Healthcare management is a dynamic field, with growing opportunities in diverse settings. The role of a healthcare manager is unique; the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare management requires a strong skill set in both business and healthcare systems. This is especially true within the modern healthcare industry where patients are often viewed as consumers, opening the doors for opportunities to build new business. What can you do with a healthcare management degree? The options are vast.
This guide will explore the field of healthcare management and the increasing demand for healthcare managers. This guide will also highlight the range of employment environments and the top careers that may be available to holders of a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management.
Healthcare Management: A Growing Field
Because the aging population has increased the need for healthcare providers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more jobs to be created in healthcare than in any other occupational group. As technology improves, so do the design and complexity of state-of-the-art hospitals, outbound clinics and radiology centers which require qualified, highly skilled healthcare managers to ensure quality patient care and overall efficiency.
What Does a Healthcare Management Degree Entail?
The typical coursework for a healthcare management degree program can include financial management, software and technology, patient partnerships, and population health management.
While a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management is essential to acquiring an entry-level position in healthcare, a master’s degree, such as a master’s in business administration, can help professionals obtain supervisory roles quickly. Healthcare management positions, regardless of the setting, often require previous work experience, including internships or fellowships.
Healthcare Management Careers in Diverse Settings
The most commonly understood role of healthcare managers is in a hospital setting, where they oversee facility practices and coordinate scheduling, hiring, and the implementation of policy. Healthcare managers are often responsible for delegating responsibilities to medical staff and for the overall management of employees, either in an entire facility or within a specific department. However, there are career possibilities with a healthcare management degree in a variety of settings, and the increasingly diverse nature of a healthcare manager’s role makes their expertise valuable in multiple areas.
Private healthcare practices allow physicians to operate their own businesses by either hiring a healthcare manager or acting as a healthcare manager themselves (with proper healthcare management certification). The setting requires more autonomy than larger, incorporated facilities, which means physicians or healthcare managers take on the hiring of office staff, the implementation of policies and procedures, and day-to-day duties, such as scheduling and the management of insurance and financial practices.
Home Healthcare Services
As healthcare costs continue to rise, home healthcare is a convenient, often less expensive choice for individuals and caregivers. Healthcare managers in a home health setting typically manage business practices and all aspects of the patient-practitioner relationship. Typically, home health nurses or practitioners provide services, including medication management, wound care, IV therapy, and hygiene care.
Healthcare managers in the public health domain are dedicated to the wellness of communities and individuals. Public health agencies operate at the city, state, and federal levels and include the Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and local health centers. Public healthcare managers help to implement government policies within their respective branches but can also perform research-oriented jobs to support government initiatives.
Residential Care Facilities
Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) are considered non-medical facilities, and they serve people who may not be able to live independently but do not need 24-hour nursing care. Healthcare managers in residential care ensure facilities run smoothly and according to budget. They also manage large staffs that can include healthcare practitioners and nurses, food service directors, maintenance directors, and social activity coordinators. Depending on the size of the facility, healthcare managers also perform human resources duties; they recruit and hire staff and also manage relationships with residents and their families to ensure customer satisfaction.
Careers You Can Pursue with a Healthcare Management Degree
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for healthcare managers is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2016 and 2026. What can you do with a healthcare management degree? There are numerous possibilities, but the following roles are among the most common career choices for graduates with a healthcare management degree:
Medical and Health Services Manager
Health managers are often referred to as healthcare executives. They are responsible for ensuring that facilities deliver high-quality care, the hiring and managing of skilled caregivers, acquiring the appropriate licenses and certifications for the facility, and overseeing resources, including equipment and supplies. They can be considered “the glue” of a facility, as they ensure that teams communicate effectively and are kept abreast of the latest research and education needed to do their jobs well. Often, health managers serve as a facility’s point of contact or spokesperson.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum academic requirement to become a health manager, but the majority of professionals in this role have a master’s degree and related work experience. The current median annual wage for health managers is $98,350.
Healthcare Practice Manager
Healthcare practice managers are similar to health services managers but focus more on the policies and procedures of a specific facility, such as a medical clinic, hospital department, group practice, or doctor’s office. They are often responsible for managing the staffing process and improving the efficiency of the practice.
Typically, a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or administration is required to become a practice manager, though smaller practices may promote an office staffer with exceptional experience to a management role. Larger practices often prefer candidates to have a master’s degree or a specific certification, such as the Certified Physician Practice Manager, Certified Medical Manager, or Certified Medical Practice Executive credential.
Start your Career in Healthcare Management
What can you do with a healthcare management degree? The possibilities are many. For those who aspire to make a difference in healthcare and want to take advantage of the growing opportunities in healthcare management, Maryville University’s online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Practice Management program can be a stepping stone to a rewarding, dynamic career.