Health service managers enhance the quality of care at just about every hospital, nursing home, doctor's office, and clinic. Their impact allows doctors and nurses to do what they do best: attend to patients. Most patients aren't even aware of their work, but they'd sure notice if the work wasn't done.
Tackling the organizational, legal, regulatory, and financial issues related to health care delivery is not an easy job. With new policies, updates to laws, and changes to complex medical billing and health insurance processes, the healthcare landscape is complex and constantly changing
Are you detail-oriented? Process-obsessed? Looking for a career in health care? For someone who is all three, opportunities in this recession-proof career abound. How do you become a health services manager? We'll answer that in this article. We'll also cover:
The quick answer: A LOT. A health services manager—also referred to as a healthcare executive or healthcare administrator—coordinates the day-to-day operations of busy health care centers. They also help facilities stay up-to-date and compliant when it comes to regulations and insurance.
Health services managers work in a variety of settings for a variety of employers, including:
Most health service managers work with providers. Some work for insurance companies.
Medical and health services managers typically handle:
As noted, some medical and health services managers specialize in administrative areas. This is especially true at larger facilities; those who work in smaller facilities are more likely to be called upon to do a little bit of everything.
Medical and health services managers have different titles depending on the facility where they work and their area of specialization (if they have one). Job titles include:
Nearly all employers require health services managers to have a master's degree in health services, healthcare administration, or business administration. Some programs allow degree candidates to specialize by facility-type.
In some instances, health services managers begin their careers as patient providers and make the switch to administration. Nursing service managers typically begin their careers as registered nurses, with degrees in nursing or health administration.
There are entry-level jobs that can help aspiring health services managers land a job with only a bachelor's degree. Some of the roles that may transition to a career as a health services manager include:
In large hospitals, it's not uncommon for graduates of health administration programs to start out as administrative assistants and advance to management positions.
Health services managers should have at least a bachelor's degree in a health-related field. Health care administration is the most common major. Other options include:
To work in a specialized setting like a nursing home, or to become a nursing service administrator, consider pursuing a degree in nursing or pharmaceutical sciences. If you're unsure of the area of medicine in which you'd like to work, think about earning a bachelor of science in health services management.
Programs for future medical and health services managers are available at:
When choosing a program, look for courses in:
These classes prepare graduates for careers in health services management.
After earning a bachelor's degree, consider earning a two-year or accelerated master's degree. Do you need a master's degree to become a health services manager? Strictly speaking, no. The majority of health services managers only possess a bachelor's degree.
However, an advanced degree can differentiate you from the crowd when you're job hunting or trying to advance in your career. People pursue various master's degrees before becoming medical and health services managers. Public health, health services, long-term care administration, and business administration degrees are among the most popular choices.
Choosing a master's degree program can be especially for prospective health services managers. Getting a Master of Health Administration from a university with a good on-campus MHA program or online MHA program is one option.
Another is a program designed just for this profession.Vanderbilt University offers a Master of Management in Health Care (MMHC) degree, and the University of Michigan and the University of Kansas both have a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) program.
Coursework in master's degree programs geared toward future health services managers typically includes classes in the following areas:
Graduate programs may also include a year of supervised administrative experience.
Health services managers typically do not need licenses or certifications. Nursing care facility administrators and assisted-living facilities managers are exceptions; states require both to hold licenses and complete state-approved training programs.
However, even though you don't need to be certified to become a medical or health services manager, many people in the field choose to pursue certifications. These credentials almost always make you a more attractive hire (especially for entry-level positions) and usually require nothing more than showing the relevant professional experience and passing an exam.
Depending on what type of medical facility you plan to work in, you could become a Certified Nursing Home Administrator or Certified Assisted Living Administrator (certifications offered by the American College of Health Care Administrators), a Certified Medical Manager, or a Certified Health Information Manager.
Health services management has its upsides. We've identified four good reasons to consider this career:
There will always be a need for smart, driven people to keep health services running smoothly. If you want to work in medicine and you want job security, becoming a health services manager is a great career choice.
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