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CAREER GUIDE Master of Health Leadership

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Career guide: health leadership.

Shifting healthcare policy, the move to value-based care, and other important structural changes are transforming the healthcare industry, and these changes are driving demand for a new generation of leaders. By actively working to understand and stay ahead of the changing face of healthcare—and by gaining the respected credentials, skills, and knowledge you’ll need to manage efficient, outcome-driven organizations—you can help open the door to new career opportunities and position yourself for expanded leadership roles. A master’s degree in health leadership from a reputable, accredited university will help you claim your leadership role in the changing healthcare landscape and manage integrated, outcome-based healthcare organizations effectively.

Job listing growth 2016–2026.

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Career opportunities.

With the ongoing changes in the healthcare industry, demand for capable and experienced health services managers and healthcare executives will remain strong for the foreseeable future. Although most entry-level healthcare administration and management jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree can open up new opportunities for higher-level management and executive positions—especially if you choose a program that focuses on best practices for leading value-based, outcome-driven health initiatives.

Positions in the field.

  • Healthcare executive
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Healthcare administrator
  • Hospital administrator
  • Nursing home administrator
  • Clinical manager
  • Health information manager
“Great experience—allowed me a career as a nursing professor, which in turn helped me discover that I'm happiest when I'm taking care of patients and mentoring new nurses. I wouldn't have figured that out had it not been for WGU.” Mary Cox
M.S. Nursing – Education (RN to MSN)

Job market forecast.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates very strong demand for health services managers and healthcare executives through 2026, with an impressive 17% projected growth rate that far outpaces the 7% average for all other occupations. Significant ongoing changes in the healthcare industry will also help fuel demand and create opportunities for experienced administrators and managers who understand and embrace value-based, outcome-focused approaches to healthcare.

Job growth 2016–2026.

Work environment.

In 2016, there were approximately 352,000 medical and health services managers employed in the United States. Today’s healthcare system is growing and increasingly diverse; additionally, there is a rapidly growing number of health-related positions and teams in non-healthcare settings. The result: Managers and administrators are needed in many different settings and environments, including hospitals, clinics, policy and legal organizations, military, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies, nursing homes, consulting firms, and health insurance organizations—just to name a few. Most health services managers work full time, and about 3 in 10 reported working an average of more than 40 hours a week in 2016.

Professional organizations.

There are a number of health services management professional associations that can help give you a better sense for the profession. Here are a few that might be useful as you decide whether a master’s degree in health leadership is right for you.

Job search resources.

Wondering what today’s health services management job market looks like? Check out these resources for more information about current openings, opportunities, and salaries.


Salary stats.

In May 2017, medical and health services managers in the United States earned a median yearly salary of $98,350. However, top-level healthcare executives can earn much more than that—especially in large organizations. For example, the median annual base salary for the CEO of a healthcare system with more than $1 billion in annual revenue is $950,000, and the median base salary for the top managed care executive at a hospital is $223,000.

Average salary of jobs with related titles.


Summary.

Health and healthcare are in the middle of an exciting transformation, filled with opportunities for those who are prepared to take advantage of them. As organizations continue to change how they provide and finance care, they will need talented people with the right skills and knowledge to manage those changes and lead the shift to value-based healthcare. A master’s degree in health leadership will provide you with the credentials and skills you need to make significant, meaningful contributions—both to the health of your community and to the success of your organization.

Your career’s next step: Earn a degree.

Ready to jump-start your career in healthcare leadership? The next step could be earning your Master of Health Leadership degree. Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!