At the surface, the healthcare field is bustling with nurses, physicians, surgeons, technicians, and medical assistants. Within any clinical setting, you can see these professionals working hard to help patients who are sick, injured, and disabled. But the hard work doesn’t end there. There are many important professionals working behind-the-scenes of patient care, to keep healthcare facilities running smooth. Medical and health services managers are at the top of that list.
Medical and health services managers – also called healthcare administrators and healthcare managers, among many other titles – work at the helm of a medical facility. These managers plan, direct, and coordinate health services. In fact, they may run an entire hospital, clinic, or medical practice, or instead, oversee a specific department or clinical area within one.
If you have a business-oriented mind and are seeking an advanced role in healthcare, where you can help oversee operations, a career as a medical or health services manager is an excellent choice. In this guide, we discuss the steps it takes to become a medical or health services manager today.
What Does it Take to Become a Medical or Health Services Manager?
Medical and health services managers take on a variety of responsibilities touching all areas of business. Think: budget planning, recruiting staff members, creating work schedules, organizing health records, ensuring compliance, developing organizational goals, and improving the overall efficiency of healthcare services. Therefore, health services managers must have a comprehensive skillset that includes:
- The ability to problem solve, as health services managers are often faced with challenges in their role (such as staffing obstacles, budget restrictions, compliance issues, and more).
- Strong communication skills, as these managers are often directing staff, collaborating with department heads, and participating in board or investor meetings.
- Analytical skills, as health managers must be able to analyze situations as well as new laws and regulations, and adapt accordingly.
- Organizational skills and an eye for detail. This is important because health services managers are constantly organizing schedules, paperwork, billing information, projections, and staff.
- Leadership skills, because at the end of the day, medical and health services managers are leaders of their facilities. They not only hire and train staff, but also must inspire and motivate them to continue providing quality patient care.
- Technical skills, including the operation of healthcare technology (such as EHR systems and coding or billing software).
- Business skills, including an understanding of human resources, accounting, business development, and business administration.
Fortunately, many of these skills can be acquired and amplified in a degree program. In fact, this is why a bachelor’s degree, at the least, is required for health services managers today. These professionals are responsible for running facilities that help save lives, and in order to do this, they must be well-equipped with knowledge, skills, and training experiences before launching their career.
4 Steps to Become a Medical or Health Services Manager
Learning how to become a medical and health services manager is important, so that you know where to begin in your education and career. Follow these four steps to get started:
1. Pursue a relevant bachelor’s degree.
All medical and health services managers need at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This bachelor’s degree should be earned in a relevant field of study, that touches on the fundamentals of healthcare as well as management. For example, at Goodwin University, students can earn a bachelor’s in Health Science, with a concentration in healthcare administration. This includes important courses that can be applied to a health manager career, such as:
- Human resource management
- Applied accounting
- Health administration
- Business planning and development
- Administration of long-term care
- Public health administration
2. Build experience in the field.
Once you have a bachelor’s degree in hand, you will be able to start working and gaining experience in the field. As stated by the BLS, many employers now require prospective medical and health services managers to have “some work experience” in either an administrative or a clinical role, such as within a hospital or other healthcare facility. A bachelor’s degree in Health Science can help land you an entry-level position in any healthcare setting, and provide you the chance to climb the career ladder.
3. Complete a master’s degree program.
While not required for all management positions, master’s degrees are very common (and often preferred) by employers in healthcare. Fortunately, and despite what you may think, this does not require countless years in medical school. Aspiring health services managers can complete a graduate program that takes between one and three years to complete, including (but not limited to):
- A Master’s in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) or Business Administration (MBA)
- A Master’s in Public Health (MPH)
- A Master’s in Nursing (MSN), for those who have nursing experience under their belts
Not only will a master’s degree enable you to become a more skilled manager, but it will also position you for advancement opportunities (such as top-level executive roles).
4. Consider professional certification.
Most medical and health services managers do not need to pursue professional licensing or certification. The exception to this is nursing home administrators, a profession for which all states require licensure. The licensing process for nursing home administrators typically includes a bachelor’s degree, a state-approved training program, and the completion of a national licensing exam, but can vary by state.
Additionally, some leadership positions may require applicants to have licenses in other areas—for example, nursing department leaders may be required to have a Registered Nurse license.
Outside of these areas, professional credentialing is usually optional. Medical and health services managers have the option to pursue certification from the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, the American Health Information Management Association, as well as the American College of Health Care Administrators.
Become a Medical or Health Services Manager Today
Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the United States, with close to two million jobs being added to the field each year. Amidst this time of rapid growth, medical and health services managers are needed to keep operations streamlined, to manage incoming staff, and to help coordinate the highest quality care for patients in need.
If you are considering becoming a medical or health services manager, now is the time to get involved.
Goodwin University has a range of programs that can prepare you for your career in healthcare administration and management. You can start with a bachelor’s degree in Health Science, with a concentration in healthcare administration.
If you wish to evolve your skillsets even further, you may pursue a:
- Master’s in Organizational Leadership (MSOL), if you wish to drive business results
- Master’s in Public Health (MPH), if you wish to work in public health organizations
- Master’s in Nursing (MSN), if you specialize in nursing but wish to advance your career
When you are ready to get started, you may reach out to Goodwin at 800-889-3282. You may also visit us online here to request more information about our flexible program options.