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How to Become a Healthcare Executive

Many career options are available in the healthcare field, from more-traditional jobs that involve patient care to human resources and marketing for large healthcare facilities or pharmaceutical and medical-device companies.

Likewise, healthcare administrators come from a variety of backgrounds, as there is more than one path to moving into the managerial ranks at a healthcare institution. Increasingly, however, employers hiring at the managerial level are looking for candidates with master’s degrees. Recognizing this, Utica College offers an online Health Care Management MBA. This program is designed to give you the tools and expertise you need to fast-track your healthcare career and advance to levels difficult to attain with only an undergraduate degree in today’s competitive environment.

Once you obtain your master’s degree, you are likely to start with an entry- to midlevel management position in a specialized area. These areas include (but are not limited to) finance, government relations, human resources, information systems, marketing and public affairs, materials management (purchasing of equipment and supplies), medical staff relations, nursing administration, patient care services, and planning and development.

What are my prospects?

Healthcare is a robust and rapidly expanding sector. This makes it an excellent area for employment, with projected job growth far higher than average and competitive salaries.1 In addition to the many managerial jobs in hospitals, a wealth of administrative and executive healthcare positions exist with employers such as managed-care companies, medical insurers, assisted living and long-term care facilities, hospice, the government, and public health agencies, pharmaceutical and medical-device companies, and even medical universities.

Because of the many rich opportunities available, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the specific skills required to succeed in a particular career path so you can tailor your studies to your intended vocation. For example, if you choose to pursue a career as a healthcare administrator, you’ll be responsible for policy, finance, and management.

How do I move from a midlevel managerial position to an executive role?

  • :: Gain experience and be willing to work your way up.  Managing a small medical office is an excellent way to gain the experience you need to hold an executive position at a large hospital or other healthcare facility. Working as a healthcare consultant is also good preparation for an executive role.  And if you want to stay with your current employer but reach the top, be on the lookout for openings and let supervisors and peers know of your goals and ambitions. Mastering your current job and being willing to go the extra mile will go a long way toward increasing your chances of promotion.2
  • :: Build connections. Oftentimes, people find jobs by networking with their peers. Networking is particularly effective (and important) at the executive level, so look for professional associations geared toward healthcare executives and always let others know what your professional goals and objectives are.
  • :: Develop executive skills. Having a broad set of abilities that include excellent oral and written communication skills, a proven track record for managing people and projects, diplomacy, and analytical and decision-making skills is a huge asset for any professional position and is particularly important in the field of healthcare management.

To get that initial foothold in management, though, nothing beats making the investment of time and money to earn a master’s degree. You can request more information online about Utica College’s online MBA with a specialization in Health Care Management or call 315.732.2640 or toll free at 866.295.3106 to speak with a Program Manager.