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6 different management jobs in the healthcare field

At a glance

In an era of rapid tech innovations and ever-evolving facets of healthcare involving regulations, privacy, record keeping and patient requirements, clinics, hospitals, surgery centers and other medical service providers require capable professionals and leaders. To position yourself for one of these employment opportunities, you’ll typically need a healthcare degree. Here is a closer look at healthcare management specialties and what each involves. 


Interested in healthcare management? A degree from University of Phoenix is a great place to start! 

What are healthcare management jobs?

Some managers focus on developing strategic plans, ensuring regulatory compliance, overseeing financial management and allocating resources. Others manage patient-facing personnel, handle hiring and find opportunities to improve patient outcomes.

Healthcare organizations also need managers to oversee the deployment of technology and new equipment or to ensure accurate billing and record-keeping practices. These roles may require academic qualifications and an administrative skill set earned through education and job experience.

These roles might require skills such as evaluating financial strategies, knowing regulatory guidelines, learning new technology and practicing management strategies. Typically required are skills such as general management, policy enforcement, risk management and accounting.

Types of management roles in healthcare 

While healthcare managers can specialize in very different areas, many have one thing in common: qualifications. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that medical and health services managers need at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or a related subject as well as clinical or administrative experience. In general, a degree provides the necessary knowledge base for the position, and job experience allows for the development of specific skills and management capabilities over time.

Here are seven healthcare management professions. 

1. Office manager

Medical office managers work behind the scenes to ensure medical facilities run smoothly. This administrative position is typically not patient-facing but directly affects patient care. Office managers handle hiring, manage inventory and equipment purchases and maintenance, and oversee administrative and billing staff in a medical facility.

In a large hospital, an office manager may oversee a specific wing or department. In a smaller clinic or doctor’s office, the manager typically oversees the entire facility and ensures it has the staff, equipment and support services needed for daily operations. 

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2. Practice manager

Practice managers oversee day-to-day operations at a medical facility. Jobs are available in large hospitals, clinics, healthcare networks, independent practices and surgery centers.

In addition to managing administrative and financial aspects of daily healthcare operations, these non-patient-facing administrators also ensure compliance with healthcare laws and adopt practices to ensure quality patient care. Compared to office managers, practice managers play a larger role in long-term strategies, policy adoption, talent acquisition and the establishment of standard procedures.

Practice managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in business, healthcare management, administration or a related field. They might begin their careers as entry-level healthcare supervisors, department-level administrators, care coordinators, or billing or records specialists. 

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3. Health services manager

Health services managers, also known as health managers, optimize healthcare. This career involves using tools like data analysis, healthcare policy evaluation and procedure and policy planning to improve care and patient outcomes. Health services managers weigh different components and personnel involved in diagnostic and treatment processes.

In addition to planning and overseeing healthcare service processes, these managers often oversee hiring, staff scheduling, performance evaluation and use of equipment and supplies.

A degree in healthcare management or a related subject provides a knowledge base in medical practices and management techniques. Most health services managers hone their skills in entry-level administrative roles before moving into a leadership position.

4. Health information manager

A health information manager (HIM) focuses on the collection, organization and security of healthcare data. As more facilities and healthcare networks switch to electronic health records (EHRs), understanding healthcare data entry and management is a skill managers will need to have.

HIMs are in charge of the systems that manage health data and medical records for patient history, billing and research purposes. This position also requires ensuring compliance with privacy and security regulations, such as those outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

HIMs need more technical knowledge than other healthcare administrators. Having technical knowledge is essential for this role as data management often hinges on applications that require navigating.

5. Nurse director

Nurse directors are responsible for overseeing nursing staff and ensuring the delivery of quality patient care. In this position, you will design and administer nursing policies, allocate nursing staff, monitor patient outcomes, coach and train nurses, communicate needs to senior management and assess the performance of patient-facing staff.

To become a director of nursing, you must first become licensed as a registered nurse (RN). You may then want or need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). While it is possible at certain healthcare facilities to become a director of nursing with an Associate Degree in Nursing, a BSN is usually preferred. To further develop leadership skills, an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nurse Administration, may be helpful. Depending on your state or employer’s requirements, other certifications and years of experience may be needed.

6. Case manager

Case managers coordinate and maintain patient care across all providers and facilities. They create personalized care plans and coordinate services and resources on behalf of each patient. Case managers work with people with complex health conditions, those requiring care for mental illness or substance abuse, and elderly patients who need assistance with managing their care.

Case managers can work for nonprofits, health service providers or clinic networks. They can also find employment with insurance companies or public health agencies.

In most settings, case managers advocate for their patients and ensure quality care. They also liaise with providers to ensure providers have the information necessary to provide proper medical services.

Typically, case managers need to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree program in a relevant field. Degree specializations may include healthcare administration, nursing, social work, psychology or sociology. Depending on your state or organization, a special license or certification might be required.

7. Public health program manager

Rather than overseeing an entire facility, program managers can focus on specific initiatives. For example, public health program managers create plans, set benchmarks and come up with a budget for specific public health programs. Though this job can involve hiring employees, it may also focus on selecting and deploying existing workers to provide healthcare to the target population.

The specific qualifications for this profession can vary depending on the program. A degree in public health or healthcare administration may be necessary for overseeing community health programs. Studies in health information management or a more tech-oriented field might serve you better for projects involving the implementation of technology or building an EHR system.

Program managers have a direct impact on healthcare quality and outcomes, so they play a pivotal role in the organizations or facilities where they work. 

Are there entry-level healthcare management jobs?

Healthcare management jobs typically begin with entry-level roles. These positions provide critical experience and foundational skills. Aspiring healthcare managers usually work in entry-level positions to learn about daily operations, hone communication abilities and gain an understanding of operational management and planning. Such jobs also allow aspiring managers to gain real-world experience in their area of specialization. 

Important skills for healthcare management

Healthcare leadership positions require specific skill sets. In addition to talents unique to each specialty, all healthcare managers need general abilities regardless of their area. Here are a few important skills managers should have for these roles:

  • Systems thinking
  • Information management
  • Healthcare quality management

If you have the ambition to work as a healthcare leader, a healthcare management degree can help you hone these and other necessary skills and gain the knowledge on which to build a healthcare career.

Healthcare programs at University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix (UOPX) has degree programs that can help you prepare for a career in healthcare. Healthcare degrees can be earned online, allowing you the flexibility to pursue your educational goals without putting your life on hold. Read more about healthcare degree options available at UOPX:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Administration: This degree prepares students to learn important business aspects of health management to help organizations improve patient care and outcomes. Key skills include marketing trends, accounting and quality care analysis. 
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Management: This degree is specifically designed for allied health professionals, such as medical assistants, who want to pursue a career in healthcare management. You’ll learn critical skills like financial management, regulatory and compliance policies, and data analysis.
  • Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing: This program teaches and sharpens post-licensure nursing skills, covering health administration, business management for nursing professionals, coordination of safe care, and quality improvement and case management. It also covers critical thinking, communication, leadership, holistic nursing and much more. For this program specifically, students are required to physically attend class only one day a week.
  • Master of Health Administration: Students learn to generate core business strategies based on innovative concepts developed in the program. They also learn to evaluate industry and organizational dynamics in the healthcare environment and construct strategic relationships with diverse stakeholders to achieve business objectives.
  • Master of Health Administration with a concentration in Health Care Compliance and Privacy: This program equips you with skills to navigate the complexity of healthcare laws, rules and regulations to help keep patients and providers safe. The program educationally prepares students to sit for the Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC) examination.
  • Master of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Leadership: This program covers learning how to assess and advocate for the health needs of communities, analyze data related to the health of a target community, and analyze data related to the health of a target community. You’ll also learn how to plan, design, implement and evaluate community health programs.
  • Doctor of Health Administration: If you’re a health professional who is seeking greater responsibility in shaping the future of the health sector, the Doctor of Health Administration can help you get there. You’ll meet the challenges inherent to today’s healthcare landscape, including economic fluctuations, burgeoning patient needs and industry-changing legislation.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and its Writing Seminars program and winner of the Stephen A. Dixon Literary Prize, Michael Feder brings an eye for detail and a passion for research to every article he writes. His academic and professional background includes experience in marketing, content development, script writing and SEO. Today, he works as a multimedia specialist at University of Phoenix where he covers a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to IT.

 

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