Healthcare Management Courses
If you think about it, there is no set job description for a manager. The professionals who occupy these roles take on a wide range of responsibilities, draw on a diverse set of skills and spend a lot of time dealing with the unexpected. This is true of any management setting, and it is especially true in healthcare.
In order to keep the vast and complex system of healthcare functioning effectively from the perspectives of patients, providers and insurance payers, an army of managers is required to handle duties that can be very narrow or broadly overlapping.
Healthcare management courses cover this extreme territory to adequately prepare students. Graduates of these programs typically choose the issues, topics and skills they want to focus on in order to prepare for a specific type of career in healthcare management. Understanding what is available is essential for students who want to point their career in the right direction from the start.
Healthcare Management Courses: What to Expect
The depth and breadth of your curriculum will depend on the institution and degree type you’re pursuing. For instance, a certificate in healthcare management will offer very little flexibility and aim to give students a focused, basic introduction to the principles and practices of healthcare management. A graduate degree, by contrast, will focus on a very specific aspect of healthcare management, such as policy, accounting or leadership, and require students to gain high-level expertise. It is up to students to find a program with a curriculum that engages them intellectually and aligns with their professional goals.
Healthcare Management Courses: Common Examples
Every type of management that exists in the broad world of business, exists in healthcare as well. That is why many healthcare management courses simply teach effective principles of management. But the healthcare industry is unique too, and that complicates the way it is managed in both small and significant ways. In order to prepare new professionals for this fast-changing field, most healthcare management programs will offer a combination of the following courses, or an in-depth focus on one or two:
- Public Health – Most healthcare settings have a mandate to serve the public. These courses talk about the issues and obstacles relevant to improving the delivery of medicine to the public and the health of communities as a whole.
- Accounting – In any healthcare setting, managers will be responsible for fiscal oversight. The principles of accounting are as relevant now as ever before, and the need for financial prudence is greater than ever as huge sums are spent on healthcare.
- Administration – Even the smallest clinic requires careful management, and large hospital networks must have exceptional management in order to function. Courses in administration prepare future managers to deal with the complexity and conflicts that arise from expansive organizations, diverse staff and complicated bureaucracy.
- Medicine – Healthcare managers are never expected to provide care. But they must have a basic understanding of medical terminology and the principles of care in order to manage how it is provided. Most healthcare manager programs have some instruction in medicine, and some are designed specifically to teach medical professionals management skills.
- Marketing – It does not matter if a healthcare organization is charitable or for-profit—all of them rely on marketing to connect with patients, attract staff and spread a reassuring message. Only some healthcare managers work exclusively on marketing, but almost all receive some training in marketing as part of their education.
- Human Resources – Recruiting, training and retaining staff are challenges in any setting, but especially in the highly-skilled, highly-stressful field of healthcare. Healthcare managers take courses to learn about effectively managing people, and at the graduate level, some students focus specifically on healthcare HR.
- Technology – Technology is central to healthcare, from patient care to office administration. Managers must learn how to control the cost and complexity of these technologies, as well as how to evaluate and implement new technologies. A larger number of healthcare management courses are now specifically focused on technology or incorporate instruction related to technology into their curriculum.
Healthcare Management Courses: What to Choose
Anyone serious about a career in healthcare management will study all of the major subject areas over the course of their career. Even managers with very specific roles must understand how the broadest principles and practices of healthcare management are applicable in any setting.
Students will have some freedom to pick their own path of study and specific course load, but the educational institution also sets program requirements and restrictions in order to ensure graduates have the necessary training. When choice is available, students must consider their personal and professional goals to make their selections. A varied and versatile skill set is an asset for any manager, but specialties and expertise are what provides the most value to an employer.
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