Healthcare risk managers research, analyze and evaluate the risks and liabilities that hospitals, healthcare providers, insurers and other service providers may face in the day-to-day operation of their businesses. Risk managers also ensure that healthcare facilities comply with ever-changing legislation and safety regulations, and hold appropriate medical malpractice and other insurance.

Jobs Outlook for Risk Managers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for risk managers and actuaries is anticipated to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in the coming years. As healthcare organizations seek ways to identify and mitigate risk and address constantly changing regulations, there will continue to be strong demand for risk managers in this field.

Job Duties

A risk manager’s job responsibilities will vary depending on employer and role, and can range from working within a specific department to overseeing risk for the organization as a whole. On any given day, risk managers may review accidents and incidents; lawsuits; working environments; departmental operations; emergency preparedness procedures; the composition of a company’s workforce; an organization’s buildings, plants or facilities; and financial reports or other records. Their goal is to reduce the probability of loss from lawsuits, non-compliance, fraud and other business liabilities.

Job Environment

Those working as healthcare risk managers typically work in comfortable offices within a healthcare facility or insurance company. A job as a healthcare risk manager often involves long hours poring over reports, analyzing numbers and making predictions to help reduce liabilities and minimize the impact of various risks.

Risk managers must be confident in their decisions and recommendations to upper management, be thorough in their research and analysis, and be comfortable working with a great deal of uncertainty.

Risk Manager Salary Potential

Healthcare risk manager salaries vary by education, experience, employer and role. National salary data on PayScale.com listed the salary range for healthcare risk management professionals as $55,564 to $77,839 in July 2010. Those in executive-level roles command higher incomes. According to Salary.com, the median salary for risk management directors in healthcare was $97,677 in November 2009, with the middle 50% earning between $85,200 and $113,441.

Most risk manager jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree; however, graduates with an associate’s degree in healthcare management may be able to obtain internships or entry-level roles at correspondingly lower salaries. This allows them to gain on-the-job experience as they pursue a bachelor’s degree, and may provide opportunities to participate in an employer’s tuition assistance program.

Education and Training

A position as a healthcare risk manager requires at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management, healthcare administration, business, finance, accounting or even computer science. An advanced degree, such as an MBA in healthcare management, can lead to better job opportunities and high-paying executive roles.

The first step for those looking to become a risk manager in healthcare field can be an associate’s degree in healthcare management.

Completion of a healthcare management education program signifies that a prospective employee has the ability to:

  • Understand the risks and liabilities involved in a modern healthcare system.
  • Use computers and software applications to identify and track risks.
  • Implement essential management techniques such as planning, strategizing and leading change.
  • Apply critical-thinking and sound decision-making skills to arrive at optimal business solutions.
  • Successfully complete college-level coursework and continue on to an advanced degree.

Is a Job as a Risk Manager Right for You?

If you have strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, sound decision-making skills, excellent leadership potential and are comfortable in dealing with risk on a daily basis, then a risk manager career may be the job for you.

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