@katherin788: I’d be happy to address your questions. Are you in the US or Canada? Aside from the systems being vastly different, job requirements and prospects also seem to vary (e.g. there are no undergrad HA programs in Canada, and many of the positions require you to have a masters- or be some sort of clinicians with a boat load of experience depending on the position).
Job opportunities & stability: This is usually a very regional thing- the majority of my graduating class got jobs pretty quickly, but there were a couple who struggled. I’ve found that depending on the job, having a clinical background is a huge asset, again this may be a regional difference. That said, with baby boomers retiring, there will need to be trained people to fill their roles over the next decade or so. Like many other fields, I think the key is getting into the field, and then having room to move up. The thing about health care is that it is a very human resource intensive field, which is good for job security. That said, it’s a field that is constantly looking at cut backs- and admin is usually where they like to start, not front line providers. A lot of health care environments in Canada are also heavily unionized, which can be a good thing for job security (but not a good thing for others- eg can be very difficult to get into a unionized job). There’s certainly a trickle down effect though- my job is not unionized, but I have an increasing pay scale that is based on years of service (yup! years of service… not even connected to performance- that’s a double edged sword). I also typically get a 2-3% cost of living increase each year as well.
Pay: I’m 2.5 years in and make $60K. The median provincial family income is about the same where I live. So basically I, on my own, make about the same as a family. I live in a province with one of lowest average incomes and wages, so if I was in a different province I could probably be making close to $80K. This is also a fairly entry level position , so I have lots of room to move up. The thing about healthcare, is that there is a lot of pay compression- so there’s not a huge difference between the bottom and the top of the organization (ie I make 60, my director makes ~100K and my CEO makes ~$170, which is a fairly large difference). Bonuses… pffffft.. I get a $25 gift card, but that’s what happens when you work in a non-profit. My Fiance works for a bank and gets $3000 in a bad year. This is likely different in the states where you can work for more for profit organizations.
Types of Jobs/Work: There are lots of clinical leader/ management positions which I do not qualify for, and based on your education you likely wouldn’t either. However there are many jobs that don’t require a clinical background – eg- working for the ministry of health/ government do policy analysis, program coordination/ management, do health services research, project management, quality/ process improvement, consulting work. You could also easily apply your communications background with an MHA and try to work in that targeted area. Most larger health organizations will have a director or VP of communications/ PR.
The other thing about healthcare is that it is pretty much a disaster and it’s going to take a long time to fix it, so there will always be admin/strategy/ policy/ research related jobs out there 😉
After talking to friends who work in other areas, private sector, legal etc., I’d say I’m pretty happy with working in the health sector. I may never make $500K in one year, but I feel prett stable in my job, started a decent salary that will continue to grow, regardless of actually being promoted. I also feel good knowing that in a few years when some dinosaurs decide to retire there will be more opportunities to grow… and last but not least, I genuinely find it interesting and feel like I’m helping people (in an indirect way).