Just like any business, the healthcare industry needs good managers to keep things running smoothly and efficiently. Medical and health services managers – also known as healthcare administrators or healthcare executives – play an important role within the healthcare system. While doctors, nurses, and other trained medical professionals provide direct patient care, medical and health services managers generally work behind the scenes and focus on the business operations.
The responsibilities of medical and health services managers can include such tasks as coordinating billing, making sure the organization is in compliance with current regulations, bringing in new technology, and making sure the division of labor within a facility or department results in an efficient work environment.
- The demand for medical and health services managers is increasing.
- It is possible to get a job in this field with only a bachelor’s degree, but candidates with master’s degrees will have better opportunities.
- In addition to a degree, work experience in some area of the healthcare industry is a great asset to those seeking a job in this field.
- The job of medical and health services managers can require long and irregular work hours.
Work Environment for Medical and Health Services Managers
Most medical and health services managers work in an office setting within a medical facility. They must be familiar with the inner workings of the healthcare industry, and they also need to have excellent organizational, managerial, and communication skills. Familiarity with computers and digital record-keeping is also essential in this line of work. Some medical and health services managers may have to travel to attend meetings or conferences, or conduct inspections of satellite facilities.
Education, Training, and Licensing
In order to become a medical and health services manager, students must complete at least a bachelor’s degree in health administration, health sciences, public health, business administration, or a related field. However, a master’s degree is generally required for the most desirable positions with large healthcare organizations. Some smaller facilities or private practices may accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree and sufficient work experience.
Health administration degrees can be obtained from a number of colleges, universities, and schools of public health or medicine. Students may find it difficult to secure admission to graduate programs, as the competition for a limited number of spots is intensive. Excellent undergraduate grades and work experience in some are of healthcare can provide an advantage to graduate school applicants.
Graduate programs in health administration generally take between two and three years to complete, and may include some type of internship or other supervised work experience. Advancement to the higher levels of medical and health services management can be difficult without a graduate degree. Licensing requirements for some types of medical and health services managers vary by state. For the most part, this type of certification is only required for those interested in working as administrators of nursing care or assisted-living facilities.
Employment Figures, Projections, Outlook, and Earnings
The data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there were about 271,710 professionals employed as medical and health services managers in 2009. The number of job opportunities in this field is expected to grow more quickly than the national average for all occupations over the next few years due to the growth of the industry and the intensifying of regulatory standards.
BLS reports from May 2009 indicate that the median annual income for medical and health services managers was about $81,850. Salaries ranged from a low of around $49,750 to a high of approximately $140,300, with the middle 50% earning between $63,700 and $105,980.