Healthcare Management Schools
The term “healthcare” evokes images of doctors, nurses and EMTs. But there’s a whole army of professionals who work behind the scenes who the provide oversight, administration and planning that makes healthcare in all forms a sustainable enterprise. This huge but often overlooked part of the industry is known broadly as healthcare management. Because the healthcare industry changes fairly quickly, it’s important that the institutions who educate future managers and administrators, evolve too. Here’s what healthcare management schools are doing, and have done, to keep abreast of trends and changes within the industry.
The Past and Future of Healthcare Management
The first healthcare management program began at Marquette University in the 1920s, but the practice of administering healthcare is as old as medicine itself. As healthcare has become significantly larger, more complex and more subject to business principles, especially over the last several decades, the field of healthcare management has grown in kind.
There are already a number of healthcare management schools for interested students to consider. However, shifts in the healthcare industry suggest the demand for educated healthcare managers will grow swiftly and steadily. The Washington Post reported that in 2015, a total of $3.2 trillion was spent on healthcare in the U.S.. That annual total is predicted to increase by 5.8 percent per year until it represents a fifth of the entire U.S. economy in 2025.
An industry this sweeping requires a lot of managers, administrators and executives. In one career field alone, the demand for medical and health services managers is predicated to grow by 17 percent through 2024 says to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of healthcare management schools and programs is growing as well to supply the required number of qualified professionals. For anyone eager to join a fast-growing and in-demand career track, there has never been a wider selection of healthcare management schools to choose from.
What to Expect from Healthcare Management Schools
Strictly speaking, there are no dedicated healthcare management schools. However, there are numerous university programs and departments focusing on healthcare management and related fields. Some offer a broad survey of the topics, issues and ideas relevant to healthcare management, while others focus on specialties like healthcare policy, healthcare IT or healthcare human resources and staffing.
Education in healthcare management is available at every degree level as well, including certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs. Students can find applicable and accredited degree programs located across the country, with formats such as traditional campus, online and hybrid learning environments. It can take as little as one year to complete a certificate, or a decade or more to earn a PhD. Even though job prospects in healthcare management are strong, the upper-levels of management are typically reserved for those with an advanced degree.
How to Evaluate Healthcare Management Schools
With the number of healthcare management schools and programs growing rapidly, it is already a challenge to identify quality education options. But many of the newer online programs are embracing innovation and offering a level of value that legacy institutions are not.
The surest way for students to identify the right healthcare management school is to carefully consider their priorities, be realistic about their situation and select from the smallest number of options possible. Potential students should look for programs that offer the classes, topics and depth of instruction that serves their learning style and career priorities. They should also consider their budget, obligations, schedule, and timeline. With all those factors in mind, the list of potential schools/ programs becomes much smaller and uniquely personalized.
The Ideal Student for Healthcare Management
Just because a profession is in-demand or lucrative does not mean it is right for everyone searching for, or changing, a career. The question of whether healthcare management schools are a good option really comes down to whether healthcare management is a good career for you. Students must consider their personal and professional priorities carefully in order to identify a career trajectory that that is fulfilling and sustainable. With that in mind, these are some of the qualities of top healthcare managers:
- Good with Technology–Healthcare is becoming highly technical on all fronts, from the delivery of medicine to the maintenance of facilities. Future managers must have excellent technology skills and be willing to embrace new and disruptive technologies coming quickly down the pipeline.
- Strong Leadership Abilities–Healthcare managers might oversee a small team or a vast network of employees with a wide array of talents. In all cases, they must have strong leadership and management skills in order to leverage the talent of staff and maintain stability within an organization.
- Understanding of Legal Concepts–Healthcare and the law are closely linked. Since many of the duties of healthcare managers are subject to various regulations, these managers must have a careful understanding of legal issues and changes in the law.
- Strong Problem-Solving Skills–Healthcare is one of the most dynamic and quickly evolving industries in the world. As a result, managers must adapt to changing circumstances and unexpected events on a regular basis. The strongest managers work well under pressure and are willing to apply creative and analytic thinking to solve problems quickly and effectively.
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