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Healthy career path: Medical and health services managers

When it comes to the booming health care field, you don’t need an M.D. or nursing degree to have a great career. There is increasing demand for people who can manage healthcare facilities and departments as well as a growing need for employees in the area of healthcare IT. In fact, the careers of medical and health services managers are among the hottest careers in San Diego and around the country.


According to UC San Diego Extension’s recent “Emerging Careers for 2016” report, which detailed the most in-demand jobs with the highest growth potential for recent college grads, medical and health services managers ranked as third on the list in San Diego and fourth nationally.

Most of these healthcare managers work in hospitals, group practices, nursing homes and similar facilities. These careers need a wide variety of skills and expertise, including critical thinking, judgment and decision making. In particular, medical services managers need to be nimble and stay ahead of the constantly changing regulations in the healthcare field as well as informed about the ever-evolving use of technology to improve care and operational efficiency.

Chris Pryor, the director of patient care systems at Sharp HealthCare, said there is a growing demand for health care professionals and managers with IT skills. The biggest areas of growth are in cybersecurity to help protect the privacy of medical records, data analytics and mobile application programming to help deliver personalized health care.

While computer and information technology skills are critical, Pryor said, that having a clinical background is a definite plus.

“Clinicians who can translate that knowledge into technology are golden,” he said. “As a manager, I can’t get enough of clinicians who have an understanding of IT. I can teach the IT; it’s the clinical skills I need.”

Demand for healthcare managers, which can also have such titles as clinical director, nurse manager or hospital manager, is expected to grow by almost 17 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is far higher than most other careers. The median salary for these careers is $88,580 annually with the top 90 percent making as much as $150,560. Currently, almost 74 percent of these jobs are held by women and about 56 percent are ages 45 and older.

The top emerging careers locally mirrored the national list but highlighted the San Diego region’s growing strength in cyber security, digital marketing and health care IT.

For a free copy of the report, visit http://extension.ucsd.edu/about/images/emergingCareers2016.pdf.

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