How To Jump-start A Career in Healthcare Management

Healthcare management is an in-demand field that requires a combination of education and experience. However, many recent grads in the field encounter the classic “catch 22”  when it comes to finding their first job – you can’t get a job without experience, yet you can’t get the experience without a job. So the first step before embarking on a major in healthcare management is to plan your academics and your first few years after graduation – early on. The next step, to prepare to jump-start your career, is to plan how your education and experience can meld together to get you in the door in the quickest way possible. There are several paths to take to achieve this goal – read on to learn more!

Internships and Volunteering

The difference between an internship and becoming a volunteer is motivation. Internships can be paid or unpaid, and that’s something that you know before accepting the position. However, volunteering, especially with non-profit organizations, can be remunerated down the road – but this is never guaranteed or known when you begin. Whichever option you choose to pursue, know that you will likely be starting at a relatively minor position until you prove your value to the organization or another opportunity opens up. That’s ok  though – you want something on your resume, which is better than nothing. After graduation, this experience will demonstrate your commitment to and knowledge of the healthcare management field immediately.

Networking

Whether you’re in an academic environment or working as an intern/volunteer, you will meet people that have a direct connection to your career interests. Networking with these people is an obvious must, but  don’t disregard someone who doesn’t seem to of fer much! They may be an indirect source for you to either get relevant experience or establish an ongoing business relationship with to advance your career aspirations. Network, network, network all throughout college and beyond!

Related Employment Fields

There are a number of fields that you can obtain employment in which are directly related to your career goals in healthcare management. specifically, these areas are:

  • Finance
  • Government relations
  • Human resources
  • Information systems
  • Marketing and public affairs
  • Material management (purchasing of equipment and supplies)
  • Medical staff relations
  • Nursing administration
  • Patient care services
  • Planning and development

Employment in these areas during school or immediately upon graduation will jump start your career in lieu of direct employment. Be specific about which of these unrelated areas you will work in and how they connect to your longer term view in the healthcare management field.

Willingness to Sacrifice

To some people, this is a no-brainer, while to others, it’s a distant consideration. There is generally a minimum of 5 years of experience before being able to fully use your academic knowledge in healthcare management. In most cases, a minimum of a Masters degree is required before ascending the ladder. This means that you’ll have to give up something to position yourself to achieve your goal, and that will mean sacrificing time, money, and/or energy to see your plan through. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will support your goals and make the sacrifice seem much easier.

Much of what this article discusses is the necessity of planning everything prior to beginning your formal academic work, including in-school jobs, unrelated jobs, and your career as a whole. Doing the groundwork at the beginning will put you far ahead of those who choose not to plan – or deviate from the design. Once you finally enter the healthcare management field, you will discover the rewards for your planning and patience.
Joseph Rodriguez writes all about health careers. His recent work is on how to transition from RN to BSN programs.

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