What Is Health Care Management? A Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Look at careers in health care management management, health care management skills, and the path to take in order to gain a good health care management salary.

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Health care management professionals are the people who keep hospitals, medical centers, and doctors' offices functioning and serving the community with the best possible care, medical products, and services. Careers in health care management are popular choices with excellent earning potential, the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, and high demand for health care management professionals.

What is health care management? 

Health care management is a behind-the-scenes role, overseeing the direction of health care facilities. People in these roles work to enhance treatment options and direct organizational policies and procedures. Health care management professionals are not directly involved with patient care but look at the bigger picture to ensure services offered benefit patients and empower staff and that budgets allow maximum efficiency and quality. They will most likely manage a team of medical staff.

5 reasons to consider a career in health care management

Jobs in health care management are growing and bring some excellent benefits. When thinking about health care and medicine, usually it is the front-line roles that come to mind, but being in a position to influence health care policies and how services are run and managed requires a different set of skills and offers great rewards.

Ability to make an impact on your community

A health care management career allows you to impact the community you live in or serve. You have the opportunity to devise new policies that support the community, train staff to deliver your services, and even work directly with patients to help them with financial aspects such as billing and insurance. You have an impact at a high level, making sure the facilities, services, and initiatives offered truly benefit the people that need them. 

Earning potential 

Salary potential in health care management is excellent, with the average being $101,340 per year and the highest 10 percent earning more than $205,620 [1]. This is much higher than the national salary average for entry-level managers. The salary level is directly related to years of experience, qualifications, location, and where you work. Those working in a hospital setting tend to command the highest salaries [1].

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

Demand for health care management professionals

The demand for health care management professionals is much higher than average, with employment projected to grow by 28 percent between 2021 and 2031, with 56,600 openings expected per year [2]. This is very promising for job prospects, especially as many different roles are available within the umbrella of health care management. 

Variety of options

Health care management is a term covering roles in a variety of settings. While you may immediately think of hospitals and doctors' offices, health care management professionals can work in many places, including nursing homes, public health centers, research for colleges and university research labs, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies.

Job satisfaction 

Careers in health care management come with high levels of job satisfaction. This is primarily to do with the ability to see the clear impact your work has on the community and patients. Knowing that the services you oversee and the initiatives you put together benefit the people who need them is rewarding, seeing the effort and dedication from the medical teams you manage. 

Careers in health care management

Careers in health care management are vast. Just as opportunities are available in various settings, role titles and responsibilities also vary. Positions exist at entry-level management from a  director or even VP level. This means you typically have plenty of job options, regardless of your experience level, with opportunities to advance within the field. 

Read more: 10 Best Paying Jobs in Health Care

Typical tasks

Responsibilities of a health care management professional or a health care management team will vary according to the position, but typically, responsibilities include:

  • Developing and implementing organizational level goals and procedures

  • Researching and implementing strategies to improve standards of patient care and facilities offered

  • Recruiting, training, and managing medical and administrative staff

  • Managing finance and budgets

  • Complying with health and data protection regulations

  • Working directly with health boards, stakeholders, medical staff, and investors

Key skills

You will need to possess and demonstrate various transferable skills to work in health care management. Common health care management skills include:

  • Communication

  • Moral judgment

  • Problem-solving

  • Flexibility

  • Time management

  • Team management

  • Stress management 

  • Decision making

  • Mentoring 

  • Organization

You also need to show some practical skills such as:

  • Excellence at working with figures and budgets

  • Performance of data analysis 

  • Knowledge of quality standards

  • Understanding business principles and strategies 

Common job titles

Health care management encompasses a variety of roles in a range of settings. Some common titles include:

  • Case manager

  • Clinical director

  • Director of social services 

  • Health advocate

  • Health care administrator

  • Health care manager

  • Health care supervisor

  • Health insurance underwriting manager

  • Medical director

  • Nursing home manager

  • Practice manager

  • Public health coordinator

  • Public health director

  • Rehabilitation manager

  • Social welfare administrator

How to get a job in health care management

A career in health care management requires a certain level of skills, qualifications, and experience. However, compared with many other positions in the medical world, you have more options to start at a lower entry point and work your way up, with less need for higher-level graduate degrees. 

Earn your degree 

While working up to more senior positions is possible, you need to start with a degree. This is best in a related discipline such as nursing, business, or public health. Studying for a master’s degree in addition to a bachelor’s degree is beneficial, with a good choice of subjects being those in a health-related field or business administration, but it is not essential. You can also find that some schools offer master's degrees in health care administration and management.

Read more: What Is an Undergraduate Degree?

Explore internships, fellowships, and residencies

A good level of clinical experience in a business or an administrative position is needed to work in health care management to get a detailed understanding of the field and management experience. While studying, you can consider exploring internships, fellowships, and residencies. This can give you a foot in the door and some valuable hands-on experience. You can also look for entry-level administrative posts in a clinical setting. 

If you are undertaking a career change, make sure you show that any previous experience is relevant where possible. 

Be willing to start at the bottom while gaining experience.

Gaining experience might require you to start in an entry-level position. Even entry-level health care management positions generally require a bachelor’s degree, so you will need to gain experience in relevant areas. In general, working in business and administration is valuable, but you will also need some experience in health care or the medical field. 

Build a stable work history 

Working in a management position means you will have ideally gained some experience through the ranks. Walking into a management role with no experience isn’t common, so it’s important to highlight everything you’ve done to date that has led you to where you are now. Include entry-level positions, admin positions, and any voluntary positions on your resume that show you have a stable work history and have learned the necessary transferable skills to succeed in a career in health care management. 

Consider certification

If you want to make yourself stand out as a viable candidate, consider a certification in addition to a bachelor's degree and even a master’s degree. There is a growing need for health care managers with a particular specialty, so if you can make yourself an expert in a specific area, you can broaden your options. 

Technology is a growing part of a health care manager's role, with new systems, software, and apps to increase patient engagement, organize services and keep in touch with patients. Popular examples are Salesforce and HubSpot and being competent with Microsoft office. Knowledge in these or other areas through additional certification can set you apart as having that little bit more. 

Next steps

Do you think a career in health care management is for you? A great place to start is to get your bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, such as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration delivered by the University of London on Coursera.

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Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

University of London

Article sources

1

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Services Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-5.” Accessed May 13, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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