Careers in the medical field give job seekers at all levels the opportunity to positively impact patient care. Not all jobs in the medical field are clinical in nature; some contribute to the organization, workflow and management that makes any medical facility run smoothly. From small clinics to major hospitals, facilities of all sizes require dedicated staff with specialized knowledge to oversee and carry out operations.
You may be wondering what you can do with a healthcare management degree. Earning your degree will open many doors. At a bachelor’s level, you can take on roles in office administration, HR and medical record-keeping. Applicants who want to level up can pursue their master’s degrees in a related field. For leadership positions in a healthcare administration, such as hospital CEO, a master’s degree is strongly preferred.
As baby boomers age and retire, opportunities in the healthcare field have only grown. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that demand for medical and health services managers is expected to grow 32% between 2020-2030.
If you’ve always been passionate about patient care but see yourself in an office setting rather than an operating room, healthcare administration might be the right fit for you. Take a look at the job descriptions below to find out exactly what you can do with a healthcare management or administration degree.
A hospital administrator oversees the organization of all aspects of a hospital’s health services. Ultimately, hospital administrators — like all healthcare workers — must ensure that patients receive the highest level of care.
From day to day, hospital administrators ensure that facilities are working effectively to meet patient needs while also working in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Hospital administrators work across departments to develop new collaboration strategies and streamline these processes. They often have many years of experience in the field and use their industry knowledge on a regular basis as they interact with constituents, board members, patients and community members.
This line of work is rewarding but comes with its own set of stressors. Hospitals are open 24/7 to save their patients, and hospital administrators must also be on call to solve last-minute or emergency needs. Candidates must be able to roll with the punches as hospital practices and industry trends shift.
At a minimum, job seekers must have a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s is preferred in most cases. In addition, applicants must demonstrate both technical and soft skills, including analysis, communication and collections.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals in the field make a mean annual wage of $118,800. Job seekers should note that pay varies widely based on region and responsibilities. The New York Times by Compdata Surveys, for example, estimated an average base pay of $237,000 amongst hospital administrators, not including bonuses.
Dental Office Administrator
Dental office administrators — or office administrators in any healthcare setting, for that matter — carry out all administrative duties while coordinating staff and patient schedules. Dental office administrators must schedule, plan and direct daily office functions so patients receive quality care in a timely manner and clinic staff don’t become overwhelmed with too many new appointments. Office administrators then follow up with patients to schedule upcoming appointments.
Larger offices may have a separate accounting and billing department. If not, dental office administrators are also responsible for coordinating office budgets and payroll, and performing regular bookkeeping tasks.
Job seekers in this role must excel in organization, decision-making, time management and critical thinking. They interact with internal staff as well as patients on a daily basis, so their interpersonal skills and customer service must be excellent. While some tasks require meticulous attention to detail, like data entry and bookkeeping, candidates must also be able to multitask because every day is different and fast-paced.
Education requirements include a special certificate program or bachelor’s degree in business administration or healthcare administration. In addition, candidates must pursue hard skills including a knowledge of general accounting, oral-facial anatomy and dental software. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of office and administrative support positions was $38,720 as of May 2020.
Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers are vital to the overall success of employee recruiting, retention and satisfaction. HR managers can work to identify gaps in staffing where new talent must be acquired and shape company culture by selecting candidates whose experience, qualifications and disposition mesh well with existing departments.
HR managers are responsible for hiring and recruiting, onboarding new hires, selecting benefits and compensation plans, managing personnel and troubleshooting insurance claims. HR managers must have strong communication skills and interpersonal skills. They should be able to multitask and manage their time well. Basic computer skills are a must. Although not mandatory, a background in the industry is usually preferred.
This role requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources or another related field. However, a master’s degree in business administration will set candidates apart from the competition. According to BLS, the median pay for HR managers in healthcare in 2020 was $121,220 per year. Between 2020-2030, a growth rate of 9% is expected in this field.
Medical Records and Health Information Specialist
Medical records and health information specialists are in charge of organizing, managing and coding health information while monitoring all patient medical records. They must regularly maintain the accuracy and completeness of patient data via healthcare automation software. Specialists not only track medical outcomes but they also assign clinical codes for reimbursement and further analysis.
Specialists must become well-versed in analytics and technical skills (e.g., electronic health records, or EHRs). They’ll have to hone their attention to detail as they manage patient records and adhere to legally mandated protocols. Of course, specialists must also be able to maintain confidentiality as they handle patient medical information.
Medical records and health information specialists pursue postsecondary education at the bachelor’s level and typically earn additional certifications. The median pay for a medical records and health information specialist in 2020 was $45,240 per year, according to BLS.
Lab Testing Facility Manager
A lab testing facility manager is responsible for the management, training and operations of a medical lab facility. Their role is multifaceted, because these individuals balance daily function with overarching compliance standards.
From a management standpoint, the lab testing facility manager is in charge of compliance regulation, lab inspections and lab protocols. Operationally, managers will focus on inventory and ordering supplies. Lab facility managers are also responsible for training staff on the latest lab equipment and software.
At all times, lab managers must be in compliance with safety and health protocol and enforce policies amongst staff, including use of protective equipment. Lab managers submit safety data sheets to record and monitor best safety practices. Lab equipment must be sanitized, maintained and repaired in accordance with regulations.
Job seekers who are considering this career path must be problem solvers. Adaptability is key, as are technical skills. Job seekers must hold a bachelor’s in a field such as medical tech, biomedical sciences or biotechnology. For those interested in lab work, clinical experience is required. Job seekers can accelerate advancement in their career with a graduate degree or master’s in biotechnology.
According to the BLS, lab facility managers earn a median annual salary of approximately $137,940 per year, in comparison with the median annual salary earned by clinical laboratory technicians of $54,180.
Hospital CEOs lead all aspects of a hospital’s operations. They set the overall tone for a hospital, both amongst staff and to the general public. They also steer the direction of a hospital’s daily operations and must transform internal feedback into action. CEOs report on the metrics of the organization’s performance to hospital owners and the board of directors.
Hospital CEOs must have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They often work closely with media, publications and any internal PR staff at the hospital to contribute to white papers, interviews and web content. In addition, leadership skills are paramount. Hospital CEOs often play a role in mentoring other upper-level staff to provide constructive feedback.
Hospital CEOs must have at least a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s degree in healthcare administration will make them more competitive candidates. A background in hospital management, business administration, accounting, budgeting and planning is also strongly preferred. According to PayScale, hospital CEOs make an average of $153,862. However, this salary varies greatly based on the revenue generated by the hospital — at hospitals with an annual revenue of more than $1 billion, the CEO may earn an average of $1.4 million.
Now You Know What You Can Do With a Healthcare Administration Degree, So Let’s Get Started
Finding the career of your dreams in the medical field may feel like a daunting task. The best place to start is to acquire all necessary prerequisites. Now that you have a better idea of the educational requirements for a job in healthcare administration, it’s time to explore your options.
SNU offers an MBA in Healthcare Administration, which focuses on strategic planning, hard skills and critical analysis. Coursework includes business strategies, ethics and law, marketing, healthcare operations and management analytics. Classes take place entirely online. Students focus on one course at a time to gain full mastery, and courses are led by instructors with expert knowledge in the industry.