December 5, 2022

Can I Work in the Mental Healthcare Field with a Healthcare Management Degree?

A health management degree can lead to work in a variety of different medical specialties including the mental healthcare field. With a degree in health management, a person might oversee a mental health program or facility and has the opportunity to significantly improve the treatment and lives of people struggling with mental illness.

Related resource: Top 35 Healthcare Management Master’s Degrees at Small Colleges

Healthcare Management Degree

A person may seek a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in healthcare management, also known as healthcare administration. Coursework usually includes such topics about healthcare policy, law, and financing as well as more general management topics that are tailored to the field such as human resources, marketing, and organizational behavior. A person who hopes to work in the field of mental health with this degree might also want to take psychology or other courses relating to mental health.

How to Enter the Field

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some employers in this field prefer both a master’s degree and some job experience in the particular area of management in which the person hopes to specialize. To work in mental healthcare management, this experience could include working as a counselor, a psychiatric nurse or in some other capacity, such as planning activities or outings for people in a mental health facility. The benefit of practical experience for an administrator is that it gives management a better sense of the challenges and limitations that staff may be dealing with. A person might also want to combine an undergraduate degree with a focus on mental health with a graduate degree in healthcare management.

Mental Healthcare Management Jobs

A person who works in mental healthcare management might specialize in a particular age group, such as children, adolescents or adults. The focus of these jobs might range from managing a facility that helps people with severe mental health issues to developing programs that focus on mental health wellness and more. Some of the job titles or types of jobs a person might have are clinical care manager, director of mental health, program director or executive director. Some duties of a person in this position might include ensuring that a program or facility is compliant with local, state and federal regulations, creating budgets, record keeping, developing community health initiatives, and setting goals for the organization each year.


Jobs in mental health with a degree in healthcare management might be in psychiatric units of hospitals, psychiatric hospitals or residential facilities. People may also work in public health or for nonprofits and help develop programs that focus on improving mental health. Specific focuses of facilities managed by a person with this degree could range from addiction to eating disorders to issues with anxiety and depression or psychotic disorders. The job may involve supervising psychiatrists, family therapists, clinical psychologists or social workers among others.

An effective manager in healthcare administration would combine strong organizational skills with good interpersonal skills. With the right work experience and background, a healthcare management degree can be an excellent part of the preparation for a career in the mental healthcare field.