Are you considering a career in the healthcare industry but need help determining which path is right for you? Healthcare management and healthcare administration are two popular career options. These career titles can be used interchangeably and typically have the exact requirements. Still, if we're getting down to the nitty-gritty, they have some essential differences you should consider before making a decision.
Degrees and Certs for healthcare administrators and managers
One difference between these two careers is the level of education and certification. Higher-level healthcare management jobs often require a Master's degree in healthcare management or a related field, and professional certifications such as the Certified Healthcare Manager (CHM) credential offered by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) may be available.
On the other hand, depending on the position level, healthcare administrator positions may require a Bachelor's or Master's degree in healthcare administration or a related field, and some states may require licensure for certain types of jobs.
Professional certifications such as the Certified Medical Manager (CMM) credential offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) may also be available.
Some additional professional certifications that healthcare administrators and managers might consider:
Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE)
Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA)
Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS)
Certified Healthcare Safety Professional (CHSP)
Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM)
Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM)
Job scopes for healthcare administrators and managers
Another essential difference to consider is the scope of the job. Healthcare management jobs may be called healthcare executives, administrators, or managers, and they may have broader responsibilities for the operations of a group of facilities.
Here is a list of job titles that healthcare managers might hold:
Director of Nursing
Patient Services Manager
Director of Operations
Director of Quality Improvement
Chief Medical Officer
Chief Nursing Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Executive Officer
This list is incomplete, and the specific job title may depend on the size and type of organization and the particular responsibilities of the role. Some healthcare managers may hold more specialized titles, such as Director of Pediatrics or Director of Rehabilitation Services.
On the other hand, healthcare administrators may be called medical office managers, healthcare coordinators, or healthcare supervisors. They may have more specialized responsibilities, such as managing a healthcare organization's finances or human resources.
Here are some additional titles that could be used for a healthcare administrator position:
Health Services Director
Medical Practice Manager
Patient Care Manager
Health Systems Administrator
Healthcare Operations Supervisor
Medical Office Director
Healthcare Practice Manager
Health Services Supervisor
Clinical Services Manager
Healthcare Operations Manager
Medical Office Manager
Patient Services Supervisor
Health Services Administrator
Public sector jobs for healthcare administrators and managers
Both healthcare management and healthcare administrator jobs may be found in government-run facilities such as hospitals or clinics operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or the Indian Health Service (IHS).
Here are some other government entities where healthcare administrators and managers might work:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Healthcare administrators and managers may work in various roles within these organizations, such as overseeing the operations of a specific facility, developing and implementing policies and procedures, managing budgets, and ensuring compliance with regulations. They may also work in administrative roles within state and local government agencies, such as public health departments.
Private sector positions for healthcare administrators and managers
They may also be found in private sector facilities, such as hospitals or clinics owned by a healthcare organization or a for-profit company.
The level of competition for these two types of jobs may also differ. Competition for healthcare management jobs may be intense, as the number of qualified candidates may exceed the number of available positions.
On the other hand, competition for healthcare administrator jobs may be more moderate, as the number of qualified candidates may be roughly equal to the number of available positions.
Here are some subfields where healthcare managers and administrators might work:
Assisted living facilities
Outpatient care centers
Mental health facilities
Private medical practices
Healthcare managers and administrators may also work in specialty areas such as pediatrics, gerontology, oncology, or orthopedics. They may also work in administrative roles for healthcare professional organizations, consulting firms, or healthcare technology companies.
Work-life balance for healthcare administrators and managers
Regarding work-life balance, healthcare management jobs may require more extended hours and may involve some evening or weekend work. The amount of work-life balance may vary depending on the specific position and the organization's needs.
Healthcare administrator jobs may also require evening or weekend work, but the overall workload may be less demanding.
Required skills for healthcare administrators and managers
Finally, healthcare management and healthcare administrator jobs require strong leadership, communication, and organizational skills.
However, healthcare management jobs may also require strong decision-making skills and knowledge of healthcare regulations and financing. In contrast, healthcare administrator jobs may require knowledge of healthcare regulations, financing, and human resources management.
In conclusion, healthcare management and healthcare administrator jobs offer rewarding careers in the healthcare industry, but you should consider some essential differences before making a decision. Be sure to carefully weigh the education and certification requirements, the job scope, the level of competition, the work-life balance, and the necessary skills for each career to determine the best fit for you.