Rehabilitation Services Manager Career Guide
Serious accidents or sudden and chronic medical conditions can change a person’s life. These events may be physical trauma, a mental disability, or any number of life-altering challenges. When faced with such difficulties, people are left wondering, “How could this affect my day-to-day life? How will I recover?”
That’s where recovery and rehabilitation professionals come in. People in these roles specialize in managing patient outcomes. In some cases, physical therapy or mental health counseling is necessary to return to good health. Thanks to modern rehabilitation services and the people that administer them, patients don’t need to travel the path to recovery alone.
Rehabilitation services managers aid in this journey by planning and implementing rehabilitation functions, policies, and procedures. These services typically include physical, mental, substance abuse, and vocational rehabilitation. Rehab services managers are often in direct contact with clients as they address their concerns and help create treatment plans.
Rehabilitation services managers work in high-level administrative roles, overseeing the daily operation of rehabilitation centers that provide care for many types of recovery. They supervise staff members who work one-on-one with patients. Rehab services managers usually have a background in both healthcare and business so that they can run a clinic with an understanding of what their therapists do.
Since they inhabit a management role, rehabilitation managers should exhibit good leadership and communication skills. Additionally, many—if not all—managers in this field acquire years of experience so they can effectively handle the many responsibilities of leading a rehabilitation center.
A rehabilitation services manager usually performs the following tasks on a daily or weekly basis:
- Developing and evaluating rehabilitation therapy services and programs. Rehab managers determine the main forms of treatment administered in rehabilitation centers.
- Facilitating department policies and procedures. These policies govern how patients are treated and how therapists and other staff members perform their jobs.
- Overseeing finances. This includes estimating the number of staff, equipment, and supplies needed as well as preparing the department budget.
- Conducting ongoing program reviews. Regular reviews are crucial to meeting or exceeding department goals and compliance standards.
- Updating treatment methods to maintain quality of care. Maintaining a high quality of service means adjusting treatment plans as needed and keeping up with changing healthcare technology.
- Adjusting work assignments and schedules. Managers must maintain adequate staffing levels to respond to fluctuating workloads.
- Onboarding, training, and supporting staff. Proper management includes imparting to staff members the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs well.
- Fostering good customer relations. Rehabilitation managers and their staff should ensure patient satisfaction.
To become a rehab services manager, you should determine how far you’d like to go with your education and professional experience. Many managers in this field go beyond completing a bachelor’s program—they typically earn a master’s degree, certification, or both. Below are some steps for becoming a rehabilitation services manager.
- Complete a bachelor’s degree in an allied health field. Common degree programs include healthcare administration, health and human services, physical therapy, and psychology.
- Complete a master’s degree in a health- or business-related field. Common graduate programs include health administration and an MBA in healthcare management.
- Get certified in rehabilitation management. To gain a deeper understanding of managing therapy and treatment plans, consider becoming a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) or a Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (CVE). Certification could also lead to career advancement opportunities along with an increased salary.
- Take courses in grant writing. It can be useful to learn how to write grants to apply for and secure funding. These funds could help improve rehab center operations and treatments.
- Gain relevant work experience. To be better prepared for the responsibilities of a management role, you might consider gaining foundational experience in an entry- or mid-level healthcare administration job.
- Apply for rehabilitation services manager jobs. Of course, to be considered for a role in the field, you need to job search and complete applications. Remember to update or polish your résumé and cover letter and prepare yourself for answering interview questions.
Healthcare Administration – B.S. Business Administration
You can become a healthcare industry leader:...
You can become a healthcare industry leader:...
You can become a healthcare industry leader:
- Time: 73% of graduates finish within 30 months.
- Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:
- Health information manager
- Community service manager
- Clinical manager
- Medical records manager
- Social service manager
The online courses in this career-focused business degree program will prepare you with management-level skills and an up-to-date understanding of our healthcare delivery system.
Health and Human Services – B.S.
An online health degree program for students who are committed...
An online health degree program for students who...
An online health degree program for students who are committed to making a difference for patients in a variety of ways.
- Time: 95% of students finish similar programs faster than the traditional 4 years.
- Tuition and fees: $4,085 per 6-month term.
Sample careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:
- Care coordinator
- Patient advocate
- Health services coordinator
- Patient educator
- Community health educator
This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry, while also directly working with patients who need help.
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: $4,755 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.
Master of Healthcare Administration
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 18-24 months.
- Tuition and fees: $4,755 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.
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.
No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!
Since this job sits at an intersection of healthcare and business, rehabilitation managers should develop a well-rounded set of skills in both disciplines. Common skills for the role include:
- General knowledge of rehabilitative treatment methods in therapeutic recreation, art, and music.
- General knowledge of potential hazards to patients during treatment and precautionary and remedial measures to prevent hazards.
- Basic knowledge of human development and developmental disorders to apply appropriate therapies.
- Basic knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and psychology.
- Supervision and leadership skills.
- Knowledge of applying techniques, principles, and practices of rehabilitation therapy.
- Skill in communicating with staff members, patients, and other healthcare professionals.
- Skill in documenting treatment responses in patient records.
- Knowledge of financial budgeting.
How Much Does a Healthcare Manager Make?
According to Salary.com, the average salary of rehabilitation services managers in the U.S. is about $122,500 as of May 2023. The salary range typically falls between $115,000 and $129,000. The bottom 10% earn about $109,000 per year while the top 10% earn around $134,500 per year.
What Is the Job Outlook for a Rehabilitation Services Manager?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in medical and health services management are projected to grow by 28% from 2021 to 2031. About 56,600 openings for medical and health services managers are projected each year on average.
Where Does a Rehabilitation Services Manager Work?
The largest employers of rehabilitation services managers are inpatient hospitals. However, many rehab services managers also work in doctors’ offices, nursing and residential care facilities, and outpatient care centers.
As you prepare for a career in rehabilitation services management or a similar field, consider WGU. WGU offers accredited, online bachelor’s and master’s programs in health and human services, healthcare management, and other related subjects that are designed with input by industry experts.
Our programs are flexible, allowing you to complete coursework at a pace that works for you. Plus, our competency-based education model lets you progress as quickly as you master the material. Get started on your journey to a rehabilitation services career today.