“Most medical and health services managers have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering the field. However, master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred by employers. Educational requirements vary by facility and specific function.” – US Department of Labor
Education for healthcare managers is less of a legal requirement and more of an industry standard. Because of the skill sets involved –analytics, communication, attention to detail, and technical skills– it’s typical for healthcare managers to demonstrate at least a bachelor’s-level of education, as noted by the US Department of Labor. Common fields of study include:.
Public health administration
While experience is essential for promotion into more senior positions, master’s and doctoral-level education can also improve your professional appeal by magnitudes. Many advanced education programs are specifically tailored to healthcare management and administration.
It’s becoming increasingly common to find educational programs for healthcare administrators online. These are ideal in that they can accommodate a busy work schedule and enable you to be gaining valuable work experience during the day, while you can simultaneously advance your professional marketability through education in your free time.
Another way to improve your professional appeal is through optional certification. National professional organizations offer their own healthcare manager certification programs. You can earn these honorific titles which confer the reputation, professionalism, and respect that their sponsoring professional organizations garner. While browsing through job ads you’ll commonly see that employers are looking for someone who is professionally credentialed.
While each organization makes its own certification requirements, having a relevant college degree is a common way to qualify for eligibility for many. Examples of organizations that offer certification programs are:
American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA)
Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)
Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)
Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
One notable exception for educational requirements is for healthcare administrators at skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes. Every state requires these professionals to be licensed, and in most states a requirement for that includes a relevant bachelor’s degree. More information on the specific requirements for licensure as a nursing home healthcare manager is provided by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB).
Healthcare manager Career Outlook and Salary
The US Department of Labor projects 71,600 healthcare manager jobs will be added to the national economy over the decade leading up to 2028. That’s an astounding 18% growth rate, “much faster than the average for all occupations,” it reports.
Nationwide, healthcare managers earn an average annual salary of $115,160 according to 2019 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary is $100,980, while the top 90th-percentile salary is $189,900.
Healthcare manager salaries also significantly differ by sector. The following are the five sectors that offer the highest average salaries for healthcare managers (BLS, 2019 ):
Pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing – $204,300
Scientific research and development services – $169,240
Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers – $162,880
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing – $159,910
Chemical manufacturing – $155,180
The healthcare manager’s 18% 10-year growth rate and six-figure average salary was calculated before the recent global Coronavirus pandemic that placed a spotlight on the critical importance of the healthcare industry. As people, government leaders, and policy makers realize the importance of this field, its funding and expansion will likely be even more robust going into the future.