A degree in healthcare management may open any number of doors to a vast array of career types, from IT to patient services.
Healthcare administrators can command robust salaries through their commitment to quality patient management.
Whether you’re interested in managing facilities or healthcare information technology, you’ll find a career to fit your interests.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH A HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT DEGREE?
Healthcare management degrees prepare students to work in leadership roles in both administrative and clinical healthcare settings. Coursework includes traditional business concepts, along with organizational and management topics unique to the healthcare system. Graduates with healthcare management degrees can qualify for a wide range of managerial positions that support the delivery of healthcare services.
HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT RESOURCES
What is Healthcare Management?
Healthcare management degrees include the study of business topics as well as concepts in terminology, structure, and organization unique to the healthcare system. Undergraduate degrees typically are awarded as a Bachelor of Science. Some schools offer a condensed program, with the award of an Associate in Science in Healthcare Management.
Options for healthcare management degrees are available in both traditional and online programs. Some students may be required to complete an on-site internship, depending on the emphasis of a particular program. Online healthcare management degree programs typically allow students to complete an internship in their local area.
Students who have completed a bachelor’s in healthcare management may continue on to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree in this field, though these advanced degrees often require work experience before program acceptance.
Why Get a Healthcare Management Degree
Healthcare management degrees can help students qualify for leadership positions in healthcare. Graduates are prepared to deal with the challenges of balancing business interests against issues related to human health and welfare in a healthcare setting.
Healthcare management degree programs can help traditional college-age students prepare for entry-level management track positions in healthcare. Clinical or allied health professionals seeking to move from direct patient care to supervisory or managerial roles also can benefit from this type of education.
Healthcare management degrees are useful to students interested in working in supervisory roles in:
- Healthcare Administration
- Healthcare Marketing
- Health Information Technology
- Healthcare Law
- Social Services
- Physical Therapy, Emergency Services, or Allied Health departments
If you’re interested in rising to a senior-level management position in healthcare, you likely will need a master’s degree. Prior work experience in a healthcare setting also may be required before pursuing an advanced degree.
What Does a Healthcare Manager Do?
A healthcare manager participates in the management of medical or healthcare services. These positions also may be called healthcare administrators or healthcare executives. Depending on a specific position and the size of the workplace, a healthcare manager may have the following responsibilities:
- Plan efficient use of facility or practice resources and services, including budgeting and work schedules
- Maintain effective and efficient day-to-day operations for a physician’s practice, clinic, nursing home, or specialized department of a larger medical facility
- Identify changes in healthcare laws, regulations and technology
- Implement practice or technology modifications for compliance when necessary
- Represent a healthcare or medical facility in interactions with physicians, patients and the community
- Coordinate and review issues related to medical insurance benefits
- Recruit, train, and supervise administrative and/or clinical staff
- Work with both medical and administrative personnel in planning and implementing procedures
Curriculum for Healthcare Management Degrees
Healthcare management degrees give students the background necessary to lead in today’s challenging and dynamic healthcare environment. General business topics, customized for the healthcare industry, provide a foundation for professionals who will have responsibilities related to the business of healthcare.
Healthcare management degrees typically include the following business courses:
- Human Resources
- Business Planning
- Information Systems
Healthcare management degrees also educate students on topics unique to the healthcare system. Graduates must be confident in making decisions related to the management of medical resources and the delivery of patient services.
Healthcare management degrees often include coursework in:
- Healthcare Leadership
- Healthcare Systems
- Health Care Informatics
- Healthcare Quality Management
- Medical Terminology
- Strategic Planning
- Medical Law
- Community Health
- Health Insurance
Some healthcare management degrees also require the completion of a capstone project. A capstone project usually includes research reflective of what students have learned during their studies. An on-site internship in a healthcare facility also may be required.
Popular Jobs with a Healthcare Management Degree
Healthcare management degrees prepare students to pursue a wide range of leadership positions. Depending on your background and interests, you may qualify for jobs related to the management of healthcare facilities, operations, technology, policies, and/or marketing.
Popular jobs for graduates with healthcare management degrees include:
- Hospital Administrator
- Health Services Manager
- Medical Records Manager
- Medical Practice Manager
- Health Information Technology (IT) Manager
- Operations Administrator
- Medical Device Company Manager
- Healthcare Strategist or Consultant
These types of jobs may be found in workplaces such as:
- Hospitals and Clinics
- Rehabilitation Facilities
- Nursing Homes
- Mental Health Facilities
- Insurance Companies
- Hospital/Physician Networks
- Social Service Agencies
- Physicians’ Offices
HOW TO BECOME A HEALTHCARE MANAGER
As you prepare for a career as a healthcare manager, find out as much as possible about the types of jobs that interest you most. Talk to potential employers to find out if they require healthcare manager applicants to have work experience in a healthcare facility before consideration.
It’s also important to investigate the challenges and rewards of working in different types of healthcare environments. Spending time in a healthcare facility, perhaps as an intern or volunteer, can give you first-hand knowledge about the day-to-day operations of these types of workplaces.
Also, investigate the challenges of working as a healthcare manager. For example, since most healthcare facilities are open all the time, healthcare managers may have to rotate with others in providing coverage for nights, weekends, and holidays. Healthcare managers also may have to be on call when out of the office in case of emergencies.
Survey Your Strengths
While healthcare manager may have a wide range of responsibilities that vary according to a specific workplace, you may enjoy your work and be most successful as a healthcare manager if you have the following traits:
- Leadership: You should be confident in devising creative solutions and effectively leading others to execute your plans and directions.
- Analytical: You should be capable of understanding and implementing ever-changing regulations effectively.
- Organized: You should be able to keep track of issues related to billing, regulations, and records.
- Communication Skills: You should be able to communicate clearly to a wide range of people, including patients, physicians, nurses, and other administrators in different types of situations.
- Composed: You should be able to maintain a calm demeanor and take charge in crisis situations.
- Discretion: You should be able to maintain confidentiality when handling sensitive issues related to patient records and billing.
Earn a Degree
Healthcare management degrees may be a good choice for students who want to become leaders in the healthcare workplace. Many healthcare employers require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level managerial track positions. The completion of a master’s degree may be required for some jobs.
Healthcare management degrees vary by educational institution. Some offer the option to concentrate in specialized fields such as informatics or administration. Some offer healthcare management as a specialty of a more general management or business degree. Before you enroll in a degree program, review curriculum lists to ensure the coursework will prepare you for the type of healthcare management position you are seeking.
The healthcare field is constantly growing. The BLS predicts a 17 percent growth rate in healthcare management jobs between 2014 and 2024. This increase will add about 56,300 jobs to the pool of 333,00 healthcare management positions that existed in 2014. Job applicants with healthcare management degrees may qualify for more of these opportunities.
HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT SALARIES
The median annual pay for medical and health services managers was $94,500 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). At the time, healthcare managers were earning more than twice the median annual wage for all jobs, which the BLS reported was $36,200.
Healthcare managers working in either hospitals or government organizations reported the highest salaries, according to the BLS. Healthcare managers with positions in nursing and residential care facilities earned the lowest salaries in this job category.
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