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What is Healthcare Management?

Prospective students interested in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to help medical facilities provide optimal care to patients might want to consider majoring in health management. Many colleges and universities in Florida offer relevant degree options in this field. Graduates are generally prepared to develop and administer healthcare programs for individuals and families in many different medical settings including hospitals, health insurance companies, and nursing homes.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for medical and health services managers is projected to grow 28% from 2021 to 2031. This is much faster than the average for all occupations and will result in an increase of about 56,600 job openings each year. The need to replace professionals leaving the workforce and the increased demand for healthcare services due to the aging baby-boomer population make prospects for workers in this field very promising.

Healthcare managers are typically responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services offered by small clinics, groups of physicians, large medical practices, or entire facilities. They may oversee one or multiple services, and are often tasked with improving the efficiency and quality of the health care delivered. In many cases, these professionals are expected to develop strategic departmental goals and objectives, as well as recruiting, training, and supervising staff members.

Additionally, healthcare managers oversee various budgeting responsibilities, including the facilitation of patient payments. They often monitor available finances and ensure operating costs are within established limits. These professionals must also verify that all work is up to date and in compliance with various state and national regulations. Further, communication with other medical professionals is typical. Healthcare managers frequently work closely with physicians, surgeons, registered nurses, and medical laboratory technicians.

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Online Healthcare Management Education in Florida

Often referred to as healthcare executives, it’s important to realize that these professionals may go by different titles depending on their areas of expertise and work setting. Examples include nursing home administrator, clinical manager, and health information manager.

Healthcare managers can work for state, local, or private hospitals. Employment opportunities are also available in physician offices, nursing homes, residential care facilities, and outpatient care centers. Individuals in this field are typically employed full-time, with evening and weekend hours sometimes required depending on work setting. It may also be necessary to participate in on-call rotations in case of emergencies.

Educational services, healthcare, and social assistance is also the third largest industry in Florida; the healthcare industry accounts for $100 billion in revenue each year. Based on data provided by the BLS, the state employed 30,730 medical and health services managers in May 2021. This is much higher than most other states; only California and Texas had more of these positions filled at the time. Additionally, the annual mean wage for these professionals in the state was $107,850. Notably, this is significantly above Florida’s reported annual mean wage of $51,950 for all occupations.

There are many colleges and universities in Florida that offer traditional and online healthcare management education. While it is possible to study this field anywhere in the nation, those who intend to seek employment in state may benefit from enrolling at a local institution. These schools tend to be more familiar with occupational standards and expectations in the region, incorporating geographically relevant information into their curriculums. It’s also common for colleges and universities to establish relationships with nearby companies, healthcare organizations, and health services organizations, which can make it easier to obtain internships and professional employment. Students interested in attending a school that aims to train future administrators for the healthcare industry will have plenty of options all over the State of Florida whether they are looking for a public research university, private university programs, graduate programs, etc. These many options include the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, FLorida College, University of North Florida, South Florida College, and more.

It’s important to realize that education requirements for health management professionals can vary significantly, with companies, healthcare organizations, and health services organizations setting their own standards and expectations. Prospective students can also choose from academic programs available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

While it may be possible to find entry-level employment with limited higher education experience, most employers do expect healthcare manager candidates to have bachelor’s degrees. Master’s degrees are also common, however, and often improve job prospects.

Online Associate Degree in Healthcare Management (AS)

Associate degrees in healthcare management generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two years to complete. As undergraduate programs, students typically enroll in both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. In addition to English, communication, mathematics, and sciences, students are likely to study healthcare technology, medical terminology, marketing, and medical office administration. Instruction on the fundamentals of working in medical offices is also common, as well as how to utilize various popular technologies, data systems, and medical coding methods.

Those who plan to seek entry-level administrative jobs in healthcare quickly, and with as little financial investment as possible, will find this type of degree most suitable. Most associate programs and healthcare management education options are offered by community colleges, which tend to have lower tuition and fee rates. As a result, those enrolled often spend less on their education and accumulate fewer school loans. Graduates can also join the workforce after only two years. Some common employment opportunities available at this level include medical secretary, medical assistant, and medical records technician.

Many graduates also choose to continue their education by enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs. With strong foundations in higher education, they are often perfect candidates. Additionally, undergraduate course credits can be transferred between colleges and universities. Many institutions accept up to 60 or 90 semester hours, which generally equates to half of most bachelor’s degrees.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Management (BS)

Bachelor’s degrees in healthcare management generally consist of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. Like associate programs, these are comprised of both liberal arts and major-specific classes at the undergraduate level. In addition to English, communication, mathematics, and sciences, students can expect to learn about healthcare law, management information systems, and budgeting in healthcare. Instruction may also cover basic principles in marketing, business law, and ethics.

Those enrolled are also likely to participate in internships that provide them with real-world, hands-on experience in the field. In most cases, the work performed is often meant to supplement and support the skills discussed in classrooms. Internships function as a great way to network with other professionals in the field and, in some cases, may even lead to full-time employment after graduation.

This type of degree is most appropriate for those interested in the business side of medical facilities and healthcare organizations. Graduates often qualify for employment as medical office administrators, healthcare human resource managers, health information officers, and community service managers.

Alternatively, graduates can choose to continue their education by enrolling in graduate school. While bachelor’s degrees are commonly considered the minimum standard for professionals in this field, master’s degrees can lead to more advanced occupations. Individuals interested in furthering their education should be prepared to provide grade point average (GPA) records and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score results to gaining institutions.

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Online Master's Degree in Healthcare Management (MS)

Master’s degrees in healthcare management generally ranges from 30 to 45 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two to three years to complete. Undergraduate credits are not applicable at this level, although some programs designate certain classes as prerequisites for admittance. While curriculums vary, students can typically expect to study topics in health services administration, business, and healthcare. Instruction commonly covers medical terminology, hospital organization, and health information systems, as well as health services administration, accounting, human resources administration, strategic planning, and health economics.

Many master’s in healthcare management education options also require supervised administrative experiences. Expectations vary, but those enrolled will gain hands-on experience in hospitals and/or various healthcare consulting settings. Most residencies last up to a year.

While not necessarily required by employers, this type of degree is most appropriate for individuals seeking advanced careers in health administration and health services administration and many companies and organizations give preference to candidates with master’s degrees. Additionally, graduates often earn more money than those with bachelor’s and associate degrees. Some of the most common employment opportunities available after graduation include medical records supervisor, hospital administrator, health information management, health services administration, and healthcare consultant.

Online PhD Degree in Healthcare Management (PhD)

A PhD or doctorate in healthcare administration or health services administration can consist of between 60 and 120 credit hours that may take full-time students up to seven years to complete. It’s important to realize that the structure and length of a graduate healthcare management program will often vary by institution. Curriculums also differ, but those enrolled can typically expect a combination of traditional classroom learning, independent study, research, dissertation writing, and residency work. Topics regularly covered include advanced healthcare administration, finance, medical law, and ethics. It’s also fairly common for students to study healthcare data and informatics.

This is the terminal degree for the field and, in most cases, it’s only necessary for professionals interested in conducting research in the healthcare industry. It is also appropriate for those who want to lead large teams of other healthcare workers. Graduates may be qualified for employment as postsecondary educators and hospital CEOs as well

Become a Healthcare Manager in Florida

Becoming a healthcare manager in Florida generally starts with identifying your ultimate career goals in the healthcare industry. A degree in this subject can actually lead to many different but related professions. If possible, narrowing your focus early can be exceptionally helpful as you plan for academic and career success. For instance, knowing your preferred occupation will make it easier to select the most appropriate degree level in order to meet standard minimum hiring expectations. It will also ensure you pursue applicable elective courses, minor areas of study, concentrations, and/or internship opportunities.

There is no minimum education level established for healthcare administration professionals in Florida, but most professionals in the healthcare industry possess at least bachelor’s degrees. While individual companies and organizations set their own hiring standards, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that this is the national standard for medical and health services managers in the nation. Master’s degrees are also common and, in some cases, preferred by employers. As a result, you should always review job descriptions and expectations prior to applying for new positions.

Once you have achieved the necessary degree(s) for your desired occupation, it may be worthwhile to consider obtaining one or more relevant certifications. Not only do these credentials demonstrate dedication to the field, but they are also a great way to showcase knowledge and skills in specialty subjects. Despite relatively few professional employment opportunities in this field requiring certification, many employers do give preference to job candidates who possess them.

There are many different certifications available to healthcare administration professionals. As there is no single most recommended credential in the field, you can choose ones that relate directly to your chosen career.

Some prominent options available include:

  • Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE)
  • Certified Medical Manager (CMM)
  • Certified Healthcare Administrative Professionals (cHAP)
  • Certified Professional in Health Care Risk Management (CPHRM)
  • Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)
  • Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CFHP)
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE)
  • Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)

Many healthcare administration professionals also seek membership with related organizations and associations. There are often many great benefits available to members, including discounted continuing education, access to academic journals, and the ability to participate in networking events.

A few common options include:

  • Arkansas Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
  • American Health Information Management Association (AAHIM)
  • American Association of Health Care Administrative Management (AAHAM)
  • The Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA)
  • National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM)
  • American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA)
  • American Society of Healthcare Human Resources Administrators (ASHHRA)

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Careers for Healthcare Management Graduates

  • Assisted Living Administrator
    Assisted living administrators manage admittance procedures for assisted living facilities. They may have many different responsibilities, but are regularly in charge of facility financial matters, hiring new employees, and reviewing staff performance. They may also oversee other important aspects of daily operations for the facilities where they work. According to PayScale, assisted living administrators make an average base salary of $60,308 per year.
  • Chief Compliance Officer
    Chief compliance officers are employed by companies and organizations to manage various financial operations. They are primarily responsible for ensuring all operations adhere to various rules, regulations, policies, and laws. In some cases, this includes investigating potential and confirmed compliance issues, as well as acting upon findings appropriately. They are also commonly tasked with helping stakeholders decide whether or not to provide executive budget approval for new and continuing company initiatives. According to PayScale, chief compliance officers make an average base salary of $123,243 per year.
  • Chief Operations Officer
    Chief operations officers are responsible for managing assigned projects. This generally entails planning and overseeing operations, as well as ensuring associated expenses and financial reports are clear. They also generate and establish various strategies to increase overall company profitability. In some cases, they may be tasked with developing internal training programs for new products and/or services. According to PayScale, chief operations officers make an average base salary of $120,621 per year.
  • Clinical Manager
    Clinical managers work in clinical and medical offices providing primary and ongoing care for patients. In addition to managing day-to-day treatment strategies prescribed by healthcare providers, they are often responsible for staff selection, training, and supervision. These professionals may also ensure patient care and scheduling practices are effective and properly organized. According to PayScale, clinical managers make an average base salary of $73,583 per year.
  • Healthcare Administrator
    Healthcare administrators oversee and lead staffs of nurses and nursing assistants. As upper management employees, they regularly coordinate staff training and conduct performance reviews. They are also often tasked with ensuring their facilities meet all necessary accreditation standards. According to PayScale, healthcare administrators make an average base salary of $74,500 per year.
  • Healthcare Consultant
    Healthcare consultants assess various aspects of healthcare facilities with the intent to optimize patient care, cost management, and overall efficiency. They review many aspects including administrative effectiveness, legal compliance, work environment, procedural flow, and financial processes. They then research possible solutions to potential problems found and communicate possible solutions to stakeholders. According to PayScale, healthcare consultants make an average base salary of $80,351 per year.
  • Hospice Administrator
    Hospice administrators oversee and manage all aspects of hospice care programs offered in medical care facilities. This generally entails financial management, client interactions, community relations, general business recordkeeping, and compliance, as well as staff selection, training, and supervision. They often spend a lot of time monitoring spending for their programs and taking steps to secure grants and other community funding. According to PayScale, hospice administrators make an average base salary of $89,869 per year.
  • Medical Secretary
    Medical secretaries perform a variety of administrative duties for clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities. They are regularly responsible for greeting customers, answering phone calls, and scheduling appointments. In some cases, they may also be expected to communicate with insurance companies regarding client eligibility for certain treatments and rates. According to PayScale, medical secretaries make an average base salary of $39,871 per year.

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