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Healthcare Finance Education Requirements and Job Options

Healthcare finance is generally part of finance and business degree programs. Continue reading for an overview of the education requirements, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Like most organizations and companies, healthcare facilities require experts in finances to help them make sound financial decisions. This article explores the careers of financial managers, financial analysts, and accountants in relation to health care.

Essential Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most finance professionals in all industries, including healthcare, require a bachelor's degree from an accredited finance program. These areas can include accounting, economics, business administration or finance. However, because of the increasingly competitive nature of these positions, employers may look for candidates who also have advanced degrees, especially for senior or managerial positions. A master's degree in business administration, finance or economics prepares students for complex financial analysis and makes them better qualified in the workforce.

Career Accountants and Auditors Financial analysts Financial managers
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Master's degree
Other Requirements Optional certification Optional certification 5 years of experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 11%* 12%* 7%*
Median Salary (2015) $67,190* $80,310* $117,990*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Healthcare finance jobs vary significantly and are available in every kind of healthcare facility, from hospitals to physician offices and nursing care facilities. Though the BLS stated that overall job growth for financial accountants and analysts was expected to grow 11% and 12%, respectively, between 2014 and 2024, entry into the field could be difficult and might be improved with professional certification and a graduate degree.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors make sure healthcare organizations have accurate financial records and pay proper taxes. They also help with general financial planning. Many healthcare organizations require accountants to be licensed by the state as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). According to the BLS, accountants and auditors made a median salary of $67,190 per year in 2015. The BLS projects that accountants and auditors will experience a 11% job growth from 2014 to 2024, which is about as fast as average for all occupations.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts in healthcare make investment recommendations for their organizations. They study financial statements and other factors to determine the organization's value and future earnings. They also determine the financial feasibility of proposed healthcare services. In May 2015, the BLS stated that financial analysts made a median annual salary of $80,310. The BLS projects that this group of workers should grow by 12%, which is faster than average, during the 2014-2024 decade.

Financial Managers

Financial managers are high-level finance experts who help healthcare organizations prepare necessary financial reports, make investment decisions and develop long-term financial strategies. A master's degree plus significant knowledge of the healthcare industry is often required for this position. Job growth for financial managers is expected to be 7% during the 2014-2024 decade.

The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) offers certification to its members who are looking to advance their careers and who have 3-5 years of management experience in the healthcare industry. BLS statistics in May 2015 reported that financial managers had a median annual salary of $117,990.

Hospitals, clinics, and private healthcare offices all hire financial specialists to help facilities run within budget. While job growth is expected both in the financial and medical fields, the higher financial compensation for these positions attracts more applicants, leading to stiffer competition. The best way to create an appealing profile to potential employers is to hold higher education degrees and certificates, as well as a thorough understanding of the healthcare industry.

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