Healthcare Management Careers
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation, and with growth at such a large scale comes the need for responsible professionals to help it run smoothly. While the industry can always use qualified medical technicians, physicians and nurses and nurse practitioners, there’s a big need for people who run the business of healthcare—the administrators and managers who make it all come together as a profitable, efficient enterprise.
There are a wide range of healthcare manager careers available in just as many settings. We’re here to help you discover some of the possible careers in the field, learn what you’ll do in them, and what your benefits could be with the right education and experience.
Overview of Healthcare Management Careers
Office Manager: With an undergraduate degree in healthcare management, you will be equipped to manage a doctor’s office or even a clinic. Your expertise will ensure that the doctors’ practical needs are met, and patients have the best possible outcomes.
Nurse Manager: Behind every great team of nurses is a manager who keeps their schedules organized, who sees that they have the supplies they need and who is able to hire the best talent available. Often this position is filled by a practicing nurse. However, even plenty of experience in the field won’t override the need for additional education.
Human Resources Manager: One of the biggest assets in healthcare is its employees. From physicians to the service staff who keep the hospital or clinic clean, the goal of all people in a medical facility is the welfare of the patient. To keep this enormous volume of people functioning as a team no matter what role they play, HR managers plan, direct and oversee everything from recruitment of talent to top-level strategic planning for hospitals and clinics. While a bachelor’s degree may suffice in smaller clinics, most large-scale operations require their HR managers to have at least a master’s degree.
Salaries: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that Health Services Managers made a median salary of $96,540, and that the typical entry-level education was a bachelor’s degree. As you rise in the ranks with increased experience and academic credentials, your total compensation package, including bonuses, might well reach over six figures. HR managers earn a median annual salary of $106,910, says the BLS.
Nursing Home Administrator: Nursing homes need administrators to help maintain the facilities. Duties may include monitoring caregivers to ensure that they follow state and federal regulations and that the pharmacy also obeys the law. Since there have been some controversial cases involving nursing homes, ethics will play a huge part of your personal and professional core. To prepare for this position, you could work in a nursing home while you complete a degree in healthcare management. You might focus on business courses, as well as classes dealing with ethics and law.
Hospital Administrator: Administrators are a vital part of any functioning hospital. They have lots of responsibilities to attend to and must be the top in their field. To be a hospital administrator, you could start in an associate position with a bachelor’s degree. Some hospitals have residency programs, much like doctors, which give you the practical experience and knowledge you need to seek employment in a smaller clinic or other healthcare facility.
If you wish to move up into the senior ranks of a hospital, you will need to return to graduate school and earn a master’s degree. You could consider a few different post-graduate degree programs, depending on the specific career track you desire. Here are a few examples:
- Master of Healthcare Administration
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a healthcare focus
- Master of Health Informatics
- Master of Health Information Technology
Salaries: Nursing home administrators make a median annual salary of $80,340, but can pull in additional earnings from bonuses and profit sharing, depending upon how the facility in which they work compensates. In these careers, location and length of employment often play a large role in salary and bonus plan.
Other Healthcare Management Careers
Healthcare Management Consultant: Consultants can take many different forms. Some may be highly skilled IT professionals who happen to specialize in healthcare. Others might be seasoned hospital administrators who felt the entrepreneurial itch and desire to work on a wide range of healthcare issues.
To become a healthcare management consultant, you will likely need a great deal of experience and education. After you complete an undergraduate degree in healthcare management, seek out an administrative residency at the best and biggest hospital you can. From there, look for the healthcare practices where you can have the most impact.
Once you have a great deal of experience, you might even be able to complete a healthcare management master’s degree online. Once you have the best credentials and experience, you can move into a consulting firm, or work independently. As a consultant, you have many options.
Salaries: Management consultants make very good money. The BLS shows that the median annual salary for management analysts is $81,320. However, this is only salary, and their entire compensation package may be quite a bit larger, as many consultants receive the bulk of their pay through a bonus system. Furthermore, if you work as an independent consultant, you can eliminate self-employment costs, such as insurance, as the facility you work with may provide a plan.
Finance Manager: Though very similar to a healthcare consultant, you might be able to convert your experience in finance to a role as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for a healthcare facility. You will want to complete an MBA with a focus on healthcare management and study as much about finance as you can. Not only will you be able to analyze the financial statements of a healthcare organization, but you will have the organizational knowledge to assess the overall fitness and market value of hospitals and healthcare corporations.
Salaries: The BLS says financial managers earned a median salary of $121,750. However, this figure is likely not including elements such as a bonus structure and other compensation.
Healthcare Management Careers: Outside the Box
While the careers above are logical candidates for healthcare management, take a lot of some roles that are outside the conventional box but still play a big part of making the healthcare industry work smoothly and holistically:
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