In 2021, U.S. health care expenditures totaled $4.3 trillion or 18.3% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) for that year, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Given its massive scale, the health care industry needs people who can oversee quality of care, promote efficiency and monitor the business side of providing health care — that’s where health administration professionals come into play. Health administration careers offer variety and potential for growth, and individuals who pursue an Executive Master of Health Administration (MHA) program are well positioned to become leaders in their fields.
While a background in medicine isn’t required for health administration roles, clinical professionals are particularly suited for the field. Management professionals with a desire to enter the health care field are also good candidates for health administration.
Responsibilities for Health Administration Careers
Health care administrators carry out responsibilities that have direct and indirect effects on critical aspects of health care, such as cost reduction and efficiency. For example, health care administrators can be responsible for:
- Implementing quality management systems that focus on customer satisfaction and organizational performance
- Performing cost-benefit analysis to improve the financial position and efficiency of health care organizations
- Coordinating with community organizations to help address the social determinants of health
- Ensuring that health care organizations have both adequate physical security and information technology (IT) security
- Overseeing functions such as billing, contracting, human resources, supplies and budgets
Individuals can pursue health administration careers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician practice groups and public health agencies, among other settings.
Careers in Health Administration: Salary
Pursuing health administration can lead individuals toward a well-paying career path. In 2021, medical and health services managers made a median annual salary of $101,340, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Factors that can influence salary include the health degrees an individual has earned, field experience and location.
In addition to a competitive health administration salary, the field offers a promising job outlook. The aging baby boomer population is increasing the demand for health care at facilities such as physicians’ offices, hospitals and nursing homes. As the population ages, the need for treatment of complex and chronic conditions, such as obesity, is also rising. These trends have resulted in increased demand for health care administrators to oversee operations at all types of health care organizations.
The BLS projects that the employment of medical and health services managers will grow by 28% between 2021 and 2031, significantly higher than the 5% average growth projected for all occupations.
While health care worker satisfaction has been challenged in recent years, medical and health service managers are a bright spot. In its 2023 rankings of the best jobs, U.S. News & World Report ranked medical and health services manager as the best business job, the third-best STEM job and the third-best job overall.
6 In-Demand Health Administration Careers
Opportunities for a career in health administration require a variety of knowledge and skills.
1. Nursing Home Administrator
When working as nursing home administrators, individuals oversee residents’ care, supervise staff and monitor finances and building maintenance. States require individuals to be licensed to become nursing home administrators, and licensure requirements typically include a bachelor’s degree in an area such as health administration or business administration. Employers often prefer that health care administrators have an advanced degree, such as an MHA.
The median annual salary for nursing home administrators was about $94,9000 as of January 2023, according to Payscale. The BLS includes nursing home administrators among medical and health services managers, whose employment growth it projected would increase by 28% between 2021 and 2031.
2. Health Care Marketing Manager
Marketing managers who work in health care develop and implement marketing and communications initiatives, perform brand management duties and analyze market data. They typically have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an area such as marketing, health care administration or public health.
According to the BLS, the 2021 median annual salary for marketing managers was $133,380, with projected employment growth of 10% between 2021 and 2031.
3. Health Insurance Manager
Individuals who have expertise in the complexities of health insurance and claims management have various career options. They can work for health care providers overseeing functions such as revenue cycle management and health insurance claims; they can also manage health insurance benefits that employers provide to their employees. They typically have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in areas such as finance or administration.
Salaries vary depending on the specific position. The BLS reported that the 2021 median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $101,340, with projected employment growth of 28% between 2021 and 2031. Also per the BLS, the 2021 median annual salary for compensation and benefits managers in health care and social assistance was $118,960, with projected employment growth of 2% between 2021 and 2031.
3. Chief Nursing Officer
A chief nursing officer (CNO) oversees all of a health care provider’s nursing activities. As executive leaders, they also have responsibilities in areas such as budgeting and training. Individuals who become CNOs usually begin as nurses, and many certifications are available to nurses who want to transition into the CNO role.
The median annual salary for CNOs was about $138,100 as of January 2023, according to Payscale. The BLS includes managers who oversee nursing departments among medical and health services managers, whose employment growth it projected would increase by 28% between 2021 and 2031.
5. Health Information Technology Specialist
Health administration careers are available to individuals with IT expertise in areas such as network administration, software development and database administration. As technologies such as telemedicine and electronic health records (EHRs) continue to evolve, IT specialists will play an even larger role. IT specialists typically have a bachelor’s degree in an area such as computer science, and numerous certifications are open to individuals who wish to further specialize.
The median annual salary for jobs in health care information technology services was about $89,000, according to Payscale. The BLS projects employment for computer and information systems managers to grow by 16% between 2021 and 2031.
6. Clinical Manager
Clinical managers govern a specific department in a health care facility. These departments can range from a facility’s nursing staff to its surgery department. Typical duties include executing department procedures and policies, setting department goals, evaluating staff performance and establishing department budgets. While a bachelor’s degree is usually required, it is common for individuals in the profession to possess an advanced degree.
The median annual salary for clinical managers as of January 2023 was roughly $74,500, according to Payscale. The BLS classifies clinical managers as medical and health services managers, which has a projected 28% job growth rate between 2021 and 2023.
Health Administration Careers Are Within Reach
The abundant career options and favorable employment outlook for health administration make the field attractive for clinical professionals, management professionals or anyone who wants to make a difference in health care and move into a leadership role. Individuals who pursue USC’s Executive MHA program can acquire valuable knowledge and skills for a career in health administration. Take the first step on the path to a fulfilling career today.