How to Become a Medical Health Service Manager

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What Do Medical Health Service Managers Do?

Medical health service managers keep health care practices running smoothly. They do so by planning and directing health and medical services. These pros could manage one clinical area or department. Or, they could manage a whole medical practice.

Healthcare administrator and healthcare executive are some other names for the role. Like other kinds of business leaders, these managers make sure key goals are met. These include efficiency, quality, and cost. Health services managers must also find and train staff. They make work schedules and budgets. And, they make sure the facility follows all laws that govern health care.

Many health service managers work in state, local, and private hospitals. They also work in physicians’ offices, nursing homes, and out patient care centers. Currently, an aging population means there’s a growing need for medical services. So, roles in this career are increasing much faster than average. 28% growth is projected between 2022 and 2032.

A lot of these potential opportunities may be in group practice management. That’s because many services offered in hospitals have moved to smaller practices. Changes in technology also call for new expertise. These factors should help drive growth and salary potential for health services managers.

Key Skills for Medical Health Service Managers

Higher education helps medical health service managers learn skills. They could study health administration, health management, or a related field. They also learn on the job. Most need to have experience working in health care, before becoming a manager. That could be an office job or a clinical role, like nursing.



Operations ManagementThis skill is all about how businesses or health practices run. That includes everything from office processes to quality control. The goal is to keep health services running efficiently and with low costs. 
LeadershipLeadership involves guiding and inspiring people. Leaders may be at the helm of small teams or even large hospitals.
People ManagementManaging people is key to a well run health practice. It involves staffing, making schedules, and giving directions. You’ll also need to recruit and train employees. 
Medicine / SurgeryMedical and health services managers don’t practice medicine. But, they still need some knowledge of the field. Knowing medical terms and concepts could help you plan and manage more effectively.
Electronic Medical Records (EMR)EMR or EHR (Electronic Health Records) are used for patient health data. Medical and health services managers need to understand this technology. That includes organizing and managing records.

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 knowledge in health care. Most health services managers work in an admin or clinical career, first. Nursing home admins may start out as registered nurses, 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 consulting firm.

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

Bachelor’s degree is usually the least education required 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, 9% of pros in this field hold a Master’s. Like your undergrad degree, this could be in many different fields.

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.

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 34,510 roles. The average annual salary in this state is $125,770. That’s much higher than the median salary for this career path: $99,730 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. 


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

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 1,900$170,710
New York 25,910$179,160
Massachusetts 19,480$158,540
Delaware 1,420$162,430
New Jersey17,070$158,540 

Types of Careers Like Medical Health Service Management

Medical health services managers share job duties in common with other types of managers. Check out similar career paths, like:

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, government, and finance.

Median Salary: $104,900per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 5% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

Financial Manager

Financial Managers are in charge of a company’s finances. They can help business leaders plan how to reduce costs and increase profit. One way to do this is through data analysis. Financial managers look at market trends and forecasts. They apply these insights to their company’s budget, investments, and more. These pros can work in many industries. A few are health care, finance, insurance, and government.

Median Salary: $156,100 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 16% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

Top Executive

Top Executives lead businesses and help them reach their goals. They come up with strategies to improve efficiency and profit. Usually, they oversee the budget and direction of a company. But, the full range of duties for an executive may depend on company size. In a smaller business, they may handle day to day details. At larger businesses, they focus more on policies and planning.

Median Salary: $103,840per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 3% (As fast as 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 nonprofit 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: $77,030per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 9% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

Human Resources Manager  

Human Resources Managers are a link between company leadership and workers. They recruit, interview, and hire staff. And, they help make companies good places to work. HR managers handle everything from employee benefits to solving conflicts. And, they work with business leaders to identify talent needs. HR managers work for all kinds of companies. Top industries include health care, manufacturing, and government.  

Median Salary: $136,350 per year

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

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

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