An MBA in healthcare management can prepare graduates for numerous healthcare-related positions. For example, some individuals may pursue careers as a director of operations, who is responsible for organizing an administration, game-planning strategies for productivity and time management, and negotiating department support with higher administration. This position earns an average of about $90,000 in median income, with a potential top salary of $149,000 according to PayScale. While no degree is an automatic guarantee of a particular payment level, an MBA can give graduates increased earnings and employment potential.

This page provides information about popular MBA-related healthcare professions, including available career opportunities any necessary licensure you may need to succeed.

What Can You Do With an Online MBA in Healthcare Management

An online MBA in healthcare management can lead to a variety of positions, such as human resources, patient assistance, financial reporting, and department organization. The following tables list the average salaries of just a few of the major career options in U.S. healthcare.

Medical and Health Services Manager Average Salary: $99,730
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Medical practices
  • Nursing homes
These professionals organize departments by evaluating current administrative frameworks, setting objectives, and managing expectations. They also keep scrupulous records to monitor professional benchmarks, department productivity, and effectiveness, and communicate between departments to convey patient and staff needs.
Nursing Home Administrator Average Salary: $88,790
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facility
  • Outpatient care centers
These administrators manage residents in a nursing home or assisted living facility. They oversee facility orderlies and support staff, connect clients with relevant doctors and specialists, coordinate special assistance like physical and emotional therapies, and arrange community engagement opportunities. These individuals must also stay current on the latest legal regulations to ensure quality care.
Healthcare Consultant Average Salary: $76,852
  • Public/private healthcare institutions
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Government branches
These consultants enter healthcare policy and productivity conversations. They may provide advice on short-term issues or be hired permanently as a knowledgeable company resource regarding current government initiatives, legal debates, and future projections on healthcare.
Sources: BLS/PayScale

Learn More About MBA Healthcare Management Degrees, Programs, and Careers

Healthcare Management Pay Comparison

How much you can make with an MBA in healthcare management -- versus a bachelor's in healthcare management -- depends on many variables, including where you work, how long you work, and what position you hold. The following chart illustrates the difference in median pay between bachelor's degree holders and master's degree holders in sample healthcare management jobs.

Degree Job Average Job Salary
MBA Practice Administrator $72,574
Bachelor's Healthcare Administrator $65,201
Source: PayScale, 2019

Interview With a Healthcare Management Expert

Joseph Welfeld is currently president of The Welfeld Group, LLC, and a venture partner for Fund Rx, a healthcare venture fund. Mr. Welfeld provides market strategy, business development and advisory services to emerging healthcare technology organizations. He is a member of the healthcare management faculty of SUNY - Empire State College in Westbury, New York, and is on the faculty of the MBA and DNP programs at Dominican College. He is also a member of the Advisory Boards of both the MBA and DNP Programs.

Mr. Welfeld is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, has an MBA in Healthcare Administration from Baruch College/Mt. Sinai Medical School in NYC, and has written "Managed Care Contracting - A Guide for the Health Care Provider" - published by the American Hospital Publishing Corp. in 1996.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in healthcare administration? Is it something that has always interested you?

My undergraduate degree was in engineering from an intense engineering program at Cooper Union. As a child I was always interested in math and science and that seemed to be the reasonable approach. My first job was as a systems analyst for the Zale Corporation (jewelry manufacturing) and I began pursuing an MBA in Computer Methodology at Baruch College - City University of NY. I hated the work and felt that I could/should be doing something more relevant with my life than trying to improve the flow on the jewelry production line. That's when I decided to attempt to transfer to the Healthcare Administration program at Baruch that had an affiliation with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. At the time, it was a part-time program with limited openings that required you to have a job in the field in order to be admitted. I was fortunate that Kings County Hospital was looking for "Computer Operations Supervisors" for their new medical record system. Although I had never "operated" a computer, nor would even know where to start, I got the job -- which led to admission to the part-time program.

What was the job search like after graduating with your MBA?

My case is a bit different because I was already in a hospital-based position as a result of the requirement for a residency. This requirement provided an entry point for master's degree-trained healthcare management students. Meeting the requirement provided an entry-level opportunity as well as real hands-on experience in all aspects of hospital management, usually working directly with the CEO. As "hospital administration" has morphed into the more diverse "healthcare management," these residencies have for all intents and purposes disappeared.

How can students set themselves apart from fellow MBA and healthcare management graduates?

The key is the ability to communicate -- both in writing and orally. In today's electronic and social media environments, I see communication skills seriously deteriorating. The world of healthcare management continues to require relationship building -- both internally and externally -- so communications skills are critical. In addition, the ability to write coherently is a requirement, even in a world of text messaging.

How has earning your MBA advanced your career path?

The master's degree became an "entry-level" requirement for the field and while there were a number of MBA degrees, my sense has been that the "B" for business was a significant differentiator as I pursued different opportunities -- particularly in startups on other developing areas. My involvement in new ventures, public companies, and technology was significantly enhanced by the MBA. As the field has become more business oriented and has expanded beyond hospital administration, the need for the business orientation became more critical.

What are some of the most rewarding aspects about working in healthcare administration and management? Some of the most challenging aspects?

While it appears trite, being involved in an industry that results in an output helpful to human beings is very rewarding. The challenges are many and the frustration can often be high. The regulatory system and the frequent inane reporting requirements can lead to burnout and a sense of paper pushing. The most significant challenges are meeting the expectations of many stakeholders including board members, physicians and patients, whose expectations may not always be aligned.

Why did you decide to shift towards teaching in an MBA program?

There are two components to this answer. First, if I had my druthers, I would still be working actively in the field. Unfortunately, whether we want to believe it or not, there is significant age discrimination in the field and those who reach a certain age are gracefully and often illegally pushed out the door. That is a great loss for the industry as dozens of years of interpersonal relationships and experience are lost to customers, patients and new employees.

The idea of teaching has always been of high importance to me as I sought to mentor those who worked with and for me. Some of my greatest accomplishments have been seeing individuals who I have taught and/or mentored take on leadership roles in the field. Fortunately, opportunities have arisen for me to teach, and I am gratified that I can bring life to some of the courses I teach with real examples.

What advice would you give to students considering pursuing an MBA and a career in healthcare management?

I would strongly recommend it! It is a very dynamic field with extraordinary growth opportunities. The advent of technology and its penetration throughout the field has made for dramatic change, and the ability to impact the lives of others is very clear and not obtuse.

What Certifications and Licenses are Needed for a Career in Healthcare Management?

All states require some form of licensure for healthcare administrators, though specific regulations vary by state. Be sure to look for state-approved training programs, or accreditations related to healthcare management degrees. Depending on the specific field of management, some employers may require additional registered nurse or social work licensure. Check out the American Health Information Management Association for more details.

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