Health and social services managers work behind the scenes at many hospitals, community health organizations, clinics, and other healthcare organizations. These leaders in the healthcare world make sure that the organizations they partner with run smoothly and successfully serve patients and employees alike.
What health and social services managers do is dynamic and varies in accordance with their environment. In a broad sense, their job is to manage the overall operations of their place of work. By leveraging their public health knowledge and dedication to improving the wellness of their community, health and social services managers work with doctors, nurses, health insurance agencies, patients, and administrative staff to provide the highest quality health services possible to the communities they serve.
Juggling various roles and responsibilities, this position is a natural fit for those with skills in communication and critical thinking. But what does this look like in practice, and what does a health and social services manager do in his or her day-to-day work? We’ve outlined some of the basics of what to expect and how to become a health and social services manager.
What Does a Health and Social Services Manager Do
Health and social services managers carry out diverse responsibilities across departments. Their primary concern, regardless of where they work, is to ensure quality of care for patients, efficiency among general operations, and satisfaction among staff.
Some of the operational duties that might fall under the umbrella of someone in this administrative position include:
- Managing staff. As a manager, this position is responsible for hiring, training, and supervising staff. This is just one instance in which a health and social services manager’s ability to communicate clearly is critical. Additionally, leadership skills help to deliver training and guidance in a professional and respectful manner.
- Maintaining budgets. The role of the health and social services manager often merges business and healthcare concerns. As such, it is frequently the responsibility of individuals in this position to manage the organization’s budgets, helping to meet financial goals without sacrificing patient satisfaction.
- Coordinating delivery of care. As healthcare administrators, health and social services managers may help determine the best ways to deliver care to patients. They work with leaders at the hospital or other organizations to plan both long- and short-term care, outlining the most effective strategies.
- Developing and putting policies into place. Always in close communication with hospital executives, staff, and patients, individuals in this position are well-equipped to inform the policies that shape their environment. Well-versed in ethical and multicultural issues, health and social services managers are poised to make a positive impact.
Steps to Become a Health and Social Services Manager
When it comes to how to become a health and social services manager, there are some common steps. Usually, employers require that an incoming health and social services manager hold a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or a related area like public health or health information management. Some employers also look for applicants with a master’s degree or some manner of advanced training in healthcare administration.
Some basic steps to becoming a health and social services manager often include:
Step One: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Almost all employers require that health and social service managers have a bachelor’s degree in a major such as healthcare management. This degree provides foundational training in skills such as communication and leadership, as well as an understanding of the healthcare landscape. On some rare occasions, however, it is possible for a person to begin work at an institution prior to earning their degree, and slowly advance within that organization, eventually becoming a health and social services manager. However, this is not the norm, and most people find it helpful to enter the job market with an undergraduate degree.
Step Two: Gain Experience
Whether experience is cultivated on the ground or in the classroom, it is necessary to spend many hours developing the professional skills you will use in this position. Most students gain expertise during their formal undergraduate study, but some go on to work in related positions before stepping into this role.
Step Three: Continue Your Education in the Field
While it is not strictly necessary to continue your studies at a postgraduate level, some employers now require that candidates for health and social services management positions hold a master’s degree, licensure, or other continuing education experience beyond a bachelor’s degree. Whether or not you choose to pursue additional formal education, it is important to remain enthusiastic and engaged with new research, technologies, and standards within the ever-changing field of healthcare.
Health and Social Services Manager Salaries
As a health and social services manager, you have a great amount of responsibility. Not only do you juggle the demands of a diverse range of patients, but you must also meet the expectations of upper management — all while managing a team of other healthcare professionals. The job can be both challenging and rewarding.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that health and social services manager salaries hover around a median of $98,350. Generally, government agencies or private institutions offers salaries close to this number, though social services manager salaries can vary significantly across institutions and geographic regions. Other factors impacting salary include experience level and educational background.
Future Growth of Health and Social Services Managers
An aging population, high demand for personalized and high-quality healthcare, and sweeping advances in the healthcare field all contribute to a growing need for health and social services. These factors offer those seeking employment as managers and administrators many opportunities to find long-term, fulfilling work.
The BLS classifies health and social service managers as medical and health services managers. It reports that job opportunities are expanding rapidly at a rate of about 20% between the years 2016 and 2026. This rate of growth is well above the national average, which hovers around 7%.
If you’re looking for meaningful work that offers the satisfaction of working with and helping others, with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow along the way, consider becoming a health and social services manager. Get started on this professional path by discovering the details of Maryville University’s online bachelor’s degree in healthcare management.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Medical and Health Services Managers”
Forbes, “CEOs Discuss the Future of Healthcare”
Maryville University, “Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management Careers”
Maryville University, “Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management”
U.S. News, “Medical and Health Services Managers”