Pursuing a new career path is a lot like preparing to take your family on a road trip across the country.
You need to decide your final destination, identify what you will need to get there and map your route. And while Google Maps can provide you with turn-by-turn directions on your trip, there is no GPS when it comes to choosing a career.
When it comes to pursuing career opportunities in the healthcare field, it’s often difficult to decide which job best fits your passions and personality. But because you like the idea of being a part of an organization that helps people you know it’s where you want to be. Perhaps, working in an area of healthcare that many of us often forget about – healthcare management – might be a path worth considering.
"Without them in today’s health care system, care either doesn’t get delivered or gets delivered sub-optimally."
These professionals handle a lot of the behind the scene business activities that help medical and health services organizations run smoothly. “Without them (healthcare managers) in today’s health care system, care either doesn’t get delivered or gets delivered sub-optimally,” says Dr. Joseph Fortuna, chair of the Healthcare Division of the American Society for Quality.
The business side of the healthcare industry – which includes efficiency audits and quality assurance – can be just as important in helping improve people’s lives as the processes carried out by doctors and nurses. But because these professionals have little interaction with patients, the career opportunities in healthcare management are often unknown about unless you already work in the field.
Keep reading to learn about the positions in healthcare management to see if this is a career field that you would be interested in pursuing.
Healthcare management career destinations
By identifying and learning more about the career opportunities available to healthcare managers the better off you’ll be when it comes time to decide if it is the right path for you to take. Our analysis of more than 100,000 online job postings (see chart) found which positions within the field of “health services management” that have the most employment opportunities.
With the variety of job titles and number of openings for these positions it may start to become clear why a career in this field is worth pursuing.
Overall, the field is expected to grow by 22 percent through 2020 adding more than 65,000 more jobs. And from our analysis we found that some of the organizations with the most job openings included places like the UnitedHealth, HCA and HCR ManorCare.*
“Healthcare is a rapidly expanding industry and because they are focused on the infrastructure, finances, and operations of health care systems and facilities there are a lot of opportunities for healthcare management careers,” Dr. Fortuna says. Healthcare management professionals will continue to be critical in the future as more and more focus is put on living healthy lives.
As you narrow down which career opportunities in healthcare best fit your passions and interests, you’ll also need to start identifying which path can help lead you to arriving at your desired position. And while paths can vary, let’s focus on identifying a common way for you to drive your career toward healthcare management.
What you’ll need to get there
The first thing to know is that you’ll need a degree to pursue the vast majority of these healthcare career opportunities. More than 85 percent of healthcare manager positions required more than a high school diploma and more than 75 percent of those positions require a Bachelor’s degree or higher.* An advanced education will help you develop the necessary management skills you will need to utilize within these positions.
While a bachelor’s degree is typically required for a management position, many healthcare professionals start off in a certificate or two-year program to start working as soon as possible to gain experience and then pursue a healthcare management degree. The choice is yours; both routes can lead you to a promising career in a healthcare management where you will be just as vital to positively impacting others’ lives as any other.
Similar to taking a road trip, a career in healthcare will be filled with twists, turns and maybe even a few bumps along the way. That’s life. You know it’s important to just keep moving forward, don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ride.
*Source: BurningGlass.com (Analysis of the employers with the most job openings for healthcare management professionals, 4/30/12 to 4/29/13)
**Source: BurningGlass.com (Analysis of the advertised educational requirements for healthcare management professionals, 4/30/12 to 4/29/13)