What is a Healthcare Management Degree?

By Jennifer L. Gaskin - February 10, 2019
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Jobs in healthcare go far beyond only those involved in laying hands on patients. Individuals with an interest in medicine, healthcare and other related fields who don’t want to become doctors, nurses, dentists, chiropractors or other medical providers or support staff can still find plenty of work in the healthcare field.

This is true even for those who are business-minded by nature, which might at first seem like a contradiction. But it’s true that an MBA in Healthcare Management is becoming a more popular academic degree. Why is that? One big reason is that these programs allow individuals with a business mind or entrepreneurial sense to get training and learn skills that can help them get a job where they aren’t concerned only with the bottom line. After all, for any healthcare organization, the final budget line number isn’t the primary drive — it’s caring for their patients and community and improving the lives of those they serve.

But what exactly is an MBA in Healthcare Management degree, what do you learn in your course of study and what kinds of jobs can you get with such a degree?

Understanding the Classwork

While each school’s program is unique, the coursework is designed to marry business with healthcare management. You’ll take classes similar to other MBA programs, such as finance, management and business ethics. You’ll also take healthcare-focused courses, which could include classes that cover things like clinical research, health informatics, regulatory compliance and epidemiology.

In most programs, students also are required to complete hands-on learning in a practicum, residency, consultation or internship situation. While they won’t be treating patients once their degrees are complete, MBA in Healthcare Management graduates will have a deep understanding of organizational and business principles as well as learning about the unique issues that healthcare and medical organizations face.

Here’s a look at some selected healthcare courses (required and electives) at leading MBA Healthcare Management programs:

  • Evaluating Healthcare Quality (Northeastern University)
  • Regulatory Strategy in the Development of Drugs and Biologics (George Washington University)
  • Marketing for Health Care Management (University of North Alabama)
  • Health Systems Administration: Organization and Delivery (University of Cincinnati)
  • Health Care Law and Ethics (Quinnipiac University)
  • Hospital Administration (University of Scranton)
  • Health Economics (Widener University)
  • Introduction to the U.S. Health Care Delivery System (Ohio University)
  • Health Services Organizational Behavior and Analysis (Hofstra University)
  • Managing Change in Healthcare Organizations (Regent University)

Healthcare Jobs You Can Get

Once you finish your degree, not only will you have the skillset to qualify for leadership roles, you’ll gain unique insight into the operations of health and medical organizations and the regulatory and legal landscape around healthcare delivery.

Here’s a look that jobs an MBA in Healthcare Management will help you qualify for:

Hospital Administrator

What they do: They oversee the services offered at facilities, including managing budgetary and personnel considerations to ensure the facility’s services are offered efficiently and effectively. At large institutions, this individual manages administrators of multiple departments.

How much they make: $100,000-$150,000

Health Information Manager

What they do: They oversee and ensure accurate and timely completion and maintenance of medical records and data related to all facility operations to enable effective medical care for patients, adherence to federal and local regulations and optimized processes and procedures. Often, hands-on coding experience is required to ensure databases and applications are running properly.

How much they make: $70,000-$150,000

Pharmaceutical Project Manager

What they do: They oversee the development process of new drugs, treatments or medical equipment. They’ll need to coordinate and maintain project calendars, timelines and clinical trials, usually working directly with researchers, doctors, engineers and other technicians involved in the development process.

How much they make: $95,000-$180,000

Senior Market Research Manager

What they do: They conduct research, analyze results and make organizational recommendations surrounding the offerings of a medical provider, drug company or other healthcare-related organization. As a role that is all about analytics, a successful candidate likely will need hands-on data analysis skills, possibly including exposure to programming languages.

How much they make: $75,000-$120,000

Healthcare Project Manager

What they do: They oversee large-scale, high-budget projects within healthcare organizations, ensuring effective communication between departments and maintaining budgetary and timeline considerations. Specific projects will depend largely on the organization but could include projects to support the main product offering or projects within the facility itself.

How much they make: $90,000-$140,000

Healthcare Business Analyst

What they do: They conduct analysis and research into all facets of a healthcare organization’s business metrics, which will vary based on what the organization does, but many organizations that hire business analysts will focus on user adoption of the organization’s products or services and optimization of processes and delivery systems.

How much they make: $75,000-$120,000

Policy Researcher

What they do: They use sophisticated mathematical and statistical analysis method to determine the effects of legislative changes in the U.S. and individual states on healthcare organizations’ and insurance providers’ processes and procedures. They make data-driven recommendations about changes to organizational goals and operations.

How much they make: $70,000-$100,000

Where Healthcare Management Works

Everybody needs doctors, dentists, nurses, administrators and all the other occupations that support healthcare operations. So individuals interested in jobs in healthcare likely can find openings anywhere in the U.S. (and around the world), but a few states and cities are likely to be hotbeds of interesting opportunities for those with an MBA in Healthcare Management.

Here’s a look at the types of employers and regions of the U.S. for hospital administrators (other related occupations aren’t broken out specifically in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data:

Hospital Administrator (Medical and Health Services Managers)

Work environment

Hospitals; state, local, and private                 36%
Offices of physicians                                      11%
Nursing and residential care facilities             10%
Government                                                    8%
Outpatient care centers                                  7%

States with highest concentration of jobs (employment per thousand jobs)

Iowa                                                                4.01
Oklahoma                                                       3.95
Massachusetts                                                3.90
Maryland                                                         3.83
Arkansas                                                         3.63

Metro areas with the highest concentration of jobs (employment per thousand jobs)

Salem, Massachusetts                                   7.37
Silver Spring, Maryland                                  6.86
Iowa City, Iowa                                               6.76
Ann Arbor, Michigan                                       6.24
Pittsfield, Massachusetts                                5.54

Public vs. private

Most individuals employed in the healthcare sector work for private organizations, but depending on the specific organization or facility, that ratio varies.

Facility type                                                     Private employers’ share of all employment

Outpatient care                                               99%

Hospitals                                                         77%

Nursing care facilities                                     97%

Social assistance*                                           99%

* Refers to non-medical services, such as vocational rehabilitation

Healthcare Management Outlook for the Future

As one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. economy, jobs in healthcare are likely to be in high demand over the next decade. Employment in these fields expected to grow by about 18 percent through 2026, adding nearly 2.5 million new jobs.

Virtually all healthcare-related occupations are projected to grow over that time. Here’s a look at the growth expected in select health- and medical-related job titles:

Hospital Administrator                                    +20%

Medical Records Technician                          +15%

Healthcare CEO                                             +8%

Genetic Counselor                                          +29%

Safety Technicians                                         +8%

Healthcare Management Analyst                   +14%

Market Research Analyst                               +23%

Hospital HR Specialist                                    +7%

Conclusion

Simply earning an MBA is often a ticket to a higher-paying job that’s more satisfying. When you add to that working in a field that’s devoted to extending lives and improving quality of life, it becomes clear an MBA in Healthcare Management is ideal for many people who have a passion for business functions but also a drive to help others.

References

Data on job growth, industry sector size and related information was gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, which can be accessed here: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Note: Salary ranges were gathered from Indeed and Glassdoor in early February 2019

Jennifer L. Gaskin
Jennifer L. Gaskin
Senior Jobs Editor
Jennifer L. Gaskin is an Indiana-based writer & contributing Jobs Editor for BusinessStudent.com. She began her professional career as a do-it-all utility player at a small daily newspaper and has been frequently honored for excellence in journalism. She currently shares her office space with a surprisingly quiet beagle named Baxter.

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