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What Can I Do With a PhD in Health Services Degree?

Explore your career options in healthcare administration.

Accessible, affordable healthcare is a national priority today, and professionals who specialize in health services are in high demand. The field of healthcare administration is growing quickly, with an 18% increase expected between 2018 and 2028, and a median salary of $99,730 per year.1 If you’re considering an advanced healthcare degree and are interested in a leadership role, pursuing a PhD in Health Services could be a valuable investment. Students learn about healthcare ethics and law, gleaning skills they will need to inform professional dialogue on health services issues, conduct economic evaluation studies related to healthcare, and mobilize resources to meet the needs of diverse populations. This degree prepares graduates for healthcare administrator roles in a range of organizations.

Government Health Agencies

Government health agencies promote public health programs and provide vital healthcare services to those in need. In the U.S., the Department of Health and Human Services has 11 divisions covering various healthcare services, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which focuses on helping those caught in the substance abuse crisis; the National Institutes of Health, a leader in medical research; the Indian Health Service (IHS), which works to provide equal healthcare access to Native American communities; and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), which works with marginalized or impoverished people across the country.

Health Insurance Companies

As the healthcare landscape evolves in the U.S., there is an increasing need for medical professionals who can assume leadership roles within health insurance companies. The insurance industry includes a diverse collection of leadership opportunities for healthcare administrators. Some career roles include population health director, healthcare actuary, medical coding specialist, and health informatics data analyst.

Nonprofit Organizations

Healthcare-centered nonprofit organizations present another excellent career path for health services professionals. The structure of nonprofit organizations differs from government agencies in that leaders must facilitate communication between a board of directors, staff members, and volunteers. While nonprofit leadership can be challenging, it can also be extremely rewarding—especially when the organization closely matches your personal interest in helping people. Nonprofit leaders often spend a lot of time mentoring other staff and volunteers, and may have more opportunities to interact directly with the population their organization serves.

Hospital Administration

Hospital administrators serve as communication links between department heads, staff members, and governing boards. They are the glue that holds the facility together—working to promote good communication between every department and stakeholder. Those in hospital leadership roles often create and manage programs related to patient services, public relations, and quality assurance. They must stay up to date on legislation that impacts healthcare and ensure that their facility is compliant. While traditional inpatient hospitals regularly hire administrators, other facilities in need of similar leadership include physician offices, rehabilitation facilities, and outpatient care clinics.

One of the most convenient ways to earn your PhD in Health Services is through an online PhD program. When you attend an online university, you can earn your degree on a schedule designed for those working full time. It’s a great option for working professionals who wish to find a good way to balance the demands of a busy schedule while earning their degree.

Walden University is an accredited institution that offers a PhD in Health Services degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,