Healthcare Consultant: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Healthcare consultants require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Healthcare consultants are management analysts employed by the healthcare industry. They examine the efficiency, profits and structure of the organization, then offer suggestions on methods of improvement. This career requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree, though a master's degree is generally preferred. Certification is recommended but not required.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's degree preferred by many employers
Required Job Skills Effective communication, self-motivation, ability to handle stress
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*21% for management analysts in the healthcare sector
Median Salary (2014)*$80,880 for all management analysts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Healthcare Consultant Job Description

A healthcare organization typically hires a healthcare consultant on a part-time basis, but some employ them on a full-time basis. Large companies hire healthcare consultants on a full-time basis to help them constantly find ways to improve and reorganize their infrastructure. Smaller companies hire them only when they need to enhance a section of their company that is not operating efficiently. Healthcare consultants can work with firms or develop a customer base on their own.

Job Duties

First, a healthcare business contacts a healthcare consultant and identifies the problem they wish to have fixed. The healthcare consultant then does some preliminary research and examines the existing data available related to the problem. This can involve analyzing employment numbers, revenue, and interviewing various employees and managers. With that information, a healthcare consultant can find methods of saving money or improving work efficiency.

After all their research is completed, healthcare consultants submit a report in writing to the client. Additionally, an oral meeting may occur between the client and the healthcare consultant where the findings are discussed openly between the two. Afterward, a customer can hire the healthcare consultant to stay on for a bit longer to help implement the changes to the organization.

Job Requirements

The exact education requirements for a healthcare consultant vary based on the employer. Generally, the minimum amount of education needed is a bachelor's degree. Many employers prefer healthcare consultants with a master's degree, especially in private industries. Students interested in becoming healthcare consultants pick majors in management, marketing, economics, human resources or business. Additionally, choosing a minor or a specialization in healthcare is suggested.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a healthcare consultant must be self-motivated and work with minimal supervision since employers expect them to be experts at improving an organization (www.bls.gov). Possessing effective communication skills is needed to clearly commune improvement ideas with a customer. The ability to handle stress and act responsibility is important, especially when healthcare consultants acquire more experience and are placed in charge of specific projects.

While certification is not a necessary requirement for this career, acquiring a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation can demonstrate an additional level of commitment to employers and customers. The Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. offers this designation to healthcare consultants who possess good references, have the required amount of education, complete an interview and pass an examination (www.imcusa.org). To maintain this designation, a healthcare consultant re-certifies every three years.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by all management analysts was $80,880 as of May 2014. The same source projects that management analysts in healthcare will see employment opportunities grow by about 21% between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average.

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