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What is Healthcare Management?
Healthcare management education can prepare you for a wide variety of careers with hospitals, health insurance companies, and nursing homes. Students receive instruction in topics that help them gain the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure the medical facilities they work for provide them most optimal care possible to patients. Career outcomes vary for graduates, but they are generally prepared to develop and administer healthcare programs in a wide variety of different medical settings.
Healthcare managers are hired to plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They often work for medical clinics, groups of physicians, large medical practices, or hospitals. Positions may also be available in nursing homes, residential care facilities, and outpatient care centers. Most are employed full-time, with evening and weekend hours possible. This is especially true when they function as part of on-call emergency rotations.
Expectations vary by position, but these professionals are typically expected to improve the overall efficiency and quality of the healthcare their facilities deliver. The scope of the work performed can also differ significantly. While some healthcare managers oversee just one service, others are responsible for managing multiple offerings. In some cases, they may even be assigned multiple roles. It’s not uncommon for these professionals to be tasked with developing strategic departmental goals and objectives, as well as recruiting, training, and supervising staff members. Additionally, they must be able to facilitate patient payments, monitor available finances, and ensuring operating costs are within established limits. It’s also their responsibility to verify that all work performed is in compliance with various state and national regulations. Finally, these professionals must be prepared to work very closely with other field experts such as physicians, surgeons, registered nurses, and medical laboratory technicians.
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Online Healthcare Management Education in Massachusetts
Notably, there are many different job titles for healthcare managers depending on area of expertise and work setting. One of the most commonly used designations is healthcare executive. Other similar professional labels include nursing home administrator, clinical manager, and health information manager.
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.
Educational services, healthcare, and social assistance is the third largest industry in Massachusetts, accounting for $69.7 billion in revenue each year. Based on data provided by the BLS, the state employed 20,300 medical and health services managers in May 2022. Additionally, the annual mean wage for these professionals in the state was $152,450. Notably, this is significantly above the reported annual mean wage of $76,600 for all occupations in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts is home to many colleges and universities that offer degree programs in healthcare administration and other related topics. While traditional study options are more prominent, there are some online opportunities available, as well. Regardless of learning format, prospective students who plan to seek employment in the state may wan to give preference to institutions located in Massachusetts. Not only do these schools offer the most geographically relevant education, but they will ensure students meet the various hiring standards and expectations of local employers. Additionally, because most healthcare management education programs include field experiences, those enrolled will have opportunities to obtain internships in facilities that may seek to hire them in the future.
There are plenty of options for students interested in earning a healthcare administration degree focused on the specific needs of the healthcare field with the knowledge of business administration. Subjects of interest will include patient safety, public health, health promotion, health informatics, etc. You can find a school that teaches these subjects anywhere in Massachusetts. Some options you might consider include Salem State University, Boston College, Boston University, Cambridge College, Simmons College, University of Massachusetts - Lowell, UMass Dartmouth, and more. Your education is your choice. Find a program on the east coast that works for you, whether that's a Bachelor of Science in Health, Master of Public Health, healthcare administration or healthcare management master program, a graduate certificate in business administration, and more. These programs provide students and working professionals the core courses and master's degree programs or bachelor's degrees in massachusetts that they need to succeed. Healthcare management degrees are available in a variety of levels, with a variety of specialization options.
Many colleges and universities in Massachusetts offer degrees in healthcare management and other related major areas of study. Prospective students can generally choose from relevant academic programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
While a limited number of entry-level employment opportunities may be available to those with little or no higher education, most professionals in this field obtain at least bachelor’s degrees. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is minimum educational standard for medical and health services managers throughout the nation.
Online Associate Degree in Healthcare Management (AS)
Associate degrees in healthcare administration generally consist of 60 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Undergraduate programs like these are typically comprised of both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. This means that, in addition to communication, mathematics, and science subjects, students can usually expect to receive instruction in healthcare technology, medical terminology, marketing, and medical office administration. Those enrolled also often develop various fundamental skills necessary to work in medical offices including the utilization of popular technologies, data systems, and medical coding methods.
This type of degree can help prepare individuals for employment as medical secretaries, medical assistants, and medical records technicians. They can also lead to other entry-level administrative jobs in healthcare. Another benefit of earning associate degrees is that they generally cost less than traditional four-year programs. Not only do students pay lower tuition and fees, but they are also likely to enter the workforce sooner. These are great advantages, but prospective students should realize employment opportunities may be limited after graduation. As a result, many graduates choose to continue their education by enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs.
Notably, those who possess associate degrees typically only require two years of additional classes before achieving more advanced academic standing. It may be possible to transfer the 60 credit hours earned previously to other institutions. This is often the difference between entering as a freshman or a junior.
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. Undergraduate programs like these are typically comprised of both general liberal arts and major-specific classes. This means that, in addition to communication, mathematics, and science subjects, students can usually expect to receive instruction in healthcare law, management information systems, patient safety, and budgeting in healthcare. It’s also common for those enrolled to study principles in marketing, business law, and ethics.
Many colleges and universities also expect healthcare administration students to complete residencies or internships. This typically entails being placed in actual healthcare facilities and completing various tasks in order to gain real-world, hands-on experience in the field. These experiences supplement and support classroom learning, as well as helping participants to hone their knowledge and skills.
This type of degree can lead to jobs as medical office administrators, healthcare human resources managers, health information officers, and community service managers. In most cases, graduates can expect to work in positions that deal with the business side of medical facilities and organizations.
While those who possess bachelor’s degrees typically have the minimum education required for many occupations in the field, pursuing further study can lead to even greater professional opportunities. Those interested in graduate school should be prepared to provide grade point average (GPA) records and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score results to their chosen institutions.Top 25 Online Bachelors in Healthcare Management
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Online Master's Degree in Healthcare Management (MS or MC)
Master’s degrees in healthcare management generally range from 30 to 45 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately two to three years to complete. Many students earning a master's degree already work in the health sector with an undergraduate degree in health informatics or health administration or even business administration, sometimes as a healthcare administrator. Notably, undergraduate credit hours may not be transferred or applied towards learning at this level. Additionally, general liberal arts classes are no longer incorporated into the curriculums. It’s important to realize, however, that some programs may require candidates to possess certain major-specific courses as prerequisites. Students who have not already completed these undergraduate requirements may be given the opportunity to do so while enrolled. Some institutions will expect these to be completed before being admitted.
In most cases, curriculums focus exclusively on subject matter pertinent to the field. As a result, it’s common for students in these programs to receive instruction in management, business, accounting, and healthcare. Other areas of study can include medical terminology, hospital organization, health information systems, health services management, human resources administration, strategic planning, and health economics.
As with the bachelor’s degree, many colleges and universities expect healthcare administration students to complete residencies or internships. These supervised administrative experiences help them gain hands-on experience in the field. Typical placements include hospitals and/or various healthcare consulting settings. Notably, these opportunities can last much longer than those at the undergraduate level. Some even span an entire academic year.
This type of degree typically leads to jobs as medical records supervisors, hospital administrators, health information management managers, and healthcare consultants. Graduates often enjoy more employment opportunities and receive preference during the hiring process. They are also more likely to qualify for positions offering higher pay.Top 25 Online Masters in Healthcare Management
Online PhD Degree in Healthcare Management (PhD)
A PhD or doctorate in healthcare management can consist of between 60 and 120 credit hours that may take full-time students up to seven years to complete. Programs of this type can vary, however, with graduation requirements differing significantly between academic institutions. Some of the most common instructional areas include advanced healthcare administration, finance, medical law, and ethics, as well as healthcare data and informatics. While students typically spend the first few years participating in traditional classroom learning, the latter part of these degrees is often spent performing independent study, research, residency work, and dissertation preparation.
As terminal degrees, these are best-suited for individuals who plan to pursue employment in healthcare industry research or academia. Graduates may also qualify to lead large teams of other healthcare workers or obtain jobs as hospital CEOs.
Become a Healthcare Management in Massachusetts
The first step to becoming a healthcare manager in Massachusetts should be researching the various employment opportunities available in the field. Once you know which jobs are available, you can better identify your specific career goals. It’s also important to become familiar with the various hiring standards and expectations for occupations of interest. This is particularly helpful when selecting the most appropriate degree programs. Narrowing your focus to one or two primary professions helps to ensure you obtain the knowledge, skills, and credentials necessary to be successful. You will also be well informed with selecting elective courses, minor areas of study, academic concentrations, extracurricular activities, and/or internships.
In general, the state of Massachusetts does not require healthcare management professionals to obtain a specific level of higher education. Instead, companies and organizations are responsible for setting their own hiring standards and requirements based on the type of work performed. As previously mentioned, however, this generally entails earning at least a bachelor’s degree. More advanced positions typically require additional education but offer higher pay. Due to the benefits, it’s relatively common for professionals in this field to complete graduate programs.
After earning the recommended or required degree(s), you may also want to obtain one or more relevant certifications. Additional credentials not only demonstrate dedication to the field, but also show prospective employers that you possess general proficiency and/or expertise in various specialty subjects. Most healthcare administration positions do not require certification, but hiring managers do tend to give preference to candidates who possess additional relevant credentials.
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No single certification is recommended or appropriate for all healthcare management professionals. Rather, those in the field must choose to pursue credentials pertinent to their given occupation and/or area of specialty.
Some prominent examples 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)
It’s also common for those working in healthcare administration to seek membership with relevant professional organizations and associations. In return for paying a membership fee, these entities often provide a wide variety of benefits. While these vary, members can generally expect to gain access to academic journals, continuing education opportunities, service and product discounts, and professional networking events.
Some popular organizations and association in the field 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)
Careers for Healthcare Management Graduates
- Assisted Living Administrator
Assisted living administrators work in residential facilities that offer services to individuals requiring additional support when completing daily tasks. They are responsible for overall operations, such as overseeing admittance procedures and budgeting. They are often handle all new employee onboarding and perform staff evaluations. 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 oversee a variety of financial operation and to ensure compliance expectations are met. This requires thorough familiarity with all applicable rules, regulations, policies, and laws. When issues are identified, they are also responsible for investigating the situation and offering possible solutions. They may also be expected to provide insight regarding executive budget requests for new and continuing company initiatives. According to PayScale, chief compliance officers make an average base salary of $123,243 per year.
- Clinical Manager
Clinical managers are hired to provide primary and ongoing care for patients in clinical and medical offices. Responsibilities vary, but they often oversee day-to-day treatment strategies as prescribed by healthcare providers and ensure organization and efficiency of patient care and scheduling practices. Additionally, they may be tasked with staff member selection, training, and supervision. According to PayScale, clinical managers make an average base salary of $73,583 per year.
- Health Information Manager
Health information managers are employed by healthcare facilities to ensure medical information is stored and transferred in ways that meet all legal and ethical standards in the field. They are responsible for establishing the record-keeping methods utilized by staff and ensuring that workers adhere to those procedures. Theys may also be tasked with creating and implementing new healthcare information management policies as issues with the process arise. According to PayScale, health information managers make an average base salary of $57,626 per year.
- Healthcare Consultant
Healthcare consultants work to optimize patient care and improve cost management and overall facility efficiency. Typically hired by medical facility administrators, they start by performing thorough assessments that closely examine effectiveness, legal compliance, work environment, procedural flow, and financial processes. After gathering the necessary date, they report any potential problems identified during the process and share their research regarding possible solutions. According to PayScale, healthcare consultants make an average base salary of $80,351 per year.
- Hospice Administrator
Hospice administrators work in medical care facilities offering hospice care to patients. They often coordinate a wide variety of aspects related to these care programs, including interacting with clients and overseeing community relations. They also frequently oversee legal compliance, business recordkeeping, staff selection, employee training, worker supervision, and monitor spending. In some cases, they may secure additional funding with grant applications. According to PayScale, hospice administrators make an average base salary of $89,869 per year.
- Medical Secretary
Medical secretaries are employed by clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities to perform a wide variety of administrative duties. These can include greeting customers, answering phone calls, and scheduling patient appointments. In some cases, these professionals may also be tasked with determining patient eligibility for certain treatments and rates by communicating with insurance companies According to PayScale, medical secretaries make an average base salary of $39,871 per year.
- Healthcare Administrator
- Business Administrator