How to Become a Healthcare Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a healthcare manager. Research the education and career requirements, training and common job duties, as well as the experience required for starting a career in the healthcare management field. View article »

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  • 0:02 Become a Healthcare Manager
  • 1:04 Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
  • 1:31 Gain Employment
  • 2:10 Consider a Master's Degree

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Healthcare Manager?

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's degree sometimes preferred
Degree Field Health services, business, nursing or liberal arts for bachelor's; public health or health administration for master's
Training None; volunteering or interning at a hospital, nursing center, or health organization can be beneficial
Key Skills Leadership, administrative, communication, relationship management, and business skills; knowledge of healthcare
Salary $106,070 (2015 average for all health services managers)

Sources:, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Healthcare managers, serve administrative or leadership roles in health care facilities. They may run a single department or an entire facility. These professionals may work at hospitals, healthcare organizations, nursing care facilities, or government organizations. Most health services managers keep full-time schedules and may need to work weekends, evenings, and holidays.

Among the career requirements are skills in communication, relationship manager, and business, as well as healthcare industry knowledge. A relevant bachelor's degree is generally the minimum education requirement, though a master's degree is generally required for advancement into roles with more responsibility. The requirements may seem hefty, but the pay is relatively rewarding. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health services managers earned an average annual salary of $106,070 as of May 2015.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Healthcare managers must hold at least a bachelor's degree. Common majors ideal for for healthcare management include health services management and health administration, though related majors like business administration or nursing administration may also suffice.It may be wise to seek out degree programs accredited by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, as some employers and graduate schools only consider graduates of these programs.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Health Care Administration
  • Health Information and Records Admin
  • Health Information Technology
  • Health Management and Clinical Administration
  • Health Unit Coordinator
  • Health Ward Supervisor
  • Medical Administrative Assistant or Secretary
  • Medical Claims Examiner
  • Medical Facilities Management
  • Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
  • Medical Insurance Services
  • Medical Office Computer Technologies
  • Medical Office Management
  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Medical Receptionist
  • Medical Staff Services
  • Medical Transcriptionist

Step 2: Gain Employment

With a bachelor's degree, individuals may qualify for entry-level positions in healthcare administration. Additionally, employers may hire bachelor's degree holders for senior level jobs in smaller facilities and for select middle-management positions in large organizations.

One way to improve employment opportunities is to join a professional organization. Professional organizations often have job banks and connect employers seeking administrators with administrators seeking employment. The American College of Healthcare Executives, for example, has an online job center and offers career planning tools, marketing services, and other resources.

Step 3: Consider a Master's Degree

A bachelor's may be the minimum requirement, but many employers prefer to hire healthcare managers who hold master's degrees. Many colleges and universities offer relevant master's degree programs in public health or health administration. Students may also choose to earn degrees in related fields like business and public administration with a concentration in health services management. A master's degree may help you to advance to higher-level positions such as healthcare director or multi-department manager that come with higher salaries and greater responsibility.

To become a healthcare manager, you need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as health service management or health administration, though many employers prefer applicants with master's degrees.

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