7 High-Paying Careers in Healthcare Administration
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Healthcare administration is one of the fastest-growing employment sectors, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting s 28% growth over the next decade.
But you don't need to be a doctor — or even a nurse — to work in healthcare administration. What's most important are management and leadership skills and an understanding of the healthcare industry.
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And while there's more than just one route to these jobs, a degree in healthcare administration can help you start out on the right track.
Below are seven high-paying jobs that are just a few of the many career opportunities in healthcare administration.
1. Chief Nursing Officer
- Average Annual Salary (Oct. 2022): $135,360
Whether you're a nurse looking to up your earning potential, or a leader looking to take on more responsibility, a chief nursing officer is a good career choice. Responsible for the day-to-day operations of a nursing department, chief nursing officers oversee the nurses as well as patient care delivery.
They're often responsible for budgeting, acting as a spokesperson for nurses, and ensuring compliance with hospital regulations and standards.
In addition to hospitals, chief nursing officers work in medical offices, clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, corporate offices, and governmental agencies.
For this role, you should have at least a bachelor's degree, be a registered nurse (RN) and have at least five years of managerial experience. Increasingly, chief nursing officers also have a master's degree, sometimes earning both a master's in nursing and a master's in business administration with a concentration in healthcare.
To land a job as a chief nursing officer, you should have high-level skills in nursing as well as in management, including leadership, communication, budgeting, personnel management, and problem-solving.
2. Hospital Administrator
- Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $101,340
A hospital administrator manages a hospital through budgeting, patient care delivery, marketing, and more. These administrators are critical because of the wide variety of staff and rapid flow of patients in and out of the facility.
For this role, you'll need excellent organizational, communication, and leadership skills, as well as expertise in your area of responsibility. You also need to ensure compliance with regulations.
A bachelor's degree is the minimum required educational level. Programs in healthcare administration, as well as business, can help qualify you for this role.
3. Nursing Director
- Average Annual Salary (Oct. 2022): $88,250
Not quite ready for the responsibility of chief nursing officer? Then a nursing director might be a better fit.
Similar to a chief nursing officer, a nursing director oversees the hiring, organization and performance of nurses and patient care delivery services. The nursing director works with higher-level administration to adhere to budgets and regulations.
You'll need knowledge of nursing, as well as skills in communication, management, leadership, and organization.
At a minimum, a nursing director should have a bachelor's degree and education and experience in nursing. Plus, a master's degree in nursing or business administration — or both — can help you prepare to work up the ladder of healthcare administration.
4. Healthcare Consultant
- Average Annual Salary (Oct. 2022): $80,240
If you're looking for a more business-forward career in healthcare, then you might want to consider becoming a healthcare consultant.
A healthcare consultant works with various clients in the healthcare industry to help them strategize and problem-solve in areas such as finance, administration, personnel management, and legal requirements.
A consultant needs to have extensive expertise in the area they're being hired to improve. As a consultant, you'll help a hospital achieve their goals, whether it's improving a process, managing a recurring problem, or finding ways to improve patient outcomes.
A bachelor's degree is the minimum required for this position, though many healthcare consultants have an advanced degree, such as in hospital administration.
You can gain experience by working in a hospital or another healthcare facility. Since consultants are not employed by any one place, you'll need to develop strong professional networks in order to market your services. Or you can work in an agency that offers consulting services.
5. Hospital CEO
- Average Annual Salary (May 2021): $213,020
Are you ready to take on the ultimate responsibility at your hospital? Well, becoming a hospital chief executive officer (CEO) might be the right choice for you.
A hospital CEO is responsible for overseeing a hospital's functioning, from ensuring compliance and good patient outcomes to making critical decisions about management and finance.
As a hospital CEO, you'll be responsible for reporting to a hospital's board of directors and ensuring the achievement of any mandates. You'll need to be ready to make high-level decisions quickly.
In order to achieve this position, hospital CEOs usually need to work their way up through the administration ranks. But some CEOs have medical training as well.
For this position, you'll need excellent leadership and management skills, the ability to delegate work, and significant experience at the management level. A bachelor's degree is the minimum education required, though an advanced degree in hospital administration or business could help you get there faster.
6. Nursing Home Administrator
- Average Annual Salary (Oct. 2022): $93,110
A nursing home administrator is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functioning of a nursing home. They must also implement strategies and processes toward the achievement of long-term goals.
As a nursing home administrator, you'll be in charge of hiring new staff, adhering to regulations, building client and interdepartmental communications, and overall management.
One thing to keep in mind: Because a nursing home runs 24/7, you may be expected to work or be on call on nights and weekends.
For this job, you'll need a bachelor's degree. And many professionals have a master's in business or healthcare administration. You should demonstrate skills in management, organization, delegation, communication, and finance.
7. Clinical Informatics Manager
- Median Annual Salary (Oct. 2022): $97,920
Chances are you've been to a healthcare provider that now takes your information and inputs it into a computer instead of manually using pen and paper.
Clinical informatics manager is a relatively new role. These professionals oversee and implement data systems to collect, share, analyze, and use information digitally in a healthcare setting.
You'll be expected to have high-level skills in information technology with a focus on healthcare information. Because of the sensitive nature of the information, you'll have to make sure it's secure and follows stringent guidelines.
A bachelor's degree and some experience are both necessary before moving into a management role in clinical informatics. While a degree in computer science is likely to suffice, you can also pursue a degree in health information management. And nurses wanting to move into information management can study nursing informatics.
This position requires strong computer, database management, and analytical skills, as well as management skills.
Frequently Asked Questions About Healthcare Administration Careers
Are healthcare administration jobs in demand?
Yes. Because of a large aging population, advances in the field, and stringent compliance requirements, jobs in this field are in high demand and have a higher than average job growth outlook.
In fact, the BLS projects a 28% job growth in healthcare management roles between 2021-2031, which means well over 50,000 job openings for healthcare administrators alone.
What do healthcare administrators do?
Healthcare administrators are responsible for the efficient and effective running of a healthcare department, facility, or organization. They're in charge of anything from overseeing staff to tracking performance to implementing new strategies.
While daily tasks for healthcare administrators vary, they're all working toward the same goal: Ensuring the hospital runs smoothly and meets guidelines.
What do you need to start your career in healthcare administration?
If you're hoping to get started in the field, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree to qualify for entry-level positions. You can choose to get your degree in an area of expertise, such as nursing or information science, or you can broaden your scope and get a degree in healthcare or business administration.
Remember: While a bachelor's degree can get you started in a career in healthcare administration, you'll likely need a master's degree in a related field to increase your earning potential and broaden your job search.