Become a Medical and Health Services Manager

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WHAT IS A MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES MANAGER?

Medical and health services managers are also called health care execs or health care admins. Much like the exec of a corporation or a head admin at a school, they take a lead role in being able to plan, direct and manage health care institutes. Their daily tasks depend on the clinical field they oversee, as a medical and health service manager may administrate for an entire facility, a certain department or group of physicians. In short, it is up to the health care admin to stay on the cutting edge of health care legislation and tech to ensure the business operates smoothly.

Health care law is a hugely complex field. With online schools, you may find out what it takes to pursue a career in this field and learn about the skills, subjects and levels of certification you must acquire to seek employment. What’s more, many find online programs helpful because class schedules are often flexible and courses can be accessed remotely.

How Do I Become a Medical Health Service Manager? 

Most medical and health services managers must earn at least a Bachelor’s degree. Many earn a Master’s degree. And, you may need related work experience. 

Not every health services manager studies the same thing. You could earn your degree in health administration, health management, or public health administration. Or, you could earn a degree in nursing or even business administration.  

Some degree programs cover both management and health care, which is useful. You’ll take business courses like accounting, HR, and health economics. And, you’ll dive into the details of running a health care practice. That includes everything from medical terms to health information systems. 

Finally, you should gain experience in health care. Most health services managers work in an admin or clinical career, first. Nursing home admins may start out as an RN, for example. Some degree programs also offer ways to get in some practice time. Health admin Master’s programs often build in as much as one year of experience. This could take place in a hospital or health care firm. 

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What Degree Should I Earn to Become a Medical Health Service Manager?   

Bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum education for medical health services managers. You may have your choice of a few majors, from health admin to nursing. No matter which degree you earn, you should to take courses related to business and health care.  

Let’s explore some common Bachelor’s programs for medical health service managers: 

Bachelor’s in Health Care Administration

This program covers the business side of health care. That includes health care economics, finance, and leadership. You’ll learn how health care facilities run. And, you’ll explore areas like health care ethics, laws, and regulations. This program may take a strategic or big picture view. That said, it could offer specializations. These are a chance to learn more about one area of health care admin, like: 

  • Health information management 
  • Operations management 
  • Patient safety and quality 
  • Organizational leadership 
  • And more 

Bachelor’s in Health Care Management

While similar to health care admin, a health care management program has some differences. Just how different depends on the program. But, you may focus more on day to day operations. You could zero in on health information management, communications, and HR. These and other areas impact how a health facility runs.   

Bachelor’s in Business Administration

Business is a popular and versatile major. It covers the basics of how companies run. Many of these concepts apply to health care. Some programs even offer a specialization in health services management. Expect to take courses like finance, accounting, and marketing. You’ll also study management, HR, and other aspects of leading staff.

Some employers look for health services managers with Master’s degrees. Currently, 12% of pros in this field hold a Master’s. Like your undergraduate degree, this could be in several different fields.  

Master’s in Health Care Administration

A Master’s in Health Care Administration explores high level concepts about how health practices run. Think: medical supply chains and health information systems. You’ll also learn strategies to help your health practice stay competitive. And, you’ll learn the finer points of laws and regulations. 

Some opt to earn an MBA with a health care focus. An MBA in Health Care Management covers the business of the health industry. You’ll likely take core business courses, like economics, finance, and management science. Plus, you’ll take courses that apply business ideas to health challenges. You could study areas like managed care, health services delivery, and the business of e-health. 

ARE ONLINE MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES MANAGER PROGRAMS FOR YOU?

Here are some things to think about before you choose an online health services manager program:

  • While standards for hire depend on the place and employer, many medical and health services managers need at least a bachelor’s degree to pursue a role. At the same time, more employers are looking for master’s degrees, as per the U.S. BLS.
  • Medical and health services managers may ask for schooling in many subjects, like hospital organization and management, accounting and budgeting, human resources admin, law and ethics, health information systems and more.
  • Many employers may require a certain level of knowledge and sometimes favor those with a back ground similar to the place that is hiring, such as knowledge from working in a nursing care home, hospital, mental health institute or the like.
  • Certification requirements vary by state and by facility. Although certs are not always required, they are often a way professionals improve employment opportunities. Organizations such as the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management and the American College of Health Care Administrators offer certifications you may find useful.
  • Before you sign up for an online course, ask about work study programs and other programs that offer experience based learning. Also, ask about what subjects the course covers and how they may prepare you for other certs.

WHAT DO MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES COURSES LOOK LIKE?

Some common courses include:

Human Resources Management: This course may focus on how to recruit, hire, and train health care workers. Expect to study topics like pay, benefits, and work place safety.

Health Care Finance: In this course, you could learn how to handle money for health practices. You may study accounting, as well as how to manage finance.

Epidemiology: Examine the ins and outs of health in large groups. You could learn how to address large scale health concerns to keep people safe.

Health Care Management: Get a glimpse of how to run a health care practice. You could study marketing, leadership, safety, and other topics.

Quality Management: It’s vital to measure and improve quality in health care. This course may look at things from delivery of service to patient outcomes.

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Top Industries for Medical Health Service Managers 

Of course, medical and health services managers work in the health care industry. But within that field, they have diverse employers. These range from the government to private nursing homes. Top areas by salary include

Industry Annual Mean Wage 
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals$122,460
Offices of Physicians$107,530
Outpatient Care Centers$106,590
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)$93,680
Home Health Care Services$97,170

Professional Certifications for Medical Health Service Managers 

Professional certifications could help you show your skills and knowledge in health service management. There’s no single cert that’s standard in the field. That could be because health service managers work in many areas. Doctor’s office managers may need different skills than health information systems managers. Check out a few credentials that may fit your goals: 

HIMSS Certifications 

HIMSS is a nonprofit org centered on global health. They offer two certification paths. These are aimed at health information and technology professionals. Choose from: 

Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS)

This cert helps prove your skills and enhance your career. It may be ideal for pros at the beginning of their careers. But, those with more experience can pursue it. You need at least a high school diploma to be eligible. Then: 

  • Prepare for the exam. You’ll need to know the basics of information management in health care.  
  • Apply and pay a fee. 
  • Take and pass the exam. It’s two hours long. You’ll answer 115 multiple choice questions. 100 of those questions are scored. You’ll need a score of 600 out of 800 to pass. 
  • There’s a three year renewal period. To recertify, you’ll need 45 clock hours of continuing education. Or, retake and pass the exam.

Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)

This is intended for more experienced pros. As of Jan. 1, 2020, you’ll need: 

  • An eligible bachelor’s degree and at least five years of relevant work experience. OR 
  • An eligible graduate degree and three years of relevant experience. OR 
  • At least ten years of relevant experience. 
  • Other steps are the same as for CAHIMS, above. But, you’ll be tested on more advanced topics.  

Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) 

FACHE is a credential for experienced health care executives. You must have at least five years at the executive level. And, you must earn at least a Master’s degree. Other criteria include at least 36 hours of continuing education in health care. You must have been a member of ACHE for at least three years. And, there’s more to it. Check out all the rules before applying. If you’re eligible, the next steps are: 

  • Submit your application and $250 fee. If you are approved, you get up to two years to pass the Board of Governors Exam. 
  • Prepare to take the exam. It covers ten core knowledge areas. Some of these are finance, healthcare technology, and quality improvement. 
  • Register for the exam. There’s a $200 fee. 
  • Take and pass the exam. 

Certified Professional in Health Care Risk Management (CPHRM) 

CPHRM is offered by the American Hospital Association (AHA). It focuses on risk management in health care. So, you must have knowledge and work experience in that field. To be eligible, you must have: 

  • At least a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited school. And, you’ll need five years of relevant work experience.  
  • An associate’s degree from an accredited school. You’ll need at least seven years of experience. 
  • A high school diploma and nine years of experience.  

You must also have risk management experience. You’ll need at least 3,000 hours. Or, 50% of your full-time job duties in the last three years must relate to managing risk. Steps to become certified are: 

  • Prepare for the exam. You could take the CPHRM Exam Prep course. You’ll need to know five content areas, such as patient safety and risk financing. 
  • Register for the exam. 
  • Take and pass the exam. You have two hours to answer 110 multiple choice questions. 
  • Recertify every three years. You can either retake the exam or complete 45 clock hours of continuing education.  

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) 

AAHAM offers several certs for health care revenue cycle pros. These prove skills at different career levels – from technician to executive. Each calls for different amounts of education, to qualify. Plus, you’ll need to take a proctored exam. Two paths that may be perfect for managers are: 

  • Certified Revenue Cycle Professional (CRCP). This is for managers and supervisors. It deals with health care revenue management. That includes billing, credit, collections and more. Pursue the professional track if you work in a clinic or doctor’s office. Take the institutional track if you work in a hospital or health system. 
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE). This is for senior level execs and leaders. It tests advanced knowledge of revenue cycles. As with the CRCP, you can choose from professional or institutional tracks.  

Certified Medical Manager (CMM)  

CMM certifies pros in health care medical practice management. It is an industry standard for physician office management. The cert calls for knowledge of nine domains. These include areas like health care finance and HR. Steps to certify are: 

  • Qualify. You must have at least two years in healthcare or patient care support. And, you must have 12 college credits related to health admin and management. If you have more work experience, you may need fewer credits. 
  • Apply and schedule your exam. The exam fee is $770 for nonmembers. PAHCOM members get 50% off. 
  • Take and pass the exam. You have three hours to answer 200 multiple choice questions.  

Professional Organizations 

Professional groups for health services managers may offer great benefits. You could pursue certification and continuing ed. And, you could network with others in your field. Learn more about some common professional orgs: 

  • AAHAM. This group offers certification programs. (Learn more about them, above.) They also have job resources, info, and news about the industry. You could join one of 30 local AAHAM chapters around the U.S. It’s a great way to get involved and share concerns. The fee is $209 per year. 
  • ACHE. This is the American College of Healthcare Executives. It’s home to networks of leaders in health care. All share a goal: to improve the health care industry. You could take part in interest based forums and groups. Job and education resources are just a few of the other benefits ACHE offers. Full membership is $345 per year. 
  • AHCAP. This is the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals. It features many resources for pros in this field. That includes education on timely topics in the industry. Members also get job resources, tuition discounts, and more. Regular membership is $195 per year. Students pay just $25.  
  • HFMA. The Healthcare Financial Management Association is a community of over 43,000 pros. They are united by roles in the money side of health care. Networking, knowledge, and resources are just some benefits to belonging. Professional membership is $425 per year. Students pay $50.  
  • AHA. The American Hospital Association advocates for the health care field. They provide resources and insights. And, they connect pros through events and opportunities to network. You can join through a sub group in your professional area. For instance, human resources or health care risk management. Annual dues vary by group.  

Working as a Medical Health Service Manager 

The state that employs the most medical health service managers is California, with 36,940 roles. The average annual salary in this state is $133,040. That’s much higher than the median salary for this career path: $100,980 per year.  

States that employ the most health services managers tend to have top health care facilities. These include hospitals and health care systems, like UCLA Health. California’s top hospital, UCLA serves patients all over the LA region. (It’s the official hospital of the Lakers!) UCLA hires health services admins and managers across many departments.  

Like UCLA, Massachusetts General Hospital is a top teaching hospital. It is affiliated with Harvard University. And, it’s one of the most renowned health care facilities in the U.S. Mass General and many other large hospitals often hire health services managers. 

Some employers focus on one area of medicine. Take the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This is the oldest, largest private cancer center in the world. Wills Eye Hospital is another example. This is the first hospital in the U.S. devoted to treating eyes. Both may hire managers in everything from finance to quality control.   

And, some health care facilities focus on certain populations. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, is the first kids’ hospital in the U.S. The Woman’s Hospital of Texas takes care of women and infants. Both may hire health administrators and managers.  

Not everyone with health management knowledge works in a health care center. Some work for health care consulting firms. One possible employer is McKinsey & Company. They consult in many industries. That includes health care systems and services. This and other consulting firms may hire health management pros to bring solutions to clients.  

Top Salaries by State for Medical Health Service Managers 

The following information is for Medical Health Service Mangers. Salary and employment numbers will differ for other career paths.

State Employment Annual Mean Wage 
District of Columbia1,600$150,040
New York25,740$147,000
Hawaii1,540$133,320
California36,940$133,040
Massachusetts15,810$132,960

MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES MANAGER CAREER PATHS AND POTENTIAL SALARIES

There are many career paths in health service management could prepare you for. Because the roles requires savvy management skills, budget expertise and knowledge of health care law, you may find other industries that will capitalize on those marketable exploits. Study which options may be available using stats compiled by the BLS.

MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES MANAGERS

These pros manage finances, supervise assistant admins, create work schedules, work with staff and department heads and ensure the health care facility is working at peak levels of efficiency, quality and in the law at all times.

Median Salary: $99,730 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 18% (Much faster than avg)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGERS

In the same way that medical and health services managers organize workers and admin functions, so do HR managers. However, these pros often work outside of the health care sector. They consult with execs of a business to develop plans and serve a primary function in hiring new employees.

Median Salary: $113,300 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 7% (Faster than avg)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

INSURANCE UNDERWRITERS

While medical and health services managers have a specialized knowledge about health care law and regulations, insurance underwriters take this knowledge one step further. They judge when and how to provide insurance and under what terms depending on certain scenarios.

Median Salary: $69,380 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: -5% (Decline)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

Administrative Services Manager  

Administrative Services Managers run a company’s supportive services. They direct all the functions that keep a business in action. These include record keeping, stocking supplies, and managing clerical staff. And, these managers take care of the facility, itself. They handle areas ranging from security to recycling. Plus, they make sure the office meets safety regulations and other standards. Many large businesses hire these pros. Top industries include health care, gov’t, and finance.     

Median Salary: $96,180 per year 

Job Growth Through 2028: 7% (Faster than average) 

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree 

Social and Community Service Manager 

Social and Community Service Managers run social service programs. Or, they could run not for profit businesses that serve the community. They manage workers, funding, and outreach. And, they use data to improve programs. These managers could make a difference in many areas. Those include groups like veterans and the homeless. They could address issues like substance addiction, hunger, and mental health. 

Median Salary: $65,320 per year 

Job Growth Through 2028: 13% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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