Though healthcare administration and healthcare management professionals often work closely with one another, it is important for prospective students to have a thorough understanding of the difference between the two career paths before choosing a degree program.
Healthcare Administration vs. Healthcare Management
Broadly speaking, the primary difference between healthcare managers and healthcare administrators is the former is tasked with ensuring the facility runs efficiently, while the latter is responsible for handling staffing issues in a specific department. A healthcare manager focuses on leading the organization as a whole in a positive direction, while a healthcare administrators concentrate on issues such as staff scheduling and budgeting. Though the work may seem similar, professionals working in these two fields often must obtain different types of education. Healthcare managers are usually required to have an educational background in healthcare management, while healthcare administrators may come from a variety of backgrounds.
Healthcare administrators keep their department running smoothly. Though some roles may involve direct patient care, many professionals have little-to-no patient contact. They may have a variety of responsibilities, such as managing finances, ensuring the department meets regulatory requirements and hiring high-quality staff.
These professionals can find work in a variety of healthcare organizations, including hospitals, clinics, corporations and government agencies. Depending on their career goals, students may obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in healthcare administration. A diverse selection of career options fall into this category and may include:
- Social service manager
- Community relations manager
- Insurance underwriter
- Director of healthcare services
- Human resources manager
Healthcare managers oversee the operations of an entire healthcare system. Most will not be responsible for direct patient care, but may frequently consult with patients on administrative matters. These workers are responsible for making very important decisions that impact both patients and employees. They must have strong leadership skills to succeed.
Similar to healthcare administrators, professionals working in healthcare management can find jobs in hospitals, clinics, corporations and research centers. People with a degree in healthcare management may find work in:
- Nursing administration
- Medical office management
- Medical staff relations
- Health information management
- Patient care services
It’s best for students to talk with professionals currently working in both fields to gain a solid understanding of the difference between the two types of positions. Working with a career counselor to determine the path best suited strengths and future career aspirations is also a great way to ensure they set out in the right direction.