7 Careers in Healthcare That Leverage Strategic Leadership

Person using a tabletWithin healthcare organizations, strategic leadership involves setting and working toward fundamental goals such as improving the quality of the health services delivered, making workflows more cost-effective, and ensuring the facility is on a sustainable trajectory. Hospital executives and vice presidents, as well as senior-level personnel such as health services managers, are generally entrusted with these responsibilities.

The stakes for effective leadership are particularly high in the healthcare industry, due to the profound impact on people’s lives and well-being and the general complexity of navigating medical care activities and systems. With the right leadership skills and backgrounds, healthcare professions who can rise to the field’s particular challenges have many promising career opportunities in front of them.

Let’s look at seven healthcare leadership jobs in which talented strategic leaders can make a big difference.

1. Hospital administrator

Hospital administrators oversee all day-to-day operations in provider facilities — not just at hospitals, but also outpatient clinics, drug treatment centers, and hospices. More specific responsibilities include:

  • Managing personnel such as doctors, nurses, and administrative staff
  • Handling financial obligations like budgeting, billing, and relations with insurance plans
  • Ensuring compliance with applicable rules and regulations
  • Representing the healthcare organization at PR functions and conferences

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies hospital administrators as medical and health services managers. These professionals earned almost $100,000 median pay in 2018 and are expected to see total employment growth of 18% from 2018 to 2028. Both figures are well above the average for all occupations.

2. Hospital CEO

While hospital administrators are mostly involved in day-to-day activities, C-suite executives like CEOs often devote more of their time to strategic planning, with a view toward the long-term performance of the provider organization. Accordingly, they may:

  • Collaborate with other top executives and vice presidents on projects
  • Negotiate contracts and handle business relationships
  • Appoint administrators, department heads, and other staff
  • Set goals and priorities for the entire organization

The BLS groups hospital CEOs within its top executives listing. In 2018, top executives had a median pay of almost $105,000.

3. Hospital CFO

The chief financial officer (CFO) is a more specialized position than the CEO, but with somewhat similar earning potential and stature. Like CEOs, they qualify as top executives within the BLS’s classifications system. Common responsibilities include:

  • Analyzing financial statements and trends in care quality and delivery
  • Tracking cash flow and identifying any possible weakness requiring corrective action
  • Overseeing the billing and accounting departments at a hospital
  • Communicating key findings to the CEO and board of directors

4. Healthcare consultant

Many healthcare organizations rely on outside consultants and analysts to provide advice. For example, management consultants may be asked to review a hospital’s billing procedures and see if there’s room for improvement in how patients are notified of charges. Consultants may also give input on staffing and budgeting.

According to the BLS, management analysts earned a median of $83,610 in 2018 and were set for a rapid 14% growth in employment through 2028.

5. Health information manager

Modern healthcare involves the management of large amounts of data, including electronic medical records, X-rays, lab tests, and internal memoranda. Health information managers employ their technical and analytical skills to ensure that all of this info is properly maintained, up-to-date and compliant.

PayScale has estimated the median compensation for these managers at over $56,000 annually.

6. Licensed nursing home administrator

Similar to hospital administrators, licensed nursing home administrators oversee the essential operations of their facilities. Their responsibilities include:

  • Managing on-staff medical personnel
  • Overseeing patient admissions and care
  • Checking budgets and financial statements
  • Handling quality assurance and site maintenance

According to PayScale, nursing home administrators had median compensation of nearly $90,000 in 2019.

7. Assistant administrator

These administrators usually assist individuals in the six roles above, especially hospital administrators. They may help enforce policies, review financial practices, and resolve complaints, among other tasks.

Compensation for assistant hospital administrators varies considerably by education and experience, with an average of around $56,000 per ZipRecruiter.

Prepare for leadership roles with an HCMBA

Earning an online healthcare MBA (HCMBA) from the George Washington University (GW) can prepare you for any of these healthcare leadership jobs and potentially many others, too, through a blend of managerial and health-focused coursework taught by world-class faculty.

Recommended Readings:

What you need to know about healthcare accounting practices
Healthcare MBA Career Paths You Didn't Know About


Top Executives
Medical and Health Services Managers
Average Health Information Management (HIM) Salary
Assistant Healthcare Administrator Jobs
Management Analysts
Average Nursing Home Administrator Salary