The health care industry provides career opportunities for students who want to make a positive contribution to the health of individuals and communities. Hospitals, clinics, government agencies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, insurance providers, managed care organizations, and consulting firms are looking for intelligent, creative, and assertive individuals in this challenging but rewarding field. Health services managers and administrators, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. The objective of this these degree programs are to provide a conceptual and practical understanding of health care systems, with specific attention to the development of analytical and problem-solving skills. The coursework in these program emphasizes skills and training in both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of health services management and administration.
Students interested in this area of study should be strong communicators, systems thinkers, and leaders, and they need to be skilled at adapting to change, innovating, and networking. Students considering this field should also enjoy managing people, processes, and systems. In addition, a mission and desire to help others is important.
They work in both clinical and nonclinical settings. They might specialize in managing a specific clinical area or department, a medical practice for a group of practitioners (e.g., physicians, dentists) or an entire facility. They work on improving quality and efficiency, controlling costs, implementing new technology, recruiting and retaining health care professionals, ensuring compliance with changing regulations, billing and reimbursement, and implementing programs to improve the health of communities. Managers in nonclinical settings work in a variety of areas such as health insurance benefits and enrollment, health information technology, health care marketing, pharmacy benefit management, provider network contracting, medical device and biomedical consulting or sales, and health policy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the U.S. will add 5.6 million health care jobs by 2020, the largest projected increase for any industry. The BLS also predicts a 23 percent growth in medical and health service management jobs during that period (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-2015, Medical and Health Services Managers).