Studying Clinical Management: Degrees at a Glance
A clinical manager oversees a particular department in a healthcare facility. For example, in this position you might manage the staff and set the budget for an oncology or nursing department. You might also become a clinical research manager and coordinate research activities for a healthcare facility, organization or government agency. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most clinical managers have at least a bachelor's degree in health administration or a similar field. However, it is possible to earn an associate's degree and work your way up through the ranks with on-the-job training.
All medical and health services managers, including clinical managers, were expected to see a 22% growth in employment over the 2010-2020 decade by the BLS. This is faster than average for most occupations, and stems from an aging elderly population who will have an increased need for healthcare services during that decade.
|Who is this degree for?||Individuals who want to enter into a 4-year program or earn an entry-level position in a healthcare office||Individuals who want to manage a department in a healthcare facility|
|Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary)|| - Medical secretary ($32,000*)|
- Health information technician ($36,000*)
- Medical transcriptionist ($34,000*)
- Medical and health services manager ($96,000* - with several years of experience)
| - Clinical manager ($96,000*)|
- Clinical manager in a hospital ($102,000*)
- Clinical manager in a medical laboratory ($103,000*)
|Time to Completion||Two years||Four years|
|Common Graduation Requirements|| - General education courses|
- Management courses
- Core healthcare courses
| - General education courses |
- Elective and core courses
|Prerequisites|| - High school diploma or GED|
- Grade of a 'C' or higher in prerequisite courses
| - High school diploma or GED|
- Some schools will require you to have completed an associate's degree program
- Letters of recommendation
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).
Associate's in Clinical Management
Oftentimes, an associate's degree alone is not enough to secure a position as a clinical manager. However, if you earn an Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration or a similar degree, you can transfer your credits to a 4-year program in health services management. In some instances, you can also earn an entry-level position in a hospital or physician's office and then work your way up to a management role. Associate's degrees in healthcare administration should cover both the management and clinical aspects of working in a healthcare facility. You should learn how to perform front-office procedures in a medical facility while also learning the basics of accounting, management and medical record-keeping.
Pros and Cons
- Earning an associate's degree can prepare you to transfer your credits to a 4-year program.
- Associate's degree programs in healthcare management are broad enough to prepare you to work in several types of healthcare departments, ranging from nursing to surgery.
- The healthcare management field is predicted to increase at a higher-than-average rate over the next decade.
- An associate's degree alone is rarely enough to lead to a clinical management position.
- Many associate's degree programs in the field don't allow for hands-on training or provide practicum components.
- You will often face lower-paying, entry-level career choices upon graduation.
Courses and Requirements
Associate's degree programs in healthcare administration are often divided up into different modules or groups of core courses. You will likely complete a general education module, a management or business module and a healthcare services module. Some courses might include:
- Management principles
- Basic computer concepts
- Medical front desk management
- Healthcare accounting
- Medical terminology
- Healthcare supervision
- The U.S. healthcare system
- Customer service
Online Degree Options
Many community colleges offer associate's degree programs in healthcare management either partially or fully online. To take online courses, you may have to participate in an online learning system such as Blackboard, which allows you to take tests online. Some schools also offer an electronic campus that allows you to access digital resources and course materials.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
If your eventual goal is to secure a job as a clinical manager upon graduation, then you will want to look for an associate's degree program that can easily transfer over to a 4-year program in healthcare management. Many community colleges offer programs that are designed specifically for this purpose. Another way to stand out with this degree is to enroll in elective courses that will help you specialize in a particular aspect of the healthcare field. Most clinical managers run specific departments, so you may want to choose a specialty while earning your degree. You can select from electives in areas such as gerontology or nutrition.
Bachelor's in Clinical Management
Bachelor's degree programs in clinical management are specifically designed to prepare you to step into a leadership position in a healthcare facility. These degree programs can be open both to students who have no professional experience and to working adults who already have experience in a clinical setting. While enrolled in this type of program, you should learn how to apply management skills to a healthcare environment. You will likely be required to complete a practicum and/or a final project. If you are particularly interested in becoming a clinical research manager, you should enroll in a bachelor's degree program that focuses on quality assurance, data management and clinical research administration.
Pros and Cons
- A bachelor's degree can prepare you for immediate employment or graduate school, depending on your career goals.
- Healthcare managers tend to make higher-than-average salaries.
- Practicums can provide you with the hands-on training needed to secure a position in a healthcare organization.
- Some employers prefer to hire healthcare managers who have graduate degrees.
- To work as clinical manager of some departments, you may need to have medical experience; for example, you may need to be a physical therapist to manage a physical therapy department.
- In a large hospital, you may still have to earn an entry-level position, such as medical secretary, before advancing to a management role.
Courses and Requirements
Much like associate's degree programs in healthcare management, bachelor's degree programs are often divided up into management, healthcare and general education courses. Some examples of core courses you might take include:
- Financial management techniques for clinical supervisors
- Personal clinical management
- Healthcare ethics and law
- Leadership strategies in clinical environments
- Foundations of managed care
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Clinical research
- Clinical assessment
Online Degree Options
You will be able to find online bachelor's degrees in clinical management or healthcare management through some accredited universities. Some of these programs are designed for professionals who want to earn a degree while working full-time.
Stand Out with This Degree
You can pursue a variety of voluntary certifications in order to set yourself apart from job competition. The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) offers the Certified Clinic Account Manager (CCAM) designed to help you gain recognition in the healthcare industry. You can also earn the Certified Medical Manager (CMM) designation from the Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management. The Society for Clinical Data management offers the Certified Clinical Data Manager (CCDM) certification; you are eligible if you have a bachelor's degree and two years of experience or an associate's degree and three years of experience.