Online Bachelor's in Healthcare Management

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How to Become a Health and Social Services Manager

Medical and health services managers work behind the scenes at hospitals, community health organizations, clinics, and other healthcare organizations. These healthcare leaders make sure the organizations they partner with run smoothly, and successfully serve patients and employees alike.

A close-up of hospital amenities, including a syringe, medical tools such as a stethoscope, IV bag, and medications, a cell phone reading the time, and a daily report schedule. A person is about to write on the schedule.

What medical and health services managers do is dynamic and varies by their environment. In a broad sense, their job is to manage the overall operations of their place of work. They leverage their public health knowledge and dedication to improve the wellness of their community. Medical and health services managers also work with doctors, nurses, health insurance agencies, patients, and administrative staff to provide the highest-quality health services to the communities they serve.

Individuals who serve in this vital position juggle various roles and responsibilities. The job is a natural fit for those with excellent communication and critical-thinking skills.

But what do medical and health services managers do in their day-to-day work? We’ve outlined the basics of what to expect in this professional role. We also describe how to become a medical and health services manager. This process typically begins with earning a healthcare degree such as an online bachelor’s in healthcare management.

Medical and Health Services Manager Job Description

Medical and health services managers carry out diverse responsibilities across many departments. Their primary concern, regardless of where they work, is to ensure top-quality care is delivered to patients, general operations run efficiently, and staff are motivated and satisfied.

Some of the operational duties that might be included in the medical and health services manager job description include the following.

  • Managing staff — As a manager, this position is responsible for hiring, training, and supervising staff. This is just one instance in which the ability to clearly communicate is critical. Additionally, leadership skills help deliver training and guidance in a professional and respectful manner.
  • Maintaining budgets — The role of the medical and health services manager often merges business and healthcare concerns. As such, it is frequently the responsibility of this position to manage the organization’s budgets, helping meet financial goals without sacrificing patient satisfaction.
  • Coordinating delivery of care — As healthcare administrators, medical and health 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 implementing policies — 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, medical and health services managers are poised to make a positive impact.

Medical and Health Services Manager Skills

Medical and health services managers need a versatile skill set to succeed in the dynamic work environments of hospitals, community health organizations, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.

These core competencies include the following.

  • Organization and time management — On any given day, medical services managers tackle multiple concurrent responsibilities, sometimes within short timeframes.
  • Communication and interpersonal relations — Regular interactions with people in the community, healthcare professionals, and other professionals require excellent communication skills, which include listening, writing, and public speaking. Medical and health services managers also communicate with medical staff and department leaders. At times, they may speak to government officials.
  • Focus and attention to detail — The work of medical and health services managers involves administering budgets, scheduling, and addressing issues, all activities that require excellent detail orientation.
  • Management and administration — Medical and health services managers spend much of their time managing budgets and supervising teams.
  • Analysis and decision-making — Medical and health services managers should be able to understand and interpret data to relay what it means to others. For example, they analyze new regulations to help the organization adapt to industry changes. They should also be able to make quick decisions about resources while maintaining patient quality of care.
  • Problem-solving — Throughout the day, medical and health services managers should be able to identify problems, such as gaps in budgeting processes, and find practical solutions.
  • Compassion — Medical and health services managers often work with populations that are facing challenges, such as people with mental health needs, individuals who are homeless, and those struggling with substance abuse.

Steps to Become a Medical and Health Services Manager

Typically, becoming a medical and health services manager involves certain steps. Usually, employers require that incoming candidates hold a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or a related area such as public health or health information management. Some employers also look for applicants who have a master’s degree or some manner of advanced training in healthcare administration.

Following are some of the necessary steps to become a medical and health services manager.

Step One: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Almost all employers require that medical and health service managers have a bachelor’s degree in a subject 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, a person can begin work at an institution before earning their degree and slowly advance within that organization, eventually becoming a medical and health 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 the experience is cultivated in the working world or 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 medical and health services management positions hold a master’s degree, licensure, or other continuing education beyond a bachelor’s degree. It is important to remain enthusiastic and engaged with new research, technologies, and standards in the ever-changing field of healthcare.

Medical and Health Services Manager Salary

Medical and health services managers have a great amount of responsibility. Not only do they juggle the demands of a diverse range of patients, but they 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 medical and health services manager salaries hovered around a median of $100,980 as of May 2019. Workers in the lowest 10% earnings range had annual wages of $58,820, while those in the highest 10% brought in around $189,000. Generally, government agencies or private institutions offer salaries close to this number, though salaries can vary significantly across institutions and geographic regions. Other factors that impact salaries include experience level and educational background.

Future Growth of Medical and Health Services Manager Jobs

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 medical and health services. These factors offer those seeking employment as managers and administrators many opportunities to find long-term, fulfilling work.

The BLS projects job opportunities for medical and health services managers to expand rapidly, at a rate of approximately 18% between 2018 and 2028. This rate of growth is well above the national average, which hovers around 5%.

Begin Your Career Journey as a Medical and Health Services Manager

As the demand for healthcare workers in the U.S. rises, the industry will need more managers to ensure the smooth operation of healthcare facilities. If you’re looking for a meaningful future that offers the satisfaction of helping others, and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow along the way, consider becoming a medical and health services manager. Get started on this professional path by discovering Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management.

Recommended Readings
Managing the Future of Healthcare: How Robot Nurses & AI Will Shift Healthcare
What Can You Do with a Healthcare Management Degree?
Where Can a Healthcare Management Major Take You?

Sources:
Maryville University, Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management Careers
Maryville University, Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management Online
The Balance Careers, “What Does a Health Services Manager Do?”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers
U.S. News, Medical and Health Services Managers