This career is expected to grow 16 percent—faster than average—through 2016. Job opportunities will remain good as healthcare expands to include more care for an aging and homebound population.
Physicians' offices and home health will experience the greatest demand. Large hospitals will seek many applicants.
Former direct-care providers (such as nurses) will be in strong demand in healthcare management because they already know the procedures used in the medical settings they will be employed to manage.
Salary & Wages
In 2006, medical managers enjoyed an average salary greater than $73,000. The middle 50 percent earned $57,000 to $94,000. The highest 10 percent earned more than $83,000. Administrators in large medical and surgical hospitals earned the highest salaries. Those in home health care earned the least.
What is a Medical or Healthcare Manager?
Every business employs managers. Healthcare managers, also known as healthcare administrators or medical executives, help to develop, manage and grow healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics and medical device companies. Insurance companies often employ medical specialists to bill for and manage claims payouts.
Healthcare managers also work in pharmaceutical companies doing everything from overseeing consumer drug protocols to selling drugs to physicians.
Many direct-care providers, such as nurses, physical therapists and dental technicians, opt to leave direct care and enter management in their chosen medical specialty in an effort to earn higher wages and relieve the stress that accompanies patient care.
Healthcare, because of its high salaries, offers one of the most lucrative managerial wage ladders. Unfortunately the fastest growing sector, home health, pays the lowest wages. Still, at the management level, healthcare wages are high compared to many other career sectors.
Education & Degree Path
No set educational path will qualify you for a health management position. However, in this well-educated career niche the more you learn, the more you will earn.
A master’s in healthcare administration or a master of business administration (MBA) with a healthcare management emphasis is recommended for top positioning and pay.
Entering the Field:
Start by considering a certificate or diploma in management. If not already employed in healthcare, consider an entry-level job as a health aide or a medical billing clerk. An associate degree in healthcare administration will help you nail the essentials. A bachelor’s in healthcare administration may be required to optimally compete in this sector.
Managers who already hold bachelor’s degrees in business may re-focus careers by earning a graduate certificate in healthcare administration. Many graduate business schools now offer specialty certificates or masters in healthcare administration.
Licensed healthcare professionals, such as RNs, and can jump from direct patient care into medical management by adding any managerial credential to their resumes. Those with bachelors or masters who work in lower paying areas, such as education, can send their salaries soaring by earning a specialized graduate certificate in healthcare administration.
Online MBAs and advanced management degrees are now available for licensed medical professionals, such as doctors (MDs), dentists, and RNs (Registered Nurses) who want to move out of direct practice into management.
Find online degrees for Nursing here. >>
Find online degrees for Healthcare here. >>
American College of Healthcare Executives
Medical Group Management Association
Best Buy Online Masters Degrees in Management and Administration
Best Buy Online Masters Degrees in Healthcare
Source for salary and growth data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on careers in health care administration and management careers, salaries, and job prospects visit: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Medical and Health Services Managers.