What’s the Best Degree Path to Become a Healthcare Manager?

If you have excellent communication, problem-solving and analytical skills and you communicate well with others, then a career in healthcare management and administration might be for you. Healthcare managers and administrators coordinate medical services in hospitals, ambulatory care facilities and nursing homes, making sure that all services performed in the facility or department are as high-quality and efficient as possible. Healthcare management is among the top 10 highest paying degrees in business. Graduates of healthcare management and administration programs find work as healthcare managers, hospital administrators, healthcare administrator and health care consultants, earning salaries up to $80,240 annually. Earning a college degree is the first step to entering this fast-growing career.


A Healthcare Manager’s Education

A college degree is a requirement for attaining a position in healthcare management or administration. Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or healthcare administration, though some facilities may look for candidates with a graduate degree, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. In addition to healthcare administration and healthcare management degree programs, popular subjects of study among aspiring healthcare managers include health services, public health, public administration, long-term care administration and even business administration. Often, healthcare management programs are part of a college or university’s school of business.

The curriculum of a healthcare management or administration degree program is designed groom students for high-level leadership positions in the healthcare industry. Students study subjects like health care economics, health care policy, healthcare law, health care informatics, health care risk management, health information systems, hospital organization and management and global health care issues. They also develop a solid business background through coursework in accounting, human resources administration, law and ethics, budgeting, strategic planning and leadership. At some colleges, healthcare administration students have the opportunity to specialize in preparation for work in a nursing home, a hospital a mental health facility or another type of facility. 

The Path to a Healthcare Management Role

Healthcare managers are high-level professionals. Graduates of healthcare administration programs don’t attain these positions fresh out of college. Instead, they need to meet relevant state requirements and work their way up from a lower-level position. Some healthcare administrators, like those that work in nursing care facilities, must attain a license in every state, while other healthcare managers need not be licensed. To improve their credentials and job opportunities, aspiring healthcare managers can also seek certification from organizations like the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management. Often, aspiring healthcare managers begin their careers in entry-level positions such as administrative assistants. Through the course of their careers, they may work as assistant department heads or assistant administrators before securing healthcare management jobs.

In addition to the high earning potential, healthcare managers and administrators enjoy a very positive job outlook. Healthcare is a rapidly growing field. Over a ten-year period, the BLS expects job opportunities for healthcare managers and administrators to increase by 23 percent, a faster than average rate.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris