Are you weighing the key similarities and differences in a career path in healthcare administration vs. healthcare management? The fact is that these fields are essentially the same, with many common characteristics and skills that can be applied to both areas of expertise.
Working in the healthcare sector can be extremely rewarding, using valued professional qualifications to really help to make a difference in the smooth running of operations around the management of hospitals, clinics and other health-related organizations. So what is healthcare management and what is healthcare administration, and what are the typical responsibilities for these positions?
Jobs with a Healthcare Management Degree
According to a Burning Glass analysis of national jobs data, the most common job title that calls for a bachelor's degree in healthcare management or healthcare administration is that of medical and health services managers.1 The good news is that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 23% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Median pay is $88,580, according to 2012 BLS data.2
What Do Healthcare Managers and Healthcare Administrators Do?
Typically, healthcare managers work closely with physicians, nurses, and laboratory technologists and technicians. Their duties can include the following:
- Conducting and administering fiscal operations, including accounting, planning budgets, authorizing expenditures, establishing rates for services and coordinating financial reporting
- Directing, supervising and evaluating work activities of medical, nursing, technical, clerical, service, maintenance, and other personnel
- Maintaining communication between governing boards, medical staff and department heads
- Reviewing and analyzing facility activities and data to aid planning and cash and risk management and to improve service utilization
- Planning, implementing and administering programs and services
- Directing or conducting recruitment, hiring and training of personnel
- Establishing work schedules and assignments for staff, according to workload, space and equipment availability
- Monitoring the use of diagnostic services, in-patient beds, facilities, and staff to ensure effective use of resources and assess the need for additional staff, equipment and services
- Developing and maintaining computerized record management systems to store and process data such as personnel activities and information, and producing reports.3
What Can You Learn from a Healthcare Management Degree?
Most of those employed as medical and health services managers have at least a bachelor's degree, and master's degrees also are common. In these types of degree programs, students can learn to:
- Interpret and explain concepts effectively in various healthcare organizations and situations
- Apply principles of economics and finance to make effective decisions in various healthcare settings for various contemporary healthcare practices and functions
- Analyze the relationships between costs, quality, and access to healthcare in the United States
- Formulate current operations management practices and principles used in the current healthcare environment
- Evaluate the types of information and information systems capabilities/technology needed by healthcare organizations
- Evaluate potential ethical and legal conflicts in healthcare related to legislative and regulatory issues affecting healthcare
As discussed above, if you're exploring healthcare administration vs. healthcare management, there aren't true differences between the two, and both interesting, dynamic career paths.
Ready to learn more? Explore healthcare management degrees at AIU.
The presence of specific potential jobs on this list does not guarantee availability of career opportunities. All statistics referenced are national historical averages and the figures in your area and at the time of your job search may be different.
1 Labor/Insight (Burning Glass Technologies), 1/1/13-1/31/13
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Medical and Health Services Managers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (visited February 02, 2015)
3 O*Net OnLine, Summary Report for Medical and Health Services Managers, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9111.00 (visited February 02, 2015)