How to Become a Health Services Manager


If you want to become a health services manager, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for this profession:


• You have an interest in working in the healthcare sector and want to direct the work of others

• You are able to persuade others and motivate employees

• You enjoy developing and implementing plans

• You are able to balance the need to provide quality service with the need for keeping costs low

• You have a customer/patient-centered approach to work activities

• You have enough energy and enthusiasm to ensure that objectives are met


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a health services manager. We've also included helpful occupational information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Health Services Manager

There are no standard educational requirements for becoming a health services manager; the requirements typically vary by employer, and largely depend on the size and nature of the health service organization concerned. Many health services managers have a bachelor, master or professional degree, combined with years of practical experience.


For example, many health services managers have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in fields such as:


• Health services

• Long-term care administration

• Public health

• Public administration

• Business administration


Others have an educational background in medicine, pharmacy, nursing or accounting, and often supplement their training and experience by taking continuing education courses in health service management.


Regardless of the field of study they have pursued at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level, health services managers often start in junior administrative positions to gain on-the-job experience before they progress into the role of manager.


There are exceptions to this of course, as some go directly into mid and senior-level management positions upon graduation, although this is typically only true for those who have a graduate-level education in health care management or a closely related field.





General Job Description

Health services managers, also known as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, are responsible for planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating and improving the operational aspects of the various support services of a program or institution that provides healthcare to individuals, groups and communities.


They might be responsible for managing an entire facility, or they may specialize in managing a specific clinical area or department, or manage a medical practice for a group of healthcare practitioners, such as physicians. Their scope of responsibility typically ranges from managing employees to budgeting to purchasing equipment.



Typical Job Duties

• Conduct inspections to ensure adequacy of staff activities

• Oversee support service operations to ensure compliance with infection control regulations

• Monitor quality of food being served to patients

• Ensure quality control measures are in place with regards to food being served to patients

• Ensure caterers are compliant with food preparation and service regulations

• Develop and support shared governance structure of units and departments

• Ensure a safe environment of care for all staff, patients, and families

• Liaise with departmental personnel to coordinate purchasing, maintenance and renovation activities for the operational areas of the hospital



Skills Needed to Be Successful

To be effective as a health services manager, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:


• Able to grasp clinical issues, including the understanding of treatments and evolving medical technologies

• Able to adapt to changes in healthcare laws, regulations, and technology

• Excellent organizational skills

• Able to persuade others and motivate employees

• Able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of individuals and professional groups

• You are able to balance the need to provide quality service with the need for keeping operating costs low

• A proven ability to challenge existing practices and find alternatives that are more effective and/or efficient

• Able to make difficult decisions, particularly in areas such as the allocation of funds or organizing staffing levels



Characteristics Needed to Become a Health Services Manager

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a health services manager, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a health services manager is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.


• A keen interest in working in the healthcare sector and directing the work of others

• Leadership qualities, including accountability and initiative

• Ability to gain the trust, commitment and cooperation of others

• Enjoy developing and implementing plans

• Enjoy negotiating with members of governing boards and senior management

• Able to cope with pressure, stress and ongoing change

• A patient and customer focus with regards to work activities

• Confidence and diplomacy in decision making

• Enough energy and enthusiasm to ensure that objectives are met





Typical Salary Level

The salary level of health services managers can vary based on their level of education, their level of experience, the size and type of their employer, the region in which they work, and many other factors.


Health Services Manager Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Managers in Health Care occupational group earn an average salary of $114,837 per year. According to WorkBC (Province of British Columbia), those working in that same occupational field in B.C. earn an annual provincial median salary of $85,717.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Medical and Health Services Managers occupational group is $99,730 per year (May, 2018 figures).



Who Employs Health Services Managers?

The following types of organizations typically employ health services managers:


• Public health organizations

• Colleges and universities

• Specialty hospitals and acute care hospitals

• Ambulatory care

• Continuing care facilities

• Mental health facilities

• Rehabilitation agencies

• Health planning agencies, including government departments

• Health associations

• Health charities and foundations

• Regional health authorities

• Private consulting companies

• Military hospitals and clinics



Health Services Manager Jobs

Our job board below has "Health Services Manager" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to "health services manager", as they involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Geriatric Care Manager

Health Care Administrator

Public Administration Manager

Public Health Director

Registered Nurse




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a health services manager.


Occupations in Alberta:Health Service Administrator.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 20, 2019.

Management:Medical and Health Services Managers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 20, 2019.

Explore Careers:Managers in health care.” (July 5, 2018). WorkBC website. Retrieved December 20, 2019.

Job Profile:Health service manager.” AGCAS editors (November, 2019) Prospects website. Retrieved December 20, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Health Services Manager

Scholarships in our database that are relevant for becoming a Health Services Manager are all of those that can be found on the following pages:


Business Administration Scholarships

Management Scholarships

Nursing Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a health services manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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