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Healthcare Program Manager Career Guide

How to Become a Healthcare Program Manager

Responsible for a wide variety of tasks in a healthcare environment, a healthcare program manager helps to tie all active programs together. Healthcare program managers track programs as steps are completed, whether that’s the staffing of a department, development of treatment plans, or budget determination.

Healthcare program managers work with virtually any department at a healthcare facility, helping to ensure that programs are completed fully and on time. They work with care providers, facility executives, construction crews, nursing teams, and other healthcare employees to gauge program progress and promote on-time task completion.

If you’re searching for a career that allows you to put strong communication and program management skills to work in a healthcare environment, the role of a healthcare program manager is ideal for you.

Female doctor discussing with manager..

What Is a Healthcare Program Manager?

A healthcare program manager is an individual who manages programs across an entire healthcare organization. Sometimes working in tandem with other healthcare managers, they help healthcare employees complete tasks, eliminate roadblocks, and achieve program success.

As a specialized career option, the role of a healthcare program manager typically requires both an undergraduate and a master’s degree. In addition, you’ll likely need to gain at least a few years of experience in a relevant healthcare field.

What Does a Healthcare Program Manager Do?

Healthcare program managers fulfill a wide variety of job responsibilities. On some days, you’ll likely spend time communicating with healthcare employees to determine where they stand on current programs. On other days, you’ll need to update healthcare executives on program details, estimated completion dates, and other important aspects of ongoing organizational processes.

The exact responsibilities of a healthcare program manager include:

  • Assigning program tasks to specific healthcare employees
  • Connecting with healthcare staff members to gauge their progress on program tasks
  • Ensuring program tasks are completed ahead of deadlines
  • Helping healthcare organizations eliminate roadblocks that could prevent on-time task completion dates
  • Reporting program progress details to company executives, management boards, and other organizational representatives
  • Collaborating with other members of the program management team
  • Informing a healthcare organization’s understanding of current program details
  • Leading healthcare departments toward on-time program completion dates

These and other responsibilities allow healthcare program managers to serve as the glue that holds a healthcare organization's programs together.

What Education Does a Healthcare Program Manager Need?

Before you can begin employment as a healthcare program manager, you’ll need to complete a few educational requirements. After you successfully obtain your undergraduate degree, you’ll also need to complete a Master of Health Leadership or MBA healthcare management program in order to be qualified for this advanced leadership role. When determining the right healthcare leadership degree for you, consider your desired role.

A master’s program helps to develop skills like risk management, data analysis, and healthcare information technology (IT). These abilities contribute to immediate success once you begin a professional healthcare career. You’ll be able to use the knowledge and skills you gain in your program to manage teams, drive strategy, enhance communication, and more.

What Degrees are Best for a Healthcare Program Manager?

Master of Health Leadership

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

A master's focused on managing comprehensive,...

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

  • Time: 78% of grads finish within 24 months. 
  • Tuition and fees: $4,385 per 6-month term.

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.

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

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MBA Healthcare Management

Prepare for a career leading private or public healthcare...

Prepare for a career leading private or public...

Prepare for a career leading private or public healthcare organizations.

  • Time: Graduates can finish within 12 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Administrative director
  • Chief financial officer
  • Other executive-level roles

Healthcare is big business in today's complex economy.  Steer your career with this specialty MBA.

Compare online business degrees

This program is not the only online business degree WGU offers that is designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees by clicking the button below.

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What Skills Does a Healthcare Program Manager Need?

A healthcare program manager relies on a well-developed skillset to ensure success. Whether you’re eliminating program roadblocks or updating company executives on program progress, you’ll depend on key skills each day.

The skills a healthcare program manager needs can include:

  • Program management. The ability to successfully manage each of a healthcare organization’s programs, ensuring deadlines are met and motivating the employees responsible for program completion.
  • Delegation. The ability to assign tasks to appropriate healthcare employees.
  • Data reporting. The ability to report on the performance of a single employee or group of employees, as it relates specifically to program completion standards.
  • Training. The ability to train any new employees regarding a healthcare organization’s current and ongoing programs, as well as program-completion best practices.
  • Staffing. The ability to hire and fire employees in a way that creates a cohesive workforce.
  • Interpersonal communication. The ability to correspond effectively with all healthcare employees, organizational representatives, and executives.
  • Problem-solving. The ability to identify and solve problems that a healthcare organization or its programs might face.

These and other skills help healthcare program managers fulfill their duties as they motivate healthcare organizations toward success.

How Much Does a Healthcare Program Manager Make?


The exact income of a healthcare program manager varies based on many factors, including your employer, employer’s location, employer’s size, employer’s public or private healthcare funding, your years of experience, and your education.

In general, the annual salary of a healthcare program manager averages $82,558, with a range of roughly $62,519 to $105,404.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The job outlook for healthcare program managers is expected to remain positive in future years. From 2019 to 2029, employment for all medical and health service managers is expected to grow by 32%. This growth rate is well above the programmed average across all occupations.

Where Do Healthcare Program Managers Work?


Healthcare program managers work at a variety of locations, depending on the nature of their employer. Some healthcare organizations might hire multiple program managers, given the sheer number of ongoing programs at a single time. Other organizations might trust a single program manager with all active programs.

Healthcare program managers work at:


-Emergency medical clinics

-Private doctors’ offices

-Nursing homes or assisted living facilities

-Inpatient or partial hospitalization centers

-Outpatient centers

-Medical research institutes

Healthcare Program Manager FAQs

The salary of a healthcare program manager ranges from about $62,519 - $105,404 with an average salary of $62,519.

A healthcare program manager manages programs throughout the entire healthcare organization.

Interested in Becoming a Healthcare Program Manager?

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

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