A booming health care industry offers many career opportunities beyond being some form of doctor, as U.S. News and World Report points out. They include nurse practitioners, pharmacists, registered nurses, physical therapists, and dental hygienists.
But there are tremendous opportunities in management, particularly for people who have an MBA in health administration. Start with a look at the projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, there were 315,500 jobs.
Median pay for medical and health services managers was $88,580 a year in 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $53,940 while the top 10 percent brought home more than $150,560. Salaries vary, as you might expect, by the size and type of group being managed and the degree of responsibility. For example, the manager of a group of at most six physicians saw a median compensation of $87,862. If the practice had between 7 and 25 physicians, that amount rose to $126,478. With 26 or more physicians, the median compensation rose to $148,604.
The projected growth rate between 2012 and 2022 is 23 percent, more than double the 11 percent average growth for all occupations. A big reason is the aging baby boomer population. Because people live and remain active longer than in the past, the need for health care facilities, and people to manage them, increases.
These jobs involve managing various parts of the health care infrastructure, whether an entire facility, a department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians. Some of the top positions in the field include the following: medical and health services manager, elder care manager, public health administrator, health information manager, and health care administrator.
What separates these positions from some of the tops positions mentioned by U.S. News & World Report is focus. Rather than having a primary concentration on providing care, these are responsible for such business concerns as general operations, clinical operations, information technology, finances, and human resources. And yet, it is an understanding of business combined with a grasp of health care, as the industry has some quirks when compared to businesses in general.
Something not to forget is the importance of education. The minimum requirement is generally a bachelor’s degree. But master’s degrees are common in the industry. Courses often include “hospital organization and management, accounting and budgeting, human resources administration, strategic planning, law and ethics, health economics, and health information systems,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition to formal education, a number of skills are important, including analytical, communications, interpersonal, problem-solving, and technical.