Health care management is an attractive career path for those who love helping people and want to become leaders in the ever-growing industry, but it can be confusing to know exactly what to pursue if you’re just starting out or seeking the next step in your education.
Let’s look at some of the popular career paths within health care management — some of which may surprise you!
Popular career paths for healthcare management grads
Health care management is a surprisingly broad category that includes a wide range of jobs that support or manage aspects of the health care system. For example, practice managers organize and schedule providers within a medical office setting.
Hospitals and large organizations tend to employ many types of health care managers, including:
- Medical records supervisor
- Behavioral health manager
- Rehabilitation manager
- Healthcare manager
- Nursing supervisor or manager
There are also numerous health care management roles within finance, billing, and HR, such as:
- Coding specialist
- Insurance specialist
- Human resources manager
Public health and social services also employ health care management professionals, including case managers, social services directors, and behavioral health managers.
Most people in health care management pursue both a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree, often combining business, healthcare, or a discipline related to a specific healthcare career path.
What do healthcare managers do?
The health care management field is a broad category that includes a wide range of roles that don’t look the same day to day. Generally speaking, however, most employees keep hospital or practice operations running efficiently. This can involve scheduling appointments, coordinating services (such as mental and physical healthcare providers), analyzing operations, and so on.
In short, health care managers take care of most of the professional services, management, and administration necessary for providers to deliver effective and efficient patient care.
What are the benefits of studying healthcare management?
There are numerous reasons to study health care management.
To start, it is a growing, high-demand field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that allied health is growing quickly, while medical and health services manager positions will grow by 32 percent through 2030.
There’s also quite a bit of flexibility in terms of work environment. The administrative offices of large hospitals, governmental and public health offices, midsized to large medical practices, labs, imaging centers, research facilities, and others all employ healthcare management professionals in varying capacities. And iIncreasingly, some of these positions can be remote or hybrid positions
Whether you’re looking for something intense and cutting edge or a more laid-back pace, you’re likely to find a work environment that supports your ideal work life.
Is a degree in health care management worth it?
It all depends on what your long-term career goals are. Every health care organization has numerous professional and management roles that provide vital services that keep the organization functioning well.
Many of these professional roles involve administration or management duties similar to jobs in the broader professional world, but in the context of health care. A degree in health care management or health care professional services can be an ideal starting place, providing context and education in an applied setting and preparing students for advanced studies.
What is the difference between health care management and health care administration?
These two similar terms are often confused, and, admittedly, there can be overlap between them. There are some subtle differences, though. Health care management usually looks at the bigger picture and has an organization-wide scope. That’s why executive titles like hospital administrator, executive director, and even CEO fall under the healthcare management umbrella.
Healthcare administration is equally important. This discipline oversees more localized areas, such as an individual department (nursing administrator) or practice (practice administrator).
Is health care management a stressful job?
It depends on what your point of reference is, along with what position you take within the field.
Compared to the stress of working as a patient care nurse or trauma physician, health care management is notably less stressful. Most positions look an awful lot like a nine-to-five office job, because that’s what they are). You’ll also rarely deal with patients directly, if ever), and there aren’t typically many physical demands.
Now, compared to a corresponding job outside health care, your mileage may vary. The health care field has its own stressors and challenges, which look and feel different than the stressors faced as a manager outside healthcare. Whether they’re better or worse is both situational and a matter of opinion.
Is health care management a good career?
Working in this field accomplishes measurable good in society, helping healthcare providers better meet the needs of patients. In this way, it’s certainly a good career.
But is it a good career for you?
Depending on your desires and skills, the answer is likely yes.: Given the breadth of available careers, there’s something for nearly anyone interested in the field.
Many health care management positions come with strong starting pay as well, though these figures vary widely depending on the role and the region in which you plan to work.
What degree do I need to get started in healthcare management?
Some entry-level positions in the broader category of allied health and health care management require only a bachelor’s degree, such as the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Professional Services from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Many positions, however, require or prefer a master’s degree, either in a healthcare-related field (such as nursing management) or in a specific, related discipline (such as a degree related to business, HR, or research).
If you know which role you’re likely to pursue, speaking with a local health care institution or an admissions counselor at a relevant school could reveal what your ideal degree path should look like.
Consider MSU Denver’s Health Care Professional Services Degree Program
At MSU Denver, we offer quality education that meets the needs of today’s students — whether that means online, in-person residential education or a hybrid program.
Our Health Care Management and Health Care Professional Services Bachelor of Science degree programs prepare students like you to find a role in health care-related organizations or to prepare for graduate study.
Whether in the growing field of allied health services, direct patient care, or in another health care management-related discipline, MSU Denver can prepare you for success.
Read more about a Health Care Management alum and Air Force lieutenant studying online and how these two students are combining nutrition and community health.