Healthcare Administration Jobs: 10 Career Paths to Pursue

Learn more about some popular healthcare administration jobs and what it takes to land these exciting careers.

portrait of Doug Wintemute
by Doug Wintemute

Published September 1, 2022

Edited by Kristina Beek
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Healthcare Administration Jobs: 10 Career Paths to Pursue
Image Credit: Reza Estakhrian / The Image Bank / Getty Images


Healthcare degrees and careers feature some of the fastest-growing options available. The in-demand and broad field offers educational and professional diversity and flexibility. Healthcare careers also allow individuals to help others and make a difference in their communities.

Administration jobs in healthcare may not appear to have the same impact as those who treat patients, but these professionals ensure the healthcare system operates at its full potential. Learn more about these positions and discover the main healthcare administration job requirements.

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How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administration jobs differ in their requirements, though most require a degree in a healthcare discipline. Depending on their ideal career, prospective learners can earn an associate in healthcare administration, a bachelor's in healthcare administration, or a master's in healthcare administration. They can also earn a doctorate in healthcare administration.

Aspiring healthcare administrators can also pursue other healthcare-related disciplines. Some fields feature certificates, certifications, and licenses, which lead to alternative educational paths. For example, medical directors may need a doctorate and medical license for employment.

In addition to education, more advanced healthcare administration jobs may require experience. While professionals can build experience in entry-level jobs, they can also do so as students with co-ops or internships. College internships offer practical learning opportunities and mentorship as well, so consider applying for an internship as early as possible.

In summary:

10 Types of Healthcare Administration Jobs

Medical Office Administrator

Medical office administrators handle the administrative duties in their facility, including patient management, record-keeping, and billing and purchasing. These professionals typically work full-time jobs in medical offices. They may also work in other facilities, such as hospitals and clinics.

Medical office administrators ensure all medical professionals have the tools to help patients and that the patients receive adequate service. They need a high school diploma at a minimum, though college education may be required. Required skills vary but often include billing and accounting, communication, and problem-solving, plus medical office software experience.


Medical Director

Medical directors oversee operations within their department or organization. They manage the staffing and scheduling, development of policies and procedures, and implementation of healthcare technologies. They also connect with medical providers. But they may work more than the traditional full-time office hours, particularly when responding to emergencies.

Directors find employment in healthcare and medical service and manufacturing industries. They typically need a master's degree at a minimum, though a doctorate or medical degree may be required. They usually possess leadership, problem-solving, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills, plus knowledge of healthcare laws and policies.


Ambulatory Care Director

Ambulatory care directors manage the staff and services within various outpatient medical facilities. They often work with nurses, behavioral and mental health specialists, and social workers. Their duties can include managing staffing, finances, and quality of care.

Directors in ambulatory care require leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. They also need knowledge of population health and complex care policies and procedures. The requirements for these positions vary but may include a healthcare or human resources degree at the bachelor's or master's level. A mix of a nursing degree and a human resources graduate certificate might also work.


Database Administrator

Database administrators in healthcare manage the data for medical organizations and facilities. They ensure information is accessible when needed, organized, backed up, and secure. Other responsibilities may include coding data architecture and performing systems troubleshooting.

Professionals in this field usually need analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. They also need advanced computing, coding, and database platform expertise. The job requirements vary by organization and role, but an information technology education usually qualifies. A certificate program or bootcamp in combination with a bachelor's in health education or a master's in health education should also be sufficient.


Clinic Administrator

Clinic administrators oversee many of the daily operations of a healthcare clinic, including record-keeping, patient communications, and office management. They ensure the facilities remain stocked, the equipment is operational, and the schedules are organized and effective. They may also handle the security and regulatory requirements for their clinic.

Clinic administrators primarily use organizational, leadership, and communication skills. Most of their work occurs within their clinic during traditional business hours, though emergencies and after-hour care may change that. These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree, but clinics may hire candidates with certificates and associate degrees.


Outpatient Care Supervisor

Outpatient care supervisors manage and coordinate the services provided by various outpatient centers. They ensure that patient care and staff performance is high quality, operations run effectively, and the organization's finances are efficient. They may also develop organizational policies and procedures.

Most outpatient care supervisors have a bachelor's or master's degree in a healthcare-related field, but public policy, business, and finance degrees also suffice. These professionals need communication, analytical, and leadership skills. Professionals may also need knowledge of healthcare laws, policies, and finance.


Wellness Program Administrator

Health and wellness program administrators develop, run, and oversee health and wellness programs in various organizations. They may assess community or organizational wellness needs and opportunities and create programs specifically for those purposes. Or, they may run more general and widely applicable programs.

These administrators often handle the operations, finances, communications, and advocacy efforts. They typically need a bachelor's degree at a minimum, though a master's degree or certification may also be required. Program administrators also need communication, instructional, and problem-solving skills.


Discharge Coordinator

Discharge coordinators oversee the discharge planning process within healthcare facilities. These professionals ensure that patients receive timely discharges from one facility to another. They provide patients and their families with adequate information about the discharge, offer them a clear treatment plan, and connect them with resources and services.

Discharge coordinators need strong communication, decision-making, and organizational skills. They usually need a bachelor's degree and an RN license at a minimum, but a doctorate and medical license may be needed. Coordinators may work in any inpatient facility providing round-the-clock coverage, including nights and weekends.


Provider Network Director

Provider network directors develop and oversee a network of care providers to offer broader services to clients and patients. They unite this system of healthcare professionals and facilities through marketing, networking, and advocacy. They may work in medical insurance, healthcare technology, and healthcare services.

Provider network directors typically need a bachelor's degree at a minimum. They also need communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills, along with network relations and healthcare policy expertise.


Insurance Specialist

Insurance specialists in the healthcare industry typically specialize in medical and life insurance. They evaluate insurance claims and applications to ensure accuracy and whether the claims qualify for processing. They also investigate claims and determine the payout amounts.

The education requirements vary by organization and position, but many roles require a bachelor's degree at a minimum. Insurance specialists also need math, analytical, and decision-making skills, plus organizational and communication skills. Most of this work takes place within offices, though some travel and on-location meetings may be required.

Healthcare Administration Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for office and administrative positions within the healthcare industry was $40,980 in May 2021. In this broad field, however, the salary expectations can vary widely. With experience, education, and certifications, however, professionals can access some of the highest-paying positions, such as medical, ambulatory care, and provider network director roles.

How to Find Healthcare Administration Jobs

Landing a job after college can be stressful and challenging, but it helps to start the process as early as possible. While still in school, you can start building your network with those around you and using the career services resources available. Online learners can also access remote career services, school mentorships, and job search sites.

Professional organizations in your discipline can help new and upcoming graduates find work. They provide access to job boards, educational programs, and networking events that could lead to jobs or prepare you to find a career yourself. You can also connect with other like-minded and skilled professionals and borrow ideas from your most successful peers.

When looking at potential employers, look at the opportunities they provide for growth and professional development in addition to the pay and hours.

Professional Healthcare Administration Organizations

American College of Healthcare Executives: The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) provides over 48,000 healthcare executive members with resources and learning opportunities to improve their leadership skills and healthcare systems overall.

The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM): The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) offers information, advocacy, and professional development opportunities to its membership of healthcare administrators and patient account managers.

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA): The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) connects professionals working in health information from various industries. The association offers access to industry resources, professional development, and certification.

Frequently Asked Questions About Healthcare Administration Jobs

What is the highest-paid healthcare administration job?

The highest-paying healthcare administration job belongs to medical directors. According to Payscale, the average base salary for these professionals is $228,220 as of July 2022. But medical and health services managers also make a high salary. According to the BLS, these workers made a median annual salary of $101,340 in May 2021.

BLS data also highlights the difference in salaries based on industry. Hospital managers, for example, earned median annual salaries of $119,450 in May 2021. The government paid $117,000, outpatient care centers paid $99,540, physician offices paid $98,230, and nursing care facilities paid $83,550.

What healthcare administration career is the most popular?

The most popular healthcare administration career depends on the perspective. According to the BLS, some of the largest workforces in this sector include managers, business and financial roles, medical records specialists, financial clerks, and administrative support occupations.

The fastest-growing careers may also be considered the most popular. In this category, the most popular positions include provider network directors, medical directors, and outpatient care supervisors. The BLS projects growth above 32% between 2020 and 2030 in each of these occupations.

Can I go into healthcare administration with an online degree?

Yes. You can access healthcare administration occupations with many levels of online education. An online healthcare administration degree covers the same materials and provides the same level of education as a traditional on-campus degree.

While employers may prefer certain types of instruction to others, online degrees do not indicate the type of learning used. Online degrees can make learning more flexible and affordable while also opening the door to programs that you might not otherwise have access to.

How much money can I make with a healthcare administration job?

The money available in a healthcare administration job depends on the position, the employer, and the location. According to the BLS, the annual mean wage for administrative support occupations within the healthcare industry was $40,980 in May 2021.

Industry can also make a big impact on wages. For example, the mean annual wage for medical secretaries and administrative assistants was $39,740 in May 2021, as per the BLS. Those employed by merchant wholesalers, however, earned an average of $72,410. Those who worked In legal services made $46,820 on average.

What is the fastest way to become a healthcare administrator?

The fastest way to become a healthcare administrator is to pursue a certificate program after high school. While these credentials may not qualify graduates for every field or position, certificate programs typically take less than one year to complete and can grant access to entry-level positions.

Two-year associate healthcare administration degrees also provide a quick route to the field. Once employed, professionals can even pursue a bachelor's degree or a certificate program to advance within their field.

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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