As healthcare continues to evolve, the industry is looking to strong leaders across all specialties to lead the charge in helping the field keep up with other industries in terms of advancements, accessibility, and customer satisfaction.
Healthcare leaders must stay up-to-date with innovations, hold convictions, and be bold enough to make changes they truly believe in. If that sounds like you, it’s no wonder you’re looking into healthcare leadership jobs.
With so many ways to lead in healthcare, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly where you’d like to make your impact, much less where to start. There are plenty of paths to consider. Let’s explore some healthcare leadership jobs in both the practitioner and administration realms.
Healthcare practitioner jobs
You’re the kind of person who prefers working with tangible tasks. You want to use your hands for more than just typing on a laptop. Though becoming a doctor or nurse may not be for you, there are other practitioner options out there. Consider the following two:
Medical lab scientist
Though they don’t diagnose or provide treatment directly, medical laboratory scientists play a key role in advancing medicine for the benefit of the patients. Most diagnostic and therapeutic decisions that doctors make are based on test results derived from an experiment created by a medical lab scientist.
Most medical laboratory scientists work in hospital laboratories where they analyze samples and perform studies on various medical conditions and treatment methods. They may also find jobs in biomedical research, forensics, toxicology, pharmaceuticals, or at colleges and universities. With advanced degrees, medical lab scientists also have opportunities to enter leadership and supervisory roles within the lab.
Medical lab scientists must be analytical in order to plan and lead experiments. They must also be able to clearly communicate their conclusions and reasoning. Typically, medical research relies on grants for funding. Strong writing skills are also critical as medical lab scientists are often responsible for writing or contributing to the grant proposals their work depends on.
Similar to other medical scientist careers, these lab positions typically require an advanced degree. These programs help train students to accurately perform lab tests, and interpret and utilize scientific knowledge in clinical practice. At Bellarmine University, students with an undergraduate degree in another field can complete a master’s in Medical Lab Science in as little as two years.
If you love science and math and have strong communication skills, working as a medical lab scientist might be an ideal fit for you. You’ll be able to put your curiosity and skills to work while striving to better patient care without even having a patient of your own.
If you’re more interested in working directly with patients, you’ll be happy to know you can put your healthcare leadership skills to use as a respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists (RTs) specialize in evaluating and treating individuals with heart and lung disorders.
They are employed in a number of settings, both within hospitals (ICU, NICU, and emergency room) to doctor’s offices, sleep laboratories, the OR, and skilled nursing facilities. Many of these work environments correspond with specialized credentials RTs can obtain.
These additional credentials often make them the go-to people for respiratory problems in their respective department. Here are a few of the areas RTs can choose to specialize in:
If any of these sound interesting to you, it’s worth considering what it takes to become a respiratory therapist. RTs use science and math skills daily in order to assess the patient’s health and calculate their medical dosages. When working with patients one-on-one, they utilize problem-solving skills to find innovative solutions, patience when monitoring progress, and an eye for detail when checking-in on patients and reviewing their medical history.
It’s common for employers to require at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level RT positions. Some prefer candidates to have a master’s degree, which can provide a deeper knowledge, broader skillset, and more potential to pursue advanced positions. Bellarmine University offers a Master of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy for students with an undergraduate degree in another field, which can be completed in two years.
This graduate-level training could qualify you to supervise other RTs or manage departments. Experienced RTs could also assume educational roles, such as that of a program director, director of clinical of education, or an instructor in a college degree program.
Most states also require board certification, which can take the form of two different credentials: Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) for entry and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for advanced practitioners.
If you’re interested in using your healthcare leadership skills directly with patients, consider a career as a respiratory therapist.
Healthcare administration jobs
If you’re motivated to make an impact in a more indirect way, there are other types of healthcare leadership jobs to consider. Healthcare facilities need business-savvy professionals to help manage finances and oversee operations. The field needs strong leaders to help drive policy change and improve patient outcomes.
Learn more about three promising healthcare leadership jobs in the administrative realm:
Health and medical services managers
Health or medical services managers use their business acumen and healthcare knowledge to ensure that hospitals and other healthcare facilities function as smoothly as possible. From planning and implementing initiatives to improve efficiency to recruiting and training staff members, they work to ensure patients are receiving quality care while business goals are being met.
A health or medical services manager’s typical duties reflect the complexity of their role:
- Ensuring their facility is compliant with laws and regulations
- Creating work schedules
- Preparing and monitoring budgets and spending
- Representing the facility at investor meetings and governing boards
Keeping and organizing records of the facility’s services
If this type of healthcare leadership role appeals to you, you’ll likely need to start by earning a bachelor’s degree, which could be in business administration, healthcare management, or a related field.
As you start gaining experience, you may consider furthering your education as well.
Earning a Master of Health Science degree, or a similar credential, can help improve your job prospects and qualify you for more advanced healthcare leadership positions. Look for programs with courses on medical terminology, accounting, law and ethics, and health information systems.
Health educators play an active role in helping others find resources and solutions that work for them. This can include patients within a healthcare facility, community members in a public health context, a specific patient population when working for a nonprofit, or with employees at a private business. Keep in mind, however, that health professionals who coordinate initiatives in business settings, are generally called wellness coordinators, while health educators tend to focus on specific diseases.
Though specific duties may vary in these different contexts, typical health educator duties include:
- Assessing the health needs of the population they serve
- Developing programs, materials, and events on various health topics
- Helping individuals manage their existing health conditions
- Supervising staff who implement health education programs
- Developing training for community health workers and other health professionals
Being prepared to address such important topics takes a significant amount of education. It’s not uncommon for health educators to hold a master’s degree in health science, public health, or a related field. This type of training can help equip health educators to assume advanced roles in health promotion and advocacy.
If you’re passionate about wellness and empowering others to take charge of their health, you may find becoming a health educator is your calling.
Similar to health and medical service managers, hospital administrators oversee the business aspects of a hospital, but generally do so on a larger scale that often comes with additional responsibilities. These responsibilities often include:
- Acting as liaisons between governing boards, medical staff, and department heads, and integrate the activities of all departments
- Following policies set by the board of trustees
- Overseeing procedures and quality assurance for medical procedures
- Aiding in public relations efforts like fundraising or community health planning
- In teaching hospitals, aiding in the education of student doctors
- In research hospitals, developing programs for scientific research
Hospital administrator jobs are difficult and demanding. Hospital administrators often have to work late or get up early since hospitals are open 24/7, and they may need to make decisions and resolve disputes at any hour.
Becoming a hospital administrator often requires other healthcare admin experience as a perquisite. A master's degree in healthcare leadership can prepare graduates for this dynamic position.
If you have a strong business background, a desire to activate change, and the ability to connect with diverse groups of people, a career as a hospital administrator might be for you.
Make an impact in healthcare leadership
You’re itching to put your skills to use in the healthcare field. If one of these healthcare leadership jobs piqued your interest, start mapping out your next steps. It’s that same determination, initiative and attention to detail that will serve you well in these positions.
One option worth looking into is a Master of Health Sciences (MHS) program. Bellarmine University offers four MHS options to help equip future healthcare leaders, including respiratory therapy, medical laboratory science and two specializations within the online MHS program—healthcare leadership, and health promotion and advocacy. Follow the links to learn more about each educational option.