Health Care Consultant: Jobs, Requirements, and Career Outlook

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn about the role of a health care consultant, duties and responsibilities, benefits of being a health care consultant, salary, and how to become one.

[Featured image] A health care consultant speaks with doctors inside a hospital room.

Health care consultants help providers, and health care institutions make decisions to grow and develop their services while considering the best outcomes for patients and taking account of regulations, health policies, and budgets. Health care consultants are experts in their field with a wealth of experience and education. They are an essential part of the health care system and significantly impact the success of health care services. 

What exactly is a health care consultant?

Health care consultants examine existing processes and give their professional advice and guidance on how to make improvements, reduce costs, and improve patient care. With a background in health care, a health care consultant can give valuable expertise and training to overcome organizational challenges and improve service delivery. 

What does a health care consultant do?

Health care consultants are similar to business consultants in that they support organizations to improve processes, maximize their offers, and minimize costs. The difference is they work in health care settings such as hospitals, private practices, doctors' offices, and rehabilitation centers. Organizations hire health care consultants when they have a problem that needs solving or they need to make improvements. The consultant may analyze data and research potential problems to offer solutions, which they might stay and implement or provide as recommendations. 

Responsibilities of a health care consultant

Health care consultant responsibilities vary according to the needs of the organization that is using their services, but as a general rule, a health care consultant will do the following:

  • Consult with company employees at the highest level and deliver presentations and strategies to C-level audiences

  • Use analytical skills to detect any weaknesses or inefficiencies in organizational processes

  • Assess relevant practices and provide insight for improvement based on industry standards and trends

  • Support organizations to reduce costs and increase revenue

  • Prepare business plans for organizations to implement

  • See changes through acting at a senior level

  • Ensure patient satisfaction and safety are a priority

  • Write detailed reports and monitor improvement 

  • Write white papers based on research

Why choose a career as a health care consultant?

A health care consultant is a highly regarded position with excellent prospects, salary, and variety. Some top reasons for embarking on this career path involve work opportunities, pay, job growth, and flexible scheduling.

Work with a wide range of health care organizations

Health care consultants don’t just work in hospitals as you might expect. You can find health care consultant jobs in a variety of health care organizations, including:

  • Physician offices

  • Federal or state government agencies

  • Health insurance companies

  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Private clinics

  • Medical technology companies

  • Outpatient care

  • Nursing and residential care

Potential for high salary

According to Glassdoor, health care consultant salaries average $78,810 annually, increasing to as much as $216,000 [1] with experience, qualifications, and expertise. 

Much faster than average job growth

Jobs in health care management are expected to grow 32 percent between 2020 and 2030 [2], making health care consulting an excellent career choice, with plenty of opportunities available. You have many options for your career as a health care consultant, and you can choose to specialize in an area that suits you and is in demand. 

Full-time or part-time positions

You can choose between full-time and part-time hours and have a degree of flexibility in your work, depending upon where and the industry you are consulting. If you choose to be self-employed, you can be even more flexible with your hours. 

Other job titles for health care consultants 

Health care consultants may have different titles depending on where they work. These may also come with different salaries, so it’s worth checking all of your options when you’re searching for health care consultant jobs:

  • Health care management consultant:$58,240 [3

  • Health care strategy consultant: $80,666 [4]

  • Senior consultant in health care: $102,225 [5]

  • Health care IT consultant: $61,696 [6] 

  • Talent acquisition consultant-health care: $78,9688 [7]

  • Nursing consultant: $98,751 [8

Read more: What Do Health Care Jobs Pay? Salaries, Job List, and More

Required job skills for health care consultants

The skills you need as a health care consultant vary across positions and workplaces, but common skills and knowledge include:

  • Effective communication

  • Self-motivation

  • Stress management

  • Attention to detail

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Analytical skills

  • Knowledge of health care laws and policies

  • Decision-making abilities

  • Business acumen

  • Financial knowledge 

What is a typical path into a health care consultant career?

A health care consultant is a senior position resulting from hard work, years of experience, education, and certifications. You can take various routes depending upon where you start in the profession, but specific experience and qualifications are essential for this role. 

Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree.

The first step in your career journey to becoming a health care consultant is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, this should be in a relevant field, such as public health health care, health management, or even a business-related course of study such as business administration or finance. Be sure to check course outlines to choose a course with highly relevant majors and minors to deepen your studies in health care management. 

Step 2: Earn a master’s degree (optional).

To make yourself stand out, consider earning a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is generally the requirement to work as a health care consultant, but many employers ask for a master’s degree. Even when that isn’t the case, having one can potentially set you apart from other applicants that don’t. 

An excellent graduate program to consider includes a Master of Health Administration (MHA), which provides options to specialize in data analytics, marketing, and financial strategies, all within a health care setting.

Read more: How Long Does a Master’s Degree Take?

Step 3: Build job experience

After achieving your educational goals and before embarking on a search for health care consultant jobs, you need to get a good amount of experience in the field behind you. People come from all sorts of medical and business professions and, in most cases, have a good level of experience in an administrative or clinical setting. 

If you opt to take a graduate degree, you can gain some of this experience through on-the-job work as part of your studies. If you have no experience in the field, an internship or entry-level medical or health care position can be of great value.

When applying for this type of role, you will likely be asked to evidence experiences such as expertise in computer and health care applications, Medicare and Medicaid experience, and knowledge of current health care literature and other transferable skills. 

Step 4: Enhance your employability with professional certificates

Consider what path you want your consultancy career to take. Specializing in a field or area to consult on can help you hone your skills and consider which qualifications and certifications will benefit you. Whether you decide to be self-employed or work for a company will also impact the type of training you require.

Certifications aren’t required but can be an excellent way to excel in your professional development. The National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants offers a Certified Healthcare Business Consultant credential. Other popular choices include:

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management certificate (AAHAM)

  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)

  • Certified Professional In Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM)

  • Becoming a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executive (FACHE)

Start your journey to becoming a health care consultant today

If you are considering a career as a health care consultant, start by working towards your bachelor’s degree and gaining some relevant experience. To make yourself stand out, consider taking a course in health care management, such as Health Care Delivery in Healthcare Organizations on Coursera, or even earn a Master of Public Health degree through the University of Michigan.

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Master of Public Health

University of Michigan

Related articles

Article sources

1. Glassdoor. “Healthcare Consultant Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-healthcare-consultant-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,24.htm.” Accessed June 25, 2022. 

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Handbook. Medical and Health Services Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6.” Accessed June 25, 2020. 

3. Glassdoor. “Healthcare management Consultant Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-healthcare-management-consultant-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,35.htm?clickSource=searchBtn”. Accessed June 25, 2022.

4. Glassdoor. “Healthcare Strategy Consultant, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-healthcare-strategy-consultant-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,33.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed June 25, 2022.

5. Glassdoor. “ Senior Consultant in Healthcare Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-senior-consultant-in-healthcare-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,20_KE21,34.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed June 25, 2022. 

6. Glassdoor. “Healthcare IT Consultant Salaries,https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-healthcare-it-consultant-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,27.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed June 25, 2022.

7. Glassdoor. “ Talent Acquisition Consultant Healthcare Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-talent-acquisition-consultant-healthcare-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,32_KE33,43.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed June 25, 2022.

8. Glassdoor. “Nursing Consultant Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-nursing-consultant-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,21.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed June 25, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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