The spectrum of healthcare management is quite broad. It includes administrators, compliance officers, financial professionals, nurses and lawyers, and will continue to grow steadily in the foreseeable future. Here are a few of the many degree options available for students who are interested in healthcare management:
Health Administration or Management
This is painfully obvious, so we will not expend too many words on it. It had to be mentioned, though.
Public health is “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.” It is an interdisciplinary discipline that draws from fields such as biostatistics, epidemiology, health services, health law and bioethics, among others, to formulate disease-preventing policies and initiatives. A degree in public health will make you a desirable candidate for healthcare compliance jobs. Getting your foot in the door at a healthcare entity in such a position will give you
A degree in business administration will provide you with a broad array of business-related knowledge. Such degree programs typically require students to take courses in economics, organizational behavior, accounting, financial management, business and employment law, marketing management, business statistics, information and decision sciences. Though the business administration curriculum does not focus on healthcare-specific topics, the courses it will require you to take will provide you with enough general business knowledge that this will not hamper your chances of a building a successful career in healthcare management.
Chief nursing officer (CNO) is, as the name indicates, a chief-level position that exists in virtually all healthcare networks, entities and freestanding facilities. The CNO also has VP-level subordinates who must perform administrative functions and who are likely nurses by trade, even if they no longer work in conventional nursing capacities. These professionals are responsible for formulating and reviewing the entity’s nursing-specific policies and procedures and hiring and firing nurses.
Almost all healthcare organizations employ in-house legal counsel. These lawyers defend the entity in lawsuits, draft contracts and other important documents, and perform audits of its internal policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with any and all applicable laws. They become intimately familiar with the entity’s structure, strengths and weaknesses, making them perfect candidates for promotion to management-level positions within the organization.
Though it may seem somewhat unconventional, obtaining a degree in accounting is a good way to obtain a career in healthcare management. Many healthcare entities seek out accountants who have worked in large firms to join their in-house accounting teams. In-house accountants at healthcare organizations spend their days analyzing the entity’s financial statements and transactions, making them perfect candidates for promotion to VP- or chief-level positions that require an in-depth understanding of its financial situation.
Healthcare management is a diverse professional field, and it takes all kinds of people with differing skills to ensure that an entity or organization is being run optimally. There are many degree options available for students who wish to pursue a career in this exciting, rapidly growing field.