7, and dealing with the financial and logistical constraints also brought by the pandemic.

4. Healthcare administrators can explore many career paths.

Healthcare administrators are very much needed by their industry today. However, they also have the option to explore career paths in sales, human resources, education, and business, among others.

After all, career exploration is important to one’s personal and professional development. Healthcare administrators can take advantage of the fact that they can work in practically any sector of their choice given their set of transferrable skills.

5. Healthcare administrators have excellent earning potential.

Health administrators earn an average of $71,277 annually (Payscale, n.d.). The 90th percentile earns around $117,000 (Payscale, n.d.). With an advanced degree and some years of experience, they also have the chance to become top executives in health organizations.

Source: Payscale

Healthcare Administration Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow by 15% between the years 2019 and 2029. For management positions in this field, the growth is much higher during the same period at 32%. Below is a closer look at the career outlook of healthcare administration positions.

RoleSalaryDemand
Claims Representatives$48,500
3%
Health Information Officers
$55,500
8%
Medical Staff Officers$55,900
8%
Public Health Analysts
$75,900
15%
Health Systems Specialists$80,400
32%
Knowledge Management Specialists
$86,000
12%
Healthcare Business Solutions Advisors$88,500
32%
Health Analytics Consultants
$99,000
20%
Clinical Department Managers
$104,300
32%
Materials Management Directors$108,3009%
Healthcare Facility Directors$133.0006%
Healthcare Compliance Directors$145,60032%

Required Skills for Healthcare Administrators

Healthcare administration careers require knowledge and skills in healthcare and business. Listed below are some technical and nontechnical skills, which they need and hopefully will develop during their undergraduate and graduate years.

Essential Skills for Healthcare Administrators

  • Patient Care. Healthcare administration is a service-oriented role. It is very important that healthcare administrators know how to cater to client needs and address their concerns if any.
  • Project Management. Healthcare administrators must know how to schedule and delegate tasks, create budget plans and manage risks, among others. Healthcare projects are often technical by nature, thereby balancing project management skills and expertise in the medical industry. Healthcare administrators must know how to effectively plan, implement, and lead these projects toward success.
  • Database Management. Early in their careers, healthcare administrators will often be tasked with handling medical records and other documents. They must be organized and familiar with the software needed to get this job done.
  • Technical Writing. Healthcare administrators must know how to capture data and turn it into reports for stakeholders. They must be skilled at research, documentation, and data analysis. They must also be familiar with writing in different formats and for different audiences.
  • Business Trend Awareness. This skill is necessary, especially for healthcare administrators in management positions. They must always be abreast with the latest medical technologies in order for their business to remain competitive in the field. Awareness of business trends allows businesses to thrive and get ideas on how to start their own innovative ventures.

General Skills for Healthcare Administrators

  • Communication. On a day-to-day basis at work, healthcare administrators will have to interact with doctors, nurses, patients, and co-administrators. They must be able to actively listen to their workplace concerns and speak with them in a professional manner. They must also be skilled at using communication skills for coordinating various projects and processes.
  • Time Management. Healthcare administrators are tasked with overseeing all operational and administrative functions within health organizations. They must know how much time is needed for each and which demands the most attention and effort. They must also know how to increase productivity in their organizations.
  • Leadership and Management. According to a survey, this is the topmost skill affecting healthcare administration jobs salary (Payscale, n.d.). With years of experience, healthcare administrators are bound to advance to higher positions with greater responsibilities. They need leadership and management skills to be able to perform their functions well.

Source: Payscale

How to Start Your Career in Healthcare Administration

While students may take an associate degree and secure employment in the positions listed below, a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration is usually the starting point for many professionals in this field. More than 200 higher education institutions offer a bachelor’s in arts or science in healthcare administration (Friedman & Kovner, 2018). A bachelor’s degree will allow graduates to pursue healthcare administration career paths as analysts and specialists.

What can I do with an Associate’s Degree in Healthcare Administration?

Claims Representatives

The main task of claims representatives is to improve customer experience by assisting them in getting the benefits of their health and life insurance. They study insurance policies, assess claims, and resolve client issues. They need to have time management and interpersonal skills. Many in this field may start their career paths in relevant positions, such as in billing and coding.

Median Annual Salary: $48,500

Health Information Officers

Health information officers code, manage and disseminate information in their organizations. They must be familiar with the rules and regulations relevant to handling medical records. They must also know how to use the latest health information systems and technology.

Median Annual Salary: $55,500

Medical Staff Coordinators

Medical staff coordinators organize employee schedules and duties. They are also the primary contact of patient care service providers. They work to ensure efficiency in healthcare organization communications and processes.

Median Annual Salary: $55,900

Healthcare Administration Careers Image 1

What can I do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration?

Public Health Analysts

Public health analysts are responsible for dealing with issues that affect public health and safety. They conduct research, create policies, and communicate issues and solutions with the general public. Project management, problem-solving and communication skills are essential for people in this line of work.

Median Annual Salary: $75,900

Health Systems Specialists

Health systems specialists ensure the success of healthcare programs and services. They evaluate, design, plan, and implement projects to improve healthcare systems. This position requires extensive knowledge of healthcare organization structures, processes, job functions, and regulations and standards.

Median Annual Salary: $80,400

Knowledge Management Specialists

Knowledge management specialists facilitate information sharing in the global healthcare community. They investigate sector statistics and trends, identify research gaps, and propose solutions for improving healthcare practices. Their job is essential to the advancement of medical science and technology.

Median Annual Salary: $86,000

Healthcare Administration Careers Image 2

Can you get a Healthcare Administration job with just a certificate?

Yes, you can get an entry-level administrative position with a certificate. However, you may find it harder to advance your career without a degree. The job market is becoming increasingly competitive. So, if you are serious about pursuing healthcare administration careers, taking up an associate degree or bachelor’s degree is a step worth considering.

How can I advance my career in healthcare administration?

A master’s degree in health administration can help practitioners advance into junior and mid-level management positions. Students must consider if they want to pursue an MBA or an MHA. The former focuses on business subjects and the education gained while at it can be applied in numerous fields. The latter, on the other hand, is perfect for those who are committed to serving the healthcare sector specifically.

Administrators who want to become top executives, researchers, or academics are advised to get a doctorate degree in healthcare administration.

What can I do with a Master’s in Healthcare Administration?

Healthcare Business Solutions Advisors

Business solutions advisors provide consultancy services to healthcare organizations. People with this job inform the decisions of top executives. They offer innovative solutions to existing business problems and come up with plans to maximize profit. A master’s degree adds to the credibility of candidates applying for this position.

Median Annual Salary: $88,500

Health Analytics Consultants

Health analytics consultants are experts in data collection, management, and analysis. They create reports and visualize data for presentations to stakeholders. Their job is to point health organizations in the right direction with data-driven research.

Median Annual Salary: 99,000

Clinical Department Managers

Clinical managers oversee the administrative and operational aspects of their department. They supervise the staff and review and approve plans related to marketing, finances, and other departmental concerns. Furthermore, they create and implement long-term business strategies and lead the department toward achieving its goals.

Median Annual Salary: $104,300

What kind of job can I get with a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration?

Materials Management Directors

Materials management directors coordinate with medical suppliers and oversee the procurement of tools and equipment for company use. They ensure that company funds are spent on quality and cost-effective technology. They review supplier bids, recommend one based on available usage statistical data, and lead negotiations on prices and contracts.

Median Annual Salary: $108,300

Healthcare Facility Directors

Healthcare facility directors design and maintain efficient work environments for health workers. They ensure that health facilities are optimal for day-to-day operations and see to it the patients will be comfortable during their stay. They are also responsible for managing facility needs, operating budget and finances, and policy compliance.

Median Annual Salary: $133.000

Healthcare Compliance Directors

Physician compliance directors enforce accreditation standards and ensure that health laws and regulations are upheld in their organizations. Their expertise must extend to both healthcare and law practice. They recommend training programs, policies, and procedures to avoid legal and noncompliance issues.

Median Annual Salary: $145,600

Healthcare Administration Careers Image 3

Which certification is best for Healthcare Administration?

While certification is not part of the healthcare administration requirements, it is one way to advance your career in this field. Certifications can help you prove your expertise in a specific subfield of healthcare administration. This may be information technology, finance, quality control, or leadership and management, to name a few. Below is a list of certifications that you may consider taking:

Certified Medical Manager

This certification program is offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management. Healthcare administrators with at least 12 post-secondary education credits and two years of experience are eligible for this certification program. Examinees will be tested in the following domains:

  • Revenue Management
  • Risk Management
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Contract Management
  • Business Management
  • Technology and Data Management
  • Clinical Performance Reporting
  • Patient Clinical Education and Practice Marketing

Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional

This certification program is offered by the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals. It created a candidate handbook detailing the application process, eligibility requirements, and fees to get this certificate. Examinees will be tested in the following domains:

  • Clerical
  • Grammar
  • Healthcare Governance
  • Healthcare Regulatory
  • Software

Certified Healthcare Financial Professional

This certification program is offered by Healthcare Financial Management Association. Candidates are required to complete and pass two modules: (1) HFMA Business of Health Care and (2) HFMA Operational Excellence Assessment. It will take 14 to 20 hours to complete the first module and three hours to complete the second.

Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality

This certification program is offered by National Association for Healthcare Quality and is fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Candidates will be tested in the following domains:

  • Organizational Leadership
  • Health Data Analytics
  • Performance and Process Improvement
  • Patient Safety

Alternative Career Options for Healthcare Administrators

Healthcare administration degree program majors may explore careers outside the traditional pathways. Some of their options are discussed below.

What else can a Healthcare Administrator do?

Human Resource Officers

Healthcare administrators can serve as human resource officers not only in health but in all kinds of organizations. In this position, their focus is on interviewing job candidates, monitoring employee performance, organizing training programs, and handling compensation and benefits.

Median Annual Salary: $57,000

Health Insurance Sales Representatives

With their strong background in healthcare and skills in administrative functions, healthcare administrators can become insurance sales representatives. This role will allow them to create professional networks way beyond the healthcare industry. It will allow them to use the set of skills they gained as graduates of healthcare administration. They will still be able to serve the healthcare needs of and do business with individuals, only more directly and independently.

Median Annual Salary: $74,300

Risk Managers

The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management enumerated the following risk domains in healthcare: (1) Operational, (2) Clinical/patient safety, (3) Strategic, (4) Financial, (5) Human Capital, (6) Legal/regulatory, (7) Technology, and (8) Hazard (Caroll, 2014). All these are under the supervision of risk managers. A degree in healthcare administration will arm aspiring risk managers with knowledge in all these domains. As this is no different from risk domains in other industries, healthcare administrators also have the option to venture out and explore other fields as risk managers.

Median Annual Salary: $114,800

Healthcare Administration Careers Image 4

Work at the Intersection of Health and Business

A degree in healthcare administration offers an interdisciplinary perspective needed to lead in times of COVID-19. In the 2021 study published in the Healthcare journal titled “Cognitive Diversity as the Quality of Leadership in Crisis,” Joniaková and colleagues noted that “the success of healthcare providers in the form of medical and financial efficiency is the result of successfully leading the cooperation of teams of highly specialized professionals with full responsibility for human life. The crisis that has entered health services as a pandemic is first a crisis of health and safety, and secondly a crisis of efficiency and effectiveness. (Joniaková et al., 2021)”

Leadership positions in health systems often fall in the hands of administrators precisely because of their medical and financial expertise. With their business acumen, they can help health organizations weather the economic turbulence brought about by the pandemic. And with their medical knowledge, they can help foster communication with frontliners and establish policies that can keep facilities in order while facing a health crisis.

Students who want to pursue a non-clinical position in the healthcare industry must consider taking a degree in healthcare administration. Many of these degrees now come in form of e-learning and can be taken 100% online.

 

References:

  1. Cantlupe, J. (2017). Expert Forum: The rise (and rise) of the healthcare administrator. Athena Health. Retrieved from https://www.athenahealth.com/knowledge-hub/practice-management/expert-forum-rise-and-rise-healthcare-administrator
  2. Caroll, R. (2014). Enterprise Risk Management: A Framework for Success. American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. Retrieved from https://www.ashrm.org/sites/default/files/ashrm/ERM-White-Paper-8-29-14-FINAL.pdf
  3. Data USA (n.d.) Health Care Administration & Management. Retrieved from https://datausa.io/profile/cip/health-care-administration-management
  4. Friedman, L. & Kovner, A. (2018). 101 Careers in Healthcare Management (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.springerpub.com/101-careers-in-healthcare-management-9780826166623.html
  5. Joniaková, Z.; Jankelová, N.; Blštáková, J.; Némethová, I. (2021). Cognitive Diversity as the Quality of Leadership in Crisis: Team Performance in Health Service during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Healthcare, 9, 313. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9030313
  6. Payscale (n.d.) Average Healthcare Administrator Salary. Retrieved from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Healthcare_Administrator/Salary
  7. Ross, H. (2013). The Great Healthcare Bloat: 10 Administrators for Every 1 U.S. Doctor. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/policy-ten-administrators-for-every-one-us-doctor-092813
  8. Wiley Education Services (2021). State of the education market: Trends and insights in key master’s disciplines. Louisville: KY: Wiley edu, LLC. Retrieved from https://edservices.wiley.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/210721-StateOfTheMarket-GradReport2021-WES.pdf
  9. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
  10. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021). Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/

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