Plan as early as possible – while attending high school in a freshman or sophomore year – researching the possibility for a career in healthcare management. Keep in mind that a good academic record is of utmost importance since a necessary goal should be attending a graduate program that leads to obtaining either a master’s or doctorate degree. However, first a bachelor’s degree must be obtained.
Bachelor’s Degree Can Gain an Entry-Level Position
People interested in a career in healthcare management should first study to obtain a bachelor’s degree. This will give the graduate access to a bevy of positions in healthcare administration, specifically in many smaller operations while also finding success in middle management level positions in larger healthcare facilities. Seekers will find a variety of colleges and schools offering undergraduate degrees with healthcare management major concentration leading to a “first” job in the industry. A bachelor level degree prepares a student with the initial education necessary to begin a professional career in healthcare management. Prospective students can find a list of certified undergraduate programs providing healthcare administration training at the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. Keep in mind, though, an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration is not necessary as a prerequisite toward gaining admission to a graduate program in healthcare administration. Many students holding bachelor degrees in different areas such as nursing, business or even other liberal arts areas may also qualify for graduate program admission.
Master’s Degree is Necessary Throughout the Industry
Despite earning a bachelor degree in healthcare administration, industry professionals will need to obtain, at the very least, a master-level education in order to propel a career. Check with the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education that provides information about accredited graduate programs for healthcare management students. In the not so distant past, most students chose a traditional course of study when it came to pursuing a master’s degree. However, this is the age of strict focused specialization. Many options are now available on the master level for choice of a degree concentration including business and public administration while maintaining a focus on healthcare management. Many schools offer a joint degree course of study, for example in both business and public health administration or, possibly, law and healthcare management. Students will find most graduate programs last two years when leading to a master’s degree. Expect course study in a variety of healthcare topics including personnel management, financing, organization, marketing, policy creation and implementation and health industry law. Many graduate programs also include a hands-on component offering fellowships, residencies and supervised internships.
Professional Associations Offer Assistance
All professional careers usually include the joining of a professional association that offers a great deal of help and guidance. These associations also provide members with a variety of resources that can help jump start a new career as well as offer support throughout an individual’s working days. People choosing a career in healthcare management may wish to join while attending school as a student associate of the American College of Healthcare Executives. This is an international organization of approximately 30,000 healthcare executives. Joining as a student associate will allow the member to experience the excitement associated with discovering, exploring and getting to know the true world of professional healthcare management. There are several services the ACHE offers a student associate including:
- Maintains a Job Bank
- Offers Continuing Education Programs
- Provides a Resume Review and Posting Service
- Offers up-to-date industry research reports
- Student Associates can subscribe to ACHE publications: Healthcare Executive magazine and Journal of Healthcare Management
Student Associates also are eligible for the Stuart A. Wesbury, Jr. Postgraduate Fellowship program and the Minority Internship. These two programs were created by ACHE to help graduate studies enhance studies in healthcare management. Eligibility requires:
- Student must be enrolled either full- or part-time in an accredited health services management program – or a related field – leading to a bachelor degree or enrolled in a healthcare management graduate program
- Cannot be employed as a full-time, working healthcare industry manager
Create a Career Planning Checklist
All prospective students seeking a career in healthcare management should make sure this is the best path to choose by making sure to:
- Learn All Possible About the Industry – Take the time to visit many career-planning websites talk to working professionals, visit and tour hospitals and other healthcare facilities and participate in a healthcare volunteer program to gain valuable first-hand practical experience.
- Read More…and Then Some More – Explore the variety and depth of written material available about the industry Newsweek and Tine – as well as industry trade publications like Modern healthcare, Journal of Healthcare Management, Frontiers of Health Service Management and Healthcare Executive. Also visit local public and college libraries for available literature about healthcare management.
- Check Out The Variety of Educational Programs – Consult with high school guidance counselors about a choice for a career in healthcare management. Gain help identifying accredited colleges that can match your needs. Make sure to check out both undergraduate and graduate programs for a good and string long-term education plan. Discover all available financing opportunities looking at available scholarships and loan programs. Prospective students can gain more information concerning financial aid by calling the Federal Student Financial Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243
Other links for gaining valuable information:
National Association of MD/MBA Students
Certified Undergraduate Health Administration Programs
Association of University Programs in Health Administration
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
Institute for Diversity in Health Management
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