There’s no better time to consider a career in health care management. Health care management is a quickly growing field, with a predicted growth rate of 16% through 2016. But outside of the health care system, not many people are aware that these types of careers exist. Here are some basic questions answered.

What is health care management?

In the United States, health care is a huge industry, just like agriculture or manufacturing. Because health care is a necessary service as well as a business, the industry needs professionals who know how to manage the business side of delivering care. That might sound grim, but health care managers have an opportunity to make a huge difference in patient care, especially now that the health care industry is on the brink of a major overhaul.

Health care managers do everything from supervising staff to making budgets for medical supplies and new equipment. They must also keep up with trends in the industry and technological advancing in delivering care. Health care managers usually have some background in delivering care. Many go on to management and administration after first working as health care practitioners. In short, they are the master organizers who understand health care and keep our medical facilities running from behind the scenes.

What sort of careers could I have in health care management?

Many health care managers work in hospitals, overseeing different departments. Others work in nursing care facilities, where they coordinate staff efforts to provide care for long-term and permanent residents. Many health care managers have different specialties. Some work more with developing policies and procedures for patient care, while others might specialize in recruiting and training nursing staff. Generally, the larger the hospital or facility, the more specific a health care manager’s focus will be. At a smaller facility, your job might have you overseeing billing and budgets as well as writing staff handbooks.

If you’re interested in information technology as well as health care and business, you could have a career managing patient records. Hospitals in particular store vast amounts of information, and coordinating efforts to digitize, organize and retrieve those records is a huge job.

Another growing career within health care management is in home-based care. Health care managers are needed to coordinate in-home care through various nursing care and hospice agencies.

How do I earn a degree in health care management?

Health care management programs can be done either in person or through an online business school. If you’re already working in the health care industry as a nurse or other medical practitioner, an online health care management program is ideal for you, since you can complete coursework and check in with your classes on your own time. It is possible to earn a bachelor’s degree in health care management, or you can earn an MBA with a concentration in health care management. The most prestigious and highest paid positions will go to applicants holding a health care management MBA from an accredited university.

There are many schools that offer healthcare courses to choose from. To see these and others, visit the Healthcare Schools directory today.