Healthcare Management vs. Healthcare Administration

Healthcare facilities don’t run themselves. Hospitals, outpatient operations, psychiatric institutions, and other organizations rely not only on doctors, nurses, and technicians but also on business-minded professionals who handle personnel and financial management. Healthcare professionals learn how to treat patients and manage illnesses, but it’s not their responsibility to balance budgets, run information systems, or lead these organizations, some of which employ hundreds of people. It takes managers and administrators, whose education combines business principles with knowledge of the healthcare landscape, to fill those roles.

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Healthcare management and healthcare administration professionals have similar work environments but different duties in the healthcare business world. These professions can require different degree paths, skills, and daily tasks, even though managers and administrators often work alongside one another. Continue reading to discover what it means to work in healthcare management and healthcare administration, what career options are available in each field, and the educational requirements needed to attain those vital healthcare positions.

Healthcare Management Overview

Healthcare management oversees the business and financial aspects of healthcare operations and facilities. No matter where they work, healthcare managers are responsible for budgetary concerns and general operations. Their exact duties vary by organization and facility size. Many healthcare management positions such as patient care or health insurance manager are attainable with the right undergraduate degree, such as Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management. With further education, however, healthcare management professionals can rise to executive positions, such as chief executive officer or chief financial officer of a hospital or healthcare network.

Healthcare Management Salaries and Job Outlook

The job market for healthcare managers is growing rapidly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the market for all medical and health services managers, which includes both healthcare managers and healthcare administrators, to grow by 18% between 2018 and 2028, adding 71,600 jobs during that time. This growth rate is more than triple the national job market average (5%). According to the BLS, the median salary for medical and health services managers was $99,730 as of May 2018. However, annual salary varies based on position, geographic location, and employing organization. According to PayScale data from September 2019, the average patient care manager makes $70,939 per year, nursing managers make $84,000, and mental health managers make $55,000.

Healthcare Administration Overview

Healthcare administration professions focus on managing people and improving their work performance. Healthcare administrators need to have strong people skills, since they work directly with doctors and nurses on the business side of healthcare. They help design and update organizational policies and handle scheduling, human resources, community outreach, marketing, and other areas of healthcare administration and support. Careers in healthcare administration often require an advanced degree, such as Maryville University’s online Master of Health Administration.

Healthcare Administration Salaries and Job Outlook

According to Glassdoor data from October 2019, the average annual salary for a healthcare administrator is $76,575. While the BLS doesn’t keep specific data for healthcare administrators, this job falls under the umbrella of medical and health services managers, which the BLS projects will grow by 18% between 2018 and 2028. The demand for healthcare administrators, like most healthcare professions, is increasing as a large portion of the population ages and requires medical care. Healthcare administrator salaries are commensurate with experience and education but vary based on the specific organization and its geographic location.

Similarities Between Healthcare Management and Healthcare Administration

Nearly all healthcare management and healthcare administration careers involve work in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors’ offices. Both fields are crucial to healthcare. Without them, the important services delivered by hospitals would not be as efficient or effective.

Healthcare management and healthcare administration professionals work together, examining big-picture issues such as overall management strategies and finances. Administrators also focus on day-to-day operations and human resources. They require knowledge of business and management principles, as well as an understanding of the way healthcare systems operate. Healthcare management and healthcare administration both offer potential jobs for graduates with a bachelor’s degree, as well as many high-level opportunities for those with more advanced degrees.

Differences Between Healthcare Management and Healthcare Administration

While healthcare management and healthcare administration professionals work together, have similar background knowledge, and work in comparable environments, a number of differences set the two professions apart.

Educational Background

Healthcare managers, who require both healthcare and business knowledge, benefit from a bachelor’s degree program such as Maryville University’s online bachelor’s in healthcare management. Students take courses in financial management in healthcare, human resource management, healthcare compliance, and healthcare informatics. They may go on to a graduate program and receive a Master of Business Administration (MBA), which builds on an undergraduate education with advanced leadership and business courses.

Healthcare administration professionals can enter the workforce with a bachelor’s degree but often find more opportunities after completing a focused advanced degree, such as Maryville University’s online Master of Health Administration. In this program, current healthcare professionals can take courses to improve their career outlook. For example, the curriculum covers healthcare human resources and organizational behavior, healthcare quality and performance improvement, healthcare marketing, and community health. Students can also concentrate in healthcare strategies, data management, or senior services.

Professional Focus

Healthcare managers concentrate on the financial side of healthcare. They help balance budgets, monitor spending, evaluate risk management, and navigate the world of healthcare insurance. Generally, they make sure healthcare facilities and operations are able to stay financially viable.

Healthcare administrators instead focus on the people side of healthcare. They manage human resources, handle scheduling, set hiring standards, and help fill job vacancies. One of their primary objectives is to improve standards of work and care while maximizing workplace morale and efficiency.

Healthcare Management vs. Healthcare Administration: Which Is Right for You?

Working on the business side of healthcare means having a career that supports the health of your community. Healthcare managers and healthcare administrators ensure hospitals, doctors’ offices, healthcare companies, nonprofit organizations, and other healthcare businesses provide vital care to their clients. Discover how Maryville University’s online bachelor’s in healthcare management and online master’s in health administration can help you meet the demands of the challenging and exciting fields of healthcare management and administration.


Glassdoor, Salary: Healthcare Administrator

Houston Chronicle, “Comparison of Health Care Management vs. Health Care Administration”

Maryville University, Master’s in Health Administration Online

Maryville University, Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management

PayScale, Average Healthcare Administrator Salary

PayScale, Average Healthcare Manager Salary

PayScale, Average Hospital CEO Salary

PayScale, Average Patient Care Manager Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers

U.S. News and World Report, Medical and Health Services Managers

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