An M.B.A. in healthcare offers many benefits, from developing leadership and management skills to inspiring innovative in-depth analysis of the business of health. At George Washington University, we believe that your education and career should fit into your life. Our Healthcare MBA program is 100% online and customizable based on your interest within the healthcare industry.
Importantly healthcare M.B.A.s can also unlock some of the most lucrative careers in the health industry. If you know that financial security is a high priority for you and your family, consider these five healthcare careers that lead to high financial security.
In this article, we have provided average salaries for five healthcare careers. However, understanding your local region is more important than the averages provided here, as the cost to maintain a living standard varies significantly across the U.S. For instance, if you make $50,000 in your current job in Washington, D.C., you would need to make about $77,000 to maintain your same standard of living in New York City’s Manhattan.
Conversely, if you live in a more rural area, you could make less than $50,000 to maintain your current lifestyle and standard of living. Spend more time focusing on what’s important to you instead of worrying about whether you have enough money to support your family, today and in the future. No matter your location, the following five careers in healthcare offer high financial security.
1. Hospital CEO
Average salary: $400,000 – $1 million+
Let’s start at the top! The CEO of a hospital is the highest-ranking position in the hospital organization – and for good reason: hospital CEOs hold the toughest and widest-ranging job.
On paper, the CEO partners with the chief financial officer (CFO) in all things “business”: managing the budget, hiring executives within the organization, ensuring efficient processes and machinery and maintaining hospital functions in a cost-effective manner. The CEO also collaborates regularly with the chief nursing officer (CNO), the chief medical officer (CMO) and the chief operating officer (COO). This group of offers typically makes up the executive management team.
Importantly and less tangibly, hospital CEOs are the public face and the moral leader of the hospital. As the leader, the CEO develops and implements long-term strategy and policy for the hospital. Big picture thinking and leadership are vital; a long-term strategy is nothing without the leadership and verbal and non-verbal communication to align the rest of the hospital with the vision.
Beyond the hospital, the CEO will undoubtedly spend significant time articulating the hospital’s mission and conveying that vision to the local public. Depending on the size and recognition of the hospital, the CEO’s reach could spread beyond its immediate community to a larger city or state level, and in rare cases, even onto a national level.
If you can hone your skills, education, communication and networking to earn a position as a hospital CEO, your finances can take care of you and your family.
2. Hospital Administrator
Average salary: $96,000
Hospital administrators are responsible for recruiting doctors and physicians, developing new patient-service policies and complying with government regulations, among other duties.
Depending on the size of the hospital, there can be several area-specific administrators that oversee the business of healthcare in each department. This position isn’t limited to only hospitals; hospital administrators can also manage outpatient clinics, hospices, drug-abuse treatment centers and more.
As they are responsible for the day-to-day operations in their area, administrators have a lot of responsibilities that require significant flexibility, such as:
- Liaising with governing boards, medical staff, and department heads to ensure they are all working towards the same vision and goals, as laid out by the CEO.
- Following policies that dictate planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and coordinating medical and health services.
- Overseeing the recruiting, hiring, and training of staff.
The hospital administrator also goes beyond the current functions of his or her hospital, practice or department. The administrator must keep an eye on the future: healthcare as a business, developing new patient policies, and innovating traditional functions can ensure the hospital’s financial security for years to come. The hospital’s executive team can come to rely on strong hospital administrators for future inspiration, strategy, and vision as the administrator is keenly aware of what is functioning correctly – and what could use a new approach.
The future of the hospital administrator position is something to consider as well. Those who succeed in this position may be up for consideration when a spot on the hospital executive team opens.
Upkeep your medical knowledge, but always look to improve your planning, coordinating and recruiting skills to develop more efficient processes. Collaboration and communication are key, as you are the main liaison with many branches of the hospital and internal and external governing bodies.
3. Hospital CFO
Average salary: $95,000 – $350,000
The CFO of any organization carries the big burden of managing every financial risk the business may take on – while balancing it with the quality of service provided. Perhaps in no industry is this more demanding than that of healthcare and hospitals. While other industries can offer higher or lower levels of service quality as fits with their product cost, the margin for service quality in patient care is slim. Patient care must be top-notch.
Simply imagine some of the financial risk a hospital encounters on a daily basis: the treatment of both insured and uninsured patients, the training and recruitment costs of current and new physicians, nurses, and administrative staff, the upkeep or installation of new equipment and stocking the right amounts thousands of medicines.
Of course, a hospital CFO holds responsibility for all these decisions, but the CFO is not likely directly involved in these day-to-day operations. Instead, the CFO role in healthcare has evolved from strictly numbers to a more holistic organizational view. A CFO’s regular workload frequently encompasses education: explaining to the hospital managers and board why certain decisions have been made or how to invest money in strategic areas.
As CFO, your understanding of finances and data trends is critical to the position. Data analysis is a constantly evolving field and allows you to find important areas for improving patient care or reducing financial risk. Furthermore, education and communication are necessary to get the hospital’s executive team and governing board on your side when it comes to making tough but important decisions.
4. Pharmaceutical Product Manager
Average salary: $92,000
For this career, we are stepping outside of a traditional hospital, but consider this: If a hospital has a CEO, then the pharmaceutical product manager is the CEO of a particular pharmaceutical product. As a CEO oversees and holds responsibility for an entire organization, this position ultimately holds responsibility for the success of its product. A pharmaceutical product manager starts with creating a strategy and roadmap for bringing a pharmaceutical to market. In the U.S., this requires a combination of business and science know-how with a keen and current understanding of the federal regulations in the field. The business skills imperative to this position, provided by a healthcare M.B.A., include:
- Developing and managing a team in support of the product roadmap
- Arranging the right research and analyzing its data
- Profit and loss responsibilities
Because this position touches so many areas of expertise, you must be well-rounded with a lot of adaptabilities. A product manager oversees an entire team dedicated to successfully launching the product, so people skills and leadership skills are required as well. The product team often brings a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise, from medical and science experts to business analysts and marketing specialists. Knowing how to communicate with each group of experts – and getting them to communicate with each other – is vital to the success of your product and thus your position.
The surprising part of this position may be the creativity required. Do you have the ideas and out-of-the-box thinking to develop new strategies for your product? Are you able to walk away from an innovative idea if it is not working? Combining these skills is no easy task, which is why pharmaceutical product managers are rewarded with significant salaries.
5. Medical Practice Manager
Average salary: $96,000
For all our talk of a long-term vision for hospitals, departments, or products, the medical practice manager is the person responsible for the very specific day-to-day operations of medical practice. The medical practice manager is an administrator who runs any medical practice, from a doctor’s offer or group practice to a medical clinic or hospital department. Other names for this position are medical managers, medical practice administrators, healthcare administrators, and healthcare executives.
Like the previous career, you don’t have to work within a hospital to find lucrative opportunities like this one.
Whatever the title or practice, this position is vital to ensuring efficiency and quality inpatient care while maintaining long-term financial viability. Medical practice managers are generally responsible for:
- Handling financial pieces like billing, patient fees, insurance claims, and budgets.
- Complying with many regulations, including federal, state, and local laws and the 1996 federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- Ensuring office success, including hiring and training staff, and implementing staff scheduling.
As we see in each of these five healthcare positions, the skills of a medical practice manager are no longer limited strictly to the oversight of their practice or department. More and more managers are involved in a holistic healthcare approach, and that can often extend into the community. For instance, managers are already communicating within their practice, but they may also be required to report back to higher-level departments or regulatory and non-profit agencies.
The practice manager could even represent the practice at investor meetings or on governing boards to ensure the practice’s alignment with and support of their local community.
A successful medical practice manager is someone who has the medical knowledge but can balance it with logistical skills and financial and legal obligations. Social skills are important too: as you are working with experts from each of those fields, communication and openness to understanding is vital.
Your reasons for ensuring financial security are as varied as the next person’s reasons, but they may include buoying your own savings, increasing your investments or securing your family’s growth and well-being.
As these five career tracks indicate, you can choose to stick closer to the business side or the medical side of the healthcare industry. Depending on what you’re looking for, the good news may also be that you do not need to work in a hospital to reap the benefits of financial security.
Though these five positions vary widely, each requires a unique blend of skills that can be developed or honed within the GW Online Healthcare M.B.A. program: leadership, management, analysis, regulatory and medical knowledge, and communication.