Medical and health services managers are behind-the-scenes leaders dedicated to improving the wellness of their communities. Individuals looking to learn how to become a medical and health services manager need to understand fundamental aspects of the role, including daily responsibilities and core skills. The primary goal of medical and health services managers is to help ensure operations of hospitals, community health organizations, clinics, and other healthcare facilities run smoothly and successfully serve patients and employees alike.
Essential competencies for medical and health services managers include public health knowledge, excellent communication and critical-thinking skills, and the flexibility to work in dynamic environments. Medical and health services managers need to also be able to collaborate with doctors, nurses, health insurance agencies, patients, and administrative staff to provide the highest-quality health services to the communities they serve.
When pursuing a career as a medical and health services manager, the first step is often education. While the journey may vary for every individual, it typically begins with earning a healthcare degree such as an online bachelor’s in healthcare management.
What Is a Medical and Health Services Manager?
Medical and health services managers can work in different departments, which means that their responsibilities can vary. However, across the board, medical and health services managers are focused on three key goals: ensuring top-quality care is delivered to patients, making sure general operations run efficiently, and providing an environment where staff are motivated and satisfied.
Research into how to become a medical and health services manager will reveal various responsibilities, but the primary operational duties typically include the following.
- Managing staff: Medical and health services managers hire, train, and supervise staff. This requires clear communication Their leadership is essential for delivering training and guidance in a professional and respectful manner.
- Maintaining budgets: Medical and health services managers often work with leaders in other departments, at times with competing business and healthcare priorities. The ability to manage budgets in a collaborative way is critical for helping the organization meet financial goals without sacrificing patient satisfaction.
- Coordinating delivery of care: One of the most important priorities for medical and health services managers is determining the best ways to deliver patient care. They regularly partner with other leaders at the hospital or other organizations to create long- and short-term care strategies toward this goal.
- Developing and implementing policies: As leaders who regularly interact with hospital executives, staff, and patients, medical and health services managers are typically well-informed about the policies that shape their environment. They leverage their knowledge of ethical and multicultural issues to develop and help ensure adherence to policies at every level while making a positive impact for staff.
Steps on How to Become a Medical and Health Services Manager
Medical and health services managers have a range of roles and job titles, but the steps to launch a career in this field are relatively straightforward. While each position may require different levels of education and experience, employers typically prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or a related area such as public health or health information management.
Steps to become a medical and health services manager include the following:
1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
It is possible — but rare — for individuals to work their way up to the position of medical and health services manager without earning a postsecondary degree.
Employers prefer to hire medical and health service managers with a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as healthcare management because it provides an understanding of the healthcare landscape and foundational skills in communication and leadership. Some employers may look for applicants who have a master’s degree or advanced training in healthcare administration.
2. Gain Experience
Gaining experience is a critical step in the career journey for aspiring medical and health services managers. Whether in the working world or the classroom, it takes many hours to develop the professional skills needed for this position.
Many individuals find that they can develop significant expertise during their formal undergraduate study. The skills and knowledge acquired while completing a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or a related area of study enable individuals to stand out in the field.
However, many employers will expect management candidates to have worked in related positions for several years before stepping into a medical and health services manager role. Enrolling in an undergraduate degree program — whether full time or part time — while working in a healthcare position can also be beneficial when entering the job market for healthcare management roles.
3. Continue Your Education in the Field
Individuals pursuing medical and health services management roles are not required to earn a postgraduate degree, but some employers prefer it. In some instances, a master’s degree or related advanced qualification is required. In addition, most states typically require licensure for certain positions, such as nursing home administrators.
Regardless of requirements, all healthcare professionals can benefit from remaining enthusiastic and engaged with new research, technologies, and standards in this ever-changing field.
4. Pursue Certifications
Certifications are typically not required for medical and health services managers, but some individuals do pursue them. Examples include the certification in medical management offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management and the certification in health information management offered by the American Health Information Management Association.
Medical and Health Services Manager Skills
Medical and health services managers leverage their versatile skill sets to help facilitate productive work environments, from hospitals and community health organizations to clinics and medical offices.
These core competencies include the following.
- Organization and time management: It is common for medical services managers to tackle multiple concurrent responsibilities. The fast pace of healthcare settings sometimes requires them to do so in short timeframes.
- Communication and interpersonal relations: Medical and health services managers regularly interact with people in the community, so they need strong communication and interpersonal skills. Since they also communicate with medical staff, department leaders, and even government officials, essential complementary skills include listening, writing, and public speaking.
- Focus and attention to detail: On any given day, medical and health services managers administer budgets, manage scheduling, and address issues as they arise, requiring them to have excellent attention to detail.
- Management and administration: Managing budgets and supervising teams make up a fair proportion of medical and health services managers’ responsibilities. Individuals with solid organization and financial skills are best equipped for these activities.
- Analysis and decision-making: Data is increasingly important in healthcare. By understanding and interpreting data, medical and health services managers can relay its significance to others, especially healthcare leaders keen on optimizing performance. For example, when new regulations are introduced, medical and health services managers can help the organization adapt. With access to accurate and timely data, they make quick decisions about resources to meet regulatory changes while maintaining quality of care.
- Problem-solving: Regardless of the setting, problems can arise in healthcare facilities, from gaps in budgeting processes to lacking the resources to manage sudden increases in patient numbers. Medical and health services managers use their problem-solving skills to identify issues and find practical solutions.
- Compassion: Patients and their families often arrive at healthcare facilities with a sense of urgency and stress. Sometimes, patients face challenges such as mental health issues, homelessness, and substance abuse. Medical and health services managers use their sense of compassion to help patients feel comfortable and cared for in healthcare facilities.
Medical and Health Services Manager Salary
The job of medical and health services managers can be both challenging and rewarding. Individuals in this role juggle the demands of a diverse range of patients. They need to also meet their leaders’ expectations and manage teams of other healthcare professionals.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical and health services manager salaries hovered around an annual median of $101,340 as of May 2021. Workers in the lowest 10% earnings range had annual wages of $60,780, while those in the highest 10% brought in around $205,620. It is important to note that 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
The BLS projects job opportunities for medical and health services managers to expand rapidly, at a rate of approximately 28% between 2021 and 2031, well above the average growth expected for all other occupations.
Key drivers of this growth include an aging population and rising demand for personalized and high-quality healthcare. Another factor is the expanding number of workers in the field moving into other roles or leaving the workforce, including those who are retiring. These conditions are creating opportunities to find long-term, fulfilling work as a medical and health services manager.
Medical and Health Services Manager Degree Curriculum
Enrolling in a degree program focused on healthcare management can be the start of the journey toward a rewarding career in medical and health services management. Completing a degree program can take four to six years, depending on whether one enrolls full-time or part-time.
The curriculum for these programs may vary, but they generally include coursework in health services management, accounting and budgeting, strategic planning, law, health information management systems, and more.
An online healthcare management degree program, like the one offered by Maryville University, can help aspiring medical and health services managers launch their careers.
Maryville’s program offers a healthcare management core, which includes coursework related to healthcare and business operations, healthcare compliance, health quality, medical law and risk management, and healthcare financial management.
For individuals interested in developing specialized leadership skills, Maryville’s online B.S. in Healthcare Management program offers an optional certificate in senior living management.
Begin Your Journey to Become a Medical and Health Services Manager
In the future of healthcare, demand for qualified workers will continue to rise. As a result, the industry will need more managers to ensure the smooth operation of healthcare facilities. Individuals looking for a meaningful career that offers the satisfaction of helping others and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow along the way should consider becoming a medical and health services manager.
The career path can vary for every individual, but there’s no substitute for the knowledge and skills acquired through education and experience. Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management can help start your journey.
Discover how this dynamic program can help prepare you for a career in medical and health services management.
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Patient Confidentiality in Healthcare
Healthcare Management Terms for High School Students
LiveAbout, “What Does a Health Services Manager Do?”
O-Net Online, Medical and Health Services Managers
Payscale, Average Medical and Health Services Manager Salary
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers