As life expectancies increase, so is the demand for healthcare services. In addition to an aging population, access to medical services is rising as more previously uninsured people attain insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the healthcare industry is expected to add more than 3.7 million new jobs through 2024. Overall growth includes a variety job functions such as healthcare practitioners (e.g., nurses and physicians) and healthcare support positions, including occupational therapy assistants and medical transcriptionists. With that expansion, there is a likelihood that demand for healthcare administrators may grow as well.
Overall, healthcare administrators oversee facility operations, budgets and staffing issues, and ensure facilities comply with any laws and regulations. Job growth is projected at 17% through 2024, according to the BLS. The increase should result in more than 140,000 new jobs by 2024.
The median annual salary of healthcare administrators, categorized as medical and health services managers by the BLS, was $96,540 in 2016. Professionals working in state, local and private hospitals earned a median annual salary of $104,340, the BLS reported. The highest 10% earned around $172,240, while the lowest 10% earned $56,970.
While it’s more common to find healthcare administrators in hospitals, there are opportunities to work in nursing homes, assisted living centers, home health services, offices of healthcare practitioners, and outpatient facilities such as laboratories or radiology centers, and walk-in clinics.
Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Centers
As the country’s nearly 75 million Baby Boomers are getting older, the need for specialized healthcare is expected to rise. Nursing homes and assisted living centers provide on-site, around-the-clock care. A nursing home administrator manages staff, finances, admissions and patient care.
The median annual salary for nursing home administrators in 2016 was $104,210, according to the Nursing Home Salary & Benefits Report 2016 – 2017, published by the Hospital and Healthcare Compensation Service, which included data from more than 2,000 nursing homes.
A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or a related field is a minimal requirement to pursue this position. However, master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred.
Home Health Services
Home healthcare allows patients to receive specialized treatment and services where they live. According to Medicare.gov, home health is usually less expensive and more convenient than care in a hospital or nursing home. It can be appropriate for patients recovering from illness, hospitalization or surgery.
The median annual salary for home healthcare administrators was $84,740 in 2016, according to the BLS. Duties include overseeing an organization, managing employees, implementing policies and maintaining regulatory compliance. A bachelor’s degree is required, although many professionals have a master’s degree.
Offices of Health Practitioners
Becoming an administrator or manager within this setting may require you to oversee a single location or multiple offices that provide specialized services including chiropractic treatment, optometry, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Depending on the needs of the facility and patients, medical administrators or managers maintain day-to-day operations and staffing, manage budgets, ensure compliance and maintain awareness of reimbursement policies and industry changes.
In this setting, professionals need a deep understanding of electronic medical records, as some daily duties may include working directly with patients, scheduling appointments, as well as processing and updating insurance information. Many serve as intermediaries between patients and physicians, as well as between offices and insurance companies.
Administrators in physicians’ offices earned a median annual salary of $87,540 in 2016, according to the BLS. A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or related field is a minimal requirement.
Outpatient Services (Ambulatory Care)
As technology advances, many procedures and services that may have been traditionally offered in a hospital are now available through outpatient services, also known as ambulatory care.
Outpatient services can include procedures, tests or treatments that can be conducted in a medical center without an overnight stay. Examples include lab tests, MRI scans, physical therapy and chemotherapy.
Medical and Health Service Managers working in outpatient care centers earned an average salary of $101,800 in 2016, the BLS reported.
Several factors including a candidate’s educational qualifications, work experience and regional market conditions affect job opportunities and salary potential. Professional advancement may come with additional education, work experience or both.