The label, “Healthcare Management” often holds different connotations for different people. Before pursuing a degree in healthcare management, are you positive that you know exactly what it entails? By understanding what it is – and what it’s not – you can ensure that you’ll have a long and fulfilling career.
Job Scope and Career Opportunities
Few industries are expanding as rapidly as healthcare. A number of factors feed this trend, including an aging U.S. population, greater life expectancies, advances in healthcare technology, and an increased emphasis on healthy living. For those in the healthcare management field, this means job opportunities are readily available.
One of the biggest benefits of pursuing a healthcare management degree is that you aren’t limiting your options. Unlike other degrees, there’s more than one career path. Two people with the same degree could choose two distinct paths. For example, one individual may enjoy the fast-paced nature of the emergency room, and apply for positions in hospitals. Another individual – with the same healthcare management degree – may prefer a more business-like setting, and look for positions with health insurance companies. It’s a flexible degree with plenty of diversity and opportunity.
According to the most recent numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for medical and health services managers is $88,580 per year (or $42.90 per hour). Between 2012 and 2022, 73,330 jobs are expected to be added (a 23 percent growth rate that’s much faster than the national average).
While the majority of healthcare management positions are full-time, you can typically find some employers who need hourly, weekend, or overnight work – especially in emergency facilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that hospitals employ 39 percent of healthcare management degree holders, ambulatory healthcare services employ 26 percent, nursing and residential care services employ 11 percent, and government employs 8 percent.
The Typical Healthcare Management Degree Program
As you can see, the future of healthcare management is promising. But what about the degree program? How can you earn your degree, and what does it entail? Well, much like the career outlook, individual programs vary depending on the institution. Generally speaking, there are four different types of healthcare management degrees. They’re as follows:
- Bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in healthcare management usually takes four years to complete. Most of the time, this degree is pursued by students with no other post-secondary degrees to their name. It requires you to take all general education courses, in addition to specific healthcare management topics.
- Associate’s degree. An associate’s degree program is specialized and usually takes two years or fewer to complete. These degrees are commonly pursued through online programs.
- Master’s degree. For students with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, and some work experience, master’s degree programs let students specialize in a particular area of healthcare management. These degrees typically take two years, but there are accelerated programs at some business schools.
- Doctorate degree. The pinnacle of healthcare management is the doctorate degree program. Lasting anywhere from three to five years, these programs require large amounts of research, an intense thesis, and plenty of previous career experience.
Depending on the degree you’re interested in obtaining, you can feasibly complete your educational requirements in as few as two years. However, if you’re interested in earning additional degrees, you could also spend as long as a decade in the classroom. But, as you can see, it’s completely up to you. There’s so much room for personal choice in this industry, and you’re in charge of your own career. But it’s always good to know what it entails before making any decisions.
Top Skills Needed to be Successful in Healthcare Management
In addition to understanding what a career path in healthcare management looks like, and what the average degree program entails, it’s helpful to turn the focus inward. Personally speaking, are you fit for a career in this field? Though it’s hard to know until you’re thrown into a real-life setting, most people possess the following skills:
- You have to be a leader to work in healthcare management. Regardless of which specialty you pursue, you’re going to be in charge of making decisions and leading people. The good news is that most degree programs offer courses in leadership and HR management.
- Ability to solve problems. Healthcare facilities are often faced with major problems in relation to financial budgets, spatial constraints, and individualized patient needs. The ability to look at problems, and solve them creatively, is important.
- Healthcare isn’t for the faint of heart. Patients can be emotionally charged, and the facilities that serve them have to be calm and collected. As an organizational leader, it’s critical that you exhibit patience.
- Analytical prowess. Though you won’t be staring at spreadsheets all day, you do need excellent analytical skills to be successful in healthcare management. According to one study, necessary analytical skills fall into the following three categories: planning, quantitative data analysis, and technology management.
- Relationship skills. While you may not be required to have the same bedside manner as that of a nurse, you certainly need strong interpersonal skills. In addition to delegating responsibilities and overseeing people, you’ll also have to deal with individual co-workers and help them to overcome challenges, succeed, and grow in their careers.
With these skills, and a proper understanding of what a career in healthcare management entails, you can make an educated decision regarding whether or not this industry’s right for you.
Contact Orion College Today
At Orion College, we believe that the future’s bright for those with healthcare management degrees. As employment of medical and health services managers continues to experience impressive growth, we’re excited and energized. Through our 16-month program, students are prepared for real-world success. Required courses and topics include anatomy, healthcare marketing, financial management, leadership, computer literacy, psychology, and more.
When students graduate from Orion College, they carry more than a degree. They take with them the knowledge and experience needed to make a difference in fast-paced medical settings. Whether that setting’s a hospital, physician’s office, clinic, insurance program, or something else is completely up to the student. For additional information on our degree program and how you can apply, please contact us today!