What Is Healthcare Management? A Career Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Look at careers in healthcare management, healthcare management skills, and the path to gaining a good healthcare management salary.

[Featured Image] A hospital administrator and two medical professionals sit at a conference table.

Healthcare management professionals are the people who keep hospitals, medical centres, and doctor's offices functioning and serve the community with the best possible care, medical products, and services. Careers in healthcare management are popular choices with excellent earning potential, the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives, and the high demand for healthcare management professionals.

Here's a guide to healthcare management, including five reasons to consider a career.

What is healthcare management? 

Healthcare management is a behind-the-scenes role that involves overseeing the direction of healthcare facilities. People in these roles work to enhance treatment options and direct organisational policies and procedures. Healthcare 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.

Careers in healthcare management

Careers in healthcare management are vast. As opportunities are available in various settings, role titles and responsibilities vary. Positions exist at entry-level management through leadership levels. This means you typically have plenty of job options, regardless of your experience level, with opportunities to advance within the field. 

Job responsibilities

Responsibilities of a healthcare management professional or a healthcare management team will vary according to the position, but typically, duties include:

  • Developing and implementing organisational 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 healthcare management. Common healthcare management skills include:

  • Communication

  • Moral judgement

  • Problem-solving

  • Flexibility

  • Time management

  • Team management

  • Stress management 

  • Decision-making

  • Mentoring 

  • Organisation

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

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

  • Assistant operations manager

  • Case manager

  • Claims manager

  • Clinical director

  • Director of social services 

  • Health advocate

  • Healthcare administrator

  • Healthcare information manager

  • Healthcare manager

  • Healthcare supervisor

  • Health insurance underwriting manager

  • Hospital administrator

  • Hospital CEO

  • Hospital CFO

  • Medical director

  • Medical practice manager

  • Nursing home administrator

  • Oncology coordinator

  • Physician relations liaison

  • Practice manager

  • Public health coordinator

  • Public health director

  • Rehabilitation manager

  • Social welfare administrator

5 reasons to consider a career in healthcare management

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

1. Ability to make an impact on your community

A healthcare management career allows you to impact the community you live in or serve. You can 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 who need them. 

2. Earning potential 

Salary potential for a healthcare manager is excellent in India, with the average being ₹5,75,665 per year as of February 2024, according to Indeed [1]. As positions vary in healthcare management, salary levels are directly related to the position, years of experience, qualifications, location, and where you work. 

3. Demand for healthcare management professionals

According to a report by the International Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) in Delhi, India, the healthcare management industry in the country is expected to grow by 22.87 percent in the next several years [2]. The demand for healthcare workers is higher than the available professionals to fill those roles. This provides plenty of opportunities for healthcare professionals in many roles.

4. Variety of options

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

5. Job satisfaction 

Careers in healthcare management generally come with higher 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, as is seeing the effort and dedication of the medical teams you manage. 

How to get a job in healthcare management

A career in healthcare 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 degrees. 

Earn your degree 

While working up to more senior positions is possible, you generally need to start with a university 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 a health-related field or business administration. You can also find that some schools offer higher-level degrees in health care administration and management.

Explore internships, fellowships, and residencies

A good level of clinical experience in a business or an administrative position is needed to work in healthcare 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, show that any previous experience is relevant. 

Gain experience

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

Build a stable work history and resume

Working in a management position means you will have ideally gained some experience through the ranks. Walking into a management role with no experience is rare, 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, administrative positions, and any volunteer 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 healthcare 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. If you can make yourself an expert in a specific area, you can broaden your options. 

Technology is a growing part of a healthcare manager's role, with new systems, software, and applications to increase patient engagement, organise services and keep in touch with patients. Popular examples are Salesforce and HubSpot, as well as competency in Microsoft Office. Knowledge in these or other areas through additional certification can set you apart from other job candidates. 

Next steps

Do you think a career in healthcare management is for you? A great place to start is to get a bachelor's degree, like a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of London on Coursera.

Article sources


Indeed. "Health Care Manager Salary in India, https://in.indeed.com/career/healthcare-manager/salaries." Accessed April 3, 2024.

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