What Can You Do With a Healthcare Administration Degree?

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By Staff Writers

Published on July 27, 2021

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Healthcare administration graduates can pursue many different career paths. Some students choose to work directly with people, while others prefer focusing on numbers and data.

Selecting a concentration in healthcare administration allows students to specialize in areas such as education, informatics, operations, and health policy. Each concentration can give students a leg up when preparing for their chosen career path.

Read our interview to learn what it takes to become a healthcare administrator.

Pursuing an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration opens up entry-level positions, while an advanced degree can lead to career advancement into managerial and executive roles.

Find the Best Online Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration Programs. Find the Best Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs.

How Much Does a Healthcare Administrator Make?

According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earn an average annual salary of more than $115,000. The most lucrative sector for these professionals — pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing — pays an average annual salary of over $204,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 18% job growth for medical and health services managers between 2018 and 2028. A degree in healthcare administration provides the essential knowledge and fundamental skills needed to make the most of this rapidly growing field.

The demand for medical and health service managers remains high; the BLS projects that 71,600 new positions will be created between 2018 and 2028.

Median Annual Salary for Healthcare Administration Careers
Job Title Entry-Level (0-12 months) Early Career (1-4 Years) Midcareer (5-9 Years) Experienced (10-19 Years)
Healthcare Administrator N/A $52,440 $65,420 $71,770
Hospital Administrator $64,270 $79,950 $89,440 $89,960
Nursing Home Administrator $73,030 $84,090 $97,380 $100,300

Source: PayScale

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What Jobs Can You Get With a Healthcare Administration Degree?

A degree in healthcare administration opens up career opportunities across the healthcare sector.

Hospitals, medical laboratories, and physicians' offices serve as common work settings for healthcare administrators.

Healthcare administrators can also find career opportunities with insurance companies, government agencies, pharmaceutical corporations, and outpatient care facilities.

When beginning their job search, healthcare administration graduates should consider factors like industry, setting, location, and local population. Each of these factors can impact job availability, salary rates, and career growth.

Top Industries for Healthcare Administrators

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

General medical and surgical hospitals are large organizations dedicated to providing broad care to patients, including intensive care, pregnancy care, pediatrics, and emergency care. These operations typically have many departments and include both physician and nonphysician staff.

Average Salary: $124,180

Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories

Medical and diagnostic labs run tests to determine diagnoses and treatment options for patients. Healthcare administrators working in these labs oversee sensitive patient information and work closely with lab technicians.

Average Salary: $122,300

Physicians' Offices

Physicians' offices include independent healthcare practices and can provide general or specialized care for patients. Healthcare administrators in this field manage doctors' offices, scheduling, inventory, and budgeting.

Average Salary: $108,750

Nursing Care Facilities

Nursing care facilities offer care for the elderly and infirm. Healthcare administrators in these facilities manage day-to-day operations, personnel issues, inventory, and patient data.

Average Salary: $97,300

Outpatient Care Centers

Outpatient care centers, also called ambulatory care centers, treat patients who do not need overnight observation in a medical facility. Healthcare administrators in these settings oversee scheduling, patient information, and inventory.

Average Salary: $110,530

Top Locations for Healthcare Administration Jobs

Medical and health services managers tend to earn the highest salaries in the Northeast U.S. — specifically in the District of Columbia and New York. Average annual salaries in these areas are near $150,000.

However, states such as Hawai'i, California, and Washington also provide high wages, indicating that this profession offers high levels of earning potential from coast to coast.

State

How to Start Your Career in Healthcare Administration

While healthcare administration is a vast field, career availability depends a lot on your level of education. The most lucrative careers in healthcare administration, like CEOs, require a master's degree or even a doctorate.

Get started on your degree with our Student Guide to College Planning.

What Can You Do With an Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration?

Graduates with an associate degree in healthcare administration find jobs in hospitals and doctors' offices, as well as other healthcare-related industries like insurance. They manage day-to-day operations and perform administrative tasks.

Medical Office Manager

Medical office managers handle administrative duties for hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. They oversee day-to-day operations, including scheduling, organizing paperwork and patient files, and reviewing expenses and accounts. Medical office managers must understand physician guidelines and relevant healthcare policies.

Salary: $48,950

Medical Billing Manager

Medical billing departments manage patient paperwork, insurance, and eligibility. Medical bill managers often handle all the paperwork for small clinics or oversee employees in a larger facility. Some employers may require a bachelor's degree for this position.

Salary: $54,060

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

Medical records and health information technicians oversee office records and IT duties, maintaining patient files and creating organizational structures for efficient record keeping. These professionals may also keep hospital or clinic computer systems up to date.

Salary: $40,350

Sources: BLS and PayScale

What Can You Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration?

Earning a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration is often the first step on a managerial career track. Graduates can assume administrative or management roles in medical settings like hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. They may also find work as consultants.

Human Resources Manager

HR managers act as intermediaries between an organization and its employees. They oversee policies and procedures for personnel, which requires strong interpersonal skills and the ability to manage complaints in a professional and timely manner.

Salary: $67,380

Healthcare Consultant

Healthcare consultants work with healthcare organizations to conduct research, identify systemic or procedural problems, and find or create solutions. Some professionals in this field hold contract jobs, while others work full time for large organizations. Consultants must be detail oriented and have keen observation and interpersonal skills.

Salary: $77,670

Medical Reimbursement Specialist

Medical billing specialists work with healthcare providers to help customers schedule and process insurance claims and payments. Hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, and emergency centers all employ billing specialists. Professionals in this field need strong communication skills and the ability to parse complex insurance policies.

Salary: $50,440

Medical Health and Services Manager

Medical and health services managers oversee healthcare facilities like hospitals and clinics. Their duties include accounting and budgeting, human resources management, and the development of new health programs. Professionals in this field need organizational and research skills to keep their facilities running efficiently.

Salary: $67,580

Clinical Supervisor

Clinical supervisors manage the day-to-day operations of medical clinics. These supervisors maintain scheduling for clinic employees, delegate tasks, enforce healthcare quality standards, and manage inventory. Clinical supervisors may also take charge of clinical records and patient reports.

Salary: $58,910

Source: PayScale

What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration?

Many upper-level careers require a bachelor's degree and at least five years of experience, but a master's degree in healthcare administration can help graduates enter this upper tier more quickly.

This degree also builds the skills necessary to succeed in challenging management positions.

Director of Managed Care

A director of managed care is a liaison between managed care staff and healthcare administration in rehab centers, nursing homes, senior living centers, and hospitals. Directors of managed care coordinate between departments, keep contracts updated, and act as go-betweens for medical facilities and various governmental agencies.

Salary: $118,890

Clinical Manager

A clinical manager works in a medical office that provides ongoing care to patients. In small medical facilities, clinical managers oversee scheduling for day-to-day treatment strategies. In larger operations, these specialized managers may run a particular department and oversee nonphysician staff. These professionals also maintain and order equipment for their department.

Salary: $70,990

Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing home administrators oversee residents and staff in a nursing home. They create and implement management systems; supervise all departments; and provide oversight in regards to local, federal, and state regulations. These administrators also perform financial and administerial duties, including budgeting and contract negotiations.

Salary: $90,660

Health Information Manager

Health information managers maintain digital databases for medical facilities that contain vital patient information and treatment data. Their main responsibility is staying in compliance with privacy laws and ethical standards, which tend to evolve quickly. Health information managers may also lead a team of technicians who implement data collection strategies.

Salary: $58,530

Practice Administrator

Practice administrators oversee staffing at medical facilities, including clinics and hospitals. They are in charge of recruitment, contract negotiation, and budgeting for hiring and training. In some cases, practice managers also keep track of the advertising budget. Professionals in this field need strong communication skills and must work well under pressure.

Salary: $74,000

Source: PayScale

What Can You Do With a Doctorate Degree in Healthcare Administration?

Graduates with doctoral degrees are experts with extensive theoretical and practical knowledge that applies directly to their work. Doctoral degree-holders can also become professors at accredited colleges and universities.

Hospital CEO

Hospital chief executive officers are in charge of an entire hospital. They oversee all departments, manage staffing and budgeting, and work with donors to keep the hospital funded. CEOs must make tough decisions quickly and professionally, which requires strong interpersonal skills.

Salary: $156,130

Postsecondary Professor

While professors are known for giving lectures, they may also conduct their own research, oversee student research, act as advisors, and publish academic papers. Professors rely on strong research, data collection, analysis, and communication skills.

Salary: $79,540

Director of Operations

Directors of operations are primarily in charge of managing employees. These directors may also oversee research and development departments or manage inventory and ordering.

Salary: $91,880

Sources: BLS and PayScale

Discover other career paths in healthcare.

How to Advance Your Career in Healthcare Administration

Healthcare administration professionals can advance their careers through advanced degrees, training programs, continuing education classes, and professional development.

Membership in professional organizations like AHCAP, PAHCOM, and AAHAM give healthcare administrators access to resources and updates in the field.

Healthcare Administration Certifications

Healthcare administrators benefit from earning professional certifications from organizations like the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP) and the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM).

ACHAP provides a certified healthcare administration professional certification that demonstrates excellence in healthcare administrative knowledge and experience, while PAHCOM provides certifications in medical management and health information technology.

The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) also offers five professional certifications.

Resources for Healthcare Administration Majors

Professional Organizations

Association of University Programs in Health Administration: AUPHA serves as a resource for prospective students, current scholars, faculty members, and departmental leaders. The association maintains extensive online databases of healthcare administration programs and career opportunities. Members can also take professional certification exams in order to gain AUPHA certification.


Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals: AHCAP is one of the main certification agencies for healthcare professionals. Members also gain access to exclusive publications, career boards, and forums. The association hosts an annual networking conference and webinars to provide professional growth opportunities.


American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management: AAHAM provides multiple professional certifications for leaders in healthcare administration. Members also gain access to management training, periodicals, seminars, and conferences.


Health Care Administrators Association: HCAA is dedicated to members from multiple disciplines that work in healthcare administration. This organization regularly posts job and sponsorship opportunities. Members can also pursue certification if they wish to work with self-funded healthcare plans.

Open Courseware

Open courseware for healthcare administration professionals is a free, convenient resource.


Offered in conjunction with Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides courses in health sciences and technology. The Harvard-MIT program incorporates undergraduate and graduate classes in topics such as principles and practices of drug development, information technology for the future of healthcare, and health information systems to improve the quality of healthcare.


MIT also provides online open courseware in healthcare management. Classes include comparative health policy, engineering capacity in community-based healthcare, and business model innovations of global health in frontier markets.


Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health also provides open courseware in healthcare administration-related areas. Learners can study public health, global health, and health policy while also exploring population science and health issues for aging populations.


Stanford University provides open courseware in health and medicine, with additional offerings in business and management. Classes applicable to healthcare administration careers include health across the gender spectrum and disaster medicine training.


The University of California, Berkeley offers open courseware in academic and science writing and solving public policy problems, while open educational resources provided by the University of Michigan cover topics like public policy and public health, nursing, and pharmaceutical science.

Publications

Journal of Hospital Administration: JHA is an international, open-access publication for healthcare management specialists. Dedicated to publishing articles related to managing research and practice in all branches of hospital administration, JHA puts out four volumes each year. Covered topics include clinical department management, health policy, and nursing management.


Journal of Healthcare Management: An official publication of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), JHM offers a forum for the discussion of issues and trends facing healthcare today. Published quarterly, JHM provides information that can help healthcare managers make strategic decisions and handle complex healthcare issues.


International Journal of Health Planning and Management: With an emphasis on policy and implementation, this journal also publishes articles on topics related to developing effective health systems and services around the world. Thejournal is interdisciplinary and international in scope, embracing content that addresses how health planning and management relate to social, economic, and cultural development.


Frontiers of Health Services Management: Published by ACHE, Frontiers functions as a "bookazine." Structured in a magazine format, Frontiers offers information normally found in books, albeit in a shortened form. Each issue focuses on one aspect of healthcare management, providing an overview of the topic before diving into debates, discussion, and expert opinions. Frontiers publishes four issues each year.


Journal of Healthcare Risk Management: Published by the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management of the American Hospital Association, this journal focuses on topics related to evidence-based healthcare risk management. Articles address areas including clinical risk management, risk management tools and techniques, quality improvement, and risk financing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Healthcare Administration

Is a degree in healthcare administration worth it?

A degree in healthcare administration builds knowledge and skills in medical, business, and managerial topics. Graduates can pursue careers in hospitals, private physicians' offices, or short-term and long-term patient care facilities. A degree in healthcare administration also opens up opportunities to work in research settings, within government agencies, or with insurance companies.

How do I start a career in healthcare administration?

Earning a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration is a common pathway to enter a career in the field. Professionals with a background in medicine or business may also have insight into healthcare administration, facilitating entry into the profession. Starting a career in healthcare administration requires strong communication, interpersonal, and critical thinking skills.

What kind of jobs can you get with a healthcare administration degree?

With a degree in healthcare administration, learners can work as hospital administrators, healthcare office managers, or insurance compliance managers. A healthcare administration degree can also lead to jobs at nursing homes, outpatient care facilities, and community health agencies.

How much do entry-level healthcare administrators make?

Wages vary by location. However, according to PayScale, the average salary for an entry-level healthcare administrator is about $52,000.

Is healthcare administration a stressful job?

A career in healthcare administration requires strong organizational and critical thinking skills. Healthcare administration careers offer an opportunity to provide quality healthcare and improve the lives of patients, which can sometimes be stressful. Healthcare administrators take on duties related to facilities management, finance, and organizational development.

Feeling first-day-of-college jitters? Learn what to expect and how to prepare for the first day of class. Looking for a good school in the Southwest? Check out our list of the top 10 online colleges in the southwestern United States. Students can make college life easier by bringing 10 documents that are essential for study, work, and other aspects of student life.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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