Medical and Health Services Managers
Schools and Education
|Recommended Degree Level||Bachelor|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||293,490|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||4.2%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||14,190|
What's needed: Health services managers must have at least a bachelor's degree, and a master's is expected for many positions. A health administration major prepares the student for entry-level positions although other majors are acceptable. At the graduate level, schools offering degrees in public health or health administration are the most common. However, more MBA and public administration programs are offering healthcare concentrations and have become popular options.
What you study:
Study topics include:
- Accounting and finance
- Human resources management
- Health information systems
- Healthcare law and policy
- Public health
- Business administration
- Strategic planning
Introduces the work of health services managers. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
In many facilities, you will likely wear multiple hats. Today begins with several staff out ill, and you seize the opportunity to assist and gain valuable patient feedback. You escort patients to exam rooms and ask them about their experiences. Their honesty gives you insight into your center's front lines.
Interfacing with the community is a key part of your role as a hospital representative. For lunch, you meet with the head of a local business association concerned about your facility's expansion plans. You discuss the projected healthcare and employment benefits and agree to speak at an upcoming meeting.
Your next stop is the pathology lab to finalize proposed equipment purchases. As chief administrator, you must weigh the expected benefit against cost. You must also prioritize the many departmental needs competing for the same budget dollars. The lab receives funding for its two most urgent requests and delays the rest. As a skillful manager, you have learned the art of compromise.
You meet next with the new wing's architect and your finance manager to review the latest budget. The recent decision to include radiation therapy means that a specialized vendor must be hired, which adds considerably to costs. You review other project expenses to identify savings that won't sacrifice quality.
After a five-minute break, you hold a conference call with executives from company headquarters. You brief them on the new wing and gain approval for the revised budget. An hour later, you close your office door and attend to volumes of email, voice mail, and paperwork. You will return some messages tonight from your home office. Like the hospital, you are always on duty.
Certifications and Licensing
Administrators of nursing care facilities must be licensed, and some states also license assisted-living facilities managers. Requirements vary and generally include completion of a state training program and exam. Other areas of healthcare management are not licensed.
Certification is voluntary and offered by various organizations as part of professional development. Healthcare executives can become board certified in healthcare management through the American College of Healthcare Executives. Long-term care administrators can also earn credentials from the American College of Health Care Administrators.
Full-time versus part-time:
Most health services managers work a regular, full-time week. They may work overtime on short notice to manage crises or meet deadlines. As facility representatives, they may travel to professional meetings or events.
Health services managers work in offices within a variety of healthcare settings. Facilities include hospitals, medical practices, and clinics. In many positions, managers spend time interacting with staff in various departments or visiting other sites.
- U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook – The site provides an informative overview of the broad healthcare management field. It describes common roles, facility settings, and the social factors fueling the profession's growth. To learn more about opportunities, also visit sites that focus on health services management.
- American College of Health Care Administrators – The ACHCA is a nonprofit professional organization for long-term care administrators. The site has a career section where you can create job alerts and post your resume. It also explains certification options in long-term care.
- American College of Healthcare Executives – The nonprofit professional organization ACHE sponsors this online guide to health management careers. The site's extensive resources include job profiles, video interviews with healthcare executives, and tips on planning your education.
- Association of University Programs in Health Administration – The AUPHA is a nonprofit consortium of schools and other stakeholders committed to advancing education in healthcare administration. The site's student resources section lets you search for programs at all educational levels and apply to graduate programs through a centralized service. It also lists available scholarships and fellowships.