If you are interested in pursuing a medical career with a concentration in healthcare, then you have probably come across descriptions of healthcare administration vs healthcare management. Keeping these two careers straight can be confusing, and even some aspiring medical practitioners don’t know which to specialize in.
We’re here to help you choose the profession that appeals most to you. We will describe the differences between the two fields and break down the job outlooks and salaries for both. So, let’s get started.
What Is Healthcare Administration?
Healthcare administration deals with the overall operations of a healthcare facility. The main duty of a healthcare administrator is to ensure that everything on the grounds of the hospital, clinic, or some other type of healthcare facility is running smoothly.
For this to be possible, you have to ensure that the right people for the patients and the venue are hired. Generally, an administrator is a leadership role, especially if the candidate has completed a master’s degree program in a relevant field.
As a healthcare administrator, you could be employed in the public or private sector, either by a government hospital or facility, or by an independent healthcare organization.
Healthcare Administrator Salaries and Job Outlook
One of the many degrees in healthcare administration can land you a career in home healthcare, operations management, or VP of healthcare management services. You can also pursue leadership roles like community relations manager, or director of healthcare services.
The roles of an administrator differ depending on the size of the facility. For example, if you are part of a big hospital, you might be responsible for specific areas like neurosurgery. But if the facility is smaller, then you could be in charge of multiple departments, or even the general operation of the whole facility.
Salaries vary widely depending on the policies of your employer. In the United States, most healthcare administrators earn between $60,000 to $100,000. According to Public Health Online, jobs for health administrators are expected to grow by 18 percent between now and 2028.
What Is Healthcare Management?
Healthcare management focuses on the business side of healthcare. In managing the healthcare operation, medical and health services managers oversee the accounting, finances, and overall business practices for a hospital or medical organization.
Healthcare managers are responsible for treatment and patients standards, implementing organizational policies, and managing the institution’s budget. Almost all medical facilities have a healthcare manager, so the career is in high demand.
Healthcare Management Salaries and Job Outlook
With a degree in healthcare management, you can find business-oriented positions in hospitals, mental health institutions, rehabilitation centers, universities, non-academic research institutions, health insurance organizations, or nursing homes. To improve your prospects, you can get a master of business administration in healthcare management.
Healthcare managers tend to earn more than healthcare administrators, with a median salary of $100,000. Depending on your employer, your skills, and your experience, you could earn as little as $60,000 or as much as $190,000. But the field is projected to grow a staggering 32 percent by 2029, so you won’t have to worry about job security.
Healthcare Administration vs Healthcare Management: The Most Important Differences and Similarities
Differentiating between healthcare management and healthcare administration can be difficult, as the roles often overlap. Below are the main differences and similarities between the two.
First Difference: Ranking
While an administrator and a manager perform some of the same tasks, a healthcare manager usually has a lower ranking than an administrator. One of the job duties of an administrator is to oversee hiring, so the administrator is technically responsible for the healthcare manager’s job.
Second Difference: Job Prerequisites
To become a successful healthcare administrator, all you need are good communication skills and the medical and leadership training you undertook to earn your degree.
The same cannot be said for healthcare managers. As a manager, you need knowledge specific to business as well as medicine. Whether through online management courses or a full degree program, you are expected to have specialized training in healthcare management.
Third Difference: Job Duties
Healthcare administrators are all about the people, which include employees, patients, and employers. As an administrator, your role is to keep these three groups in perfect harmony to ensure that the facility is operating seamlessly.
Healthcare managers, on the other hand, are all about the processes taking place within a facility. The manager is in charge of day-to-day tasks like billing, budgeting, and monitoring compliance with healthcare regulations. This is perhaps the clearest difference between the two roles.
Similarity: Management Skills
Both administrators and managers perform management roles almost every day, so both types of practitioners are required to go through management training. The training is meant to prepare you for any issues that come up at the facility.
Although the formal education requirements are different, both roles require management skills. At the end of the day, what administrators and managers do is the same. Each is responsible for channeling resources for the best performance of the facility.
Similarity: Degree Requirements
You must hold a bachelor’s degree or masters in healthcare administration or management to be qualified. The good news is that many medical training institutions now offer both types of degree programs. You can get a bachelor’s degree in health sciences to get started in either career. Just make sure that you enroll in an accredited program.
Similarity: Administration Roles
One reason why so many people have trouble telling these two professions apart is that administrators and managers share many of the same administrative responsibilities. Both roles entail overseeing the smooth operation of a healthcare facility, making sure that patients’ needs are met, and coordinating medical services.
Healthcare Administration vs Healthcare Management: Required Skills and Duties
To become the best healthcare administrator or manager, you must have the right set of skills. Below are the most essential skills and duties required in the two careers.
Healthcare Administration Required Skills
- Leadership Skills. In their executive function, healthcare administrators must be able to bring out the best in the people working under them. That means taking leadership courses to become an authority figure who can delegate responsibility with confidence.
- Management Skills. Leadership is meaningless if you can’t manage an operation and carry out basic administrative functions. Without these skills, it won’t matter how many degrees in healthcare administration you have.
- Interpersonal Skills. Since healthcare administration is people-focused, administrators must be able to relate to their employees. These skills will help you keep morale high when things get hectic.
Healthcare Administration Required Job Duties
- Staffing. As an administrator, you will work with HR to hire eligible professionals to staff the facility. Keep in mind that your employees’ performance is a reflection of you, so in the case of misconduct you will be held accountable.
- Delegation. As an administrator, you may not be able to handle everything alone.
It will be your responsibility to make sure that work gets done even if it means finding extra hands.
- Employee Welfare. Your employees must be happy if you want your facility to run smoothly. That means keeping track of general human resources reports to make sure that employees are comfortable and that working conditions are acceptable.
Healthcare Management Required Skills
- Leadership Skills. Small facilities sometimes merge the two positions, and you will probably have people working under you whatever the case. Leadership skills will come in handy when you need to handle problems that involve your subordinates.
- Management Skills. Even entry-level healthcare managers need some management skills. You must know how to manage a team and get things done.
- Business Specialized Skills. Healthcare managers perform duties on the business side of a healthcare facility. In your MBA in healthcare management program, you can choose to specialize in accounting, finance, or human resources.
Healthcare Management Required Job Duties
- Departmental Duties. Depending on the department that you are responsible for, you are expected to ensure that everything is in good working order. If you are in accounting, you need to make sure everyone is paid on time. You also need to help develop objectives for your department.
- Managing Facility Records. From the number of beds to patients walking in and out of the facility, it is your responsibility to make sure you have records of these details. You must be well-organized so that you can refer to these materials in the future.
- Budgeting. You will be responsible for monitoring the budget. You have to ensure that revenue is well-allocated so that the facility does not come under financial strain.
Should You Become a Healthcare Administrator or Healthcare Manager?
The choice depends on your interests, but you should also pay attention to your strengths. If you have strong leadership and interpersonal skills, you may be better suited for a career in healthcare administration. If you have a passion for the healthcare industry and are good at business management, start looking for entry-level positions in healthcare management.
But there are other ways to decide as well. You can always get a consultation or talk to a trusted friend who can help guide you in the right direction.
Advantages of Becoming a Healthcare Administrator
Becoming an administrator will allow you to lead a large team of employees. You can be responsible for one or many departments. It all depends on your employer.
As an administrator, you must have a good understanding of how to recruit the right person for the right job. If you love the idea of putting pieces in their proper places to help save lives, then an administration role in the healthcare industry is probably a good fit for you.
Advantages of Becoming a Healthcare Manager
If you are interested in merging healthcare and business management, then pursuing a career path in healthcare management will be to your advantage. It is an especially great career for those who love managing daily operations, enjoy overseeing small teams, and are business-savvy.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.