Medical services management bachelor's and master's degrees are more commonly called degrees in health services management or administration. Degree programs in this field usually require courses in both business and healthcare systems. Students at both levels may have the opportunity to complete an internship and/or clinical work. Graduates at each level may qualify to seek certification from organizations for healthcare administrators.
There are various admissions requirements for both degrees. For a bachelor's, students must have a high school education or an associate's degree to enroll, with a 2.5 GPA and prior coursework relating to finance, management, computer applications, and microeconomics. A master's will require a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, as well as GRE or GMAT scores and financial accounting coursework.
Bachelor's in Health Services Management
Health and medical services managers need a foundation in both business and healthcare systems. Some programs require an almost equal number of credits in each area. Other programs appear to require only certain healthcare-related courses and expect students to find the business courses as electives. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in health services management in a variety of settings.
Students take core courses, possibly choosing a minor or concentration, and electives. They may take courses in gerontology, philosophy, business, biology, law, or psychology. Core courses may include:
- Fundamentals of finance
- Information systems management
- Organizational behavior
- Health administration basics
- Healthcare ethics and laws
Master's in Health Services Management
Master's degree programs in health and medical services management have elements of business and healthcare systems, just as bachelor's programs do. They also usually add additional research training. Programs range from 30 to 47 credit hours, often with all hours being required core courses.
Coursework is usually set-up in a manner that one course builds on the information learnt from previous courses. Specific courses may include:
- Analyses for decision making
- Healthcare organizational leadership
- Improving quality of health services
- Managing health populations
With no experience, graduates who have a bachelor's degree in health service management are eligible for entry-level jobs assisting managers. With a master's degree, graduates may be qualified for higher level administrative jobs, which may include:
- Ambulatory care manager
- Clinical manager
- Group practice administrator
- Health information manager
- Operations manager
A 17% growth in employment for health and medical services managers between the years 2014 and 2024 is anticipated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This growth is considered to be faster than the national average (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported in 2015 that medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $94,500.
Graduates of a bachelor's degree can test for the Registered Health Information Administrator certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). An official college transcript must accompany applications to take the test. Recertification occurs biennially, and individuals must have acquired 30 CEUs during that period.
Individuals with a master's degree in health services administration are in line for certification as a Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) after two years of experience. The certification also requires passing comprehensive objective and essay exams from the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE), making two presentations and earning 50 CEUs.
CEUs may be earned through college programs, as well as professional organizations. These organizations include the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE).
Medical service managers gain education through bachelor's and master's programs, equipping them with the skills needed to manage hospitals and healthcare facilities in delivering care to patients. There are many professional certification opportunities available to graduates of either program.