What Kinds of Healthcare Administration Careers Are There?

With an aging population, a rise in chronic conditions, changes in technology, and increasingly complex regulations that demand greater accountability, the need for dedicated non-clinical professionals is increasing. These administrative workers help healthcare facilities, practices, and hospitals to keep their doors open and functioning smoothly.

To handle this constantly evolving landscape, the demand for healthcare administration has risen 3,200 percent in the past 35 years. The exploding demand means that there is a wide variety of roles available to those whose passion is working diligently in the background to make sure that providers are able to deliver the best patient care possible.

Careers in healthcare administration are available to those with no experience at the entry level and can rise all the way up to executive status for those who have years of experience serving an administrative function in healthcare organizations. There are healthcare administration careers for those with any level of degree, from the associate’s level up to the doctoral level. For professionals that are currently working, online degrees can provide a pathway to career advancement without requiring the need to move, cease working, or relocate. While most healthcare administration professionals do not require licensure to work in their chosen field, there are a wide range of certifications available to provide potential employers with assurance of quality of work, or to improve performance in an administrator’s current role.

The following provides a sampling of the types of careers available to those who are interested in becoming a part of an increasingly in-demand part of the healthcare industry.

Clinic Administrator

Clinic administrators are the professionals responsible for ensuring that the doors to a clinical facility stay open, operations run smoothly, and everything is being done in compliance with regulations and the law.

From a day-to-day perspective, clinical administrators fulfill responsibilities which depend greatly upon the size and specialization of their department or clinic. Clinic administrators may be responsible for tasks such as the recruitment, retention and supervision of staff; serving as a liaison between staff and physicians; ensuring compliance with insurance requirements and legal regulations; determining budgets and salaries; or improving quality of processes and care delivery.

Health Information Manager

Health information managers are tasked with ensuring that all patient information—whether stored digitally or on paper—is collected, stored, and transmitted legally, ethically, and with the protection of patient privacy at the center. This may require the health information manager to evaluate, improve, develop, and implement changes to existing information systems in the clinic, hospital, or other healthcare facility in which they work.

Tasks for a health information manager may include the training of staff and clinicians to properly utilize electronic medical records systems, ensuring the confidential, timely and accurate transmission of medical records, and auditing medical records to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

  • Licensing: American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Average Salary: $54,777 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organizations: Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
  • Sample Online Program: Arizona State University – College of Health Solutions (Master of Advanced Studies in Health Informatics)

Healthcare Administration Consultant

Healthcare administration consultants are specialists brought in from outside an organizations to provide an outsider’s fresh perspective, and the skills to solve problems, streamline operations, improve employee performance, or coach other healthcare administrators in such matters. This may be accomplished through internal research and reporting, suggestions for policy improvements, implementing strategic planning processes, and performance analysis.

Healthcare administration consultants daily responsibilities include tasks like designing assessment protocols, interpersonal communication with employees at various levels within organizations, and crafting plans for organizational change. Consultants generally need a mixture of experience in the healthcare field and specialized degrees in healthcare administration and/or business.

  • Licensing: National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultant (NSCHBC)
  • Average Salary: $76,887 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organizations: American Association of Healthcare Consultants (AAHC)
  • Sample Online Program: Ohio University (Master of Health Administration)

Healthcare Compliance Officer

Healthcare compliance officers ensure that medical practices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are protecting patient information and privacy, charging patients in a way that is honest and appropriate for care, and implementing care in alignment with local, state, and federal regulations. To this end, healthcare compliance officers implement internal compliance reviews, staff assessments, staff education and training, audits, and risk assessment processes.

On a daily basis, healthcare compliance officers may be responsible for crafting or improving policy to adhere to new or changed regulations, compiling reports to prove compliance, developing internal and external reporting mechanisms, and engaging in continuing education to keep abreast of a constantly shifting regulatory landscape.

  • Licensing: Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
  • Average Salary: $67,977 (Payscale 2019)
  • Professional Organization: Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
  • Sample Online Program: Arizona State University (Master of Legal Studies in Corporate and Health Care Compliance)

Healthcare Financial Manager

Healthcare financial managers are responsible for all things finance in relationship to a healthcare facility, a clinical area or department, or a private practice. In some circumstances, healthcare financial managers are responsible for creating vision and goals for fiscal development, while in other circumstances, they are responsible for the assessment, strategies, training, and policy changes necessary to reach the development goal set by a CFO or other executive.

On a daily basis, tasks central to the healthcare finance manager role may include preparing budget reports, responding to in-the-moment needs for budget analysis, comparing financial performance with (or gleaning insight from) industry competitors, assessing areas of strength and weakness in current business practices, or performing internal audits.

  • Licensing: The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)
  • Average Salary: $72,271 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organization: Healthcare Business Management Association (HBMA)
  • Sample Online Program: New England College of Business (Master’s in Finance, Healthcare Management)

Healthcare Program Director

Hospitals and other large facilities are an interconnected system linking patients to various services and specialties. Healthcare program directors coordinate the operations for a certain medical specialty or a certain essential unit within the greater whole. Program directors ensure that the operations within their subspeciality are functioning, and also ensure that the specialty is functioning harmoniously within the greater ecosystem of the hospital or healthcare facility.

On the scale of day-to-day, healthcare program directors have responsibilities including the management of a supervisory team, attending meetings and implementing cross-programmatic strategies, resolving internal and interdisciplinary conflicts, ensuring their particular division operates within the realm of legal and regulatory compliance, and safeguarding fiscal solvency for their particular program.

  • Licensing: Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Average Salary: $80,162 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organization: Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA)
  • Sample Online Program: Colorado State University Global (Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and Management)

Hospital CEO

The hospital CEO is the professional in charge of ensuring that a hospital continues to provide quality care to all patients; that providers and staff are trained and taken care of; that the hospital has a strategic direction; and that the hospital remains compliant, fiscally solvent, and operating in service to the community. CEOs accomplish this task through staff management, financial development, assurance of compliance, budget management, public relations, strategic planning, and operations management.

In charge of the big picture for the hospital, the CEOs tasks may include the management of an executive team, strategies for the prevention of and/or response to emergency situations, articulation of the mission and vision of the hospital to staff and patients, and delegation of tasks to those implementing various strategies. As the highest ranking member of a hospital, CEOs generally come to this position through years of experience and formal education.

  • Licensing: The American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) – Fellowship
  • Average Salary: $158,193 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organization: The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
  • Sample Online Program: Purdue University Global (MBA in Health Care Management)

Medical Administrative Assistant

Focused on the business and administrative side of the healthcare practice, medical administrative assistants can provide a variety of support roles essential to the day-to-day functioning of a healthcare facility.

Either in an independent capacity or in a role serving a higher-level administrator, medical administrative assistants may have daily tasks like scheduling, electronic record maintenance or auditing, insurance billing, medical coding, answering phones, and/or providing customer service to patients. Although medical administrative assistants may have overlapping tasks with medical coders and billers, they often have a broader task list and skill set than those trained only in medical billing.

  • Licensing: American Medical Certification Association (AMCA)
  • Average Salary: $32,000 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organization: Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP)
  • Sample Online Program: Bryant & Stratton College (Medical Administrative Assistant Associate Degree)

Medical Biller

Medical billers are the professionals responsible for making sure that the financial transactions between patients, healthcare facilities, and insurance companies are completed in a way that is clear, timely, and accurate. These professionals must foster understanding of the complex landscape of medical coding, insurance reimbursement, and electronic medical records systems.

On a daily basis, medical billers may have responsibilities in explaining bills to patients, fixing internal coding errors generating from providers, understanding variations and changes in insurance reimbursement, following up with patients or payors regarding timely payments, and engaging in continuing education to understand changes in billing codes. In smaller facilities, medical billers may be responsible for training providers on changes in billing.

  • Licensing: American Medical Billing Association (AMBA)
  • Average Salary: $38,961 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organization: American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
  • Sample Online Program: San Joaquin Valley College (Associate of Medical Billing and Coding)

Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing home administrators are the professionals responsible for overseeing the management of residents and operations within nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This often requires the development of budgets, work and staff coordination, and compliance to laws on local, state, and federal levels.

From a daily task perspective, nursing home administrators can be responsible for completing quality reviews and process implementation, negotiating insurance and other contracts, employee supervision and performance review, and sourcing medical supplies, food, and other resources necessary to properly care for residents. Nursing home administrators are required to attain a license to work, and each state has unique regulations.

  • Licensing: National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB)
  • Average Salary: $89,247 (PayScale 2019)
  • Professional Organizations: National Association of Directors and Nursing Administration in Long Term Care (NADONA/LTC), National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL)
  • Sample Online Program: University of Southern California (Master of Aging Services Management)
Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer

Writer

Becca Brewer is the creator of the Limitless Storytelling Project, which offers free workshops and free storytelling help to anyone interested in building a better future on a thriving earth. Learn how she can help you transform your inner story from powerless to fully powerful at Limitless.Eco/Becca. In her life before Limitless, Becca earned a master of education in human sexuality, where she connected with other graduate students earning dual degrees in social work, counseling, and sex therapy.