Healthcare managers work in various positions within the medical industry including hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, insurance firms, continuing care homes, public health, and even as private consultants. Qualified candidates for this position must be organized and be able to implement high quality leadership skills in order to manage personnel, monitor policy, design and deliver budgets and handle many other responsibilities within the executive level of the healthcare facility for which you work.
The field of healthcare management is currently expanding, and holds great opportunities for those entering at any level or profession. There is a potential for high salary earnings and growth within this career path has a positive upward trajectory. Of course, becoming involved in healthcare management isn’t as easy as walking into a hospital and asking for a position; you’ve got to follow some practical steps to get yourself on the right track.
Never jump into any education or career path without first looking at your options, and researching the subject matter with which you’re interested in working. With the age of technology came the wide expanse of knowledge that can be found over the internet, and this is the perfect place to begin your search for answers. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS has plenty of factual information that can tell you not only what a healthcare manager does, but how much your salary could be, where you might find work, and even what the potential for growth is over the next decade. Another way that you can gain more information regarding your choice of a future career is by speaking to a career counselor, or if you’re still in school, a guidance counselor, and gaining some insight on whether or not this would be a good fit for you based on your life skills, future goals, and level of education.
The Undergraduate Degree
Becoming a healthcare manager means having a master’s degree in healthcare management, and in order to be accepted into an MBA program you must first successfully complete a bachelor’s degree. Most universities require a GPA in the undergraduate program of 3.0 or higher, although in highly competitive universities, the higher your GPA is, the better. Within your undergraduate degree you should seek out a health services management major, and take courses that revolve around business, finances, management, and healthcare. Some students who go on to work in this career path begin with a nursing degree or bachelor of social work, which is also perfectly acceptable.
Work Experience In Your Field
Getting hands-on work experience and even working as a volunteer are some of the wisest things that you can do between your bachelor’s degree and your master’s degree. This allows you to make money and gain experience in the field that you’re interested in making your career. Even if you’re only working at an entry level within a healthcare-related company, your time spent there will look excellent on your resume when you apply for a position within an MBA program. You can also join a professional organization, which can help prepare you for the job search that will come upon graduation. These programs often have private job banks and other assets to help you find a position in your chosen field of work.
Obtaining An MBA in Healthcare
With your bachelor’s degree behind you, and the future hovering just ahead, you can now focus on obtaining a master’s degree in healthcare. This can be through an MPH or MBA in health administration, among other options. These programs usually require a two year study period in which a thesis paper will be written, and a practicum period will be experienced. Application for some of these programs can be highly competitive and most schools require not only transcripts and a resume, but also two to three letters of recommendation from previous professors, as well as a well-written essay detailing why you should be admitted to the program that you’ve applied for and how it will relate to your future within the healthcare industry.
Licensure And CE Credits
Depending on the position that you’re aiming on becoming involved with you may need licensure to be considered for the job. This is true in the case of a Nursing Home Administrator role or within Psychology management positions. Licensure is usually obtained through a written exam, but often after some time in the field it will need to be renewed. Having CE or continuing education credits allows you to renew your license due to the ever changing nature of the healthcare industry. Many other roads that will lead you to a healthcare management job won’t require this kind of licensure, which is another reason why researching your career choice should be the first step to getting a position in healthcare management. There is always new information and new skills to learn, which means stepping outside of your comfort zone regularly to gain advanced knowledge and evolve with your career.
Another form of certification is available for those who would like to be voluntarily certified, and gain better traction over their competition. This can be processed through the American College of Healthcare Administration, and provides your resume with some much needed padding in a highly competitive world.
The BLS currently predicts that this position will have a higher than average growth rate over the next ten years; in fact, healthcare administrators and healthcare managers will see an increase in available jobs of 23% by the year 2022. Salaries for this position are also on the mid to high end of the pay spectrum, giving most healthcare management positions a yearly income of anywhere between $54,000 and $150,500. Those candidates who are looking for salaries on the higher end of this spectrum should consider getting more experience in their field. Entry level workers will experience lower than average incomes, but this will grow as your place in the company grows. For those with previous experience within the industry, however, there are always possibilities of starting a new position with a higher than average income, or working your way up in a short amount of time.