Get Matched With Healthcare Management Colleges
What is Healthcare Management?
Alaska is America's last great wilderness. It's a sparsely populated state that spends much of the year frozen under ice and snow. However, it's also an economy that may be said to punch above its weight class. After all, Alaska is a huge part of the oil and gas picture for the nation and world. Its oil and gas exploration industry ranks #9 in the nation, which also places it high globally.
Meanwhile, other top industries in Alaska include mining and quarrying, transportation & warehousing, real estate, and social services including healthcare. This means that healthcare management is a very big deal in Alaska. After all, no hospital could possibly function if it didn't employ a strong staff of managerial experts who are versed in the world of healthcare.
A healthcare manager is a healthcare professional who oversees the administrative functions of their department. Healthcare managers may, for instance, oversee a radiology department or they could be in charge of managing inventories for the maternity ward. Some managers are providers, such as nurses, who act in a supervisory capacity over fellow professionals.
Healthcare managers work in a variety of environments in the healthcare arena. Many work in hospital administration but healthcare managers also work in clinics. Even small private practices need an administrative professional to oversee the office, inventories, and other matters pertinent to the practice. There may even be management professionals who oversee multiple clinics within a healthcare system. They have managers from each location report to them with revenue, employment, and other data.
Many healthcare managers have little to do with the actual delivery of healthcare. Healthcare information technology workers, for instance, may facilitate how data flows in a healthcare system, while never seeing a single patient.
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Online Healthcare Management Education in Alaska
Online Associate Degree in Healthcare Management (AS)
One terrific way to start a career in healthcare management is with an associate healthcare management degree from a community college. Students who earn this degree will be able to launch fruitful careers at the entry-level. Many even augment their healthcare management degree with an applied healthcare certificate such as medical assistant or a nursing credential. Joining the administrative and clinical sides will strengthen any resume.
An associate healthcare management degree from an Alaska community college has other positive qualities. The chief of them is the cost. Community college credits are far cheaper than those from a four-year institution. Thus, those who are aiming at a bachelor’s degree are advised to consider a community college for their first two years. Their long-term financial position will only benefit from starting out with a low-cost, high-value degree.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Management (BS)
A four-year undergraduate healthcare management degree is perhaps the optimal starting place for a career. Employers resonate with a four-year degree often because they hold one themselves. Furthermore, a bachelor’s healthcare management degree allows students the opportunity explore specialty areas within healthcare administration which employers like to see. Students can also become more well-rounded when they work through a four-year degree program.
For instance, a healthcare management student could take elective courses in accounting, and many will choose a minor in this fundamental business field. Others may be more interested in marketing so can focus their studies on that field. There are also academic opportunities in healthcare informatics, organizational leadership, and public relations, to name a few. In fact, nearly every specialization available to regular business students is there for healthcare management students, too. Finally, bachelor’s healthcare management degree students can also seek internship opportunities which help them gain valuable experience while still studying.
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Online Master's Degree in Healthcare Management (MS)
Graduate degrees are increasingly prevalent in today's business community, and the healthcare industry is not immune. Since healthcare has so many unique features including non-profit status, healthcare regulations, and issues related to insurers, academic departments arose to address those specific issues. Healthcare management students might enroll in a program for a master’s in healthcare management or they might even choose an MBA. MBA students can choose healthcare as their concentration area and still rise into the C-suites.
Given the rise in online education, many healthcare management students opt for distance learning for their degrees. There are options where online education is concerned. For instance, some may choose an online-only program, but it's also possible to enroll in hybrid healthcare management programs. These programs allow students to meet in person during on-campus residencies. These might be convened once per year or once per term, depending on the program's structure.
Online PhD Degree in Healthcare Management (PhD)
A doctorate in healthcare management is the ultimate degree for those in the field. While this degree is not often sought by employers, that may soon change. Since the employment market is filling with master’s degrees and MBAs, a candidate with a PhD in healthcare management may have an edge. There are also exceptions, such as those who earn a doctorate in healthcare informatics or even cyber security with a healthcare angle. After all, hospitals are often the target of nefarious hackers and ransomware attacks.
Another application for a PhD is in academia. In fact, many students become enthralled with studying and researching healthcare administration and proceed through to a PhD. This path most likely includes a Master of Healthcare Administration degree or a MS in healthcare management. Ultimately, those seeking a career in a healthcare administration department should earn a PhD that qualifies them for a tenure-track position in a college or university.
Become a Healthcare Management Professional in Alaska
Healthcare is one of the top industries in the United States right now. It's also an industry that most of us have an intimate connection to by way of doctor's visits, if not more serious medical interventions. However, not everyone is interested in the intense science required by a medical or nursing degree, not to mention issues related to bodily fluids, etc. Thus, many students are interested in exploring career opportunities in healthcare management or healthcare administration. This avenue allows students to help patients without any hands-on work on the clinical side.
The first step to starting a career in healthcare administration or management for most is to determine that the field is a good fit. Students can evaluate themselves for things like mathematical abilities, leadership qualities, and organizational skills to make this decision. Essentially, students should consider themselves as pursuing a career in business, but within healthcare and dealing with the specialty issues that arise in that field.
Some students will be fortunate enough to have a local high school that focuses on STEM subjects. This gives students the opportunity to dive deeper into core subjects like math and science. Those who are interested in healthcare may even find courses that prep students for later clinical studies. This may seem like a distraction, but once a healthcare administration student is in college, their exposure to clinical topics will surely provide a terrific background.
Young students can even look for volunteer opportunities in a hospital. One popular option is candy striper positions where students interact with patients and staff. There may be other options to work as an intern or office assistant for the administrative aspects of the hospital.
Once it's time to apply for college or university in Alaska, students should look for a strong healthcare management degree program. Some departments may use the term healthcare administration, which is the same type of degree. In lieu of these specialized departments, students may study a business management curriculum while seeking independent study opportunities or certifications in healthcare management. Furthermore, business students should look for internship opportunities in healthcare systems if their long-term goals lie in that industry.
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Additional Careers for Healthcare Management Graduates
- Medical Secretary:
This is a specialized position that seeks candidates who are skilled in administrative tasks but who also are familiar with healthcare. Medical secretaries may need to have a strong working knowledge of medical codes, insurance matters, and even aspects of clinical care. Some medical assistants choose this more administrative route and eventually land in a career assisting doctors and/or nurses in a clinic or hospital.
- Chief Executive Officer:
This position goes to the most experienced and successful workers in any given field. CEOs are the top administrators in their firm. No matter what happens with a company's financial or other status, everyone will look to them for accountability. Thus, all C-suite executives report to them and keep the CEO fully informed of any and all developments.
- Assisted Living Administrator or Nursing Home Administrator:
With our aging population, this position is sure to be growing for many years to come. The position itself asks that professionals oversee a nursing home and to ensure that all relevant medical and legal guidelines are followed. Some administrators may have more specialized duties, such as managing the nursing staff, while others may work with the food service aspect, ensuring that the patients receive tasty, nutritious meals every day.
- Healthcare Administration Consultant:
Those who have an MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration or those with a Master of Healthcare Administration may choose consulting for their career. These consultants are hired to meet with a new healthcare system and help it become more efficient and effective. Some consultants may have a specific focus such as healthcare accounting, marketing, or information technology.
- Hospice Administrator:
This is a specialty area in healthcare that deals with patients who are very ill or dying. Administrators in the hospice area typically have spent a number of years as hospice nurses or perhaps simply as administrative workers elsewhere in the clinical space.
- Healthcare Clinic Manager:
The clinical space is broadly divided into clinics and hospitals. Thus, a healthcare clinic manager works in a smaller healthcare practice that may employ several doctors, nurses, and other clinical healthcare practitioners. These clinics may be highly specialized or may be where general practitioners see patients. Healthcare clinic managers may find that transitioning to work in a hospital is relatively easy, especially if they stay within their established clinical field.
- Healthcare Finance Manager:
The primary mission of any healthcare system is to deliver the best care to patients. However, the reality is that every healthcare system also needs to remain solvent and growing from a financial perspective. Many healthcare facilities and systems have a complex financial picture. A healthcare finance manager manages the system's investments, payments, and even looks out for candidates for mergers and acquisitions.