In the rapidly changing world of healthcare, many people are looking into Healthcare Management and Administration Careers. If you’re interested in the ins and outs of successful and efficient healthcare delivery, you may be one of them. However, you may be wondering if there are differences in management and administrative jobs, especially pertaining to your preparation for work in the field. The answer is yes, though the differences can be quite subtle and preparation for the two similar types of jobs can overlap.

What is Healthcare Management?

Healthcare managers generally work to manage healthcare facilities. This may include, but not be limited to, setting healthcare policies, managing facility resources efficiently, budgeting and keeping track of facility finances and making sure that healthcare procedures are properly documented. When you think of the word manager in connection to healthcare, think more of the business end of running a hospital, clinic or other kind of facility.

What is Healthcare Administration?

While a healthcare administrator may be involved in helping to manage business operations, it’s more likely that he or she will be directly involved in managing the staff of a healthcare facility. That may mean assigning tasks, managing workflow, overseeing training and providing ongoing supervision for healthcare workers. Healthcare administrators may find themselves in mentoring roles; they also need to be able to assess where a healthcare worker may need to improve in performance or how a team of professionals may work together more efficiently.

Are There Differences in Preparation for The Different Kinds of Jobs?

As you look into healthcare management and administrative careers, you may have plenty of questions about the nuances between these overlapping kinds of work. Talking with professionals who have done these kinds of work may be the best way to decide what type of degree and experience you should have.

Both healthcare managers and administrators tend to have at least a four year college degree, and many go on for advanced degrees. The differing names of the various advanced degrees should provide an indication of some of the subtle but real differences in areas of specialization. If you are a people person interested in working directly with a hospital staff, you might be best served by getting a Masters in Health Administration, but if you’re more interested in the business end, then you might want to pursue an MBA in Hospital Management. Other pertinent advanced degrees may be the Masters of Public Health or a Masters of Health Services Administration. Talk to the program directors of the various types of degrees to discover more fully some of the specific differences in coursework and internships.

Don’t let the terminology confuse you too much. Just remember that “healthcare management” is a bit of an umbrella term that can cover a lot of ground, including healthcare administration. Whichever specialized skills you seek to pursue, look for a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and make sure to ask professionals and mentors plenty of questions before you commit to a specific program. As you pursue your interest in healthcare management and administration careers, doing that kind of legwork can ensure that you’ve found the right niche for your particular skills and interests.