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Healthcare Management Careers: Explore Opportunities at Every Level

A career in healthcare management is meaningful and rewarding. Explore this guide to see which paths you can pursue, how much they pay, and more.

A male nurse in blue scrubs and a female doctor in a suit review information on a tablet together in a hospital corridor.

The healthcare industry is growing rapidly, driven in part by an aging population and longer life expectancies. Since 2018 the sector has had the greatest number of employees and the highest payroll in the United States. And while the availability of clinical roles like nurses and doctors has grown significantly, so has the demand for the leaders and administrators working behind the scenes. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for medical and health services managers alone are projected to grow 28% from 2022 to 2032 — much faster than the average for all other occupations.

As a current or aspiring healthcare management professional, you have a range of career options to choose from, and now is the time to start planning which one you wish to pursue. In this guide, we’ll cover common roles and average salaries for graduates of all levels of education. We’ll also walk you through some advice for finding and landing your dream job in healthcare management and then answer some of your most pressing questions. Keep reading to learn how your degree in healthcare management can unlock limitless opportunities and help you reach your professional and financial potential.

Careers with an Associate in Healthcare Management

If you’re transitioning from another career or want to bolster your current credentials, an associate degree in healthcare management can be a good first step. There are several rewarding and well-compensated roles that only require a few semesters of coursework. If you’re looking to fast track your career, consider one of the following positions.

Health Information Technician

A health information technician oversees the storage, organization, and protection of digital patient health records. Technicians work to ensure the accuracy of patient data, code treatments for billing purposes, and liaise with insurance companies. They also ensure that facilities and patient records are HIPPA-compliant. Entry-level health information technician positions usually require an associate degree, but some employers may also require candidates to hold a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Technicians looking to specialize may consider positions like medical records coder.

Average Salary: $46,866

Medical Office Manager

Medical officer managers work behind the scenes to make sure everything in their clinic, office, or department runs smoothly. Medical office managers are often in charge of hiring, overseeing, and retaining staff, budgeting, and day-to-day operations. They need good organizational and leadership skills and should have an associate degree, although it doesn’t necessarily need to be in the medical field — an associate or bachelor’s degree in business administration could also prepare you to take on a medical office manager position. Obtaining the Certified Medical Office Manager (CMOM) or Certified Medical Manager (CMM) credentials can also help you stand out.

Average Salary: $52,913

Medical Secretary

A medical secretary performs a variety of clerical and administrative tasks. The position requires candidates to have a good grasp of medical terminology and, in some offices, knowledge of billing procedures. Medical secretaries are most often employed by physician’s offices, hospitals/surgical centers, and dental offices. Duties may vary, but often include answering phones, greeting patients, scheduling appointments, maintaining records, handling correspondence, making referrals, and processing insurance claims. An associate degree is often required, but it is possible to land the role after completing a medical secretary certificate program.

Average Salary: $44,042

Healthcare Management Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree

An associate degree is a good starting point, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, a bachelor’s degree may be a better option. Many upper-management positions require a four-year degree, and the extra semesters can pay off with higher earning potential and greater opportunities for career advancement. If you have a bachelor’s degree, consider pursuing the following careers.

Chief Nursing Officer

The Chief Nursing Officer, sometimes called the Vice President of Nursing or Chief Nurse Executive, manages a health organization’s nursing staff. Since the role is primarily administrative, chief nursing officers do not interact much with patients; instead, their main duties include hiring and onboarding nursing staff, integrating new medical technologies, managing budgets and finances, and ensuring treatment plans are implemented. Chief Nursing Officers also serve as liaisons between the nursing staff and other top-level administrators. Most Chief Nursing Officers are Registered Nurses (RNs) with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Some organizations may prefer to hire candidates who also have a master’s degree.

Average Salary: $257,780

Healthcare Department Manager

A healthcare department manager oversees the staff and finances of a specific department in a hospital or clinic. For example, the manager of an Emergency Department would oversee the day-to-day operations, budgeting, and staffing of that department. Required education and experience can vary depending on the size of the department, but successful candidates should hold at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as a valid nursing license. Department managers should also have prior leadership experience and excellent organizational skills.

Average Salary: $106,433

Healthcare Finance Manager

A healthcare finance manager supervises the day-to-day finances and budgets of a hospital, clinic, or physician’s office. Day-to-day duties may include reviewing contracts, creating financial reports, evaluating compensation, creating financial policies, planning investments, and creating budgets. They also ensure that the facility is operating in accordance with its long-term financial goals. Depending on their experience and the size of the facility, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient. However, some competitive positions may require a master’s degree in finance or a certified public accountant (CPA) license.

Average Salary: $131,753

Medical Records Manager

The responsibilities of a medical records manager overlap somewhat with those of a health information technician, however this position is more advanced and requires additional education, fetches a higher salary, and involves managing staff. A bachelor’s degree is required, usually with a concentration in health information technology. Common duties include preparing and organizing patient charts and documents, storing and protecting paperwork and electronic records, ensuring that the facility is compliant with HIPAA standards, supervising staff and anyone with access to sensitive information, maintaining the facility’s databases, and processing invoices.

Average Salary: $104,017

Master’s in Healthcare Management Careers

To be eligible for the highest level of healthcare management jobs, you’ll need a master’s degree in healthcare management, nursing, or business administration. Earning an advanced degree can give you the leadership skills and clinical knowledge you need to succeed and effectively vie for the position of your dreams.

Chief Clinical Transformation Officer

A Chief Clinical Transformation Officer (CCTO) is a C-suite level position that guides an organization towards its short- and long-term goals. In this administrative role you may work toward improving the overall patient experience, enhancing quality and safety of care, and streamlining operations. Candidates often have a clinical background, e.g. doctors and nurses, but are usually well-versed in business administration as well. Successful CCTO’s have a Master’s in Public Health or a Master’s in Business Administration.

Average Salary: $151,203

Healthcare Consultant

A healthcare consultant works with healthcare organizations to improve efficiency, streamline operations, and ensure patients receive the best care. They may work with a hospital or clinic on an on-going basis or be brought in to advise on short-term projects like mergers. They often analyze an organization’s finances and processes and make recommendations for improvements. They often help implement those suggestions and track metrics. Healthcare consultants may specialize in a certain area such as finance, marketing, regulatory compliance, or operations.

Average Salary: $89,986

Medical and Health Services Manager

The responsibilities of medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, may vary; some managers oversee a specific medical department while others manage an entire facility. In general, medical and health services managers create financial reports and budgets, supervise hiring and scheduling of staff, ensure regulatory compliance, and create policies for patient care. To become a healthcare executive at the highest levels — e.g. at a hospital or health insurance company — you should have a master’s degree. An MBA in Healthcare Management, for example, is tailored toward individuals seeking a high level position like this one.

Average Salary: $104,830

How to Land the Job of Your Dreams

No matter where you are in the job search process, there are things you can do to level up and make yourself a more competitive candidate in the healthcare management field. By following the tips outlined below, you can increase your chances of landing the job you’ve had your eye on.

Follow Up After Interviews

As important as your interview is, it’s sometimes what you do after the interview that can make all the difference. Following up with an email within 1-2 days shows you are enthusiastic about the job and gives you the chance to reiterate your qualifications or address any issues that came up during the interview.

Highlight Your Leadership Skills

If you’ve held leadership positions in the past, make sure you highlight that in your resume and interview. And if you haven’t held an official leadership role, emphasize skills that would transfer well to one. Do you have strong organizational skills and sound decision making? Are you a top-notch communicator? Use strong action verbs and examples to describe how you can apply these skills that in a healthcare management setting.

Leverage Your Experience

Leveraging your experience is key whether you’re applying for an entry level job, moving laterally, or changing industries. Make sure your resume and cover letter include all relevant experience, including internships and volunteer positions. Show how you took on extra responsibilities and grew in your position.

Negotiate Your Salary

If you receive a job offer, take a moment before automatically accepting it. Research the average salary for the position, and make note of any qualities, education, or experience you can leverage to negotiate a higher starting salary. Approach negotiations by balancing the value you can bring to the organization and your financial needs.

Network, Network, Network

Whether you’re actively job searching or not, maintaining a professional network is important. Many professional opportunities come from personal relationships, so attending industry events, joining professional organizations, and connecting with mentors can be a good use of time and energy. If you’re not sure where to begin, consider sending an email to a former colleague or professor or post a professional update on LinkedIn.

Write (and Tailor) the Perfect Application

Even if you’re applying for many similar positions, you should always adjust your resume, cover letter, and other application materials to the specific job you are applying to. If possible, use the hiring manager’s name in the cover letter and highlight how your specific skills and experience specifically match those in the job description.

Answering Your Healthcare Management Career Questions

If you’re considering a career in healthcare management, it’s normal to have questions. Before taking the plunge, you likely want to know about things like flexibility, job security, and salary potential. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you. We’ll address your most pressing concerns in the following section.

Are there many career advancement opportunities in healthcare management?

In short, yes! You can increase your chances of advancement by continuing your education, volunteering to take on new projects, and building a strong network. In general, healthcare management positions offer more promotion opportunities and salary potential than administrative roles.

Can I work remotely in healthcare management?

When most people imagine a job in healthcare, they picture hours spent in a clinic or hospital — but that’s not always the case. In the last few years, it’s become increasingly common for healthcare management roles to be partially or entirely remote. Managers can often conduct trainings and meetings via Zoom and work on data entry and budgets from anywhere with an internet connection.

Do I need a degree in healthcare management to work in the field?

Not necessarily. Some entry-level jobs may only require an associate degree or previous experience. Depending on the position, a degree in another field may provide adequate transferrable skills. For example, a degree in IT may transfer well to a health information technician role. A degree in business administration can also be very useful in healthcare management.

Is healthcare management in high demand?

As we mentioned above, jobs in health care management are expected to grow faster than average. This is due to several factors, including an aging baby boomer population, longer life spans, and increasingly complex healthcare treatment plans. As the industry grows as a whole, there will be greater demand for leaders with excellent communication, organizational, and decision-making skills.

What are some of the best entry level healthcare management jobs?

The best entry level position for you, will depend on your goals and interests, however, any position that requires an associate or bachelor’s degree will serve as a good starting point. Do you enjoy working with data? If so, a position as a health information manager could be a good fit. Prefer a public-facing role? Consider roles like medical secretary or patient services representative.

What is the highest-paying job in healthcare management?

In general, the more senior the management position, the higher the salary. Jobs in major cities, with a high cost of living are also likely to pay more. Likewise, roles that require advanced degrees such as a master’s or doctorate typically include a pay bump. Based on average salary data, a hospital administrator is one of the highest paying jobs in the industry, but remember there is more to a top job than just a paycheck — it’s also important to consider benefits and work-life balance.