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How to Become a Health Services Manager

Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience

Healthcare facilities on the larger scale often have a variety of assistant administrators to assist the head administrator with a vast number of daily decisions. The majority of health services and medical managers have a minimum of a bachelor's degree prior to entering the field. They commonly require a master's degree; however, each facility has their own specific requirements.

Work Experience

Certain facilities may prefer to hire those with specialized experience regarding healthcare occupation along with administrative experience. For instance, supervisory registered nurses are nursing service administrators with graduate degrees and administrative experience in health administration or nursing.

Education & Training

Health service managers and medical managers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree to begin this occupation. There are a variety of master's degree programs in health services including: public health, long-term care administration, business administration, public administration and public health.

Health services managers and prospective medical managers ideally should have a bachelor's degree in health administration. These programs help to prepare students for higher level management jobs in comparison to programs that graduate students have with other degrees. Those interested in a degree in health administration often take courses including: accounting and budgeting, hospital organization and management, strategic planning, health economics, health information systems, human resources administration and ethics and law.

Certain programs are available to enable students to specialize in a certain kind of facility including a nursing care home, a hospital, group medical practice or mental health facility. Graduate programs often range between 2 and 3 years. Many include up to one year of supervised administrative experience.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Nursing care facility administrators are required to be licensed. Requirements vary from place to place. The majority of these administrators has a bachelor's degree, has to complete approved training programs and pass a licensing exam. Certain places require assisted living facilities to obtain a license. Note that licensure is not required in some other medical and health services management positions.

Certain managers prefer to obtain certification even though it is not always required. There are numerous avenues that one may wish to practice in. The American College of Health Care Administrators for example, offers the Certified Assisted Living Administrator and Certified Nursing Home Administrator designations. The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management offers certification in medical management and health information management.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Analytical skills: Health services managers and medical managers need to follow and comprehend the current regulations to ensure they are adhering to current laws.

Communication skills: It is vital that these managers can effectively communicate with a variety of health professionals.

Detail oriented: Health services managers and medical managers need to pay extreme attention to detail. It is vital to maintain schedules and billing information for large facilities including hospitals.

Interpersonal skills: Health services managers and medical services managers are required to discuss patient information and staffing difficulties with other professionals including health insurance representatives and physicians. They must be able to lead and motivate their staff.

Problem-solving skills: Managers are commonly responsible for dealing with administrative issues and staffing difficulties and finding appropriate solutions.

Technical skills: Health services managers and medical managers need to follow advances in the healthcare field; particularly in regards to technology updates. They may have to learn classification and coding software and EHR or electronic health record systems as their facility adopts new technologies.

How To Advance

Health services and medical services managers advance as they gain more responsibility. Higher paying positions become available. Within large hospitals, health administration program graduates often start out as assistant department heads or administrative assistants. Within smaller nursing care facilities and small hospitals, individuals may start out as assistant administrators or department heads. Certain managers with copious amounts of experience may become professors or consultants of healthcare management. The starting position level varies with the overall size of the organization and the level of experience the applicant has.