Currently, 315,500 people are employed as healthcare managers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and this figure is expected to hit 388,800 by 2022.1 And while it is difficult to predict the exact salaries healthcare managers will earn in the years ahead, current statistics show that these professionals are well-rewarded for their abilities.
The median annual pay for medical and health services managers was $88,580 in May 20122, with the top 10 percent earning more than $150,000. As compensation varies by the level of responsibility and the size of the facility, the trend toward larger, more complex medical group practices may translate to bigger paychecks for top managerial talent.
For most people, careers in this field begin with earning a healthcare management degree. Such programs can provide a solid foundation in areas such as finance, healthcare information technology, resource allocation, workforce diversity, marketing, public relations, project management and ethical and legal issues in healthcare. Professionals interested in greater leadership roles often pursue a master’s degree in healthcare management.
RELATED: 3 Reasons Healthcare Management Careers are Hot
With the healthcare field is becoming increasingly complex, degree programs not only can prepare future administrators through teaching fundamentals but also by developing their abilities to handle new challenges.
“What I found to be the most useful skills I obtained from my healthcare management program were mastering the skill of problem solving and having a complete understanding of the overall healthcare system,” says Sadia Ibrahimi, who served as director of managed care at Stamford Hospital and regional director of provider contracting at WellPoint before becoming an independent consultant. “In our program, we had various opportunities to work on projects for hospital executives. Through these internships, I had to think outside the box and help find solutions for issues many hospitals were facing in this era of skyrocketing healthcare costs. Being able to quickly diagnose issues and find a solution has been key in my positions.”
Indeed, applicants who are ready to help address an employer’s monetary concerns get attention. Martha Castillo, Chief Operating Officer of Florida-based Palm Medical Group and Hygea Holdings, notes that financial management skills are “crucial” and among the most useful “real-world” skills learned in a healthcare management degree program.
Learn more about the opportunities and outlook for healthcare management jobs:
Download our CareerBuilder guide.
1 U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Compensation and Benefits Managers. [online] Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm [Accessed 23 Apr. 2014].