For those who are thrilled by health and medicine, but prefer a role on the more administrative side of operations, becoming a healthcare manager could be a great career opportunity. Healthcare managers often blend the business and health sectors together, working alongside providers to oversee the planning, budgeting, and policy needs of an institution. This type of position will typically require great time management abilities, interpersonal skills, and strong communication.
Most healthcare managers will start on the traditional secondary education path, achieving a bachelor's or associate's degree, and with many who continue on to pursue a master's degree or doctoral degree if they are interested in working at the highest levels. In addition to the educational requirements, healthcare managers should also have strong leadership and solid organizational skills.
What Are the Educational Requirements?
Most healthcare manager positions will call for a bachelor's degree in a related area, such as health administration, public health, business, or nursing. Many opportunities at higher levels will also request a master's degree in a related field, such as the Master's in Healthcare Management or Master's in Healthcare Administration. A dual graduate degree that covers nursing as well as business and/or administration, such as the Dual MSN/MBA degree or the Dual MSN/MHA degree, may be particularly advantageous for the most senior roles. Depending on your own background and expertise, there are a variety of pathways to becoming a healthcare manager. For example, if you were previously a medical doctor or RN, but are interested in shifting over to the business and management side, a 2-year master's degree would likely be a good option.
Are Any Certifications or Licenses Needed?
For the most part, certification is not required for these jobs, though some managers may choose to become certified as an additional reason for hiring managers to take notice. Certification is available in many areas depending on specific interests such as the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, which offers certification in medical management, or the American Health Information Management Association, which offers specialized health information management certification. If you have a special interest in nursing homes or long term care, the American College of Health Care Administrators also offers the Certified Nursing Home Administrator and Certified Assisted Living Administrator distinctions.
This is also a positive aspect of the position – as there is great diversity of locations that need healthcare managers. Some work in more typical environments such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, skilled nursing facilities, or other rehabilitation locations. Others might work in academic or research settings, or some of the more forward-leaning health technology companies that need someone in a management role who is well versed in the content.
Related, with the continued expansion of electronic health records and the increase in chronic disease and an aging American population, there has also been an explosion of third-party vendors who support healthcare operations. These companies could have several opportunities for management oversight, delivering services related to tracking health data, prescriptions by mail, or interactive virtual platforms.
The responsibility of a healthcare manager is to oversee the policy, accounting, and facilities management needs of an organization. They will often deal with the 30,000 foot view of an organization and think about issues related to growth, sustainability, and future vision. Typical roles often involve fast-paced activity and will require frequent communication and adaptation depending on issues that arise. Some healthcare manager roles can be more junior, while others can be closer to the executive level, so duties may vary.
What Are the Roles & Duties of a Healthcare Manager?
- Provide leadership and oversight to the facility to ensure streamlined operations.
- Contribute to long-term roadmap objectives and goals based on new insights and network/partnership opportunities.
- Perform claims-based analyses to understand current impact and future potential to inform business development and internal operations changes.
- Create work plans, pricing estimates, and risk assessments for prospects.
- Actively build a professional network and affiliate network in the local community
- Participate in quality assurance and improvement initiatives
As of May 2018, the average annual salary for a medical or health services manager was $99,730. While this is the average, the geographic location and type of environment will likely have a large influence over the salary offered. For example, government and hospital positions are generally paid the most, and nursing and residential facilities are paid the least. Most healthcare managers will work full-time, and some positions may even require being on-call or working overtime, especially if employed through a more residential facility such as a nursing home. Job outlook for this type of position is also very favorable, though, and is predicted to grow 18% through 2028, which is much faster than other sectors.
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)
- Healthcare Financial Management Association
- National Institute for Healthcare Management Foundation (NIHCM)
- Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS)