How to Become a Medical or Health Services Manager
Medical and health services managers must effectively communicate policies and procedures with other health professionals.
Medical and health services managers typically need a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation; however, educational requirements vary by facility and specific function. Prospective managers also typically need work experience in an administrative or clinical role in a hospital or other healthcare facility.
Medical and health services managers typically need a bachelor's degree to enter the occupation, although requirements may vary. For example, some employers hire candidates with an associate’s degree; others prefer to hire those with a master’s degree. Work experience sometimes may substitute for education.
Common majors for medical and health services managers include healthcare and related fields, such as health administration or nursing, or other relevant fields, such as business. Degrees that focus on both management and healthcare combine business-related topics with those such as medical terminology, hospital organization, and health information systems. For example, a degree in health administration or health information management may include courses in health services management, accounting and budgeting, and health informatics.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Employers may require prospective medical and health services managers to have work experience in either an administrative or a clinical role in a hospital or other healthcare facility. For example, nursing home administrators may have years of experience working as a registered nurse.
Other managers may begin their careers as medical records specialists, administrative assistants, or financial clerks in a healthcare office.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some medical and health services managers need a state-issued license. For example, all states require licensure for nursing home administrators; requirements vary by state. For more information, contact your local or state licensing board.
Some positions may require candidates to be licensed as a registered nurse or social worker.
Although certification is not required, some managers choose to earn a professional credential. For example, the American Health Information Management Association and the Project Management Institute offer certification specific to their areas of focus.
Some health information managers advance by taking on additional responsibilities, such as for an entire hospital’s information systems. Other managers may advance to top executive positions within an organization. Advancement to top level executive positions may require a master’s degree.
Analytical skills. Medical and health services managers review and evaluate healthcare metrics for ways to improve efficiency and meet goals.
Communication skills. Medical and health services managers must convey information to their staff, other healthcare workers, and, sometimes, patients and insurance agents.
Detail oriented. Medical and health services managers must pay attention to detail. They might be required to organize and maintain scheduling and billing information for very large facilities, such as hospitals.
Leadership skills. Medical and health services managers hire, train, and direct staff. They must be able to motivate others and create an environment in which workers can succeed.
Technical skills. Medical and health services managers must stay up to date with advances in healthcare technology, such as the coding and electronic health record (EHR) systems their facility adopts.