Healthcare management is a growing field that offers satisfying career opportunities in a number of settings that include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and insurance companies. Although it is possible to become a healthcare administrator with only a bachelor's degree, most positions require a master's degree.
There are a number of approaches to attaining a master's degree in healthcare management. In the past, students have taken the traditional path of pursuing degrees in public health or health administration. There is currently a wider variety of options, including degrees in business or public administration, that offer concentrations in healthcare management or even joint degrees with an emphasis in law.
Most master's programs last two years and involve classes on healthcare policy and law, marketing, organizational behavior, financing, human resources, and other related topics. Programs may also include supervised residencies or internships. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Programs provides a list of accredited graduate programs in this field.
There are many career options for people with a degree in healthcare management. With a list of responsibilities that includes planning, directing, coordinating, and supervising the delivery of health care, managers are needed in almost every facet of the industry. Below are typical job descriptions for people with healthcare management degrees.
- Medical Office Manager
These professionals are responsible for overseeing daily operations in a medical practice or office. Their duties will likely include maintaining schedules, supervising employees, ordering and maintaining records of supplies, and overseeing accounts.
- Health Services Manager
These managers oversee employees and operations at facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes. Their responsibilities will vary depending on the size of the facility but may include employee supervision and hiring, financial management, risk management, and communications.
- Health Information Manager
With increasing concerns over securing patient privacy and confidentiality, health information managers are in demand to oversee patient records. Their duties can include oversight of data security, maintaining accurate databases, and communicating changes in healthcare regulations and privacy laws.
- Healthcare Project Manager
These managers oversee specific projects or teams within the industry. They may be responsible for planning, hiring, budgeting, risk management, and communication of results.
Job Outlook and Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare management field is projected to grow at a rate of 23% through 2022. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. With aging Baby Boomers and greater life expectancy for the population as a whole, the demand for medical services is projected to increase dramatically in the foreseeable future. The median annual pay for healthcare managers in 2012 was $88,580, making this a career well worth considering in today's competitive job market.