If you thought that the field of healthcare involves only direct patient care and requires extensive schooling to break into, think again! The healthcare profession depends upon the people who work behind the scenes to make sure that the business of healthcare runs efficiently. These professionals, called healthcare managers or healthcare administrators, occupy key management positions in a variety of medical facilities.
Healthcare managers perform duties ranging from budgeting and personnel management to maintaining patient records and developing organization-wide policies. These health services managers work long and hard to ensure the smooth delivery of healthcare to their patients.
Interested in becoming a healthcare manager? Read on.
If you decide that healthcare services is your calling in life, then it can help to start preparing while you’re still in high school. Taking more intellectually rigorous courses such as science, math, English, psychology, and business will lay the educational foundation for becoming a healthcare manager.
The next step is to get a college degree, and there are a number of healthcare degree options if you want to enter the healthcare services field. You simply need to choose the academic program that meets your educational and career objectives.
While graduates can often enter the profession once they’ve completed their bachelor’s degree, and then work their way up the corporate ladder. Some entry-level positions, especially in smaller healthcare facilities, are often open to those who have an undergraduate healthcare administration degree
Since the job of a healthcare manager involves making a lot of independent and strategic decisions, the minimum required credential for a senior position is a master’s in healthcare administration or a related degree. Obviously, this degree can be acquired only after completing an undergraduate degree in a related field. Some graduate programs may also demand a year or more of work experience in clinical or administrative positions before graduation.
Because of increasing competition in the field, just getting a relevant college degree may not suffice when you’re hunting for a job. Hands-on industry experience while in college may give you an edge when competing for opportunities. Some academic programs may include a mandatory externship, but if the program you choose doesn’t require one, get out there and look for paid or unpaid internships at healthcare facilities near you.
Find out if your college offers cooperative education employment-such programs allow students to work in their fields of study while they pursue their degrees. Even consider volunteering at a healthcare center. Working in close proximity with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals is extremely valuable not only professionally but personally, as you work your way towards entering the healthcare field.
Like any other manager, a health services manager is expected to demonstrate above-average communication, interpersonal, leadership, and problem-solving skills. The nature of this job also demands that healthcare administrators display an ability to work under pressure. While some skills required for becoming a healthcare manager can be acquired, others are inherent.
Do you have the personality traits necessary to succeed? Are you willing to work toward the right combination of education, experience, and skills? Then you have what it takes to become a health services manager.