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Health care is one of the fastest-growing sectors. If you want to explore a career in the field without becoming a clinician, several career paths in health care administration may suit your skills and interests. Whether you manage the operations of an independent practice, a hospital department, or a larger health system, you’ll have plentiful options to make a difference in your patients’ lives and improve their access to medical care.

Health Care Administration Career Choices

Health care administrators perform various duties to help connect patients to the doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who provide care. They can manage a facility’s staffing levels, financials, and internal policies, with the ultimate goal of improving the patient experience and ensuring operational efficiency.

There are several health care management job options in hospitals, residential care facilities, and government agencies. No matter the setting you choose, you’re likely to have many opportunities to develop the health care management skills that today’s organizations seek. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 28 percent through 2032—much faster than the 3 percent growth for all other occupations.

Here are some of the diverse health care administration career paths that may be a fit for you:

1. Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators supervise one or more hospital departments and ensure that patients receive high-quality care. They manage hospital budgets and coordinate schedules for staff members. In some cases, administrators may also interview physicians and other clinicians seeking employment. They also ensure hospitals comply with all government guidelines for safe operations.

Despite the title, hospital administrators work in numerous facility types, including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other outpatient facilities. The position can also be financially fulfilling and is among the top-paying health care management jobs available. According to Salary.com, hospital administrators in the US earn a median salary of $269,576.

2. Clinical Manager

Clinical managers perform administrative and medical tasks. On the administrative side, they establish and manage budgets, track supply and equipment inventories, and maintain staff schedules. Their medical responsibilities include training employees on clinical systems and equipment, creating and enforcing clinical policies, and keeping patients' medical records up to date. Some clinical managers also manage patient treatment plans and coordinate patient care with teams of primary care physicians and specialists. According to Glassdoor, clinical managers can earn between $83,000 and $133,000 per year.

3. Human Resources Manager

HR managers in health care ensure the effective deployment and development of talent across the entire facility or health system. In addition to managing employee recruitment, HR managers also coordinate training, career advancement and promotion programs, compensation, and benefits. Individuals pursuing this career path may have a health care management education and a degree in human resources. Although HR manager pay varies according to industry, experience, and location, it can be quite lucrative. According to the BLS, HR managers earned a median pay of $130,000 in 2022.

4. Health Information Technology (IT) Manager

Health IT managers are responsible for organizing, protecting, and preserving sensitive patient and treatment information. In managing large amounts of health data, they also ensure it is accessible by authorized clinical and administrative staff. In some cases, they direct multiple IT specialists to perform specific data collection and management tasks. 

Individuals who wish to pursue a career as a health IT manager must understand billing codes and have a working knowledge of coding and data analysis. They also need leadership skills to ensure IT teams maintain data accurately. Per Glassdoor data, Health IT managers can earn a salary between $110,000 and $185,000 per year, with some being eligible for additional pay, such as performance bonuses.

5. Financial Manager

Health care financial management is a complex field with diverse monetary inflows and outflows. Financial managers manage routine accounting functions and may also set the organization’s long-term financial investment strategy. They are often responsible for overall budget management, reimbursements from patient health insurance plans, and payments for everything from medications to costly medical equipment. Some health care financial managers also negotiate contracts with health insurers on behalf of a hospital or the entire health system. According to the BLS, the median annual pay for financial managers was $139,790 in May 2022.

6. Nursing Home Administrator  

These health care professionals are responsible for supervising the clinical activities of nursing homes. They ensure residents receive high-quality care by hiring dedicated staff members and stocking medical supplies. Nursing home administrators perform financial duties such as budgeting and conducting contract negotiations. They also ensure the facility abides by local, state, and federal regulations. According to Indeed, the average salary for a nursing home administrator is $114,995 per year.

How to Start a Career in Health Care Administration

If you’ve been working in another field and want to pursue opportunities in health care administration, expanding your education is an excellent first step. A great multidisciplinary option is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Health Care Administration. In this program, you’ll complete core MBA coursework in marketing, economics, and strategic management. You’ll also take concentration-specific courses in health care administration, such as:

  • Ethical Leadership in Health Care Administration
  • Health Services Strategy
  • Management of Health Care Human Resources
  • Current Trends in Health Care

By combining an MBA with health care administration, you’ll obtain a quality business education while exploring current topics and trends in health care programs and facility management. Additionally, when you complete your degree online, you don’t have to put your career on hold for two or more years. You can continue working and managing other life obligations while you advance your education and move closer to obtaining the health care career of your dreams.

Take the Next Step in Your Health Care Administration Education

Whether you work in the medical field as a clinician or want to break into health care from a completely different sector, an advanced degree combining the best of business and health care administration offers tremendous value. You’ll advance your understanding of the business world and acquire new knowledge and skills you can apply in a broad range of health care administration and management career paths.

When you have the right preparation, you may be surprised by how many health care administration career choices you can explore. Learn more in our e-book, Comparing MBA Online Degrees for Health Care Professionals: MBA-HCA vs. MBA.

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