What degree do you need to be a healthcare manager?

Taking on a management role in the healthcare sector requires a wide range of skills, from human resources to finance, planning, strategy, and leadership.

It’s important to know what qualifications you need if you want to enter this field and apply for a healthcare management role, and ensure you’re in the best position with the skills and experience to succeed.

What is healthcare management?

Healthcare management is all about the coordinating and planning of health and medical services. This could be in a hospital, a GP surgery, a care home, or as part of a healthcare organisation such as the NHS or a private provider.

Management roles in healthcare cover a wide range of responsibilities, including leading teams and managing staff and their daily activities, as well as ensuring everyone has access to the appropriate training and technology to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Healthcare managers can often be office-based, working in the administration side of a medical organisation, though they can also be more hands-on with everyday activities in healthcare facilities or even on-call to deal with emergencies in different locations.

Which degree do you need for a healthcare management position?

When looking to hire a healthcare manager, most employers will favour specific and advanced level degrees that are directly relevant to healthcare leadership. Having a Healthcare Leadership MSc demonstrates in-depth knowledge and expertise to potential employers, as well as your interest and dedication to the field.

A healthcare leadership course can help equip you with the skills and knowledge to effectively manage medical environments and lead teams of healthcare professionals. Other qualifications could include nursing degrees or other health administration courses, or even parallel degrees in general business management. As you might expect, the more directly related and specific to healthcare management your degree is, the better your chances will be at securing a role in this sector.

As well as the more specific industry skills, a healthcare management course can give you other experience and knowledge to enhance your abilities and job prospects. This type of course helps to develop things like critical thinking and problem solving, conducting research and formulating plans, as well as people skills such as teamwork and effective communication.

What roles are available once you have a degree?

Completing a masters or other advanced degree in healthcare leadership can help to move your career towards a number of different management and senior roles. Within a large medical organisation such as the NHS, you could work towards becoming a clinical manager leading a team of healthcare professionals to deliver patient care, or you could work in human resources to provide staff training, support, and recruitment.

You could also manage more day-to-day activities and frontline medical staff in operational management, or be responsible for running larger departments or budgets as a general manager in a hospital or other primary care setting.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to get a degree in healthcare management?

It can take up to four years to complete a healthcare management course as a full-time undergraduate student. Some universities and course providers also offer distanced learning and accelerated programmes that can be completed at the student’s own pace. An online master’s course in healthcare management could take around two and a half years to complete.

How to get into healthcare management

Having a relevant qualification or degree in healthcare management is the best foundation for getting into a healthcare leadership role. There are also programmes such as the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme that can provide direct access to management roles, though this will still require a relevant degree or management experience to qualify.

How much do healthcare managers make?

If you join the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, you can expect to start on £24,628 (as of 2020), and earn between £27,000 and £37,000 once you graduate, depending on the role you go into. Once you’ve progressed to more senior levels of healthcare management such as a CEO or director, salaries can range from £90,000 to more than £100,000.[i]


[i] https://www.nhsgraduates.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions/salary-and-employment/

Keywords: Leadership, Management

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