Becoming a Healthcare Manager is a natural choice for those who are interested in the healthcare field from an administrative and business perspective rather than the clinical side. Learn more about this exciting career path, and find out if it’s right for you!
Part One What is a Healthcare Manager?
Healthcare Managers are responsible for ensuring that the healthcare team has the tools and funding needed to deliver quality healthcare.
They eliminate errors, expedite processes, lower costs and improve quality through their management of employees and other stakeholders, providing access to technology, overseeing the flow of funding, and the enactment of policy.
They are responsible for planning and budgeting as well as oversight, quality assurance, and ensuring that care is being delivered in a way that meets and exceeds industry standards.
Though the Healthcare Manager’s specific responsibilities will shift depending upon their work environment, their most common role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of a healthcare facility or a department within a facility.
Some of the things healthcare managers do are:
- Managing budgets
- Ensuring the staff has the resources that it needs
- Making sure the facility is meeting its goals
Healthcare Managers may specialize in different areas such as finance, public relations, human resources or administration, or a single individual may be responsible for all of these diverse areas.
Part Two What Do Healthcare Managers Do?
Healthcare Managers are the administrators and executives who are responsible for coordinating, planning, and directing medical and health services.
Depending upon their work environment and job title they may be responsible for an entire healthcare system or hospital, a department within a hospital, a nursing home, or for a private practice.
They may also work in government agencies crafting healthcare policy, for the pharmaceutical industry, or in academic institutions doing healthcare management research.
Their job duties may include:
- Developing facility or departmental goals and objectives
- Improving efficiency and quality in the delivery of healthcare services
- Ensuring adherence to laws and regulations
- Managing healthcare facility finances, including patient fees and billing, insurance company remittances, and overseeing budgets and spending
- Representing the facility to the public and to investors or governing boards
- Communicating with staff on behalf of the organization
- Collaborating with medical professionals and other staff members
Part Three Healthcare Manager Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers earn a national average salary of $100,980 per year, with those working in government positions earning the highest average salary at $111,520 and those working in nursing and residential care facilities representing the lower end of the pay scale at an average annual salary of $86,820.
In addition to the salary itself, these individuals are generally provided with generous benefits including paid vacation and sick time, paid holidays, tuition reimbursement, health, life, dental, and vision insurance packages, and other perks.
Salary can be affected by the level of education and number of years of experience an individual has, with masters-degree educated candidates and those who have been in the field for years commanding higher compensation. Geography also plays a role in the income being offered to Healthcare Managers. The following are the top five highest-paying states for Healthcare Managers, and the annual mean wage they are paid:
- District of Columbia ‑ $150,040
- New York - $147,000
- Hawaii - $133,320
- California - $133,040
- Massachusetts - $132,960
Part Four Where Do Healthcare Managers Work?
Healthcare Managers can work in hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing and residential care facilities and government agencies. They may also work within a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing and academic scientific research.
Those working within a clinical environment are likely to require flexibility in their schedules as they are often expected to be available on an emergency and on-call basis.
Healthcare Managers play an essential role in the efficient and effective delivery of care, and those who are most successful are often noted for their time management skills, their compassion, their attention to detail and their ability to delegate.
Healthcare Managers need excellent interpersonal skills and are well served by strong communication and a willingness to listen and learn.
Part Five How Do You Become a Healthcare Manager?
The journey to becoming a Healthcare Manager varies almost as much as the career path itself can.
Some individuals enter the field following attainment of a traditional four-year college career and earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field, while others will pursue a master’s degree in Healthcare Management after having spent years in a clinical role such as a nurse or a physician.
In either case, most positions in healthcare management will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and there is a preference for those who have experience in the field and who have a master’s degree in a related field. Here are some of the steps to becoming a Healthcare Manager:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in an area of study such as Nursing, Business, Public Health or Health Administration – 4 years
- Gain experience in management, administration, or a clinical field – 1-2 years recommended.
- Depending upon the position you are seeking, earning a Master’s in Healthcare Management or a Master’s in Healthcare Administration will provide an additional advantage and validate both your commitment to and your expertise in the field. – 2 years.
Healthcare Manager Certifications
Beyond education and experience, certifications are available that can demonstrate your depth of knowledge or interest in a specific area.
Though these are not required for all Healthcare Manager positions, they are recommended for those who are interested in working in specific environments. Some of the most popular and highly valued certifications include:
- Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE)
- Certified Medical Manager (CMM)
- Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional (cHAP)
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM)
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)
- Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE)
- Certified Revenue Cycle Professional
- Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CFHP)
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
- Certified Healthcare Access Manager (CHAM)
Part Six What is the Career Outlook for Healthcare Managers?
The career outlook for Healthcare Managers is remarkably robust. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the ten-year period between 2019 and 2029, the profession is expected to see a growth of 32 percent.
Much of this arises from the aging of the population, and the resulting increase in the need for medical care from physicians, from hospitals, and from residential nursing care facilities.
Between a boom in need and a percentage of existing Healthcare Managers themselves approaching retirement age, the job prospects are very positive.
Part Seven What Are the Continuing Education Requirements for Healthcare Managers?
The certifications listed above are administered by a variety of certifying organizations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management, the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals, and others.
Though none of the certifications offered by these organizations are required by states, they may make you more attractive to potential employers.
Part Eight Where Can I Learn More About Being a Healthcare Manager?
Healthcare Managers specialize in management, IT and informatics, finance, quality control, and other specialty areas.
To learn more about this career in general and in each of the specific areas of focus, visit any of the professional certifying organizations listed above, as well as:
- American Society of Healthcare Risk Management
- Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
- Healthcare Financial Management Association
- National Association for Healthcare Quality
- Aging Life Care Association
As America’s population continues to age, reliance on healthcare will increase, and so will the need for expertise, efficiency and effectiveness in the management of healthcare facilities. Healthcare Managers will play a significant role in the delivery of quality care.
Part Nine Healthcare Manager FAQs
How long does it take to become a Healthcare Manager?
- It can take between 4 to 8 years to become a Healthcare Manager. Most Healthcare Managers have a minimum of a 4-year baccalaureate degree in an area of study such as health administration, nursing, or business management, and many do not pursue positions as Healthcare Managers until they have at least 1-to-2 years of experience working within a healthcare setting. Having a master’s degree in a related field is extremely advantageous. A degree such as a Master’s in Healthcare Administration or in Healthcare Management generally takes another two years.
How much money does a Healthcare Manager make?
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a Medical or Health Services Manager is $100,980 per year.
What can you do with a degree in Healthcare Management?
- People who have Healthcare Management degrees have an extraordinary number of opportunities available to them, ranging from working in traditional medical environments such as clinics, private practices, hospitals and nursing homes to working in non-profit organizations, pharmaceutical companies, government organizations and in research. They can choose to focus on any of many different areas impacting the delivery of care including human resources, finance, information systems, patient care, supply chain management, policy, community relations, and more.