Healthcare management is a dynamic field with growing opportunities in diverse settings. The role of a healthcare manager is unique, and the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare management requires a strong skill set in both business and healthcare systems. This is especially true in 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. We’ll also highlight the range of employment environments and the top careers that may be available to holders of an online bachelor’s degree in healthcare management.
What Does a Healthcare Manager Do?
Healthcare managers hold an important role in the medical field as they serve as the bridge between healthcare workers and administrators. They are in charge of managing their healthcare facility, working as the primary communicators between nurses, physicians, laboratory technologists, surgeons, ultrasound technicians, facility administrators, and other departments and staff members.
Healthcare managers aim to make their medical facilities more effective, from ensuring quality patient care to creating financial goals and budgets. They manage patient records as well as information about their facility’s performance. They direct and coordinate health services in various departments, creating schedules for nurses and staff members. It is also the responsibility of healthcare managers to stay informed about changes in legal policies.
What Does a Healthcare Management Degree Entail?
The typical online bachelor’s in healthcare management curriculum can include financial management, healthcare informatics, medical law, and population health management.
While a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management is essential for acquiring an entry-level position in healthcare, a master’s degree, such as an online master’s in business administration with a health administration specialization, can help professionals obtain supervisory roles. 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 policies. Healthcare managers are often responsible for delegating responsibilities to medical staff and for the overall management of employees, either in an entire facility or in a specific department.
However, there are healthcare management careers for bachelor’s degree graduates in a variety of settings beyond hospitals, and the increasingly diverse nature of a healthcare manager’s role makes their expertise valuable in multiple areas.
Private healthcare practices enable 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 staff scheduling and managing insurance and financial issues.
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 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 (RCFEs) are considered non-medical facilities. 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.
What Can You Do in Healthcare Management?
There are numerous career possibilities to pursue for individuals with a healthcare management degree. The following roles are among the most common healthcare management career choices for graduates.
Medical and Health Service Manager
Medical and health services managers are often referred to as healthcare executives. They are responsible for ensuring facilities deliver high-quality care, hiring and managing 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 teams communicate effectively and are kept abreast of the latest research and education. Often, medical and health services managers serve as a facility’s point of contact or spokesperson.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum academic requirement to become a medical and health services manager, but the majority of professionals in this role have a master’s degree and related work experience. The median annual wage for medical and health service managers was $100,980 as of May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
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 the 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.
The Future of Healthcare Management
Because the aging population has increased the need for healthcare providers, the BLS expects more jobs to be created in healthcare than in any other occupational group. Individuals considering pursuing a healthcare management degree will likely have ample employment opportunities, because the demand for professionals in all healthcare occupations is projected to grow 14% between 2018 and 2028.
As technology improves, so does the design and complexity of state-of-the-art hospitals, outbound clinics, and radiology centers. These facilities and others require qualified, highly skilled healthcare managers to ensure quality patient care and overall efficiency.
The BLS projects the job outlook for healthcare managers in particular to grow 18% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average growth of all careers.
Start Your Career in Healthcare Management
Are you wondering, “What can I do with a healthcare management degree?” The possibilities are numerous. 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 of Science in Healthcare Management degree can be a steppingstone to a rewarding, dynamic career.
American Academy of Professional Coders, Certified Physician Practice Manager
Career Explorer, “What Does a Health Services Manager Do?”
Maryville University, Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management
Medical Group Management Association, Board Certification for Medical Practice Managers and Executives
Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, Certified Medical Manager
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare Occupations
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers