Executive Careers in Health Administration

Executive Careers in Health Administration

Our health care system continues to undergo rapid growth and change. The industry — which accounts for nearly 18% of the entire U.S. economy — involves complex and fast-moving developments in technology, economics, ethics, finance, policy and management. Health care organizations need effective leaders who can interpret these influencing factors and create guidelines for how to use them to improve critical issues of access, quality and cost that affect the well-being of our communities.

Comparative Employment Growth in Health Administration

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 32% growth in the employment of health administrators from 2019 to 2029 — a rate dramatically higher than the average job growth for all occupations.

As baby boomers age and people continue to remain active later in life, the demand for medical products and services will continue to increase. The job outlook for executive careers in health administration will expand due to factors including the following:

  • Higher number of physicians, patients and procedures
  • Increased complexity of health networks and medical group practices
  • Shifting of services away from hospitals toward outpatient facilities
  • Increased volumes of medical data
  • Expansion of nursing homes, home health agencies and other senior-focused facilities

Tomorrow’s Health Care Leaders Must Be Prepared to Address Immediate Concerns:

How to control costs as baby boomers become senior citizens and medical technology continues to advance

How health care dollars can be properly allocated across generations

How to better measure the quality of assessments and treatments

How we can better ensure that all U.S. residents have access to the health care they need

As the systems that govern care evolve, health administration career opportunities continue to expand. The field needs transformation-minded leaders — in hospitals, health plans, medical practices, health-related enterprises and community health organizations — who have the ability to shape the future of service and patient outcomes in a highly competitive, market-driven environment.

Careers in Health Administration

Consider several key positions in health administration, along with their salaries and job outlooks.

Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing home administrator roles include directors, assistant directors, medical certification supervisors and human resources managers.

Median Annual Salary: $92,000

Job Outlook:
Employment of nursing home administrators is projected to grow 32% between 2019 and 2029.
Responsibilities:

  • Oversee nursing home residents’ care
  • Monitor finances and building maintenance
  • Supervise and coordinate staff
  • Manage a nursing home’s quality assurance process

Administrator duties may require overseeing entire operations or focusing on patient care issues, communications and marketing, family relations, staff improvement, or regulatory issues. Nursing home administrators must be licensed, which usually involves earning a bachelor’s degree in an area such as health or business administration. Employers often prefer hiring health care administrators who hold an advanced degree, such as an MHA.

According to PayScale, the average annual salary for nursing home administrators was about $92,000 as of May 2021. The BLS projects that employment of medical and health services managers, including nursing home administrators, will increase by 32% between 2019 and 2029.

Chief Nursing Officer

Chief nursing officers (CNOs) direct and ensure the quality of all nursing services at a health care facility.

Median Annual Salary: $134,000

Job Outlook:
Employment of chief nursing officers is projected to grow 32% between 2019 and 2029.
Responsibilities:

  • Oversee all nursing activities of a health care provider
  • Manage budgets and plans for buying supplies and equipment
  • Serve as a liaison between nursing staff and facility management
  • Develop strategies patient care strategies

CNOs supervise nurse managers and deliver feedback to upper-level administrators about policies and procedures. As executive leaders, CNOs also have responsibilities in areas such as budgeting and training. Individuals who become CNOs usually begin as nurses. Nurses who want to transition into the CNO role can earn certifications to prepare for the position.

According to PayScale, the average annual salary for CNOs was about $134,000 as of May 2021. The BLS included managers who oversee nursing departments among the medical and health services managers whose employment growth it projected would increase by 32% between 2019 and 2029.

Health Care Marketing Manager

Marketing managers in health care have many responsibilities and work in a variety of business environments.

Median Annual Salary: $142,000

Job Outlook:
Employment of health care marketing managers is projected to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029.

Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement marketing and communications initiatives
  • Perform brand management duties
  • Analyze market data
  • Evaluate a facility’s marketing strategies

These professionals organize, launch and assess the marketing strategies of hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, public health agencies and other organizations. This involves using market research to locate potential markets and develop campaigns that engage consumers. Health care marketing managers 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 median annual salary for marketing managers was about $142,000 in May 2020, with projected employment growth of 7% between 2019 and 2029.

Health Insurance Manager

Health care organizations place a premium on executives who can help make sense of the ins and outs of health insurance.

Median Annual Salary: $125,000

Job Outlook:
Employment of health insurance managers is projected to grow 3% between 2019 and 2029.

Responsibilities:

  • Supervise revenue cycle management
  • Manage health insurance claims
  • Oversee employee health insurance benefits
  • Monitor claim processing and client support

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. Typically, health insurance managers have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an area such as finance or administration.

Per the BLS, the median annual salary for compensation and benefits managers was about $125,000 in May 2020, with projected employment growth of 3% between 2019 and 2029.

Health IT Specialist

The growing digitization of the health care industry is creating strong demand for health IT specialists.

Median Annual Salary: $83,000

Job Outlook:
Employment of health IT specialists is projected to grow 10% between 2019 and 2029.

Responsibilities:

  • Build systems that store patient health records
  • Support network administration
  • Manage database administration
  • Provide technical support to staff

Health IT specialists make sure their organizations adhere to regulations and keep pace with advancements in telemedicine and remote patient care. They also oversee the digital migration of patient information and ensure its security. IT specialists typically have a bachelor’s degree in an area such as computer science and may hold IT certifications specifically related to health care.

According to PayScale, the average annual salary for jobs in health care information technology services was about $83,000 as of May 2021. The BLS projects employment for computer and information systems managers to grow by 10% between 2019 and 2029.

Director of Managed Care

Directors of managed care coordinate managed care departments that focus on lowering health care costs and raising health care quality.

Median Annual Salary: $120,000

Job Outlook:
Employment of directors of managed care is projected to grow 32% between 2019 and 2029.

Responsibilities:

  • Supervise a managed care department
  • Negotiate contracts with insurance companies and health care systems
  • Implement a facility’s policies and procedures
  • Analyze facility performance

This job involves working with insurance companies and health care organizations to process claims, create health plans, and assess facilities for quality and patient satisfaction. Directors of managed care also focus on quality improvement, program review and creating financial incentives that help control costs. The position usually requires an advanced degree in health administration or public health.

According to PayScale, the average annual salary for a director of managed care is about $120,000 as of May 2021. The BLS projects that employment of medical and health services managers, including managed care directors, will increase by 32% between 2019 and 2029.

What Are the Fastest-Growing Health Care Administration Careers?

Thanks to key shifts in demographics, such as the large number of baby boomers needing care, the demand for health administration jobs has jumped significantly. Read on to discover more about the fastest-growing careers in health care administration.

Practice Manager

Doctors are forming larger practices made up of many physicians. These practices need health administrators equipped with superior organizational and interpersonal skills who can oversee the nonmedical aspects of the business, including hiring, patient relations, regulatory compliance and insurance. The BLS projects the employment of medical and health services managers, including practice managers, to increase by 32% between 2019 and 2029. In May 2020, medical and health services managers working in physician practices earned a median annual salary of about $94,000.

Director of Training and Development

The health care industry must keep up with a constant flow of advancing technologies and changing regulations. It must also stay on top of developing compliance issues. Staff training and development is always in demand. Top organizations invest heavily in ensuring their employees remain up to date with the latest certifications, techniques and professional knowledge. Directors of training and development play an invaluable role in this endeavor. The BLS projects 7% job growth for directors of training and development between 2019 and 2029. Their median annual salary in May 2020 was about $116,000.

Hospital Administrator

To stay competitive, hospitals deliver cutting-edge health care and stay at the forefront of the latest medical technologies. They must also meet the increasing demand for medical services in an aging population. Clearly, hospitals need adept administrators, skilled at keeping medical professionals informed about regulatory and legal issues. Hospitals also rely on administrators to hire and supervise a talented staff, manage budgets and support smooth operations. Like other medical and health service managers, the BLS forecasts 32% job growth for hospital administrators between 2019 and 2029. In May 2020, medical managers working in hospitals earned a median annual income of about $113,000.

Hospice Manager

The past two decades have seen a huge increase in the use of hospices for end-of-life care. The demand will likely increase as an older population grows. Facilities caring for terminally ill or dying patients depend on hospice managers to help ensure hospice patients and their families receive compassionate care. Hospice managers fall under the BLS description of social and community service managers, a field it projects to grow 17% between 2019 and 2029. The median annual salary for these managers in May 2020 was about $70,000.

Health Administration Consultant

To stay competitive and respond to shifts in the industry brought on by the Affordable Care Act and the coronavirus pandemic, health care organizations can greatly benefit from the expertise of consultants capable of closely examining health care business models and policies. Now more than ever, health care organizations need to carefully assess their strategies and operations and make them more innovative and efficient. Whether addressing health information technology or financial management, health administration consultants play a critical role in helping health care organizations excel. The BLS expects management analysis and consulting jobs to grow 11% between 2019 and 2029 and reports consultants earned a median annual salary of about $88,000 in May 2020.

Employment Levels in Health Administration by State

Employment levels for administration positions illustrate the important roles these leaders continue to fill in health care facilities across the United States. Individual states and areas with the highest employment numbers in the field as of May 2020 include California (42,200), Texas (34,380), New York (24,360), Massachusetts (16,310) and Pennsylvania (16,260).


Annual Mean Wage in Health Administration by State

As administrators apply their knowledge to shaping the future of care, they are competitively compensated for addressing the changes that accompany a growing field. In 2020, the mean annual pay for medical and health services managers was $118,800, according to the BLS.

Individual states and areas with the highest mean annual wages include Washington, D.C., New York, Hawaii, California and Massachusetts, with mean annual wages from $136,930 to $157,590.


Annual Mean Wage by Specific Industry within Health Administration

The field of health administration is home to a range of opportunities for experienced leaders to substantially improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

Potential areas of employment with the highest mean annual wages include pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, scientific research and development services, insurance carriers, and device manufacturing, with mean annual wages from $158,670 to $205,470. For more information on career resources click here.

Industry Status and Outlook

All data and interpretations below are taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment and Wages — May 2018 for occupational classification 11-9111 Medical and Health Services Managers “also called health care executives or health care administrators [who] plan, direct or coordinate medical and health services” in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies or similar organizations.

Note: Maps and graphs have been reproduced or visually modified to illustrate specific executive career opportunities related to the EMHA program.