People rely on urgent care centers when they are facing health issues that require immediate medical attention. At these facilities, trained medical professionals use their extensive health resources, and often advanced treatment, to address patients’ needs.
The importance of urgent care centers cannot be understated. They provide much-needed medical help to city residents and sometimes are the only clinic or medical service provider in smaller towns or rural areas. Urgent care managers are the officials who ensure an urgent care center is effectively meeting the health needs of its patients and community. Skilled in both health and leadership, these officials oversee the operations of clinics to ensure they meet established objectives.
For those wondering how to become an urgent care manager, the answer involves completing the necessary education, gaining professional experience, and developing strong leadership and problem-solving skills.
What Does an Urgent Care Manager Do?
“The mission of every urgent care center is to provide fast, low-cost ambulatory care for minor illness and injury,” Alan A. Ayers writes in the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. As the size and scope of urgent care facilities differ, the respective responsibilities of their managers may also be different. At smaller urgent care centers, a manager may handle more advanced tasks, such as “revenue cycle management, human resources issues, and perhaps minor clinical responsibilities,” Ayers explains.
Additionally, at larger urgent care centers, a manager’s role might be more strictly defined, where he or she might oversee other individuals who handle more specific functions, such as clinical treatment and overseeing budgets. In these facilities, the urgent care manager’s responsibilities are primarily operational, making sure that everything is running smoothly and that the facility is meeting its objectives.
Because an urgent care manager can interact with numerous patients and staff members, it is important that individuals interested in becoming an urgent care manager have strong leadership and managerial skills; remain poised in stressful situations; and be able to effectively communicate objectives, goals, and concerns to team members and sensitively discuss topics with patients. “By balancing an empathetic and caring attitude with a driven, focused approach to center performance and profitability, an urgent care manager is well equipped to successfully handle the many challenges the position entails,” Ayers writes.
Steps to Become an Urgent Care Manager
While there are several paths to become an urgent care manager, there are a few key ones that can put professionals on track to pursue this rewarding career.
Step 1. Attain a Bachelor’s Degree
The specific educational requirements for urgent care manager positions vary by clinic. However, many clinics prefer that urgent care managers have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position, such as public health, healthcare administration, or healthcare management. An online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, for example, provides students with practical health knowledge as well as skills and training for specific situations that may occur in an urgent care facility. Urgent care managers must be able to manage a clinic’s budget, use new software in healthcare environments, and ensure their clinics comply with all applicable laws. It is also common for urgent care managers to have a graduate degree, although many health organizations hiring urgent care managers can tend to put a bigger emphasis on work experience.
Step 2. Acquire Skills and Gain Professional Experience
The specific requirements for urgent care managers vary by position, but clinics generally prefer candidates to have some experience in an administrative or clinical role in a healthcare facility, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Even if they’re working in a larger facility where they are not required to provide clinical service themselves, urgent care managers should have a strong understanding of medical terminology, billing, systems, and coding functions. Additionally, they should be trained in “HIPAA, OSHA, and all aspects of blood-borne pathogens” and have “familiarity with and the ability to utilize a profit-and-loss report toward developing action plans that maximize center profitability,” Ayers explains.
Urgent Care Manager Salaries
For medical and health services managers, such as urgent care managers, the median salary was $98,350 in 2017, according to the BLS, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $170,000. It’s important to remember, though, that salaries for urgent care managers can be impacted by the size and scope of their facilities, the geographic locations where they work, and the amount of additional education or advanced training they hold.
Employment Outlook for Urgent Care Managers
The BLS projects a 20 percent increase in the employment of medical and health services managers between 2016 and 2026, with a projected 72,100 new jobs. The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) fuels much of this growth, as clinics need candidates who are adept at EHR management and the application of health informatics. Additionally, as these health organizations become more complex and their scope widens, there will be an increased need for determined professionals seeking to become urgent care managers.
Learn More About How to Become an Urgent Care Manager
Urgent care managers are health management professionals who oversee the operations of medical facilities, liaise with and guide staffs, and ensure clinics comply with all laws and regulations. What urgent care managers do can vary depending on the size of their clinics, as managers at smaller facilities often perform more hands-on tasks than those at larger ones.
Urgent care facilities need managers who are effective and organized leaders, collaborate well with team members and patients, and handle stressful scenarios with poise. Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management provides students with a flexible option to build the skills and knowledge to become effective and impactful leaders in health administration.