What is the Difference Between Healthcare Management and Healthcare Administration?

We’re in an economy where outsourcing everything from manufacturing to business services is standard operating procedure. So finding a career that you can count on for the rest of your life can be a monumental challenge. What skill-set will give you an advantage over your peers and eliminate any worry that your position will be outsourced in the future? The answer lies in the few industries remaining in which outsourcing isn’t a viable option. Among those industries, Healthcare is the largest source of jobs that:

  • pay well
  • offer a sense of professional fulfillment
  • are guaranteed never to be outsourced

Unfortunately, it usually takes an insider’s experience and specialized knowledge to know which degree programs are best suited for a particular job. In some cases, even knowing the difference between one career and another in healthcare can be a challenge.

What is the Difference Between Healthcare Management and Healthcare Administration?

A healthcare administrator coordinates healthcare services at:

  • a hospital
  • skilled nursing facility
  • similar organizations

As an administrator, your job is to smoothly manage either an entire facility or a specific department. Duties can include:

  • billing
  • human resources
  • public relations

In the corporate world, a healthcare administrator is analogous to a Chief Operating Officer. The CEO  oversees the day-to-day operations of a large company or non-profit organization.

A healthcare manager, by contrast, often acts as a liaison between an organization’s administration and its healthcare staff. Nonetheless, the terms are often used interchangeably in the healthcare industry. An individual with a degree in Healthcare management may work as a healthcare administrator. An individual with a degree in healthcare administration may be hired as a healthcare manager.

Which degree program is the best option for someone seeking a career as a healthcare administrator or manager? The difference between a degree in healthcare administration and a degree in healthcare management is similar to the difference between a degree in Business Administration and a degree in Business Management. While there are subtle differences in coursework, much of the same material is covered in both degrees. Either degree will give you the foundation you’ll need for a career in healthcare management or administration.

Average Salary and Job Growth Projections

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare managers earn a median annual income of  $84,270 as of 2010. In keeping with the rapid growth of the healthcare industry throughout the nation, healthcare administration and healthcare management jobs are expected to increase at a rate of 22% between 2010 and 2020. This means an additional 67,000 job openings for healthcare administrators and healthcare managers will have been added by 2020. In fact, CNN Money named Hospital Administrators one of the top 100 jobs in America in 2010.

There is little difference between healthcare management and healthcare administration. Both a degree in healthcare administration and a degree in healthcare management will give you the educational foundation you’ll need to secure a well paying, satisfying career.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris