Earning Your Health Care Management Degree

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Health care 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 health care administrator with only a bachelor's degree, most positions in this field require a master's degree.

There are a number of approaches to attaining a master's degree in health care management. In the past, students have taken the traditional path of pursing 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 health care management or even joint degrees with an emphasis in law.

Most master's programs last two years and involve classes over health care 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 health care 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 health care 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 the confidentiality of patient records. Their duties can include oversight of data security, maintaining accurate databases, and communicating changes in health care regulations and privacy laws.
  • Health Care 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 health care management field is projected to grow at a rate of 23% through 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. With the aging of the Baby Boomers and greater life expectancy for the population as a whole, the demand for medical services is projected to increase dramatically through the foreseeable future. The median annual pay for health care managers in 2012 was $88,580, which makes this a career well worth considering in today's competitive job market.

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