How Does One Become A Medical Practice Manager?

Is my job similar to being the Commissioner of Baseball?

Am I the Commissioner of Baseball?

Most people who ask what I do have never heard of managing medical practices.  Many people say “I didn’t know there was a job like that.”  Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA) definition of medical group practice and medical practice management is helpful:

Medical group practice is defined as three or more physicians engaged in the practice of medicine as a legal entity sharing business management, facilities, records and personnel. This includes single- and multispecialty physician offices, ambulatory surgery and diagnostic imaging centers, hospital-based practices and academic practices. (Medical Practice Managers) … are part of a large and growing field that requires broad knowledge, skills and experience for long-term success. And the decisions they make directly affect nearly every aspect of a practice’s operations, from financial performance to patient care.

The next question many people ask is “How do you learn to do that?”  People who do what I do come from lots of different professional backgrounds.

It has been a fairly recent development that there are undergraduate and graduate programs for this field.  Many physicians who are business-minded have pursued degrees that allow them to manage their own practices while practicing medicine, or enter the healthcare management field and leave active clinical practice.  According to a recent Times article, there are 49 schools that currently offer a dual MD/MBA degree.

Here a few ways other than formal healthcare management training that medical managers enter the field.

Nursing/Clinical: I have known some excellent medical practice managers who have four-year nursing degrees, but I don’t know a lot of them.  It seems that most nurses want to be nursing, not managing, and that they became nurses to care for patients in a hands-on way.  I have observed that some managers with nursing backgrounds are instant fixers, and have trouble taking the contemplative route to problem-solving.

Management Experience: There is no question that private practices are coming late to the business party and that experienced managers bring a lot to the field.  It can be hard, however, to jump into managing a practice with no former healthcare experience because so much is so different.  The owners of the business (the docs) are also the ones producing the revenue.  As my husband says, the job is very much like being the Commissioner of Baseball.

MBAs: Having a MBA brings a lot of tools and resources to the table, but is not the be-all and end-all, especially when it comes to people-management.  The best managers in any field truly like and value people, have time for people, are collaborative with people, and care about people.  Can this be learned?  I don’t know.  Probably not genuinely.

Technology: Managers who understand and embrace technology will have the advantage over every other manager.  Healthcare and technology are becoming more and more wedded.  Every priority technology function that healthcare managers have to outsource is an aspect of the practice that is somewhat out of their control.  Think practice management systems, EMR, phones, PACS, email, knowledge management, lab interface, hospital interface, patient communication, etc.

Up through the ranks: Managers who have come up through the ranks have a big plus in their favor and a big minus.  The plus is that they understand healthcare, the nitty-gritty functions of the practice, have experience relating to administrative and clinical staff, and know how to network.  The minus is that they are usually undervalued due to the lack of formal education, and may also undervalue themselves for the same reason.

In the end, it’s not where a person comes from that makes the biggest difference, it’s who they are and what they’ve made of their career.  Anyone can enter the field of healthcare management, but I do suggest  these three prerequisites:

  1. Compassion for patients (compassion for all people)
  2. A desire to continuously learn; if you stand still you’ll get moldy
  3. A sense of humor.

For information on organizations that award credentials click here.

Here’s an interesting history of the field of medical practice management.

Photo credit: Mary Pat Whaley

Posted in: A Career in Practice Management, Leadership

Leave a Comment (54) ↓


  1. Micki Leon February 26, 2010

    How can I become certified in health care management?

    • Mary Pat Whaley February 28, 2010

      Hi Micki,

      There are a number of ways to become certified. Depending on what you are looking for, here are a number of organizations that offer certifications that you can explore:

      -American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE), the credentialing arm of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) offers a certification and fellowship track –

      -Professional Association of Health Care Office Managers (PAHCOM) offers a certification track –

      -Professional Office Managers Association of America (POMAA) offers several different certifications –

      -Practice Management Institute offers several certifications

      In addition to these offerings, many colleges and universities offer excellent healthcare management training.

      Let me know if there are other questions I can answer.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  2. Gary Atkinson October 14, 2010

    I have been given an opportunity to manage several small offices. My background is in business practice. I have a Juris Doctorate and an MBA. I also have a masters degree in tax. I have used statistics and business averages to help my clients. I am a good bookkeeper and can quickly spot anomalies in the financials and the tax returns. What would be your advice to someone in my situation?

    • Mary Pat Whaley October 14, 2010

      Hi Gary,

      Congratulations on the opportunity!

      You have a great foundation for managing medical practices. These are the components you’ll need to cover the scope of what practice managers typically are responsible for:

      — Information technology (practice management, EMR, specialty-specific software such as optical, endoscopy, PACS)
      –Revenue Cycle Management – even if your billing is outsourced you need to understand the process and be able to interpret the reports to make sure the billing company is on top of everything
      –Human Resources – interviewing, coaching, disciplining, firing, team building, change management, physician relations
      –Marketing – traditional marketing and the use of social media, referral marketing if these are specialty offices

      Feel free to contact me offline ( if I can help you further.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  3. Kimberly Intorre November 21, 2010

    Good Afternoon Mary Pat,

    I graduated in June 2010 w/ my MBA, and was recently hired as a Medical Practice Manager for an Internal Medicine group I have been working with for the last 5 years. My experience in business is Founder of an Educational Facility for children, and working collectively with the staff and clientele to create a high quality environment for educating children. I will bring my experience and knowledge to my new position.

    Can you assist me in this transition with information I should be aware of such as RVU’s and cost centers what would bring revenue in and loss leaders?

    Thank you for your time!


    Kimberly S. Intorre

    • Mary Pat Whaley November 21, 2010

      Hi Kimberly,

      Congratulations on your new job!

      I’m not sure where to direct you. One of the problems with practice management is that the duties are so diverse that there’s no one place to find all the answers. Definitely understanding the relationship between production (work RVUs), collections (revenue cycle management) and expenses and being able to express these three factors in a physician compensation model is a core responsibility of a practice administrator.

      If you can ask me some more specific questions, maybe I can get you pointed in the right direction.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  4. Nicole March 13, 2011

    Hi Mary I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist with a bachelors in Healthcare Adiminstration.I currently work as a Respiratory Supervisor,any advice on how to become a Practice Manager?

    • Mary Pat Whaley March 16, 2011

      Hi Nicole,

      I hope you’ve read several of my posts on how to break into healthcare. I think you’re well-positioned already having the clinical background and now adding the administration education. If you’re not working in a hospital, you should be, as that will be the best track for you to move from clinician to manager, unless your hospital doesn’t own any practices! If at all possible, try to join a local medical managers group so you can network with the people doing what you want to do.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  5. Pam March 21, 2011


    I am looking into entering a completely new and different field for me as a medical practice manager. I have worked in the design and project management field for over 18 years and have managed over 100 million in government contracts.

    I am looking to help my husband in his successful Medical practice. Where do i get started?

    • Mary Pat Whaley March 30, 2011


      Will you contact me offline ( about this so we can discuss it?

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  6. Jenny July 20, 2011


    I have recently entered the medical field as an AA (I was previously a teacher). Our office manager will be retiring in April and my goal is to be able to move up the ladder and hopefully into her position. What would be the best way for someone with a BS in El Ed and a BGS in Math and Science with a minor in Mgmt Supervision to move into this position?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Mary Pat Whaley July 23, 2011

      Hi Jenny,

      You have some great background that can definitely transfer well to healthcare management. To augment your training and experience, I suggest you review some of the available medical management credentialing programs and take the sample exams/knowledge assessments to determine the areas in which you need additional training. One you have a sense of your needs, pursue those knowledge areas via online or local classes. A medical office management credential would be a great addition to your existing education and demonstrate your commitment to the field.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  7. Rosalyn September 10, 2011

    Dear Mary,
    I am a former professional concert dancer who recently decided to retire from performing to pursue raising a family. I have a BFA in dance and I am interested in medical practice management. Seeing as how I am basically starting over which I am prepared to do, where do you suggest I start?

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 11, 2011

      Hi Rosalyn,

      Congratulations on your decision! There are several ways that people enter the medical practice management field. One is with an undergraduate or graduate degree in business or health administration and another is by working their way up the ladder. The ideal situation is to work in the field while pursuing formal education. Some professionals get training in billing, a critical process in a medical office, and use that as a stepping stone into management.

      It depends on what your financial situation is, and how much time you can spend on education. There are a wide variety of educational programs from single courses to degree programs. There are also a variety of certifications you can obtain to further your career. I’ve written about a number of these on my blog under the category of “A Career in Medical Management.”

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  8. Amy November 16, 2011

    Hello Mary Pat,

    I am currently in the process of receiving my Bachelor’s in Business Management. My brother is a Psychiatrist who plans on opening his own practice and would like for me to manage the administrative side of the business. How should I go about learning the ins and outs of managing a medical office?


    • Mary Pat Whaley November 22, 2011

      Hi Amy,

      This sounds pretty exciting! Frankly, the best teacher is experience. I don’t know of any school that teaches what you will learn by doing. You can certainly get a consultant to help you set up the practice (I set up practices, for instance), or you can look for a practice manager who would show you the ropes for a fee/free. With your degree in Business Management, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the accounting, and some managers find that one of the most challenging parts!

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  9. Carol Powers November 18, 2011

    I am working on a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Management from Capella University and I want to work as a healthcare manager. What educational path would you suggest I take after receiving my bachelor’s degree. This is a business B.A. with concentration in healthcare management.

    Should I get a Masters degree.

    • Mary Pat Whaley November 22, 2011

      Hi Carol,

      This is a tough question, because so much depends on getting your foot in the door at a first job. Some people go after their MBA, and others start climbing a ladder by taking a non-managerial job in healthcare. Although every situation and candidate is different, it is rare to be able to jump right into a managerial position without either experience or a graduate degree. The best of both worlds is getting experience while you are getting a Master’s Degree.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  10. John November 30, 2011

    Hi Mary Pat,

    I am interested in pursuing a career in practice management, however the only experience I have so far is in the IT department of a hospital system. Where would you advise I go from here? I feel as though there are really no entry level jobs I can look for in a medical practice, so I am not sure of the best move I should make.


    • Mary Pat Whaley December 4, 2011

      Hi John,

      IT experience is one of the skill areas practice managers really need to have, so you can bring value skill to the table. You definitely should join one of the professional groups such as MGMA or PAHCOM and start networking. I would also suggest you get a LinkedIn account, join practice management groups and network there as well.

      I suggest you add business acumen to your resume by getting an associates or undergraduate degree in business or healthcare administration. If you have an undergraduate degree, you may want to consider an MBA, but there is a lot of controversy over the ROI for an MBA. One of the best ways to get your first job is to attend a program that offers externships so you can get a good reference.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  11. Tiffany December 10, 2011

    Hi Mary Pat,

    If I were interested in a career in medical practice management where would be a great to start?

    • Mary Pat Whaley December 19, 2011

      Hi Tiffany,

      I suggest that anyone who thinks they might be interested in a career in medical practice management find an administrator to interview and shadow for a day or two. The job sounds and looks a little more attractive than it is in reality. You have to have a passion for the field, or you’ll burn out. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider a certificate program, or a degree in healthcare administration, or maybe just start with a single class exploring the history of healthcare in America and see if it really lights up something inside you.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  12. Kim January 6, 2012

    I have worked for a very large Pharma company for 23 years starting as a secretary and going to school at night to get my Associates, Bachelors and Masters degrees over the years. I have progressed from Secretary through the Finance channels, Government contracting (with Medicaid, PHS, VA/DoD) and am now in Market Access Strategy. I am looking to move to FL (from PA) and am considering Practice Management. Although I may a long history of business experiences with Finance, administrative, contracting functions, I wonder if I should go for certification for this? Should I look to individual practices or hospital networks to try to break into this field?

    • Mary Pat Whaley January 10, 2012

      Hi Kim,

      Based on your experience, I would think you might find it easier to get your foot in the door in a hospital. Not having any practice management experience might eliminate you from being considered for a practice position, although “Never Say Never”. So much depends on networking and being in the right place at the right time. Certification is definitely a good move, although most certifications require experience in the field.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  13. Tanya January 12, 2012

    Hi Pat,

    I am looking currently pursuing a MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Management. I will complete the program in April of this year. My goal to obtain a job in practice management. I will be looking to become certified soon. I am currently working in a healthcare system as a supervisor of their call center. I have many years of customer service training. My question is with my customer service experience coupled with my MBA and certification, what will be the best way for me to find employment in practice management? I also have a LinkedIn account.

    • Mary Pat Whaley January 16, 2012

      Hi Tanya,

      Two things I think you would need some experience in is billing and EMRs. These two components can make or break a practice. I suggest you try for a secondary position in a larger practice, learn all there is to learn, then move on to a top position when you’re ready.

      Best wishes!

      Mary Pat

  14. Jennifer April 28, 2012

    Hi. I am considering a career in practice management or healthcare administrator, but I have a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology. I have taught elementary school for the last 8 years and I am looking for a change. Any advice about how I can get my foot in the door? I am would ultimately like to get my masters in healthcare, but I could never afford to pay for it myself. P.S. I worked in the Texas Medical Center in Houston for 2 years after graduation.

    • Mary Pat Whaley April 30, 2012

      Hi Jennifer,

      You may have to start with a basic job in a hospital or medical practice to get your foot in the door, and work your way up. Hospitals sometimes have programs where they help employees pay for education, so you might look in that direction. If you can’t find anything, try to volunteer during your summer teaching break to get something on your resume showing your interest and basic knowledge in the field.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  15. Bella S. May 29, 2012

    Hi! I am finishing up my MBA with a concentration in Health Services Administration. I’ll officially be done this September. I work at a pharmacy right now in the Quality Assurance department; I manage/track the pharmacy’s SOP’s. My prior experiences involve some banking and finance working at a few mortgage companies. I also have minimal experience working at the dietary department at a senior citizens rehab center. I’ve applied for 2 practice administrator jobs; no callbacks yet. Any advice?

    Thank you in advance,
    Bella S.

    • Mary Pat Whaley June 11, 2012

      Hi Bella,

      You will probably have a better chance starting your career in practice management in a larger group as an assistant administrator. You need the experience to be able to run a group of your own. The other possibility would be starting with a very small group that is willing to let you learn on the job. In the meantime, keep learning by attending webinars and conferences and read, read, read!

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  16. Bella S. June 12, 2012

    Will do! Thank you!!

  17. Christine B. July 9, 2012

    I have an opportunity to get into this field as my cousin’s husband is going to open his own clinic and wants me to manage it as well as do the billing. I have been in retail drug store management for 24 years. What do you recommend to get started learning about this field.


    • Mary Pat Whaley July 11, 2012

      Hi Christine,

      Congratulations on this opportunity!

      For billing, I think a great book is the MGMA book “The Physician Billing Process – 12 Potholes to Avoid in the Road to Getting Paid, 2nd Edition” Item #: 8079
      ISBN: 978-1568293394 here:

      For getting started, I don’t really know of any publications that describe the role and responsibilities of the medical office manager in an up-to-date and comprehensive manner. Does your cousin’s boyfriend have someone guiding him in establishing his practice? When I work with providers to set up their practices, I mentor the manager and get them started with the right processes to manage and monitor the practice. Maybe your provider’s start-up consultant can do this for you.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  18. Shalanda September 19, 2012

    Hello Mary Pat,

    I graduated from college with my Bachelors in Health Services Management last May and began working at the hospital in Patient Registration in July. I now have over a year experience in Patient Registration and I have been working as a Certified Nursing Assistant for over 4 years now, It seems that it will be hard for me to move into the managerial role I went to school for. Do you think getting certified as a Practice Manager will land me a managerial position? What tips do you have for me to move into a managerial role?

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 23, 2012

      Hi Shalanda,

      Getting certified as a Practice Manager is a great step for you to take, however, most worthwhile certifications cover the kind of information that you would only know from working in the field.

      Although you can become a practice manager from experience on the hospital side, I suggest you will learn much more and have a much better chance if you take a job on the practice side. This may mean taking a step back money-wise to take a job in a practice as they usually pay less, but the working conditions and hours are much better!

      Unless you get an advanced degree, you may find it much harder to move up on the hospital side than the practice side.

      Best wishes!

      Mary Pat

  19. Dwania September 22, 2012

    HI, My name is Dwania I am currently in school for my graduate degree in Health care administration. I have my BS in business. I have worked as a Medical clerk for 12 years. I am to complete my graduate degree next year. I have filled out many applications for office manager and medical practice manager. I cannot seem to get a break to become a manager in the health care field. Any advice on what I can do to break into the field. I am not currently working now so it’s been very difficult trying to get a job.

    • Mary Pat Whaley September 23, 2012

      Hi Dwania,

      I suggest the best step for you is to get an assistant administrator job in a large group, or a manager position in a very small group. Both might pay less than you are hoping for, but you just need to get that first job to get you rolling. Since you are not working, try to find someone in the field that would let you do a project for them related to school. If you don’t know any practice managers in your area, you need to network and get to know them so you can offer to do a project (for free) for them, and hopefully the networking and the reference when you do a great job on their project will get you on your way.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  20. Suzie in NJ November 3, 2012

    I am at a cross roads where I am working for a Counseling & Psychological Center. A Psychoogilith a group thareapist under her. I am called an Administrative Manager and am responsible for all administrative, IT, billing, and payables/receivables. I may consider a certificate in Practice Management, would this suffice with my Bus Admn Degree to send me to a larger practice? My milestone is in 2 years. Thanks!

  21. jase January 25, 2013

    I am currently a medical laboratory tech, ascp mlt and aab mt. I only have a a.a.s. And have 3 years of experience. I want and need to get a bachelors degree, but am contemplating healthcare administration, Business administration or medical laboratory science. All three degrees would allow me to manage a lab, but i was wondering, what one would be the best route for me and lead to the most job opportunities? I would love to end up managing a practice.

    • Mary Pat Whaley February 3, 2013

      Hi Jase,

      I forwarded your questions to our resident lab consultant, Libby Knollmeyer, who will email you her answer directly.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  22. Cheryl January 30, 2013

    I have my BA in healthcare management and am wondering how I can get into the field of practice management. I have been looking for entry level positions but keep getting passed over because the experience I do have is over 10 years old. What would you suggest?

    • Mary Pat Whaley February 3, 2013

      Hi Cheryl,

      You may have to take a position that is a step down for you to get your foot in the door. I would make sure you are up-to-date on what’s happening in healthcare and reflect that on your resume either by taking classes, webinars or going to conferences, or by volunteering somewhere to get recent experience.

      Good luck!

      Mary Pat

  23. Shelly February 21, 2013

    Hi Cheryl,
    I have recently obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Management, I am currently working as a Certified Profesional Coder with a 15 year history in radiology as a X-ray,CT Tech,Mammographer.I would like to transition into a Healthcare Management position but I am having difficulty finding an organization that is interested in my background.The corporation that I currently work for tends to keep employees in their current position. I feel that I have a good understanding and experience of the field, however I have a lot to learn. Do you have any suggestions how I can land that first position? I am willing to relocate.

    • Mary Pat Whaley February 24, 2013

      Hi Shelly,

      You would be a natural for a first job in radiology management with your experience! I don’t know if you are currently working in a radiology company, but it’s too bad wherever you are is not allowing you to move up. If you are willing to relocate, I do think it is just a matter of time before you find a position. You have the education and you have a clinical and a coding background, so you only need that first job.

      Are you getting/not getting initial contacts? Can you tell at what point you are not being considered? If you aren’t getting initial contacts, you might need to see if your resume needs rewritten. If you are getting first contacts but not interviews, you may need some practice with phone interviews. Dig under where that problem spot is and refine what you are doing.

      I see a lot of hospitals hiring “beginner” managers, asking for a Bachelors degree and a few years of experience in healthcare – you could easily meet that. Depending on what you are willing to take money-wise to get that first job, I think you will find something to get you started if you are patient.

      Don’t give up! You will get that first job.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  24. Janet February 26, 2013

    I have managed my brother’s primary care solo practice for over 25 years. He wants to retire and I would like to know what you think are my chances of finding a job as an office manager?
    I have a BS(biology) and MS(computer science). I do all the medical billing, credentialing, bookkeeping, etc.
    Are employers looking for the young and newly minted?
    Thank you.

    • Mary Pat Whaley February 26, 2013

      Hi Janet,

      I think you would have a very good chance, based on your education and experience. I know I’d schedule you for an interview! Do you have any experience with EMR? That could be the one thing that would be helpful to have if you don’t.

      Best wishes in your search!

      Mary Pat

  25. Janet February 28, 2013

    Thank you,
    I am thinking about getting certified in healthcare compliance. Do you think that would be beneficial?
    I have looked into the certification programs administered by POMAA and HCCA. What are your thoughts on which organization I should use for certification. Do employers have a preference for a certain organization.
    Thank you very much.

    • Mary Pat Whaley March 3, 2013

      Hi Janet,

      I think the need for compliance knowledge and certification will only grow in importance as time goes on!

      I do not have a deep knowledge about either one of the programs you mention, but I know that HCCA has been certifying compliance professionals in healthcare since 1999 (it was orginally spawned from MGMA.) POMAA has been around for 3 years, I believe, so their certification is relatively new. I would do a side-by-side comparison.

      I am seeing larger physician groups (independent and hospital-owned) looking for people with compliance certification, but from what I’ve seen and heard, they are only recognizing the HCCA credential.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  26. Janice Heusser March 1, 2013

    Hi Mary,

    I currently work for an up and coming young plastic and re-constructive surgeon . I have worked with him the past 2.5 years and upon the inception of the practice, managing the office. The practice consists of an Aesthetician, bookkeeper and a marketing coordinator all whom are part-time. We outsource our billing however, I do handle financial transactions in the office. I do not have any degrees only experience. I have worked in office managerial positions for 30 years. I would like to expand and apply my knowledge correctly to manage this office.

    Can you please provide your guidance….

    With thanks,

    • Mary Pat Whaley March 3, 2013

      Hi Janice,

      I always recommend that managers have detailed knowledge of revenue cycle management and EMR.

      Revenue Cycle Management is affected by, and in turn affects, everything in the practice. An experienced manager can negotiate payer contracts and can make decisions about how each payer is affecting the practice, ultimately advising the physician about participation with the payer. Managers also need to be able to understand monthly reports and assess any trending over months and years to determine what changes might be needed – for instance, the trend towards patients paying more of the healthcare service. You also need to understand the relationship of the EMR to the billing, and understand how important compliance is in protecting the practice.

      We are currently offering two webinar products for managers of all levels of experience. The Credit Card on File program shows managers how to implement a time-of-service collections program and how to get the best credit card processing rates possible. This program is on Tuesday, March 5th.

      We also have a comprehensive Revenue Cycle Management course that covers the entire span of the billing and collections process. It is a five-week course with 7.5 hours of education.

      Both of these webinars can be found on the Webinar tab at the top of this page.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  27. Lynnise March 29, 2013

    Hello Mary,

    I have a BS in Recreation Therapy, however I have no plans of using the degree. I have been a store manager in a local retail store for 9 years and I am looking for a change. I have done some research on the different jobs that I could possibly pursue with a masters in healthcare administration and came across practice management. Being that I have years of management experience although in a different field, what advice could you give me to pursue a job in practice management. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in Advance

    • Mary Pat Whaley April 5, 2013

      Hi Lynnise,

      You can take your undergraduate degree, your business experience and by adding a Master’s degree, all you really need is some experience in a healthcare setting. I suggest that you see how you might combine work experience with your education so you’ll be ready to slide into your first job – probably in a hospital setting.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  28. Matt August 20, 2013

    Hi Mary,

    I’m 22 and I graduated from college last year with a BS in economics, and have since been working at a medical practice that specializes in making housecalls. I first started out doing mostly billing, A/R, and some bookkeeping, but have since been moved to a different position what involves reporting, IT, and the training of new employees in our clinical software. I have been deemed a pretty solid employee by our current practice manager and our CEO, and the company has been gracious enough to give me some cool responsibilities and is even planning on sending me to some conferences in the near future, so I guess I’ve progressed pretty quickly.

    I’m definitely interested in pursuing a career as a medical practice manager. However, I am wary about investing in a master’s degree. Given my current situation, would you say that it would be better to work up the ranks or should go ahead and invest in grad school? Would the fact that my undergraduate degree was not in a healthcare-related field be a deal-breaker for some employers? Any insight would be much appreciated.


    • Mary Pat Whaley August 22, 2013

      Hi Matt,

      The fact that your undergraduate degree is not in healthcare should not be a problem for you.

      Experience, especially as you are describing in your current position, is invaluable!

      People have different opinions about the value of a graduate business or health administration degree, but I think most people today agree that it could be difficult to get your investment back out of the degree if you are paying the going rate. There are graduate programs popping up now, however, that are much more affordable and are completely online. If I was at the beginning of my career, I would be exploring this at some point. If not that, then possibly some MOOC (I wrote an article about this recently) options on accounting, etc.

      Best wishes and good luck, Matt!

      Mary Pat