Medical and health services managers plan, direct, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of healthcare. There are two categories of medical and health services managers: specialists and generalists. Specialists oversee a particular department or service, and generalists direct an entire system or facility. Large facilities employ multiple assistant administrators and one top administrator, while in smaller facilities, the top administrator is responsible for most tasks. Managers of clinics have responsibilities ranging from policy implementation to personnel evaluation, while managers of group medical practices work closely with physicians developing business strategies and overseeing daily operations.
Medical and health services managers need to be strong leaders and motivators. They need to possess tact, diplomacy, and flexibility, as well as be open to a broad range of opinions. They must be effective decision makers and have strong communication skills. In addition, they are usually required to be familiar with finance and information systems, and have good data interpretation skills.
In 2002, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $61,370. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $37,460, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $109,080. The following shows the median annual salaries for the industries employing the highest numbers of medical and health services managers:
- General medical and surgical hospitals – $65,950
- Home health care services – 56,320
- Outpatient care centers – 55,650
- Offices of physicians – 55,600
- Nursing care facilities – 55,320
Training and Education
The most common educational background for this field is a master’s degree in health services administration, long-term care administration, health sciences, public health, public administration, or business administration. Some entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree, and on-the-job experience can replace formal educational requirements in some facilities. Undergraduate degrees in business or health administration, as well as related work experience or above-average grades, may help students get admitted to graduate programs, for which competition is usually keen. Graduates of master’s programs usually start as department heads or staff employees, while graduates with bachelor’s degrees begin their careers as administrative assistants or assistant department managers.
In 2002, medical and health services managers held about 244,000 jobs. 37 percent worked in hospitals, 17 percent worked in offices of physicians or nursing care facilities, and the rest worked in home healthcare services, Federal government healthcare facilities, ambulatory facilities, outpatient care centers, insurance carriers, and community care facilities for the elderly.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of medical and health services managers is expected to increase faster than the average. Physician’s offices, home healthcare services, and outpatient care centers will offer particularly good opportunities to candidates. More medical and health services managers will be employed by hospitals than by any other employer, although the rate of increase in jobs will be slower. Growth will be fastest in practitioners’ offices and home healthcare agencies. Managers with experience in a specialized field will have the best chances for employment.
Visit our page about Healthcare Management for information on schools and colleges that provide you the training required to become a Medical and Health Services Manager.