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Medical and Health Services Managers - What They Do


How to Advance (Advancement)
Medical and health services managers advance by moving into more responsible and higher paying positions, such as assistant or associate administrator, department head, or chief executive officer, or by moving to larger facilities. Some experienced managers also may become consultants or professors of healthcare management.

New graduates with master's degrees in health services administration may start as department managers or as supervisory staff. The level of the starting position varies with the experience of the applicant and the size of the organization. Hospitals and other health facilities offer postgraduate residencies and fellowships, which usually are staff positions. Graduates from master's degree programs also take jobs in large medical group practices, clinics, mental health facilities, nursing care corporations, and consulting firms.

Graduates with bachelor's degrees in health administration usually begin as administrative assistants or assistant department heads in larger hospitals. They also may begin as department heads or assistant administrators in small hospitals or nursing care facilities.

Employment
Medical and health services managers held about 283,500 jobs in 2008. About 38 percent worked in hospitals, and another 19 percent worked in offices of physicians or in nursing and residential care facilities. Many of the remainder worked in home healthcare services, Federal Government healthcare facilities, outpatient care centers, insurance carriers, and community care facilities for the elderly.

Job Outlook
Employment is projected to grow faster than the average. Job opportunities should be good, especially for applicants with work experience in healthcare and strong business management skills.

Job Growth
Employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow 16 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. The healthcare industry will continue to expand and diversify, requiring managers to help ensure smooth business operations.

Managers in all settings will be needed to improve quality and efficiency of healthcare, while controlling costs, as insurance companies and Medicare demand higher levels of accountability. Managers also will be needed to oversee the computerization of patient records and to ensure their security as required by law. Additional demand for managers will stem from the need to recruit workers and increase employee retention, to comply with changing regulations, to implement new technology, and to help improve the health of their communities by emphasizing preventive care.

Hospitals will continue to employ the most medical and health services managers over the 200818 decade. However, the number of new jobs created is expected to increase at a slower rate in hospitals than in many other industries because of the growing use of clinics and other outpatient care sites. Despite relatively slow employment growth in hospitals, a large number of new jobs will be created because of the industry's large size.

Employment will grow fast in offices of health practitioners. Many services previously provided in hospitals will continue to shift to these settings, especially as medical technologies improve. Demand in medical group practice management will grow as medical group practices become larger and more complex.

Medical and health services managers also will be employed by healthcare management companies that provide management services to hospitals and other organizations and to specific departments such as emergency, information management systems, managed care contract negotiations, and physician recruiting.

Job opportunities will be good, especially for applicants with work experience in healthcare and strong business management skills. Medical and health services managers with experience in large hospital facilities will enjoy an advantage in the job market, as hospitals become larger and more complex. Competition for jobs at the highest management levels will be keen because of the high pay and prestige.

Earnings
Median annual wages of wage and salary medical and health services managers were $80,240 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $62,170 and $104,120. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $137,800.

Earnings of medical and health services managers vary by type and size of the facility and by level of responsibility. For example, the Medical Group Management Association reported that, in 2007, median salaries for administrators were $82,423 in practices with 6 or fewer physicians; $105,710 in practices with 7 to 25 physicians; and $119,000 in practices with 26 or more physicians.

According to a survey by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, 2009 average total compensation for office managers in specialty physicians' practices was $54,314 in gastroenterology; $54,201 in dermatology; $58,899 in cardiology; $48,793 in ophthalmology; $44,910 in obstetrics and gynecology; $51,263 in orthopedics; $51,466 in pediatrics; $48,814 in internal medicine; and $47,152 in family practice.

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Academic Programs of Interest

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