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Physician Practice Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a physician practice manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and required skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Physician practice managers oversee the business needs of medical practices and other medical-related groups. They might be able to get by with a bachelor's degree as the minimum requirement for entry-level positions, but most employers prefer that applicants have a master's degree in business management.

Essential Information

Physician practice managers work within medical practices or groups to develop business strategies, manage budgets, and oversee day-to-day operations (scheduling, billing, collections, etc.). They ensure that the business needs of the practice are met and actively work to recruit new patients. While most practices prefer a candidate with a master's degree in business management, there are some employers who will accept a candidate with a bachelor's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's or master's degree in business or healthcare management
Other Requirements Some employers require management experience; strong leadership, analytical, and organizational skills and knowledge of various software programs
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 17% increase (medical and health services managers)
Median Salary (2015)* $94,500 (medical and health services managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Physician Practice Manager Job Description

Physician practice managers work closely with the physicians of a medical practice or group developing business strategies, formulating budgets, and dealing with daily operations. These professionals are in charge of making sure the practice is running smoothly and successfully while also working to expand the business. Since healthcare facilities operate around the clock, managers may work long hours or be on call regularly.

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical and health services managers could expect to see a 17% increase in the number of jobs from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average for all jobs during that same time frame. The BLS also reported that in May 2015, the median salary for people working in this career was $94,500.

Job Duties of a Physician Practice Manager

Whether it's a small or large practice, the primary duties of a physician practice manager are to plan, coordinate, direct, and supervise various elements of a medical facility. They may oversee billing and collections, design patient services, or implement work policies for employees. Managers typically have daily interactions with employees and patients.

Physician practice managers may have the opportunity to specialize in a specific department or to manage an entire practice. Both options include many of the same duties. In a small practice of several physicians, the manager may handle scheduling, technical issues, and daily patient flow. In a larger practice, there may be one top manager and several assistants to ensure that the day-to-day business is handled according to office and medical guidelines.

To offer guidance to individuals in this field, the American Medical Association (AMA) has a section on their website specifically meant to help professionals with the management of physician practices. Topics include health information technology, clinical practice improvement, medical sciences, and medical ethics.

Job Requirements of a Physician Practice Manager

Education Requirements

Although a master's degree or higher in healthcare or business management is the expected level of education, some entry-level positions allow applicants to have a bachelor's degree. Select member organizations offer seminars and further intensive training in practice management as well as certifications to enhance professional skills. A November 2010 sampling of open job postings from Monster.com revealed that, along with a degree, some employers prefer candidates with management experience in either a clinical or non-clinical setting.

Skills Requirements

To be the manager of a physician practice, leadership and analytical skills are very important as is the ability to use a computer and knowledge of various software programs. Because managers oversee an entire practice and its employees, the ability to work as part of a team and strong communication skills are often requirements of the job. Due to the complexity of clinical and non-clinical operations, managers may be called upon to evaluate standards of care for patients.

Physician practice managers work on the business end of the medical industry, helping practices and groups to organize billing, collections, and facility expansion. Those interested in this title should earn a master's degree in business management or a related field, though a bachelor's degree may sometimes suffice. They might also consider specializing in specific medical departments and earning professional certification.

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