Five Emerging Careers in Healthcare Administration (2022)
Healthcare is a rapidly changing industry. Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, emerging issues surrounding big data, complications arising through healthcare regulations, and new integrations between healthcare and business are all transforming the way care is delivered. Not to mention the transition to telehealth services precipitated by the pandemic. However, many of these innovations aren’t being implemented by doctors and providers themselves; they’re being implemented by healthcare administrators.
Healthcare administration is one of the fastest-growing careers in the US, but in an increasingly complex and fragmented landscape, healthcare administration is becoming more of an umbrella term than a specific career. New innovations in healthcare aren’t simply upgrading the old, they’re entirely reinventing the new, and there are new job titles and career opportunities emerging as a result. And while hospital administrators are, in general, still largely in demand, there’s also a renewed call for specialists in the increasingly complex and separate areas of healthcare innovation.
Read on to get a look at the top five emerging careers in healthcare administration.
Please note that unless otherwise specified, all salary data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Emerging Healthcare Administration Careers: 2022 Edition
Become a Healthcare Human Resources Manager
Managing staff takes expertise and experience. Healthcare organizations frequently have large staffing pools that include everyone from maintenance staff to the CEO. In order to manage employees, healthcare organizations must rely on their human resources departments and the human resources manager. These managers are responsible for many duties, but primarily they are relied upon to ensure the healthcare organization complies with all applicable employment regulations.
Aspiring healthcare human resources managers can complete either a master’s of health administration degree or a master’s of business administration in order to have the necessary education to fill this role. There are many online master’s programs to help prepare students for this career, such as the online MBA in human resources at Southern New Hampshire University. This program also offers an MBA in healthcare administration so students can choose to take elective courses that will prepare them for work in healthcare.
Healthcare human resource managers work in hospitals, clinics, healthcare facilities, and long-term care centers. Their day to day duties can include:
- Hiring new staff
- Writing recruitment plans to find new hires
- Terminating staff
- Consulting with leadership staff to ensure staffing goals are met
- Evaluating benefit plans for staff
- Running training for new and existing staff
- Responding to employee concerns
- Preparing long term strategy plans for recruitment, retention, and hiring
Wages for healthcare human resource managers vary based on level of education, years of experience, employer, and location. According to Payscale.com, human resource managers earn an average of $68,856 per year, with the top 10 percent making more than $95,000 and the bottom 10 percent earning $49,000 or less (Dec. 2021).
There are no state requirements for licensure in this field at this time. Certification as a healthcare human resource manager is voluntary, although it can be advantageous when applying for jobs or seeking a promotion. The primary certification professionals in this career earn is the American Hospital Association Certification Center (AHA-CC) Certified in Healthcare Human Resources (CHHR). The CHHR demonstrates competency in both human resources and healthcare.
Become a Chief Nursing Officer
As healthcare continues to become more complex each year, healthcare leadership has shifted towards relying on subject matter experts to oversee specialized areas. Because of this, the role of chief nursing officer has become more common and widely recognized. This is largely an administrative role that oversees staff and patient care. While chief nursing officers have little to no interaction directly with patients, they must be licensed registered nurses and often have earned an advanced degree.
There are many degrees nurses can earn to advance into the role of chief nursing officer. Often it is a combination of work experience and education that will make a candidate eligible for this role. The University of Central Florida College of Nursing offers a five-semester online master’s of science in nursing leadership and management, which can be a stepping stone in a career as a chief nursing officer.
The most commonplace for chief nursing officers to be employed is in hospitals, although they can also be found in long-term care facilities and even managing nursing staff in “ask a nurse” call centers. Duties of chief nursing officers include:
- Recruiting, hiring, supervising, and terminating nursing staff
- Writing a long term plan for the nursing department
- Collaborating with nurse managers and shift leads to ensure proper supervision of all staff
- Communicating with senior leadership staff and physicians
- Setting and managing a budget
- Ensuring staff and facilities meet applicable federal, state, and local regulations
- Providing continuing education opportunities to nursing staff
Chief nursing officers must be licensed to practice nursing in the state where they are employed. Licensing requires a combination of education, typically at least an associate’s degree, and passing the National Council Licensure Examination. Each state has its own requirements for nursing licenses, so candidates should contact their local board to ensure they have the necessary qualifications.
Aspiring chief nursing officers can earn voluntary certification to demonstrate their competence and leadership skills. Some employers may even require one or more of the following certifications:
- Certification in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
- Nurse Executive, Certification (NE-BC) from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- Nurse Manager and Leader Certification (CNML) from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
- Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
- Nurse Executive, Advanced Certification (NEA-BC) from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
The job of a chief nursing officer can be quite lucrative. Payscale.com estimates that chief nursing officers earn $135,586 per year, with the bottom 10 percent earning $95,000 or less and the top 10 percent making more than $203,000 per year (Dec. 2021).
Become a Director of Telehealth
Telemedicine is not new. For years, physicians have been providing care over the phone or, more recently, through virtual video visits. However, due to Covid-19 and social distancing recommendations, in-person medical visits dropped drastically in March and April of 2020, and subsequently, telehealth visits grew by 4,000 percent. It appears that telehealth is here to stay, and surveys show that at least half of consumers and 92 percent of physicians expect to continue to use telehealth, even after the pandemic wanes.
Managing telehealth services has its own set of challenges. Reimbursements by insurance can be lower, there are specific regulatory laws that must be adhered to, and clients, as well as providers, must have a strong internet connection. To help manage virtual services many clinics are hiring directors of telehealth.
While there are no degrees in telehealth administration yet, students can pursue a master’s of business administration with an emphasis in health care or a master’s of healthcare administration to prepare them for this career. The University of Delaware offers an advanced telehealth coordinator online certificate that can also help prepare students for this field.
This new healthcare administrator role is evolving, and duties can include:
- Writing policies for delivering telehealthcare
- Training physicians and staff on how to use telehealth software
- Keeping up with changing telehealth regulations and implementing policies to stay in compliance
- Working with vendors to select products to use to deliver telehealthcare
- Formulating, developing, and executing new procedures for better patient care
- Communicating with clinical staff, physicians, and leadership
This job is so new there are presently no certifications available. In order to demonstrate proficiency in healthcare administration and business, aspiring directors of telehealth can earn complimentary certifications such as Certified Medical Manager (CMM) through the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) or Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) through the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
The American Board of Telehealth (ABT) offers online courses and certificates for clinical staff and medical providers looking to gain competency in this field.
Glassdoor.com, a website that aggregates salary information, reports that directors of telehealth make $96,092 per year on average. This data is based on 1,177 self-reported salaries. Wages ranged from $44,000 to $209,000 per year (Dec. 2021).
Become a Product Manager
While some product managers may create physical products, they can also create programs, insurance policies, and technologies. In healthcare, this can look like a new wellness program, software to manage chronic disease, or a targeted insurance plan. In order to get these products from inception to the end consumer, healthcare companies hire product managers who have experience designing, building, implementing, and selling a healthcare product.
There are several educational paths to start a career as a healthcare product manager. Some students may opt for a master’s of business administration degree in order to gain the business acumen necessary for this job. Other students may pursue a master’s in healthcare administration, which combines leadership, healthcare, and business.
Short courses such as the online professional certificate in product management from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management can prepare anyone from students to seasoned healthcare professionals to step into this role.
One of the primary roles of a product manager is to have a keen understanding of the client, their motivations, and their needs. Other duties of healthcare product managers include:
- Writing the vision and strategy for a particular healthcare-related product
- Breaking product development into a manageable timeline
- Acting as the point person for product details
- Coordinating with various departments to ensure individual aspects of product development are on schedule
- Creating a marketing plan for the product launch
- Meeting with stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page
- Interviewing potential clients to ensure the product meets their needs
- Executing a strong product launch
- Monitoring product performance and adjusting the product as necessary.
Certification as a product manager is a voluntary step but can help with employment and advancement. One common certification earned is the Certified Product Manager (CPM) credential through the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM).
Presently, there are no state licensing requirements to work as a healthcare product manager. Payscale.com estimates that product managers earn between $58,000 to $125,000 per year, with the average salary being $87,307 per year (Dec. 2021).
Become a Training and Development Director
Cohesive company culture and knowledge are essential to smooth-running healthcare businesses. In order to accomplish this, staff must receive adequate training to do their job well. Training and development directors in healthcare are critical to ensuring staff knows what their role and responsibilities are, how to perform their duties, and how the healthcare company functions.
Most healthcare training and development directors have completed a master’s of science in training and development, such as the one-year online program at the University of St. Francis. Most master’s of science in training and development programs do not have a specific healthcare focus, so work experience or additional education may be required.
Typical job duties of healthcare training and development directors can include:
- Writing training programs for staff
- Overseeing training delivery by other staff members
- Delivering training
- Assessing employees need for training
- Creating and managing training budgets
- Selecting training products from vendors
- Evaluating and updating existing training as necessary
- Determining the effectiveness of training programs based on staff evaluation
There are several voluntary certification options for healthcare training and development directors who are looking to demonstrate their competency in this field. They include Certified Developer of Training (CDT) from the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) or the Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM) from the Training Industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020), the 42,100 training and development managers in all industries in the Us earn $115,640 per year on average.
Emerging Healthcare Administration Careers: 2021 Edition
Become a Nursing Home Manager
The healthcare needs of aging people are on the rise. To meet the unique social and medical needs of older people, an increasing number of individuals and families are choosing to live in assisted living facilities. In order to make decisions that best serve their residents, most facilities are seeking nursing home managers with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in healthcare administration. Those wanting to specialize in this field are encouraged to pursue an online master’s in gerontology (the field that studies aging) and nursing home administration.
Healthcare administration degree programs are open to two types of students: those with clinical and non-clinical backgrounds. In 2021, more and more employers are searching for candidates with master’s degrees to oversee the teams providing health insurance reimbursement, patient care management, patient safety, accounting, and clinical healthcare to residents and patients. Previous clinical experience is preferred and nursing home facilities are seeking candidates who have registered nurse or medical assisting and administration experience.
Responsibilities of a nursing home manager include:
- Managing caregivers
- Onboarding patients and their families to the facility
- Communicating with clinical teams and families
- Staying aware of local, state, and federal regulations
- Ensuring facility meets accreditation standards
- Hiring and training new employees
According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a nursing home manager is $55,481 (Dec. 2021). Salaries are determined by several factors including the size of the facility and scope of responsibilities. An early-career nursing home manager with one to four years of experience earns an average salary of $30,000, while an experienced nursing home manager with 10-19 years of experience earns an average salary of $75,000 per year.
Licensure for nursing home managers, also known as long-term care administrators, is required in all 50 states and can be pursued through the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards.
Become a Diagnostics & Laboratory Managers
Scientific breakthroughs in medicine and medical research happen as a result of well-managed teams of scientists. A laboratory manager is in charge of directing teams of life scientists to further medical research and development projects.
Laboratory managers lead teams developing new vaccines, medical devices, and researching pharmaceutical drug effects. Laboratory managers have a range of scientific and engineering degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral levels. Those seeking advanced management degrees can seek out professional science master’s degrees (PSM) like the one offered at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.
Laboratory managers work in a variety of public and private institutions including manufacturing, state and federal government, and scientific management and consulting firms. Most spend the majority of their time in offices and conference rooms meeting with government or corporate executives and in laboratories overseeing the work of research scientists.
Typical daily tasks of laboratory managers are:
- Working with company executives and government officials
- Researching and developing new projects
- Allocating financial, personnel, and laboratory resources to specific projects
- Overseeing the progress of scientific research teams
- Writing and submitting operational and audited reports
- Taking inventory of laboratory supplies
- Following regulations set forth for human subjects compliance and laboratory animal research
- Ensuring that laboratory safety accreditation standards are followed
- Communicating research conclusions and project status reports to management teams
The median annual salary for natural sciences managers (a similar occupational title) is $154,930 per year (May 2020). This career is projected to grow steadily from 2020 to 2030 at a rate of 6 percent which is slightly slower than the national average for all occupations at 8 percent. In the same decade, an estimated 4,500 new positions will be needed nationally.
Certification is not typically required for laboratory managers although most laboratories require scientists to hold laboratory certification such as the Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) certification given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Depending on the specialization of the laboratory, certifications such as the Certified Manager of Animal Resources (CMAR) are given by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.
Become a Wellness Program Administrator
For those who desire to affect change in their communities, becoming a wellness program administrator is a great career option. Also known as social and community service managers, professionals in this role are most often found leading public health initiatives.
By targeting specific populations and demographics such as children or homeless people, wellness program administrators see to it that public and private organizations meet their targeted goals which can be preventive or corrective. Examples of public health wellness program initiatives include addressing chronic hunger, child obesity, diabetes prevention, mental health support, or services to veterans.
To meet these large and specific goals, wellness program administrators must juggle many duties:
- Oversee administrative requirements for initiatives
- Review policy proposals
- Develop project implementation plans
- Manage teams of employees working in public health or private organizations
- Write grant proposals to secure funding
- Analyze project efficacy using surveys and other data collection methods
- Solicit community feedback
- Prepare needs assessments
- Manage community outreach efforts
- Gather data to assess efficacy before and after a project
The median salary for social and community service managers is $75,140 (BLS May 2020). Careers in this field are growing at a staggering 15 percent, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations (8 percent). The BLS estimates that 26,400 new social and community service manager positions will be created between 2020 and 2030 and shows that the typical entry-level education for these positions is a bachelor’s degree.
To prepare wellness program managers to combine data-driven decision-making with a community’s needs at the forefront, Walden University offers a bachelor of science in healthcare administration as well as a master’s of healthcare administration. Another popular public health degree option is a master’s of public health (MPH). Earning these degrees helps wellness program administrators create effective healthcare changes in their communities.
While licensure is not typically required for social and community service managers, certifications are available. The Chapman Institute offers four levels of Certified Wellness Program certifications which are available online or in-person.
As well, the National Wellness Institute offers two certifications: Worksite Wellness Specialist (CWWS) for all who want to gain insights into worksite wellness and Worksite Wellness Program Manager (CWWPM) for those with three years of corporate wellness management.
Become a Healthcare Writer
While medical research is technical by nature, its implications are lost on the people who need it most when it’s hidden behind peer-reviewed journals and written in scientific jargon. Enter healthcare writers: professionals who unpack complex ideas and simplify them for laypeople. By communicating the takeaways of complex medical processes, healthcare writers empower people to understand more about their medical needs or insurance coverage.
Empowered with contextualized information, patients can make better-informed decisions about their healthcare. As well, healthcare writers attract future talent to a growing industry by creating career guides and promoting educational programs through blog posts and marketing materials. In short, healthcare writers take the hard work out of researching complicated information and use credible sources to authenticate their message. Depending on their areas of specialization, healthcare writers create informative or investigative content.
To create content that connects with readers, healthcare writers need to be skilled in the following areas:
- Know what information their audiences need
- Use specific language that’s relevant to targeted audiences
- Be familiar with the types of content already available
- Comprehend healthcare-related topics
- Write in a style that is authoritative, relatable, and objective
- Knowledge of search engine optimization and analytics
- Strategic use of keywords throughout an article
- Organization of article and headings based on keywords
- Keep content up-to-date for relevancy
- Share content across targeted social media platforms
Also known as technical writers, healthcare writers earn median salaries of $78,590 per year (BLS May 2020). As the demand for healthcare careers and services increases, this profession is projected to grow at a rate of 12 percent which is faster than the national average for all occupations (8 percent). Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS estimates approximately 6,100 new positions will be needed.
Most technical writers work for professional, scientific, and technical services companies and others work in manufacturing, administrative, and publishing industries. Most positions require a bachelor’s or advanced degree in English, communications, or relevant experience. Some technical writing positions may require a degree in science, medicine, or computer science.
Certification isn’t required for all positions, but the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) offers continuing education and certificates in medical writing. To be eligible for the certification exam, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any field and at least two years of paid work experience in medical communication.
Become a Biomedical Engineer Manager
For those who are ready to pivot their biomedical engineering experience into leadership positions, earning an MBA with a healthcare specialization or a master’s degree in healthcare innovation (MHI). Biomedical engineers are responsible for creating and testing medical devices such as pacemakers, minimally invasive surgical equipment, and prosthetics which help people live longer and recover from medical procedures with less pain and fewer complications.
Because of their work, patients can access much-needed medical care and healthcare facilities and insurance companies lessen their liability and save time and money. With a master’s degree in healthcare administration or innovation, bioengineers are equipped to apply their technical backgrounds to meet healthcare-specific administrative needs. With a healthcare leadership degree, biomedical engineers can efficiently lead teams of researchers and developers and create more cutting-edge life-saving technologies.
The duties of a biomedical engineer manager are commonly split between laboratories and board rooms and typically include the following responsibilities:
- Design new technologies such as artificial internal organs, prosthetics, and more efficient and less invasive medical equipment
- Repair or coordinate technical support for biomedical equipment
- Evaluate design proposals submitted by research teams
- Hire and train biomedical engineers and laboratory staff
- Ensure that procedures and plans are well-documented prior to testing
- Publish technical reports and research papers with conclusive findings
- Make presentations and progress reports to healthcare facility management teams
- Communicate technical information in non-technical terms
- Coordinate with teams responsible for securing and sustaining funding for research and development
In 2020, biomedical engineers earned a median annual salary of $98,340. The BLS (May 2020) shows that between 2020 and 2030, this field is projected to grow by 6 percent and estimates 1,100 new biomedical engineering positions will be needed in the same decade. Since most biomedical engineers require a bachelor’s degree, it can be assumed that with a master’s degree, leaders in this innovative field can earn higher salaries depending on the industry that employs them. Most biomedical engineers work in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing.
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) provides certification for engineers. All 50 states accept the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) or the Principles and Practice of Engineer (PE) certification as valid proof of credentials.
Emerging Healthcare Administration Careers: 2020 Edition
Become a Health Insurance Specialist
With Americans spending more than ever on healthcare services, insurance is critical. It can reduce out-of-pocket costs and make essential medical treatments affordable. However, getting insurance to pay for treatments can be cumbersome and complicated. Many clinics now hire health insurance specialists to assist with medical coding, billing, and managing the claims process. While this job has been done by entry-level professionals, increasingly the role is becoming more complicated and employers are requiring the expertise learned while earning an MHA.
While this job is frequently performed in the back office, these professionals also interface with clients in person, via email, or over the phone. Excellent customer service skills are a must as is a problem-solving attitude. Professionals in this field are required to strictly adhere to state and federal insurance laws in addition to insurance policies and clinic procedures. Attention to detail and the ability to adhere to rules are very important. Often this role can also be referred to as a claims adjuster or insurance adjuster.
Responsibilities of health insurance specialists include:
- Access patient medical records
- Code medical procedures
- Communicate with insurance companies and clients
- Analyze claims
- Verify medical coverage
- File registration forms with insurance providers
- Record charges and payments on patient records
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020), insurance and claims adjusters earn $70,650 per year on average. An MHA degree can help prospective professionals in the field be competitive when seeking work. Many MHA programs offer courses such as healthcare management and policy, healthcare reimbursement, and healthcare economics, which provide the necessary background to excel in the field.
Professionals seeking to set themselves apart can also pursue medical coding certifications such as the one offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Become a Social Welfare Administrator
Social welfare administrators, often also called community service managers, are integral to any social service program. These programs work with specific populations such as children, seniors, low-income citizens, to provide them access to resources they may need including housing, healthcare, or education. While this career can be very demanding and challenging because of the lack of resources, many professionals find it to be very rewarding.
Programs that employ social welfare administrators include government agencies, nonprofits, and religious organizations. Within these programs, administrators are the link that ensures things run smoothly by providing direct services to clients and also managing the program as a whole. Leadership skills are essential as these professionals are responsible for the direction and course of an agency. Other necessary skills include the ability to manage staff effectively, good problem-solving abilities, skilled networkers, and the ability to analyze data and performance.
Typical job duties of a social welfare administration include:
- Establish and oversee procedures and policies for the department or program
- Apply for and administer grants
- Meet with clients to assist them with accessing services
- Train and supervise staff and volunteers
- Plan and manage outreach activities
- Participate in advocacy activities with the local and national government
- Analyze data to determine the effectiveness of the program
Social and community service managers earn $69,600 per year on average, according to the BLS (May 2020). Professionals in this field have work experience in social services and have obtained an MHA or related degree such as a master’s in social work. Sometimes significant work experience can be substituted for a degree. Those who have already obtained a graduate degree can earn a certificate in social work administration at San Diego State to further hone leadership and management skills and be more competitive in the job market.
Become a Social Media Director
While marketing may not be the first job that comes to mind when thinking of working in healthcare, it is increasingly important for clinics, hospitals, and care centers to manage their social media. As more and more patients and their families utilize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they can be leveraged as powerful tools. While some clinics hire this service out, many are not creating dedicated marketing roles such as social media directors.
Social media directors in healthcare utilize social media tools to communicate with patients, share information on new research, and engage the public. As directors, professionals in this field are responsible for charting the course for their company’s social media strategy including establishing policies for posting and determining how to handle complaints or disagreements. Creativity, quick decision-making, flexibility, strong communication skills, and good organization are all critical to being successful in this role.
Job duties for social media directors include:
- Write posts for social media channels
- Manage advertising budget
- Respond to posts on social media
- Meet with senior-level staff
- Develop the social media strategy
- Craft and implement campaigns for events, awareness, or other activities to meet goals
- Analyze data to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns
- Hire and oversee staff
While salary can vary widely depending on the size of the clinic and job duties required, advertising and marketing directors—including those in social media—earn an average of $154,470 per year according to the BLS (May 2020). While many professionals in this role have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in advertising, marketing, or a related field, a master’s is required for more senior roles. An MHA can give professionals the unique advantage of not only understanding how to leverage social media but also having a strong background in healthcare.
Those wishing to enter this field should concentrate on taking courses in marketing, public relations, and advertising while pursuing their degree.
Become a Pharmaceutical Project Manager
Many conditions and diseases can be treated with medicines, but there are many more that still do not have treatments. Pharmaceutical companies and scientists are researching these conditions in order to develop new drugs to help patients recover from an illness or manage chronic conditions. The development process of these new drugs is overseen by pharmaceutical project managers.
Pharmaceutical project managers’ roles are varied and require individuals who are flexible and creative. A background in clinical research helps significantly as does previous experience in healthcare settings. Strong leadership skills are a must as these project managers are tasked with managing a team of researchers and other staff. They also must be astute at managing budgets, timelines, and expectations as developing a new pharmaceutical product requires many moving parts and targets.
The role of pharmaceutical project managers include:
- Manage a team of engineers, researchers, and doctors to develop a new product
- Specify project steps
- Set measurable, incremental goals and measure outcomes towards goals
- Oversee clinical trials
- Set and manage a budget
- Hire staff as needed
- Create status reports to communicate progress with senior staff
Working as a pharmaceutical project manager can be lucrative as they earn on average $94,869, according to PayScale (Dec. 2021). Education requirements for this career vary but most professionals have earned at least an MHA or related degree. A certificate in project management, such as the one offered at California Southern University, can provide targeted education to make an applicant more competitive in the job application process.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) also offers certifications that, when obtained, demonstrate knowledge and expertise in the field.
Become a Healthcare Brand Manager
Managing the perception of a brand in the market is a full-time job that requires expertise and craft. Initially, brand manager positions emerged in product companies, retail or marketing firms but as markets have grown and adapted, it has become critical for hospitals, clinics, and even physicians to hire brand managers.
Good brand managers set companies apart by building customer devotion through images and key messaging. In healthcare, this is seen as patients and clients feeling confident that they will receive quality care if they chose a given facility, retention of patients, or trusting a practitioner to provide excellent service.
Healthcare brand managers are responsible for charting the course for the brand of a healthcare entity. They are creative, driven, and well versed in the newest brand strategies. As communication is essential to this role, professionals who hold these positions are adept at conveying difficult concepts in simple terms that are accessible to everyone.
Healthcare brand manager responsibilities and duties include:
- Defining the brand
- Develop and manage a brand strategy
- Utilize the strategy to guide marketing efforts
- Report to senior staff on trends utilizing data gathered from customers and the industry
- Set strategic goals for the brand such as engagement, perception, or status
- Coach staff, volunteers, and senior staff on how to communicate using the brand strategy
- Work with designers, writers, and advertisers to craft collateral materials and ads that are on-brand
- Direct research to provide data for brand decision making
Depending on education and expertise brand managers can anticipate earning $71,135 per year, according to PayScale (Dec. 2021). Healthcare employers are looking for professionals who have experience in marketing, clinic management, and strategy. Most professionals in this field have earned at least a master’s degree. An MHA, with courses in marketing and advertising, can be very valuable as it provides the necessary education with the necessary emphasis on healthcare.
Emerging Healthcare Administration Careers: 2019 Edition
Become a Healthcare Data Scientist
Healthcare is poised to be one of the largest beneficiaries of the AI revolution, with applications in disease detection, drug discovery, and care delivery. It’s already being used to optimize facility workflow, image analysis, and clinical diagnostics. But that artificial intelligence requires some very keen data science in order to develop effective learning algorithms. And with billions of investment dollars flowing in, healthcare data scientists are already in high demand.
Using mathematics, programming, and visualization, healthcare data scientists mine raw data for trends, and then find applications for those trends, putting them to work in learning algorithms. Their roles are often client-facing, meaning that they must communicate with their customer on a consistent basis to define the pertinent questions they face, so to best design an applicable solution using a rigorous set of hypotheses.
On a technical level, data scientists need to have comfortability with extracting raw data and manipulating it into actionable insights, often through a programming language such as Python or R. Analytic skills-based in machine learning require a working knowledge of statistics, logistic regression, and neural networks.
Typical responsibilities for healthcare data scientists include:
- Extracting data from primary sources
- Utilizing data visualization software to deduce trends
- Communicating with colleagues and customers to determine pertinent issues
- Writing and testing software in a variety of platforms
- Applying statistical models and machine learning to draw scientific conclusions
- Comparing and synthesizing multiple data sets to reach a peak accuracy
According to Payscale.com (Dec. 2021), an employment data aggregator, the average salary for data scientists is $96,719 a year. The educational requirements for this position can be steep, though they do vary from employer to employer. While some positions may require only a bachelor’s degree, a master’s or PhD in data science is generally preferred, and specialized programs in health data science have already sprouted up, like the MS program at Harvard.
Prospective and current healthcare data scientists can look to the Healthcare Data and Analytics Association (HDAA) as a resource for collaboration and professional development.
Become a Healthcare Information Administrator
Healthcare’s going increasingly digital, and healthcare facilities are facing a data tsunami. According to IDC (Nov 2021), a research firm, the amount of healthcare data created for each consumer over a lifetime will be an estimated 270 GB. This data not only helps physicians care for patients, but it also can give administrators valuable insights into trends, the ability to project needs, and information to make data-informed decisions.
While data scientists sift through that data and work it into actionable insights, healthcare information administrators are in charge of securing, managing, and optimizing the systems which collect and hold that data.
Healthcare information administrators can be parsed into several job titles. Their primary responsibilities will vary based upon the particular needs of the facility for which they work. Some administrators may specialize in the implementation of new IT and data collection infrastructures, while others may focus on the management and operations of those infrastructures. Further sub-specialties exist within that split as well, with compliance, education, and revenue cycle all being areas of expertise for healthcare information administrators.
Some key responsibilities of healthcare information administrators include:
- Analyzing health records for accuracy
- Ensuring compliance with HIPAA regulations
- Securing sensitive health data against privacy breaches
- Creating a standard language for data interoperability
- Improving data literacy among a medical facility’s staff and patients
The average salary for healthcare information administrators, according to Indeed (Dec. 2021), is just $75,718 a year, based on over 609 survey respondents. A bachelor’s degree, preferably in health information management, is the bare minimum for many employers, although there is a strong trend pushing for master’s level education, such as an MHA with an informatics focus.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the go-to professional resource for health information administrators, and their certifications are well recognized in the industry, often leading to a significant boost in salary.
Become a Healthcare Policy Specialist
Even as President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) saw a sizable increase in the number of newly insured Americans, a debate has persisted over who exactly has been helped by what. The ambition of this massive healthcare legislation has come with an equally massive dose of complexity: some 10,000 pages of policy.
The introduction of the American Health Care Act (ACA), which repeals and replaces parts of the ACA, has only increased the complexity and confusion further. And while healthcare policy specialist is by no means a new career title, it has taken on a new focus and renewed importance in the national landscape.
Healthcare policy specialists can work for government organizations, charities, think tanks, insurance companies, medical facilities, and elsewhere in the private sector. A great deal of specialization exists, and a healthcare policy specialist focus in a specific area such as Medicaid, lobbying, education, or community outreach. Healthcare policy specialists will need a solid understanding of the legislation as it applies to their area of specialty, along with sound research, analysis, and communication skills.
Typical responsibilities of a healthcare policy specialist may include:
- Researching updates to existing healthcare policy
- Analyzing impacts of new legislation upon a company or community
- Advocating for policy adjustment at a state or federal level
- Developing strategies for compliance with existing legislation
- Conducting site visits to assess the operations of a healthcare facility
- Collaborating with healthcare administrators to implement policy changes
According to PayScale (Dec. 2021), an employment data aggregator, health policy analysts earn an average of $64,022 a year. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for some entry-level positions, but graduate-level education is increasingly preferred.
An MHA with relevant specialization, an MPH, or even a law degree may be required for certain positions. The American Public Health Association (APHA) houses a Center for Public Health Policy, where healthcare policy specialists can network, share resources, and collectively advocate for policy changes and implementation that better serve the wider population’s collective health.
Become an On-Site Clinic Administrator
An increasing trend of concern for employee health has resulted in the rise of onsite clinics, where a wide variety of medical and wellness services are provided directly at a place of work. In 2020, two-thirds of large employers (those with 5,000 or more employees) offered general medicine worksite clinics, a significant increase over the just one-third that offered them in 2017.
Customized to meet the needs of a very specific population, on-site clinics can range in scope of services, from acute care to primary care to general wellness services and everything in between. But the need for healthcare administrators is doubly important in an on-site clinic, where one must stand up a medical facility within the walls of a non-medical environment.
On-site clinic administrators work in much the same capacity that off-site clinic administrators do, working to ensure the day-to-day operations of a healthcare facility. But on-site administrators are also working with a very specific population of working-age adults, and need to coordinate their care to match the needs of a particular parent corporation.
Integrating health and wellness within the culture of the workplace is a top priority, and close coordination with the management of the business as a whole is a critical function of on-site clinic administrators.
Typical responsibilities for on-site clinic administrators include:
- Instituting a culture of health and wellness within the employee community
- Designing and maintaining an on-site clinic’s budget
- Managing the staffing and scheduling of clinical staff
- Coordinating with company directors to procure and distribute clinical resources
- Squaring a clinic’s care offerings with the parent company’s health plans
- Optimizing wellness services for the employee population
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020), the average salary for medical and health services managers was $118,800 per year. The bare minimum for entry-level positions is a bachelor’s degree in a related field, but the trend for healthcare administrators is pushing for master’s level education, either through an MHA or an MBA with a healthcare focus.
Professional resources include the National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC), the Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA), and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM), the latter of which offers certification in compliance and revenue cycle specialties. Additionally, the American Hospital Association (AHA) offers certification as a healthcare facility manager (CHFM).
Become a Healthcare Consultant
Healthcare is one of the fastest-changing industries in the world, but it’s also a disaggregated one, where a state-of-the-art hospital and a paper-based medical clinic may exist on the same street. And while healthcare administration is one of the more in-demand careers of the moment, many facilities are still looking to bring someone in part-time to help them manage the transition from the 20th to 21st century, enough so that healthcare consultancy is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Healthcare consultants shepherd medical facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies through transitions and updates to their practices. While their exact roles and responsibilities will vary based upon the client they are contracted with, it is largely up to a consultant to determine what a client needs, and thereby come up with what needs to be done to improve it. A consultant may specialize in a specific subcategory, such as IT or finance, but they will almost certainly work with a wide variety of clients in the course of their career.
Some typical responsibilities for a healthcare consultant may include:
- Developing a needs assessment with the client
- Streamlining a client’s management structure and staffing
- Upgrading a client’s IT and data-sharing capabilities
- Introducing cost-effective and efficient new business models
- Adapting modern, industry-wide best practices in isolated settings
- Educating staff and execs throughout the course of a transition period
According to PayScale (Dec. 2021), healthcare consultants earn over $79,015 a year, on average. There are many educational pathways to becoming a healthcare consultant, but most will have graduate-level education in the form of an MBA with a healthcare focus, and MHA, or an MPH. Work experience in related fields is at a premium for healthcare consultants, who are often primarily managing other managers in the course of their work.
Certain specialized certifications with particular hardware and software clients (such as Epic, a healthcare software service) may be at a premium, depending upon a consultant’s focus. The National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants (NSCHBC) is a professional organization that allows for networking, collaboration, and continuing education amongst healthcare consultants. It also offers pathways to professional certification.