How much does a healthcare manager make? (Plus skills)

Updated 10 April 2023

Health care managers, also known as hospital managers or health service managers, oversee the financial, strategic and day-to-day operations of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, GP clinics and community health centres. Health care managers either work in the private healthcare sector or in an NHS or NHS-funded facility. The work varies, as it incorporates working with affiliated organisations and the local community. In this article, we discover how much a health care manager makes, define them, discover their responsibilities, explore necessary qualifications to become one, view career outlook and determine necessary skills in the field.

How much does a healthcare manager make?

Health care managers that work in the private sector is much more variable and depends on location, experience and qualifications. Salaries for health care managers that enrol in the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme are at £24,628 per year. The average salary for a health care manager, including the private sector, is £37,521 per year.

Health care managers have an excellent starting salary that has the potential to rise to six figures if you advance into a senior position. With that said, salaries may vary depending on the sector in which they work. For the public sector and NHS-funded facilities, health care managers receive salaries through the Agenda for Change pay rates.

Related: 10 jobs with a health and social care degree

What is a healthcare manager?

Health care managers are responsible for the entire healthcare facility, which provides them with a range of duties that spans the entire healthcare facility. This includes patient consultations, staff management, quality assurance, clinical work and budgeting. A health care managers responsibilities are wide-reaching and incredibly varied. Some of these responsibilities include:

  • overseeing the daily operations of healthcare facilities

  • implementing new policies that adhere to the latest government guidelines

  • negotiating with clinical and non-clinical staff, third-party organisations and the private sector

  • analysing data for quality assurance, insights and monitoring

  • handling corporate affairs

  • managing the entire premises including catering, cleaning and security

  • managing stock and equipment

  • organising audits

  • implementing IT systems and infrastructure

What qualifications do healthcare managers need?

Holding an undergraduate degree allows entry into the fast-track NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. Most subjects are acceptable for this program, although some degrees, such as accounting or business degrees, are more suitable and may better prepare you for the work. In England, the Graduate Management Training Scheme offers six specialist areas:

  • health analysis

  • finance

  • general management

  • health informatics

  • human resources

Policy and strategy Enrolment into the scheme normally runs from October to December. Applicants are able to focus on one specialism per intake, so it's important to decide what area interests you. Placement for this scheme is highly competitive, so it's essential to prepare for the various online tests and applications that are necessary for this scheme. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have their own graduate schemes.

Alternative routes of entry include private-sector graduate management schemes or directly applying for a junior managerial role in healthcare if you hold relevant qualifications. There are various apprenticeships that are suitable for individuals looking to learn on the job. Work experience isn't a requirement to becoming a health care manager, but it can greatly help your chances. You can understand the latest issues and problems that are facing the NHS as a health care manager, so relevant work experience in a health care environment provides you with insights and experience that can help your chances of securing a placement.

Related: What are the benefits of a graduate scheme?

What is the career progression for healthcare managers?

If you have completed the NHS Management Training Scheme, you can receive a fixed-term contract with a salary. The scheme runs for two years and covers a number of modules, including management training, projects and work experience. While working through your training, you are able to complete a postgraduate degree that focuses on your specialist subject. This includes relevant training from managers that are specialists in your desired field. For individuals that have not undertaken a graduate management scheme, they can advance their career through third-party management training programmes.

As you progress through these programmes, it's important that you follow Continuing Professional Development (CPD) practices. To advance further, there are professional qualifications that are available through bodies like the Chartered Institute of Personnel to bolster. Other routes include membership of the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM), which offers a number of benefits for health care managers including mentoring programmes, online training and events. Moreover, once you become a full member of IHM you can include MIHM after your name to denote your qualifications.

Related: The role of senior managers: duties, benefits and skills

Who employs healthcare managers?

The NHS or a private healthcare provider normally employs health care managers. In the public sector, you find health care managers in hospitals, community healthcare centres, GP surgeries and mobile health clinics. Health care managers in the private sector work in similar environments but service private patients instead of the general public.

What are the career prospects of a healthcare manager?

If you have followed the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, then you receive a placement for your first managerial position. Where you end up working depends on your specialism. You may end up working in a clinical environment, like a hospital, or helping develop policies for the daily operations of a healthcare facility. Once you have entered the position, advancing your career is a relatively streamlined process. It is not unusual for health care managers to progress all the way to chief executive roles in less than a decade.

If you have worked through a junior management position instead of a graduate scheme, you can advance your career by undertaking specialist qualifications in management or another specialist area. This prepares you for senior roles in management, human resources or accounts. If you are flexible with your location and salary requirements, you are more likely to find areas to advance your career. So if you have that level of flexibility in terms of location or finances, consider it as a short-term sacrifice to push your career further.

Related: 10 highest paying medical jobs in the UK (with salary info)

What skills are useful for healthcare managers?

Health care managers work across a number of different disciplines and have a wide spectrum of responsibilities. There are certain skills that can make this type of work easier to take on, such as:

  • Excellent communication skills: This allows you to effectively manage individuals, teams and departments.

  • Good listening skills: Being able to listen allows you to collaborate and cooperate with staff and negotiate competently.

  • Leadership: Being able to effectively manage clinical and non-clinical staff can be much easier with good leadership skills.

  • Patience: Whether dealing with patients or staff, being patient helps promote a better healthcare environment.

  • Data-oriented: Health care managers work with data to analyse trends and create a more efficient workplace.

  • Teamwork: Getting the most out of a workforce requires good teamwork abilities to effectively gauge individuals strengths and weaknesses.

  • Good clinical knowledge: A solid understanding of clinical techniques and innovations can help keep health care facilities running optimally.

  • Decision-making: Most of the time, decisions fall on the health care manager. Being able to make the right decision is important for the performance of the health care facility.

  • Can handle pressure: The ability to handle pressure well is essential in this role because of how fast-paced and regulated the industry is.

  • Adaptable: Being willing to change to emerging technologies, frameworks or innovations ensures the health care facility is offering the best health care services.

  • Organised: Between managing resources in the healthcare facility, meeting targets and providing a meaningful service for patients, it can really help to have good organisational skills in this role.

  • Problem-solving: There are many unforeseen challenges that can emerge in healthcare, so strong problem-solving skills can help health care managers handle these developments.

  • Delegation: Whether it is effectively managing resources or developing strategies to streamline working operations, delegation is an essential skill that allows for changes to roll out effectively.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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