Medical Office Manager Training Programs
Due to an aging Baby Boomer population, the need for medical office managers is growing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That is because as Baby Boomers age, they will be in need of more health care services, and more managers will be needed to oversee offices, facilities and staff, as a result. A college education is necessary to enter the field, with a bachelor's degree being the most common level of entry followed by a master's degree. In fact, a wide number of medical officer training programs are available, which also include post-bachelor's and post-master's certificates that can provide short-term educational opportunities to professionals who already have degrees in other or related fields.
Degree programs for medical office managers
Medical office manager training programs can help provide students with the skills to pursue a career in a growing health care field. From the undergraduate to graduate level, a wide range of programs are available to students, no matter if they already have a past degree or are just starting out in their college education.
- Typically, a bachelor's degree in health administration is needed to enter the field, providing students with both the business classes and health care classes related to the occupation. This four-year degree can enable students to learn about health informatics or technology as well as how to manage a health care facility.
- Post-baccalaureate certificates are also available to help students compete for medical office manager jobs. Typically comprised of six to seven courses, they include training at the graduate level for students who are not fully committed to or ready for a master's degree program. A number of schools offer these certificates, with some even being available online. In some instances, these certificates can later be applied toward a master's degree.
- The master's degree in health administration can help strengthen a professional's ability to deliver health care services in their facility, providing them with leadership skills and director-level abilities that can be fitting in a number of health care settings. If a student has a bachelor's degree in another field, they might also want to pursue a master's degree in health administration, which often takes two to three years to complete.
- A post-master's certificate in health administration is available as well, and could be useful to students who want to enter the field, but already have a master's degree in another or somewhat related field. In some cases, these certificates can also allow students to pursue specializations.
- Doctoral degrees are available to professionals who want to take their education to the terminal level, or most advanced degree stage possible. At this degree level, professionals may find various opportunities available, including the option to enter an executive-based program, pursue inter-professional studies or even learn more about information studies.
Why enroll for a postsecondary education at all? According to the BLS, a college education is important to be able to compete for the higher-level management jobs available in health care. Without a full degree, students may lack the skills necessary to pursue health care management occupations.
Training in medical office management
Classes in a medical office management program often include both instructional and applied learning. Although specific courses will vary from program to program and depend upon the degree type pursued, much of the focus on management should be similar, prioritizing fundamental learning with leadership skills. Some of the classes that could be taken in one of the medical office manager training programs include:
- Finance for health care
- Health care policy and economics
- Human resources development and management
- Organization and management for health care
- Quality and risk management in health care
A capstone class may also be required so that students can synthesize all of their learning and knowledge into one end-of-the-program project and demonstrate they have met specific learning outcomes or competencies. Some master's level programs also require students to gain real-life experiences in the form of an internship, often just a 3-credit course that gives them hands-on administrative knowledge in health care settings.
Career outlook for medical office managers
The BLS reports that job opportunities for medical and health service managers are projected to grow by 23 percent from 2012-22. This is job growth that is considered much faster than average for all occupations and could result in the creation of more than 73,000 new jobs during this time, the BLS says. Reasons for this growth include an increase in the number of doctors and medical workers needed to provide services to the aging Baby Boomer population, which will consequently lead to a need for more medical office managers to help manage staff and oversee sites.
In addition to overseeing health care staff, these professionals will also be expected to manage health care information, according to the BLS. Their skills will be in demand for running nursing care facilities, which could increase as a result of the aging Baby Boomer population. Demand for medical and health service managers is expected to be particularly high in medical group practices and health practitioner offices. In fact, medical and health service managers work in a variety of settings. According to the BLS, these include:
- Local, state and private hospitals: 39%
- Ambulatory care: 26%
- Residential and nursing care facilities: 11%
- Government: 8%
Medical office managers can also earn a high wage, particularly given time on the job, experience and location in an in-demand setting. The BLS reports the mean annual earnings for medical and health service managers is $103,680, as of May 2014, which was significantly more than the mean annual wage of $47,230 for all occupations in the U.S. combined at this time. However, there is always variability in pay across the country, with Washington, D.C., California and New York comprising some of the highest-paying locations for medical and health service managers.
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration, Kaplan University, no date, http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/health-sciences/health-care-administration-bachelor-degree.aspx
- Doctor of Health Administration Programs, Medical University of South Carolina, no date, http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/chp/dha/
- May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000
- Master of Health Administration, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, no date, http://publichealth.uncc.edu/degrees-and-programs/phs-graduate-programs/master-health-administration-mha
- Medical and Health Service Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6
- Medical and Health Service Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119111.htm
- Online Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration and Management, Colorado State University, no date, https://csuglobal.edu/undergraduate/programs/bachelors-degrees/healthcare-administration-and-management/courses/
- Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Health Care Management, Texas Women's University, no date, http://www.twu.edu/health-care-administration/certificate-program.asp