A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is home to 7 of the 30 fastest growing occupations.1 What’s more, the potential job outlook for the healthcare management field is strong, with employment of medical and health services managers projected to grow 28 percent from 2021 to 2031. That’s because medical and health managers will be needed to replace workers who transfer or retire.2
For many, pursuing an undergraduate or graduate healthcare management degree program can be a significant step on the path to opportunities in the rapidly growing healthcare industry. But how do you know whether a healthcare management degree program is right for you? Is healthcare management the same as healthcare administration? What knowledge and skills do you need to pursue healthcare management? And what can you do with a healthcare management degree?
What Is Healthcare Management?
Healthcare management involves the business side of the healthcare industry. It’s the business side because healthcare managers aren’t providing care directly to patients. Rather, healthcare management professionals, or medical and health services managers, are involved in planning, directing and coordinating medical and health services.2 They are essentially responsible for ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of healthcare facilities.
Healthcare managers might oversee an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department or a group medical practice. They can be found working in private practices, nursing homes, clinics and hospitals. They help develop goals and objectives related to efficiency and quality of healthcare services and ensure their facility complies with laws and regulations. They may manage department or facility finances, recruit and supervise staff members, and work with other department heads or third parties (such as health insurance company representatives).2
Healthcare Management vs. Healthcare Administration: What Is Healthcare Administration?
Is healthcare management the same as healthcare administration? Not quite. Although both types of career paths fall on the business side of the healthcare industry, healthcare administration doesn’t necessarily involve management responsibilities. Take, for example, medical and health information specialists—these professionals don’t provide direct patient care, but they also don’t manage staff or facilities. Rather, they are managed by health information managers.2,3
What Can You Do with a Degree in Healthcare Management?
A degree in healthcare management can help make it possible to pursue opportunities in medical and health services management. These degree programs tend to cover topics like ethics in healthcare, healthcare delivery systems, healthcare information systems management, healthcare market research and analysis and more.
But what can you do with a healthcare management degree more specifically? Medical and health services managers may work under many different job titles, including Cancer Center Director, Clinical Director, Health Information Management Director (HIM Director), Health Information Manager (HIM Manager), Healthcare System Director, Medical Records Director, Medical Records Manager and Mental Health Program Manager.4
Healthcare Management Careers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 28 percent growth in employment of medical and health services managers from 2021 to 2031.2 But what factors are influencing this growth in healthcare management?2
- An aging baby-boom population that will require more healthcare services.
- An increased demand for healthcare services that will lead to an increase in medical records and staff, which will lead to a greater need for health managers to oversee them.
- As services that were once provided in hospitals and managed by hospital administrators shift to practitioners’ offices, demand for medical group practice managers is projected to grow.
- Widespread use of electronic health records is expected to continue to fuel the need for individuals to organize, oversee, and integrate these records across areas of the healthcare industry.
How to Become a Healthcare Manager—FAQs
Do I need a bachelor’s in healthcare management to pursue entry-level roles?
According to the BLS, aspiring medical and health services managers typically need to possess at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation.2
What are undergraduate healthcare management degree requirements?
Program requirements for a bachelor’s in healthcare management program will naturally vary by school. American InterContinental University’s Bachelor of Healthcare Management program is a 180-credit degree program that requires the successful completion of general education courses, general elective courses, core courses and specialization (Gerontology Management or Health Services Administration Management) courses.
Do I need an MHM, MHCM or MBA in healthcare management?
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum amount of formal education needed to become a medical and health services manager. But master’s degrees—like an MHM, MHCM or MBA—are common and sometimes preferred by employers.2 Healthcare management degree programs—like the ones offered at AIU—combine business courses with healthcare industry-focused courses.
What skills are important for healthcare management?
Healthcare managers should possess a variety of hard and soft skills:2
- They must be aware of and follow existing regulations but also have the analytical skills to figure out how to improve efficiency and meet goals.
- They must be familiar with facility and department policies and procedures and know how to communicate these policies to staff and ensure compliance.
- They must be detail oriented—for example, they may be responsible for organizing and maintaining large amounts of billing or other important or sensitive information.
- They should have the communication skills necessary to engage with colleagues and third parties.
- They should have strong leadership skills to help navigate various staffing or administrative issues and motivate staff.
- As healthcare records technology and data analytics advance, healthcare managers need to make sure their technical skills stay current.
Do you need prior work experience or special licensing or certification to pursue a healthcare management career path?
Some prior professional experience in an administrative or clinical role in a healthcare facility is often required by employers. However, some medical and health services managers enter the field after working as a medical records and health information specialist, administrative assistant or financial clerk in a healthcare facility. Apart from nursing homes, a license is usually not necessary to work in healthcare management. Certification tends to be optional.2
Studying Healthcare Management
Whether you pursue a bachelor’s or master’s in healthcare management degree program or an MBA program with a specialization in healthcare management, you can expect to study both business and healthcare. The main difference is that the courses in a healthcare management degree program will primarily focus on the healthcare industry, while MBA courses will primarily focus on general business skills.
AIU’s Bachelor of Healthcare Management—Gerontology degree program may include courses on:
- Case Management for Gerontology
- Sociology and Aging
- Marketing to an Aging Population
- Counseling for Gerontology
- Death and Dying
Our Bachelor of Healthcare Management—Health Services Administration Management degree program may include courses on:
- Healthcare Organization
- Marketing, a Healthcare Perspective
- Advanced Healthcare Management
- Leadership in Healthcare Organizations
- Healthcare Finance
A sampling of courses in our Master of Healthcare Management degree program may include:
- Healthcare Information Systems Management
- Healthcare Market Research and Analysis
- Healthcare Financial Management and Decision Making
- Capstone-Strategic Management for Healthcare
Prepare Yourself to Pursue a Healthcare Management Career Path
Are you a business-minded individual who is interested in healthcare? Do you want to pursue a career path where you could have a positive impact on the patient experience even if you’re not providing direct patient care? If so, choosing a healthcare management degree program could be the right path for you—and a step toward accomplishing your academic goals.
Start your new journey today. Explore AIU’s online healthcare management degree programs.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Projections, Table 1.3 Fastest growing occupations, 2021 and projected 2031,” https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/fastest-growing-occupations.htm (visited 5/3/2023). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Medical and Health Services Managers,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (visited 5/3/2023). This data represents national figures and is not based on school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Medical Records and Health Information Specialists,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm (visited 5/12/2023).
4 National Center for O*NET Development, “11-9111.00 Medical and Health Services Managers,” O*NET OnLine, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9111.00 (visited 5/12/2023).
AIU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ1929395 5/2023
Classes Start October 25, 2023