Health care executives, also known as medical and health services managers or health care administrators, make sure health care services are delivered efficiently and effectively. They evaluate, coordinate, and supervise entire facilities or smaller departments, often handling daily decisions as well as overseeing personnel, policies, and patient care.
In order to become a health care executive, an applicant should have a master’s degree along with extensive work experience in the health care field, although a bachelor’s degree plus experience may be sufficient for some employers. Strong business and management skills are also desirable.
A bachelor’s degree in health administration may be enough for entry-level positions, although employers often prefer practical experience as well. A master’s degree in health services administration, public health, public administration, long-term care administration, or business administration is the preferred credential, however.
Coursework generally includes subjects such as hospital organization and management, law and ethics, health economics, and health information systems. Specialization in a particular type of facility such as hospitals, nursing homes, or mental health centers may also be possible. For some types of employment, licensure through a state agency may be required.
A recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median annual wages of medical and health services managers were $80,240; those working in general medical and surgical hospitals ($87,040), outpatient care centers ($74,130), and physicians’ offices ($74,060) had the highest salaries.
The U.S. Department of Labor expects that employment of medical and health services managers will grow faster than the average for all occupations; those with experience and strong business management and organizational skills should see the best opportunities.
Managers who can demonstrate a strong proficiency with computers and technology are likely to be at a distinct advantage as health care facilities increasingly move toward the computerization of patient records.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics