A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
For many, completing a degree program in healthcare management. is an important step toward pursuing a career in one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the economy—the healthcare industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is home to 13 of the 30 fastest growing occupations.1 The BLS’ healthcare management job outlook is particularly bright, with employment of medical and health services managers projected to grow 32 percent from 2019 to 2029, and it also anticipates that the United States’ aging baby boomer population will continue to be a significant driver of the increased need for healthcare services.2
A healthcare management degree program. could help you work to develop knowledge and skills needed to pursue a medical or health services management career path in this industry, but how do you decide if such a program may be right for you? To begin with, you should make sure you can answer some fundamental questions, such as: What is healthcare management? What skills are important for working in this field? What topics will healthcare management courses cover, and how long will a degree program take? So, with these questions in mind, let’s get started.
Simply stated, healthcare management is the business side of healthcare. Instead of directly treating patients, those working in healthcare management roles are typically involved in planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services. They might work in private practice, nursing home, or hospital management, and they may oversee an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a group medical practice. Some of their responsibilities may include improving healthcare quality and efficiency, ensuring compliance with governmental regulations, managing department finances, creating/monitoring budgets, and interfacing with medical staff and various department heads.2
What Are Some Helpful Healthcare Management Skills?
Now that we understand what healthcare management is, let’s talk about the qualities that employers might look for in medical and health services managers. In order to carry out the responsibilities discussed above, these professionals need to possess and/or hone certain healthcare management skills, which include a combination of soft and hard skills. Healthcare management hard skills include technical skills, which are needed to stay abreast of ever-developing advances in healthcare technology and data analytics. As far as soft skills are concerned, leadership ability is an important characteristic, as managers are often tasked with providing oversight and making various personnel decisions. Other important soft skills may include:2
- Analytical skills to understand and ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
- Communication skills to clearly convey necessary information to staff and department heads.
- Attention to detail to aid in scheduling and billing, creating/monitoring budgets, ensuring compliance, etc.
- Interpersonal skills to aid in discussing sensitive matters, such as staffing problems or patient information, with physicians, insurance agents, and others.
Pursuing a degree program in healthcare management could help you strengthen and build upon these skills.
Do You Need a Healthcare Management Degree?
To pursue a career in healthcare management as a medical or health services manager, employers generally require at least a bachelor’s degree , but some may have a preference for candidates who possess a master’s degree in healthcare management , health administration, business administration, or related area of study, depending upon the position.2 That said, pertinent undergraduate and graduate programs should be designed to help you develop healthcare management skills and foundational knowledge generally required of those working in the field. For example:
- Healthcare management courses at the bachelor’s level may include coverage of healthcare ethics, economics of healthcare, quality management, healthcare informatics, human resources management, and managerial psychology, among others.
- Healthcare management courses at the master’s level program are designed to provide more advanced coverage of topics such as healthcare marketing, healthcare economics, healthcare statistics, information systems, and more.
How Long Does a Healthcare Management Degree Take to Complete?
How long a healthcare management degree takes to complete does depend on a few factors, a major one being whether you’re pursuing a bachelor’s (typically 4 years), master’s (typically 2-3 years), or doctoral (typically 3 years) degree program. Other important factors that could influence these general time frames include whether a student takes any leaves of absence, qualifies for advanced standing, takes summer breaks, etc. An Associate of Science in Health Administration Services could be a good option for those seeking a shorter academic time commitment and an interest in pursuing more entry-level roles in the health administration services field or as a stepping-stone for future academic pursuits.
Is a Healthcare Management Degree Program Right for You?
If you’re interested in the business side of healthcare, with its potential to offer the ability to make an impact upon the quality of patient healthcare services, then pursuing a healthcare management degree might be a good fit for you. Colorado Technical University offers a general track and health informatics concentration at the bachelor’s level, plus a general track and informatics concentration at master’s level, giving you more flexibility to choose a program that aligns with your interests.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, News Release, USDL-19-1571, Employment Projections 2018-2028 (9/4/2020), https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.nr0.htm (last visited 9/1/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Medical and Health Services Managers,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (last visited 9/1/2020). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
CTU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ1589981 10/2020
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