Health Care Finance Career Path Options
Of the many careers in health care administration, working in financial management may be one of the most attractive. Health care organizations – like any other large business – need finance professionals to keep processes running efficiently.
If you enjoy numbers, have strong analytical skills, and want to work in a meaningful and dynamic field, you might consider a health care finance career path. In this article, we outline various jobs in health care finance management and explore how to become a health care finance professional.
Health Care Finance Jobs
Positions in health care finance can range from medical billing specialists to accountants and financial managers. These professionals typically work in hospitals, clinics, surgical centers and other locations, or they may work remotely.
Health care organizations typically include finance roles unique to the industry, such as those involving billing, collections, and claims processing. In the health care industry, revenue integrity and cost transparency are critical, making skilled finance professionals highly valued and in demand.
The health care industry needs a variety of finance professionals to manage costs, billing, accounting, revenue and more. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common health care finance careers:
Health care facilities sometimes hire financial analysts to solve financial problems and manage risk. They use their math and statistics skills to help their organization make smart business and financial decisions, including pricing, billing, and patient acquisition. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial analysts earned a median salary of $81,410 in May 2021.
Some health care facilities hire financial counselors to help patients understand their payment options, potentially including payment plans for complex situations. These finance professionals also may consult or train other staff in their organizations about how to educate patients about care costs. Financial counselors must have good interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Revenue Cycle Analysts
Revenue cycle analysts try to find ways to improve revenue cycles and streamline payment processes. They assess the patient experience from scheduling to final billing, hoping to find more efficient and profitable opportunities. They may also help to resolve issues, such as coding errors or delayed payments. These professionals have strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
Managers and Executives
Over time, a career in health care finance can progress to supervisor or management roles, with some of the highest titles being director, vice president, or chief financial officer. In health care settings, the chief financial officer – or CFO – is a top executive who oversees all financial operations and ensures that systems run efficiently and within budget. They manage the hospital or clinic's overall financial risks, budgets, and records. According to the BLS, financial managers earned a median annual wage of $131,710 in 2021.
When insurance companies receive claims for patients' procedures, a claims specialist reviews them to determine what the company is responsible for paying. They research the policy and procedure to confirm the patient's plan coverage and whether the information is accurate. Claims specialists must have strong analytical and decision-making skills.
Each health care service or procedure has a code assigned to it for billing and insurance purposes. A medical coder is responsible for updating patient records with this information and maintaining accurate data. These professionals must be able to pay exceptional attention to detail and meet deadlines. Some medical coders work directly for clinics or hospital departments, while others are employed by third-party companies.
Additional Health Care Finance Positions
Other health care finance job titles may include:
- Billing and coding representative.
- Billing supervisor.
- Budget director.
- Business decision support representative.
- Director of contracting.
- Director of patient access.
- Director of patient financial services.
- Director of financial planning.
- Executive director of finance.
- Finance officer.
- Financial consultant.
- Financial systems coordinator.
- Fraud examiner.
- Manager of patient financial assistance.
- Practice manager.
- Quantitative data analyst.
- Revenue specialist.
- Sales representative.
How to Become a Health Care Finance Professional
While each health care finance career path will differ, here are some common ways to enter the field:
- Earn an academic degree. A common requirement for a career in health care finance is a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, health care administration or a related field. Some schools offer degree concentrations that combine the two fields, such as an MBA with a concentration in health care management. Pursuing a degree can be a significant investment, but the investment is worth it.
- Complete an internship. Even entry-level positions may include industry experience as a requirement. If you’re having trouble landing a full-time position, consider pursuing an internship. The right connection at a hospital, clinic, medical technology company, health insurance company, health care consulting firm, or health care advocacy group can help get you closer to the job you want.
- Join professional organizations. Organizations such as the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management or the Healthcare Financial Management Association can offer professional networking opportunities, professional development resources, and certifications to help you progress through your career.
Careers in health care finance can be motivating and rewarding. In this field, you can use your numbers and problem-solving skills for an organization that truly makes a difference in others’ lives.
Here at Columbia Southern University, we offer a variety of academic degrees that can fit many career paths in health care finance, including:
- B.S. in Business Administration – Finance
- B.S. in Health Care Administration
- MBA – Finance
- MBA – Health Care Management
For more information about all our online degree program options, visit our website.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes, and CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.