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Why Healthcare Managers Are in Demand

Healthcare is the fastest growing area of the U.S. economy, with four million new jobs expected in the industry by 2026, according to federal projections. In 2018, healthcare passed the retail sector as the top employer in the country.

This dramatic expansion in the industry has created the need for more healthcare managers. That’s led to many working professionals entering online bachelor’s degree program with a concentration in healthcare management.

The need for leaders equipped to meet the demands of this growing field is more important than ever. Degree programs that focus on healthcare management can prepare graduates to take on the challenges in this demanding profession.

What’s Driving the Demand For Healthcare Managers?

A number of factors are driving the demand in healthcare management careers.

One of the biggest is an aging population in the United States that is staying active longer than previous generations and increasing the need for healthcare services. Another factor is that people of all ages are seeing the advantages of preventive healthcare and seeking medical services more frequently. 

Employment of managers for group practices is expected to increase as their services become more complex and widespread, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Innovations in technology are also leading to a demand for managers with knowledge in the current and potential uses of technology in healthcare.

Complex challenges in the healthcare industry have also led to the demand for qualified healthcare managers. Some of these challenges include:

  • An increased focused on value care in which medical provider payers from insurers are based on medical outcomes
  • Attracting and retaining top talent in a tight job market
  • Training current employees to take on larger roles in the operation
  • The continued adaptation of technology in the healthcare workplace
  • An ever-changing regulatory environment

Demand for Healthcare Managers

The job projection numbers of healthcare managers, like those for most jobs in healthcare, are strong across the nation and in Virginia.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 20% increase in the number of health service managers nationwide by 2026. That figure is almost three times the rate of growth for all occupations over the next decade.

In Virginia, that number is higher, with a projected increase of 23.7% by 2026, according to Projections Central, which uses BLS numbers to break down job statistics by state.

The demand for health managers has resulted in strong salaries, as well. Nationwide, medical and health service managers earned a mean annual salary of $113,730 in May 2018, according to the BLS. In Virginia, the mean annual salary reached $116,770.

Typically, hospitals and surgery centers pay the most to healthcare managers, followed by doctors’ clinics, outpatient care centers and nursing care facilities.

What You Learn in a Healthcare Management Program

The University of Virginia’s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in healthcare management provides an excellent example of the skills needed to enter this growing and rewarding profession.

Graduates from the program, which is designed for adult learners, develop skills and knowledge in health care systems and aspects of healthcare management. Students who enter the program typically have at least one to two years of experience in the healthcare industry.

The courses are offered online, making them convenient for working professionals who must balance the time spent furthering their education with busy professional and personal lives.

The required courses include:

  • Introduction to Healthcare Management: Applying Concepts to Practice
  • Legal & Ethical Decision-making in Health Care
  • Management of Health Care Organizations
  • Introduction to Population Health: Programs, Policies & Epidemiology
  • American Health Care: Challenges & Opportunities
  • Economics & Finance of Health Care

Two elective courses in healthcare are also required. Students have a wide variety of classes to choose from, including Current Issues in Health Care, Understanding Diversity in Health Care, Health Information Systems & Applications, Global Health Care and Women’s Health Issues: Access, Treatment & Policy.

Students must also take 18 credits from elective courses outside healthcare management. These vary but typically students can choose from anthropology, art, art history, architectural history, drama, economics, history, literature, music, philosophy, politics, religion and sociology.

The opportunities in healthcare management continue to expand at a rapid rate. For working adults who want to transition into a career with a great deal of potential, completing a bachelor’s degree with a focus on healthcare can put them on the path to achieving that goal.