Health services managers are responsible for ensuring that healthcare facilities provide the most effective patient care. They plan and coordinate services in hospitals and clinics, overseeing specific departments or entire facilities.
Health services managers may also be employed by physicians groups, pharmaceutical companies, health information technology companies or insurance firms. Depending on the setting, they may manage employees, oversee billing and insurance filings, maintain detailed records, and serve as a liaison between administrators and medical staff.
Health services managers must be knowledgeable about technological advances and changes in healthcare regulations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for health services managers are expected to increase by 22% nationally between 2010 and 2020. By comparison, the average growth rate for all occupations is projected to be 14%.
Much of the growth for health services managers will be a consequence of the aging of the baby boomer population, which will fuel demand for medical services. In turn, that should lead to an increase in the number of medical professionals and healthcare facilities.
In 2011, the annual median wage for health services managers was $86,400, an increase of more than $2,000 over the previous year, the BLS reported. The top 10% earned more than $147,800 in 2011.
Employment opportunities and salary may vary depending on location, experience, education and other factors.
A bachelor’s degree is typically a minimum requirement for employment as a health services manager. According to the BLS, applicable coursework can include health information systems, accounting, hospital management, strategic planning and law.
Some employers, particularly in the fields of public health and administration, may prefer candidates with a master’s degree.
Given the broad scope of their duties, health services managers should have strong communication, technical and analytical skills. They must also be detail oriented. It’s common for health services managers to have moved up through the ranks, possibly starting their careers by assisting in managing a department.
In nursing care facilities and other healthcare settings that require licensing, health services managers may be required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete specific training and pass a state-mandated exam.
Each branch of the armed forces has an extensive infrastructure to provide medical and other health-related services to servicemembers and their families. As a result, servicemembers making a transition to civilian life may find that the job of health services managers shares skills and responsibilities with numerous military occupational specializations.
Some examples include: public health specialist and occupational medicine specialist in the Air Force, health care administrator in the Navy, medical specialist corps officer in the Army and health services technician in the Coast Guard.