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Clinical managers are strong leaders in the healthcare field, coordinating all aspects of healthcare establishments. When it comes to becoming an excellent clinical manager, there are several steps to take.

Generally speaking, clinical managers need to have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering into a healthcare setting. However, many clinical managers have a master’s degree, giving them a big competitive edge. Several experts also encourage prospective clinical managers to take additional courses that prepare them for a desired field.

Protective clinical managers will also need to obtain some work experience such as working as an intern or in a clinical role at a hospital or another healthcare establishment.

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What is a Clinical Manager?

Also known as a medical and health services manager, clinical managers ensure that the health facility for which they work operates smoothly, managing the medical and administrative parts of the establishment. These professionals may be both an administrator and clinician in smaller practices, and they may manage a skilled nursing facility, doctor’s office, or outpatient clinic.

Steps to Become a Clinical Manager:

  • Step 1: Bachelor’s Degree

  • Step 2: Master’s Degree

  • Step 3: Certification

  • Step 4: Licensure

  • Step 5: Experience


Step 1: Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is one of the first steps you need to take to become a clinical manager. This bachelor’s degree can be in healthcare management or you can obtain a general health sciences degree. Prospective clinical managers may also want to consider obtaining a nursing degree. Students usually complete a bachelor’s degree program in about four years and with a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to manage a small facility or clinic department.

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A bachelor’s degree in healthcare management or a related field may include the following courses: Medical and Health Services, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare Terminology, Health Science Leadership, Healthcare Safety and Quality, and Leadership and Ethics in Healthcare.

Step 2: Master’s Degree

Typically employers look for a master’s degree as a requirement if you would like to be a clinical manager who leads a large clinic in an executive position. Many employers prefer that prospective clinical managers have a health management master’s degree. This master’s degree can be in healthcare administration, nursing, health information management, public health, or business administration.

Since clinical managers should have extensive knowledge in the area they manage, prospective clinical managers who are seeking an executive position should make sure to take courses in hospital organization, health information systems, human resources administration, strategic planning, and budgeting even if these aren’t core courses in their master’s program.

Prospective clinical managers should be prepared to complete a master’s degree within three years, including a year of being supervised by an experienced clinical manager in a healthcare environment.

Step 3: Certification

In order to have a successful career as a clinical manager, you may need to obtain certifications, especially if you want to advance your career or manage larger facilities. Although not every employer will require that their clinical managers be certified, obtaining certifications could make you a much more attractive candidate.

  • Certified Medical Manager-Professional Association of Health Care Office Management

    The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management has created a reputable clinical manager certification that recognizes excellence in healthcare management. The examination will test a candidate’s knowledge of more than 15 areas of the administration of medical practice.

    After becoming a Certified Clinical Manager, you will have the necessary medical management skills to run a facility smoothly.

  • Certified Health Care Manager-American Institute of Health Care Professionals

    The American Institute of Health Care Professionals or AIHCP also offers a highly credible certification known as the Certified Health Care Manager. This certification is for clinical managers who would like to demonstrate excellence in management and leadership.

    Clinical managers who receive this excellent certification will be competitive prospects in the job market. Once this certification is earned, you will have access to seminars, educational activities, and other continuing education resources. When you earn this certification, you will be highly qualified to perform the duties of a clinical manager.

Step 4: Licensure

Most states will require clinical managers to obtain licensure if they would like to work in a nursing home and some other types of healthcare facility. The specific licensure requirements will vary by state. Depending on where you live, you may need to take a training course and pass a national and/or state-specific licensing exam.

The National Association of Long-Term Care Administration Boards contains detailed information about licensure requirements. If you are interested in being a clinical manager in another area of health and medical services management, you usually will not need to obtain licensure. Make sure to check the licensing requirements before applying to clinical manager positions as some employers may require a social worker or register nurse license. These types of licenses will need to be regularly maintained.

Step 5: Experience

In order to be a highly desired clinical manager, it’s extremely important to gain between three to five years of career experience. Make sure to obtain experience working in a healthcare institution, especially managing staff in this medical setting.

What Does A Clinical Manager Do?

In order to ensure that a facility always runs smoothly, clinical managers have many responsibilities.

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  • Recruits New Staff
    Staffing is an important role of clinical managers, and these professionals are usually expected to recruit new employees. They may also create and execute staffing models, obtain feedback from each new employee, and train staff members on policies and procedures.
  • Monitors Staff
    Clinical managers are responsible for managing and supporting employees at a facility, from physicians and nurses to orderlies and nurses’ aides. Staff management usually involves supervising employees in many different departments and delegating tasks to workers as needed. These professionals also perform employee reviews periodically throughout the year.
  • Manage Finances
    As administrators, clinical managers manage the finances of a facility. In this role, these professionals will monitor patient fees and billings, keep track of costly medical equipment, create short and long-term budgets, make purchasing decisions, review financial reports, and approve payroll.
  • Creates Plans and Systems
    A clinical manager must develop plans and systems so that a facility will operate efficiently. These may involve work standards, policies, and procedures which ensure regulatory compliance. Clinical managers may also implement business strategies to meet the facility’s objectives.
  • Oversees Patient Care

    Clinical managers support the patients of a facility, promoting optimal delivery of healthcare services. One way that clinical managers accomplish this goal is by monitoring the volume of patients in a facility, which enables them to ensure that every patient is always receiving top notch care.

    These professionals may also help with the clinical assessments of patients and maintain updated medical records of patients’ treatments. Clinical managers are also expected to inform patients and their families of available treatment options. In order to get medical treatments approved for patients, clinical managers must collaborate with manage care contractors and insurance companies.

Clinical Manager Skills To Acquire

  • Must be able to think analytically
  • Must know how to follow current regulations and new laws
  • Speaking a second language is a plus
  • Must be an excellent communicator, relaying important policies and procedure to employees
  • Should possess strong decision-making skills
  • Must be skilled in finance including how to create a budget
  • Should demonstrate exceptional managerial abilities, whether it’s managing projects or people
  • Should be able to work in a team
  • Excellent interpersonal skills is a requirement
  • Must have strong leadership skills, motivating and inspiring greatness among staff
  • Should have great critical thinking skills, discovering innovative solutions to simple and complex issues
  • Should know how to delegate tasks to the right workers
  • Must have excellent time management skills and should know how to multi-task
  • Must be able to cultivate a positive work environment
  • Must maintain incredible organization skills to ensure the clinic operates smoothly
  • Should demonstrate excellent technical abilities
  • Must be proficient in medical terminology
  • Exceptional technical skills is a must
  • Must possess active listening skills, giving one’s undivided attention to what employees are saying
  • Should know how to hire and train staff
  • An ability to negotiate and persuade when communicating with difficult patients
  • Advanced knowledge of appropriate patient care
  • Must maintain up-to-date knowledge regarding patient privacy

Alternative Paths

There are many routes to obtaining a position as a clinical manager. Depending on the employer, you may qualify to work as a clinical manager with only an associate degree and some career experience as a nurse, medical office assistant, lab technician, radiologist, therapist, or even an intern. Extensive experience can sometimes make up for a lack of education, though this depends on the employer.

Or, instead of pursuing the traditional route of becoming a clinical manager, you may want to consider saving time and money by enrolling in a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in this field. This provides you with a high level of education, which can make up for a lack of experience.

Clinical Manager Career & Salary

Where Might You Work?


Clinical managers can work in a variety of settings. These professionals can work in doctor’s offices, nursing and residential care facilities, outpatient care centers, and government agencies. Most clinical managers work in state, local, or private hospitals or offices.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the career outlook for clinical managers shows that it will grow by 18% in upcoming years, making it one of the most rapidly growing occupations in the country. In less than ten years, the career is expected to produce roughly 70,000 job opportunities across the United States.

Many experts predict that there will be an increasing demand for clinical managers in nursing homes as the large baby-boom population grows older. Medical group practices are also expected to expand in the coming years, which means there will be many openings for medical group practice managers. And, since many services that were previously provided in hospitals will eventually be offered in offices instead, employers will be hiring clinical managers to work in their offices as medical technologies gradually advance.

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There will be an increased use of medical technologies such as electronic health records; as a result, clinical managers will need to be skilled in informatics systems and health information technology in order to be a competitive job applicant.

The average salary of a clinical manager is $115,000.


Due to the steady rise in employment demand for clinical managers, these professionals shouldn’t have any trouble finding a job. Job prospects for clinical managers also look favorable because many clinical managers will be retiring soon, resulting in a drastic increase in openings. For clinical managers with a master’s degree in a field like health administration, job prospects are especially favorable. Regardless of where you choose to work, be prepared to work long or odd hours if requested. You may be required to be in the office during these hours in an emergency room position or you may only be required to be on call in order to solve staffing shortage issues and other complications as they arise. Here is a list of some of the jobs available as a clinical manager.

  • Home Health Clinical Manager: A home health clinical manager is typically a registered nurse who managers patient care. The duties of a home health clinical manager may include reviewing case referrals, assisting clinicians, hiring new employees, and creating immediate and long-term patient care goals.
  • Integrated Care Health Services Manager: These professionals have a variety of responsibilities including collaborating with patients and families, overseeing the integrated care department in a hospital, managing staff, and creating advanced surgical programs.
  • Psychiatric Clinical Manager: Many psychiatric clinical managers work for the state government. They are responsible for leading the clinical staff to promote optimal patient care, overseeing the finances of the department, supervising nurses and physicians, and assisting with medication management.
  • Clinical Project Manager: A clinical project manager may be responsible for managing clinical studies related to internal medicine, sleep disorders, psychiatry, and many more fields. These professionals are expected to monitor team performance, ensure that the projects are financially successful, present project information to employees, and create study management plans.
  • Clinical Documentation Manager: In this role, these professionals execute the following duties: monitor team work flows, creates department policies and standard operating procedures, and engaging in clinical data reporting.
  • Urgent Care Clinical Manager: An urgent care clinical manager is generally required to hire and terminate staff, maintain inventory, create a departmental budget, listen to staff and patient concerns, and align clinical operations with policy.
  • Clinical Nurse Manager: A clinical nurse manager is expected to coordinate and deliver patient care, adhering to healthcare organization policies and nursing standards. These professionals may also utilize the accounting and budgeting knowledge that they gain from a bachelor’s or master’s degree to promote optimal efficiency in a healthcare setting.
  • Clinical Behavioral Care Manager: As a clinical behavioral care manager, professionals are responsible for supporting the mental health of patients while overseeing the operations of a facility.
  • Clinical Data Manager: A clinical data manager is supposed to collect data from several clinical studies while running the entire medical research department. These professionals may work in hospitals, big pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, or government agencies.
  • Clinical Manager Primary Care: A clinical manager who works in a doctor’s office is expected to complete tasks in a busy setting, which may involve overseeing all aspects of a clinical department, ensuring comprehensive patient care, and supervising employees. These professionals are typically registered nurses.
  • Clinical Trial Manager: Clinical trial managers are responsible for managing every component of a medical research study. Some of the responsibilities of these professionals are as follows: create patient recruitment strategy, forecast study timelines, and prepare for audits and regulatory inspections. They may also work closely with patients.
  • Clinical Learning and Development Manager: The primary goal of a clinical learning and development manager is to greatly enhance the productivity of employees in a healthcare facility. This professional will also manage business projects when necessary and oversee the finances of a department.
  • Clinical Account Executive Manager: In most cases, a clinical account executive manager will be a nurse who has significant experience working in the healthcare field. The professional is expected to create an annual business plan, communicate with patients, oversee sales activity, and manage employees.
  • Outpatient Clinical Manager: An outpatient clinical manager is primarily responsible for making sure that clinics run efficiently. In this role, these professionals handle the clinic’s finances, manage staff, promote optimal patient satisfaction, and implement policies.
  • Hospice Clinical Team Manager: A hospice clinical team manager typically holds a registered nurse licensure. This professional is expected to prepare annual budgets, manage all inpatient and outpatient services, and provide support to team leaders.
  • Radiology Clinical Manager: As the position implies, a radiology clinical manager can work at a private practice that specializes in radiology. The professional will have the necessary skills to successfully coordinate the everyday activities of a well-organized physician office. Radiology clinical managers will be able to use their accounting and budgeting knowledge that they learned from college.
  • Clinical Nutrition Manager: The primary purpose of a clinical nutrition manager is to oversee the operations of the clinical nutrition staff. This professional may also be responsible for scheduling clinical nutrition staff, communicating with patients and families, and collaborating with food services operations and vendors.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Advancing From Here

Clinical managers have the opportunity to advance into top level executive positions, but this advancement will probably require a master’s degree and hard work. When clinical managers advance into higher paying positions, they may be responsible for managing a facility’s entire information systems while supervising many employees.

Many professionals begin their careers as clinical managers and then progress to prominent titles such as Director of Staff Development, Chief Nursing Officer, Director of Case Management, Systems Director, Assistant Director, Patient Relations Director, Vice President, Clinical Directors, Outpatient Services Director, or Emergency Services Director.

What do health services managers do?

Health services managers coordinate, plan, and direct health and medical services. Health services managers might work on a specific clinical area or they may work with a group of physicians.

How much do clinical managers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics clinical managers make around $104,000 per year.

What is the job outlook for clinical managers?

The projected ten year growth rate for clinical managers is 32% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What do clinical managers do?

Clinical managers oversee medical and health services. Clinical managers ensure that their departments meet standards set in place. Clinical managers also oversee patient care.

Where are the clinical manager jobs?

Clinical manager jobs are in healthcare facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and group medical practices.

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