Do you want to work in a management position within the healthcare field? Then a career in Healthcare Management could be the right track for you. People in this field typically help plan, direct and coordinate health services, and often manage healthcare offices as well.
Read on to learn more about what people in Healthcare Management do, where they work, and the education and licensure required to work in this field.
What Healthcare Management Workers Do?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers take on leadership roles within healthcare offices. They can manage a whole facility, or supervise specific services or processes within that facility. Supervising people is often a part of this career, as well.
Exact job responsibilities can vary based on the workplace, expertise, and education, but some common tasks include:
- Improving the efficiency of an office to help deliver better quality care
- Creating reasonable goals for the department or office and supervising employees as they work to meet those goals
- Keeping the office or workplace up-to-date on new healthcare laws and regulations
- Hiring, onboarding, and supervising staff
- Putting together work schedules
- Monitoring budgets and performing billing tasks
- Working with department leaders and managers across the company
Medical and health services managers may also work with medical professionals like registered nurses and nursing assistants, physicians, surgeons, laboratory technicians, front office staff, and more.
What’s the Difference Between Healthcare Management & Healthcare Administration?
Healthcare Management and Healthcare Administration may sound very similar, but the two fields actually differ in important ways. It’s good to understand the difference between the two so you can be sure of which field you want to enter.
Healthcare Management is a broad field, generally referring to the management of many or all aspects of a healthcare facility or office. This can include management of staff, budgeting, development of processes, communication across leadership teams, and other varied tasks.
Healthcare Administration, on the other hand, typically refers to managing staff specifically. Some tasks include handling the hiring, on-boarding, and supervision of staff, along with creating schedules and managing scheduling conflicts. Healthcare Administration can also include creating processes and policies that affect staff. Depending on the role, those in Healthcare Administration can work directly with patients, as well.
So if you’re interested in working with people, you may want to go into Healthcare Administration. But if you are interested in broader management opportunities that include managing people along with other important business responsibilities, then Healthcare Management might be right for you.
Healthcare Management Salary & Job Outlook
The outlook for Medical and Health Services Managers, under which Healthcare Management falls, is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is projected to grow 20% from 2016-2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Increased demand in the healthcare field should create demand for medical and health services managers. The aging baby boomer population should also increase demand for managers of patient data and staff at nursing and residential care facilities. Medical practices are also becoming larger, so there is more demand for management positions in these practices. Retirement of current healthcare management professionals will also create openings.
Entry-level salaries for healthcare management can vary greatly based on different factors, including where you live, your years of experience, your education level, and where you work.
If you graduate with an associate degree in Healthcare Management, you’ll be able to apply for entry-level associate or specialist positions, with the possibility of moving to higher level positions such as supervisors and managers over your career.
There is a variety of work environments available to people in the healthcare management field, as well. You can work in place like:
- Physicians’ offices
- Home healthcare services
- Assisted-living and nursing home facilities
Overall, Healthcare Management a growing field with a lot of opportunity in different work environments.
Common Healthcare Management Jobs
Healthcare Management jobs vary depending on level of education. Degree requirements can run from an associate degree to a master’s degree in business administration.
Entry-level positions for those with an associate degree in Healthcare Management include:
- Front Desk Supervisor – Tasks can include overseeing the front desk staff, helping to make decisions, completing operations checklists and more. These supervisors may also interact with patients and pass on any important comments.
- Medical Accounts Receivable Specialist – Tasks include tracking payments on accounts, monitoring unpaid accounts, collecting payments and updating patients’ account information. These specialists may also reach out to patients whose payments are overdue.
- Medical Billing Supervisor – Responsibilities for this job include making sure that medical billing codes are entered correctly. These supervisors usually also look over medical records to track when payments are due. They may also be in charge of correcting billing issues.
- Medical Office Specialist – Medical office specialists are often in charge of communicating with patients. They might schedule patient appointments, answer phones, help patients check in and out, and more.
- Medical Records Clerk – These clerks often handle electronic medical records in a healthcare office. They might perform data entry for patient charts and other physical forms. They may also be responsible for retrieving files and checking them for accuracy.
- Office Supervisor – Tasks include overseeing report filing and clerical work, running reports and more. Office supervisors might also keep track of inventory, maintain budgets, communicate with customers and other tasks.
Jobs that may require a four-year degree, master’s degree, relevant experience, and/or additional certifications include:
- Health Information Management Director – Tasks include overseeing the health information technology of an organization, including staff operations, budgeting, business planning, and more. They may also be responsible for making sure the healthcare organization is compliant with healthcare regulations.
- Health Manager – Tasks include managing services at a healthcare facility or office, supervising employees, developing reimbursement policies, hiring and training staff, and more.
- Office Manager – Managing an office typically includes tasks like communicating effectively with staff and office leadership, greeting and helping patients, creating budgets and staff schedules, and more.
- Practice Administrator – These administrators typically take care of the day-to-day management in a medical office. This can include preparing staffing budgets, planning employee schedules, developing processes to help the office run more smoothly, overseeing daily billing and staffing activities, and more.
- Program Manager – These managers typically concentrate on a specific program or offering in a healthcare office. They help ensure the quality of that program by overseeing day-to-day clinical activities, supervise employees, provide program development, and more.
- Clinical Manager – Tasks for a clinical manager include overseeing a specific department within an office of facility. These managers create policies and goals, craft procedures, evaluate staff performance, and create budgets.
Getting a Healthcare Management Degree: Education and Skills
Educational requirements can vary depending on the role, employer, and other factors. Associate degree programs can prepare you for entry-level positions in healthcare offices and facilities, with the possibility of moving up the management ladder throughout your career.
Many direct management positions require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Graduate programs can last for two years or more and may offer administrative experience as part of their curriculum.
Degrees for this field usually have curriculums that focus on healthcare and business management. Some possible courses for healthcare management include:
- Accounting, Payroll, Banking & Accounting Systems
- Business Office Operations for the Manager
- Healthcare Law, Compliance, Ethics & Medical Record Management
- Human Resource Management
- Practice Structure and Enhancement
- Introduction to Leadership & Management
- Medical Terminology
In addition to education and experience, there are also some general skills required to work in healthcare management. These include:
- Analytical skills. People in healthcare management need to comprehend and be able to follow healthcare regulations, and adapt quickly to new laws.
- Communications skills. Healthcare management workers should be able to communicate with other staff and office management. They should be able to articulate policies, processes, and regulations in a way that all employees can understand.
- Detail oriented. Anyone in the healthcare field should be detail oriented, and this is especially true for healthcare management professionals. People in this field often have to track staff schedules, billing information, onboarding and hiring, and more.
- Interpersonal skills. Healthcare management professionals often work with staff and may also interact with patients, so interpersonal skills are important.
- Leadership skills. Healthcare management professionals need to have leadership skills because they are often in management or supervisor roles. They need to understand how to find good staff, hire and onboard effectively, motivate employees, and lead a front office.
- Technical skills. People in the healthcare management field need to understand the latest technology and be able to adapt quickly to new technology.
Licensure and Certification
If you want to be in healthcare management, licensing and certification can vary based on your job and place of employment. For example, nursing home administrators require licensure in all states. It’s also often required for administrators in assisted-living facilities. The American College of Health Care Administrators also provides distinctions for Certified Assisted Living Administrator and Certified Nursing Home Administrator.
Some states may require you to pass a state-specific exam, as well, so if you move somewhere else, you will need to understand how that affects your licensing. You can learn more about state-by-state requirements by visiting the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB).
Aside from nursing homes and assisted living facilities, licensing is not usually required for professionals in healthcare management, unless you want to focus specifically on nursing or social work programs. In that case, you may need to be registered and/or have licensing in those areas.
Even though certification is not required, it is sometimes useful in making you an attractive candidate to employers. Non-required certifications include:
- Certification in Medical Management – Professional Association of Health Care Office Management(PAHCOM)
- Information Management Certification – the American Health Information Management Association
This guide should provide you with an understanding of what Healthcare Management is, and what people in this field typically do. This field is growing quickly, and employers are looking for new candidates who meet qualifications. If this field sounds right for you, then you might want to look into pursuing education and a career in Healthcare Management.
- Professional Association of Health Care Office Management – PAHCOM is a national organization that provides development, credentialing, and continuing education opportunities to professional in Healthcare Management.
- American Health Information Management Association – AHIMA helps to ensure professional excellence for Health Information Technology through trusted accreditation and certification opportunities.
- American College of Health Care Administrators – ACHA is a nonprofit professional membership association that offers educational programming, professional certification, and career development opportunities for its members.
- American College of Healthcare Executives – ACHE is a professional society for healthcare executives, dedicated to improving the skills of its members.
- Medical Group Management Association – MGMA is a 40,000-member-strong association for professionals who lead medical practices.
- National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards – NAB is a leading authority in the industry on licensing, credentialing, and regulating healthcare administrators and managers.