5 Top-Paying Careers in the Medical Field

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Inefficiency in healthcare is rampant, with 20% to 40% of worldwide spending considered wasteful, according to a 2020 article in the Journal of Health & Medical Economics. This situation can result in lower-quality care and a shortage of available care.

In contrast, strategies that target unnecessary spending can lead to cost-effective care delivery, improved patient outcomes, and additional funding for specialized and lower-income community care.

Individuals with education and experience in healthcare management can help implement these strategies, making a major difference to communities and providing excellent leadership in their field while pursuing a top-paying career in the medical field.

A hospital CEO stands at a conference table leading a meeting.

The Importance of Healthcare Management

Effective healthcare management can bring about efficiency, such as healthcare leaders enabling secure record keeping, ensuring optimized patient safety, and maintaining compliance. On the other hand, poor or ineffective healthcare management can impact a healthcare facility in the following ways:

  • Inconsistent employee retention
  • Financial losses from lawsuits and settlements
  • Inferior patient care
  • Damaged reputation

Those looking for a meaningful and lucrative career in the field of healthcare management should understand how to help their organizations achieve the efficiency that’s pivotal to a thriving medical facility.

Top-Paying Medical Careers

People who seek a leadership role in the medical field can consider various career paths; each has its own specialties and skills requirements. Individuals looking into healthcare degrees and careers should be well aware of the options that are available to them. Here are a few top-paying careers in the medical field and the skills critical for each role.

Health Services Manager

Health services managers develop and oversee medical and health services. They typically supervise an entire hospital, a single clinical area or department, or a group of physicians’ medical practices. Health services managers adapt their strategies to the latest healthcare laws, tech, and policy. Prospective health services managers should achieve these core competencies:

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills

An individual would typically need a bachelor’s degree to begin a health services manager career, plus several years of experience in medical care or administrative roles. Some positions may call for advanced degrees in the field. The median annual salary for a medical and health services manager was $101,340 as of May 2021, and the projected employment growth was 32% between 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators ensure the hospital’s operations function smoothly. They also oversee the hospital’s finances. They can also be in charge of hiring, training, and terminating employees. Prospective hospital administrators should achieve these core competencies:

  • Administrative skills
  • Strategic planning
  • Leadership skills
  • Budget management skills

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree plus experience to begin a hospital administrator career; some employers want candidates with advanced degrees in the field. The median annual salary for a hospital administrator was approximately $88,000 as of July 2022, according to PayScale.

Long-Term Care Administrator

Long-term care administrators supervise and administer care to residents of long-term care facilities. They ensure their residents receive adequate medical care, nutrition, and nursing care. They can also be in charge of staff hiring, training, and termination. Prospective long-term care administrators should achieve these core competencies:

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Individuals typically need a bachelor’s degree to begin a long-term care administrator career, with some positions wanting advanced degrees in the field. Experience in facility management or patient care is also essential. The median annual salary for a long-term care administrator was approximately $79,000 as of June 2022, according to PayScale.

Nursing Manager

Nursing managers establish systems that enhance patient care in hospitals or medical clinics. They conduct staff development strategies and monitor their staff, ensuring their nurses follow established standards, policies, practices, and regulatory obligations. Prospective nursing managers should achieve these core competencies:

  • Budget management skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills

An applicant typically needs work experience and a bachelor’s degree to begin a nursing manager career, with some positions wanting advanced degrees in the field. The median annual salary for a nursing manager was approximately $90,000 as of July 2022, according to PayScale.

Hospital CEO

Hospital CEOs are in charge of directing the entire facility’s operations. Their responsibilities include planning, staffing, budgeting, and developing and executing policies. They establish clinical procedures and policies that comply with state and federal standards and hospital policies. They also cultivate relationships with external institutions, such as the medical community and the press.

Prospective hospital CEOs should achieve these core competencies:

  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills

An individual typically needs a bachelor’s degree to begin a hospital CEO career path, but it will likely also require many years of experience and an advanced degree. The median annual salary for a hospital administrator was approximately $154,000 as of July 2022, according to PayScale.

How to Advance Into a Top-Paying Career

Individuals can establish a foundation of understanding that can prepare them for a professional journey toward these administrative professions by earning a degree such as a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management. Operations, compliance, financial management, and risk management courses can assist in making sense of the business side of care delivery. These courses can also help develop the analytical, business, and critical thinking skills required to approach healthcare efficiently and effectively. These courses lay the groundwork for various top careers in demand for the future.

Individuals who advance into top healthcare management positions may also have educational backgrounds in clinical fields such as nursing, psychiatry, or primary care.

Before they can advance to top-paying administrative positions, individuals will need extensive experience in lower-level roles, leadership roles, and possibly an advanced degree. Work experience may come from patient-care or administrative fields.

Help Build a Stronger Path Toward Care Delivery

No matter the position, individuals who aspire to top-paying careers in the medical field should consider the benefit of a bachelor’s degree in helping them cement the foundations of healthcare efficiency. Many of these positions require advanced degrees and experience; the knowledge gained from a bachelor’s degree would be an indispensable foothold to begin that journey.

Are you interested in helping pave the way to better patient care? Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management program helps equip graduates with the skills and knowledge to pursue their career goals as healthcare professionals.

Recommended Reading

Physician Burnout by Specialty: What It Is and How to Avoid It

Keys to Effective Healthcare Crisis Management

Healthcare Management Terms for High School Students

Sources

AAPC, What Is Healthcare Compliance?

American Medical Association, Management of Medical Records

BMC, “Patient Safety From the Perspective of Quality Management Frameworks: a Review”

Houston Chronicle, “Job Description of a Long-Term Care Administrator”

Indeed, How to Become a Hospital CEO

Indeed, Nurse Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Indeed, What Does a Healthcare Manager Do?

Journal of Health & Medical Economics, “Improving Health Care System Efficiency for Equity, Quality and Access: Does the Healthcare Decision Making Involve the Concerns of Equity? Explanatory Review”

Payscale, Average Hospital Administrator Salary

Payscale, Average Hospital Chief Executive Officer Salary

Payscale, Average Long Term Care Administrator Salary

Payscale, Average Nursing Manager Salary

PowerDMS, Consequences of Non-Compliance in Healthcare

Relias Media, Poor Leadership Produces Shocking Outcome

Society for Human Resource Management, Hospital Administrator

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