You’re passionate about the health care field but not interested in working in a clinical capacity. If this description feels relevant, you could be an excellent candidate for a career in health care management.
This exciting field shows a great deal of promise, as evidenced by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The job outlook in medical and health services management is an astounding 32 percent, compared to an average growth rate of just 4 percent across all occupations. While earnings vary dramatically, median annual wages in 2020 reached $104,280.
The promise of a career in health care management is best achieved when you enter the field equipped with the right degree. To help you take the next step, we’ve highlighted a few key considerations:
Understanding the Health Care Management Career Path
Health care management is a broad field that encompasses several types of positions and degrees. No two paths look exactly alike for professionals in this niche, but a few types of positions are common:
1. Department manager
This position may involve a specific department, such as surgery or obstetrics. In this role, you may be responsible for recruitment and training, facilitating equipment and resources for clinical staff members, or identifying inefficiencies so you can come up with strategies for addressing such problems.
2. Compliance manager
Is your organization compliant with local and federal regulations? As a compliance manager, you can determine where the facility or system you serve falls short and which solutions are available.
3. Health care administrator
Sometimes referred to as health services managers, health care administrators typically oversee vast facilities or systems. In this role, you can draw on your in-depth understanding of regulatory frameworks to develop policies and initiatives that support patients — but also keep your organization financially solvent.
What Education Will You Need for a Career in Health Care Management?
There are many paths to success in health care management but, in general, dedicated training allows you to build the targeted skills and knowledge you’ll need to thrive in this field. Which type of education you seek will largely depend on:
- The time you have available to dedicate to learning
- Whether your preferred training program is available online
- Your educational background — including any existing degrees or progress towards degrees
- The type of job and salary you hope to obtain after graduating
Four top options for seeking an online health care management degree include:
This comprehensive degree program prepares you for entry-level work in the field of health care management. It encompasses information technology, accounting, and several other topics relevant to the realities of the health care field.
2. Health Care Management Minor
If you’re interested in pursuing an alternative major — such as business — but would still like targeted training in health care management, this minor may be your best bet. You’ll gain insight through foundational courses related to strategic planning, financial management, and medical ethics.
3. Master’s degree in Health Care Leadership
Perhaps you already have your bachelor’s degree but would like to take a step up in your career with an upper-level credential. If you have multiple years of work experience, you could seek a master’s degree. Incorporating a multidisciplinary approach, this program will expose you to key concepts such as organizational culture and quantitative leadership.
4. Health Care Management B.A.S. to M.A.
You have yet to earn your bachelor’s degree but already aspire to make progress towards your master’s. A targeted B.A.S. to M.A. program can help you achieve this ambitious goal. This solution grants you the opportunity to take multiple M.A. courses as part of your B.A.S. program.
Health Care Field Scholarships & Financial Aid
As you determine which degree or certificate program works best for your personal career goals, keep in mind that a variety of scholarships and financial aid programs can help you complete your education. Many specifically target students who aspire to work in health care management. Scholarships for this field include:
- Bill and Mary Russell Scholarship Fund
- Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA) Scholarship
- David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship
- Foster G. McGaw Scholarship
Study Skills & Time Management
No matter which health care management degree program you select or where you obtain financial aid, you will only succeed if you’re able to develop excellent study and time management skills.
Think of this as your opportunity to practice personal skills that will be of great use as you move forward in your health administration career. After all, the health care management field, like the degree program itself, calls for elite time management skills. These suggestions should help:
1. Develop a schedule
Life as an online student can sometimes feel chaotic — particularly if you juggle high-level coursework with a full-time job or family concerns. Still, your education needs to be a priority. To promote concentration, create a detailed schedule that includes time for focused studying. When this window arrives, turn off your phone, excuse yourself from family activities, and switch on your academic brain. You’ll be impressed by how much you can accomplish with no outside distractions.
2. Make the most of technology
While some digital disturbances are best avoided during your dedicated studying times, technology can provide excellent options for boosting your education — especially when you’re an online student. Time spent commuting or waiting in line could easily be used for a quick review or to check in with your instructor. This should not replace your dedicated study periods but, rather, support them so you can get more done when you have time to yourself.
3. Reward yourself for a job well done
Incentives can be powerful, so don’t hesitate to use them to improve your study efforts. A small treat at the end of your study session, for example, will have you looking forward to coursework. Don’t forget to keep your ultimate goal in mind: a rewarding career in an exciting field.
Additional Tips for an Online Healthcare Management Degree Program
You’re excited about your new career opportunity and eager to achieve great things as a health administration student. Implement these extra suggestions to ensure that you make the most of your online health care management degree:
1. Find a Mentor
When the going gets tough, where do you turn for help? While a support system involving friends, family members, or a significant other can be useful, only a health administration professional will truly understand how you feel as you pursue your degree and launch your career. Your mentor can serve as an excellent source of inspiration while also giving you a leg up with networking and job placement.
Don’t let enrollment in an online health care management degree program stop you from seeking a mentor. Even if you never meet face-to-face, this resource can prove valuable. A monthly chat over Zoom can make a world of difference.
Not sure where to find a mentor? Candidates are more abundant than you realize. Let your instructors or advisers know that you’re on the hunt for a mentor who already works in the field — they will be happy to point you in the right direction. Otherwise, alumni from your health care management program can also serve this function. Look them up on LinkedIn and reach out with a friendly message.
2. Seek Hands-On Experience
There’s a lot to be learned through reading, online lectures, and discussions with instructors or fellow students. Ultimately, however, this knowledge will provide limited value if you neglect to apply it in the real world. Hence, the value of hands-on learning experiences such as volunteer positions or internships. Both allow you to see concepts from your online health care management degree play out in a professional capacity.
Another advantage of hands-on opportunities? They provide an instant boost for your resume. Combined with your health care management degree, these positions will demonstrate that you are ready to tackle the challenges of your first full-time position in health administration.
3. Take Care of Your Own Health
As an aspiring professional in the health care field, you hope to promote improved health outcomes in your community. If you’re like many students or professionals in this sector, however, you may be tempted to neglect your own health as you focus on serving others. In the long run, this approach will limit your ability to make the discernible difference you desire.
The sooner you establish healthy habits and a positive mindset, the better. Practice makes perfect and can begin while you’re still enrolled in your online health care management program. Options for boosting both your physical and mental health include:
- Avoiding mobile devices an hour before going to bed
- Moving your body every day
- Eating plenty of produce
- Developing a yoga or meditation routine
Opportunities abound in health care management. This is your chance to make a difference in a quickly growing sector, so don’t hesitate to get started with an online degree program.
If you are interested in advancing your career in the field of health care, Siena Heights University offers customizable degree completion programs. Contact us today to learn more.