For professionals looking to transfer their business skills into a new field, the healthcare management industry offers numerous opportunities in a variety of public and private healthcare settings. With an aging U.S. population, health care managers are needed to fulfill a number of positions within the fields of information technology, corporate communications, finance, project management, and clinical management. Most healthcare management professionals combine experience and education in a health related discipline with business skills, or take a variety of courses to offer the most competitive skill set to prospective employers.

Experience and Education

It is becoming increasingly common for professionals transitioning out of patient care and into a healthcare management position to secure healthcare management education online while remaining employed. Online education from a regionally accredited university is ideal for working professionals, those with family obligations and military personnel and their families.

Others secure a health care management job through an entry level business administration position and move up from there. With an associate’s degree there are limited jobs at the administrative assistant or data entry level; most healthcare management professionals earn a four year bachelor’s degree for improved job mobility.

Depending on one’s interest and professional inclinations, a four year bachelor’s degree can include health administration with courses that focus on information technology, finance, project management, or clinical management. On-the-job experience and a proven track record of maintaining integrity, and working effectively on a team, are additional requirements for positive career advancement.

The top positions often require an additional two year master’s degree and additional work experience with demonstrated leadership and training skills. For professionals seeking longevity in this field, a number of certifications are also available; requirements vary from employer to employer and state to state.

Career Paths and Certifications

The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) provides opportunities for healthcare managers to network through forums and conferences, engage in continuing education through certification programs, serve the field through engaging in volunteer work and participate in advocacy. In addition to networking, extensive credentialing opportunities exist for healthcare managers through the American Health Information Management Association. This organization offers credentialing exams in coding, health information management, health data analysis, healthcare privacy and security, and clinical documentation improvement. See AHIMA certification credentials.

Professionals seeking new opportunities should consider translating current experience into securing a profitable niche in the healthcare management field. In addition to continuing education, becoming active in a professional association can provide necessary networking experiences leading to more enriching employment opportunities. With the wide range of specialty areas available to healthcare managers, there is room to apply current skills to a variety of openings in public, private, and governmental healthcare settings.

The healthcare management industry offers a variety of opportunities for career changers across a wide range of business specialties. Achieving additional education and securing related certifications can help make the transition smoother as well as provide a wide range of experiences and expertise that top employers are looking for in today’s competitive job market.

Engaging in coursework online to bolster résumé potential is a convenient way to increase the probability of landing a great job. Additionally, becoming actively involved in a local chapter of a national association affords professionals the opportunity for increased networking, mentoring and other important involvements such as volunteering and engaging in advocacy on behalf of the profession.

In addition to a strong work ethic and valuable work experience, healthcare management professionals need effective communication skills and expertise in the technology related to their position. With its connection to technology, the field requires ongoing training to maintain effectiveness and to keep skills current. Working well alone and as part of a goal-driven team is important to this constantly evolving field.

Despite the challenging economy, jobs in healthcare management continue to show growth and offer career changers an interesting set of alternatives to a current situation. Assembling the right education, expertise and experience is a step in the right direction toward securing a job that will bring sustainable professional growth for many years to come.

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