In today’s modern world, healthcare is a hot button issue. As our population grows, it also represents a rapidly expanding field, with exciting new opportunities opening up in many areas, and existing specialties requiring additional trained professionals. One of the most frequently overlooked specialty fields in healthcare is that of administration and management. These kinds of positions are essential to maintaining communications and logistics between hospitals and suppliers, as well as to ensuring that individual institutions operate smoothly and efficiently, with minimal overhead. As a result, there are many different types of degrees offered, depending upon the career path that a student might wish to pursue.
Here are five things to bear in mind when considering which healthcare management degree is right for you:
Pick an Overall Direction
Management may seem like a narrowly defined career field at first glance, particularly when it is further limited to a specific industry. Within the expansive scope of modern healthcare, though, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Healthcare managers can work in a clinical setting, such as a specialist clinic or a hospital. They can work in administration, in a research institution, in higher education, or in the pharmaceutical industry. They can focus on reproductive health, geriatric care, or other fields in which specialists are in particular demand today. They can also work within the healthcare supply industry, or the insurance industry, where their expertise provides them considerable merit as candidates for executive-level advancement.
Decide Where You’re Going to Start
Whatever your chosen career path, you’ll most likely be offered opportunities in both the public and private sectors. There are opportunities for healthcare administration within the private industry, including at hospitals and with insurance companies, and in the government. The government’s public health programs, the military, and the Environmental Protection Agency all afford many growth opportunities for a highly qualified managerial candidate, and most branches of the government (at every level, from local to federal) maintain offices concerned with either public or departmental health.
Leave Room for Continuing Your Education
Even an associate’s degree in health management can open doors to lucrative opportunities. Management degrees of any kind are valuable in administrative positions both in and outside of the healthcare industry. Bear that in mind when considering your future prospects, but leave the possibility of continuing your education on the table at all times. Many employers still offer compensation for continuing education programs, undertaken at your own pace and convenience, which cover areas of expertise related to the career path you’re on (or are intending to pursue). If carefully planned in advance, this is an excellent way to help cover the rapidly increasing cost of higher education in this country.
Consider Your Future Salary Prospects
In general, jobs in healthcare management pay above-average salaries relative to the level of education required to qualify for them. Before choosing your designated career path and organization, however, take a look at the future prospects for the specific job function you’re considering. Different lines of work, in different branches of the industry, offer varying levels of income advancement and job security. You need to balance those two factors to where you’re happy with the results, then find the career path that most closely matches your expectations.
Keep Track of the Many Steadily Expanding Opportunities
Whatever your chosen direction in health management or healthcare administration, the entire field is going to continue expanding into the foreseeable future, providing new opportunities for all involved. Many professionals change direction one or more times through their career. When choosing your degree, how to pursue it, and what electives to take to enhance your overall qualifications, consider areas like communications, logistics, and statistical analysis. These tend to be widely applicable to a broad range of administrative and managerial occupations.
By choosing the right degree program for your job aspirations, you increase your qualifications as a viable candidate. This will empower you in the pursuit of your chosen healthcare management career, increase the likelihood of being able to pursue a graduate degree program (if applicable), and improve your chances of climbing the administrative ladder to an executive position.