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HEALTHCARE CAREER GUIDES

Healthcare Manager Career Guide

OVERVIEW

What Is a Healthcare Manager?


 

Healthcare managers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating the administrative and operational aspects of healthcare facilities. They play a crucial part in maintaining the efficient and effective delivery of care to patients.

One of the most important aspects of being a healthcare manager is keeping current with changes in the medical field. This includes knowing the ins-and-outs of healthcare laws, policies, procedures, and protocols to make sure the facility stays compliant. With healthcare regulations and standards constantly evolving, healthcare managers help implement necessary changes. 

RESPONSIBILITIES

What Does a Healthcare Manager Do?

The role of a healthcare manager encompasses a diverse range of responsibilities that are essential to the efficiency and success of healthcare facilities. From managing daily operations to ensuring quality care for patients, healthcare managers are at the center of shaping the future of healthcare. Their main responsibilities include:

  • Managing the daily operations of a clinic, office, or hospital department.
  • Screening, interviewing, and hiring new employees.
  • Training new or current employees on new regulations, policies, and protocols.
  • Ensuring quality care for patients and their families in different units.
  • Making sure nursing units and departments are compliant and stay up to date with legal policies and laws.
  • Attending board meetings regularly.
  • Overseeing the progress of programs.  
  • Guiding various teams through individual projects.
  • Communicating with insurance agents.
  • Establishing a vision for a facility with long- and short-term goals.
  • Devising plans for different departments and planning for potential challenges.

Where Does a Healthcare Manager Work?

Healthcare managers can work in many different settings in the healthcare industry, including medical facilities, hospital network systems, public health systems, physicians' offices, clinics, nursing homes, outpatient care centers, and hospitals. Because of the essential nature of this job title, healthcare managers are extremely useful in just about every healthcare setting

EDUCATION & BEST DEGREES

How Do I Become a Healthcare Manager?

To start a career as a healthcare manager, aspiring professionals should earn the necessary education and certifications, which are designed to provide all the knowledge and skills to succeed in this role. While specific requirements may vary depending on the organization and position, here are the general steps to becoming a healthcare manager:

1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration.

A healthcare administration degree will provide the solid footing needed to get a job in this field. A program like this will have courses in delivery systems, regulations, compliance, finance, values and ethics, management and strategy, and leadership. Coursework may also cover technology applications in healthcare, operations management, quality improvement, and research and statistics.   

2. Pursue industry certifications to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Several professional organizations offer certifications specific to healthcare management, such as the Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM), or Certified Medical Manager (CMM). These certifications normally require a combination of education, professional experience, and passing an exam.

3. Advance your career with a master's degree in healthcare administration.

While a bachelor's degree will get you through the door to entry-level healthcare management positions, earning a master's degree in healthcare management can give you the competitive edge needed to secure more advanced and higher-paying positions. A Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a healthcare concentration can offer a deeper understanding of healthcare management principles, strategic planning, financial management, healthcare policy, and leadership.

4. Apply for healthcare management jobs. 

Once you’ve completed the relevant education and certifications, you can begin applying for healthcare management positions. Search for job openings in hospitals, healthcare systems, clinics, long-term care facilities, or other healthcare organizations. 

Best Degrees for a Healthcare Manager

Health Information Management – B.S.

A program designed for future leaders in HIM....

A program designed for future leaders in HIM.

  • Time: 63% of grads earned this degree in 36 months or less.
  • Tuition: $4,085 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 total courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Director of informatics
  • HIMS chief
  • Information systems auditor
  • Outpatient coder
  • Health records manager

This CAHIIM-accredited program makes you eligible for the RHIA exam. 

Compare with B.S. Business – Healthcare Management

Master of Healthcare Administration

A master's focused on managing comprehensive, value-based care, directly...

A master's focused on managing comprehensive, value-based care, directly in line with innovations in health and healthcare.

  • Time: 81% of grads finish within 24 months. 
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 12 total courses in this program.

Examples of careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Managed care executive
  • Director of integrated care management
  • Health center manager/clinic manager
  • Director of integrated facilities

Your rich experience in a health-related field can mean more when you bring a master's level of understanding to the problems that organizations need to solve.

Compare degrees

This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees.

Nursing – Leadership & Management (RN-to-MSN) – M.S.

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a substantial leap...

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a substantial leap toward becoming a nurse leader.

  • Time: 75% of RN-to-MSN grads finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $4,685 per 6-month term during undergraduate portion and $4,795 per 6-month term during graduate portion.
  • Courses: 32 total courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Quality Director
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Project Manager

If you're driven to lead, this online nursing degree will provide you everything needed to make that career a reality. This program is ideal for current RNs who are interested in earning both their BSn and MSN in an accelerated program.

Compare degrees

This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees.

Nursing Leadership and Management – Post-Master's Certificate

A certificate for registered nurses with a master's degree in nursing who...

A certificate for registered nurses with a master's degree in nursing who are ready for greater responsibility in a leadership and management role.

  • Time: 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,795 per 6-month term. The cost to sit for the NAHQ Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) exam is included in tuition.
  • Courses: 8 total courses in this program.

Sample careers and jobs this degree program will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Quality Director
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Project Manager

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of medical and health services managers to grow 17% by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

How Much Does a Healthcare Manager Make?

$101,340

The median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $101,340 in May 2021,according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Healthcare management salary varies significantly, with the lowest 10% earning less than $60,780 and the highest 10% earning more than $205,620. These figures will vary depending on experiences, location, and type of healthcare facility, among other factors. 

 

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

28%

The job outlook for healthcare managers is very promising. As the healthcare industry continues to expand, driven by factors such as technological advancements and an aging population, the job outlook for healthcare managers remains promising. For these roles, the BLS projects a growth rate of 28%, or about 56,600 new job openings, from 2021 to 2031. This is significantly higher than the average for all professions. 
 

SKILLS

What Skills Does a Healthcare Manager Need?

Becoming an effective healthcare manager requires a range of skills that include medical know-how and management expertise. With the following skills, healthcare managers can successfully lead healthcare organizations through the ever-changing healthcare landscape.

  • Acute care: Acute care is immediate medical treatment provided for urgent and severe health conditions administered to stabilize patients whose conditions would otherwise worsen.
  • Analytical skills: Healthcare managers must be able to analyze financial reports, operational metrics, and patient outcomes to assess the effectiveness of programs and find areas for improvement.
  • Budgeting: Healthcare managers must possess budgeting skills, including developing and managing budgets, monitoring expenses, and identifying cost-saving opportunities without compromising the quality of care.
  • Relationship-building skills: Healthcare managers must be able to effectively communicate and collaborate with healthcare professionals, staff, patients, and stakeholders across different departments and organizations.
  • Business administration and development: Successful healthcare managers are skilled at strategic planning, resource allocation, risk management, and compliance with regulations and policies.
  • Care management: Healthcare managers must have a complete understanding of care management principles, which involve coordinating care, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration, and optimizing care pathways.
  • Clinical experience: Although healthcare managers are primarily responsible for administrative and managerial tasks, having clinical experience is helpful.
  • Clinical research: Healthcare managers should always stay updated on health information, advancements in medical treatments, evidence-based practices, and clinical trials.

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Interested in Becoming a Healthcare Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.