Healthcare consulting is a $20 billion industry. Hospitals, agencies, and providers are more in need of support than they’ve ever been. Unfortunately, in a hyper-competitive market, these organizations are operating on historically slim margins that prevent additional spending. The consulting world is not dissimilar to many industries in that you get what you pay for, and many decision makers are turning to discounted or inexperienced support because budget management has become so critical. This raises the question: Is healthcare consulting a worthwhile occupation to try and master?
In short, yes, healthcare consulting remains an important and needed segment of the market. For more information on how you can help support healthcare agencies, check out our story on “Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Consultant”. Consulting isn’t a typical desk job. You will find your day-to-day routine volatile and unpredictable. Income is likely to be inconsistent and hard to predict as many consultants spend weeks on marketing and relationship-building without collecting a dollar. These are all challenges that you’ll face as you start your consulting adventure.
The first step to becoming a healthcare consultant would be to further your education. It’s expected that most expert-level advisors will possess a 4-year degree or more. What should my degree be in if I want to be a healthcare consultant? A generalized healthcare program such as Practice Management, Health Sciences, or Public Health would give you sufficient latitude to grow your knowledge based on the market demand and not slot you into a specific medical category that may see a decline in consulting need.
Do healthcare consultants need on-the-job experience? In general, yes. It’s recommended that you pursue an entry-level opportunity that offers a variety of experiences. Positions in hospital administration or healthcare management are ideal fits. Should I pursue specific certifications to be a healthcare consultant? A healthcare consultant is like a Swiss army knife. It’s your goal to turn yourself into a dynamic professional resource. Usually, healthcare certifications are specialized and are not a good use of your time and resources. There are some exceptions to this, such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification which is more angled towards organization and implementation.
How much does a healthcare consultant make? According to a 2017 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) study, the median pay for a healthcare consultant is $98,000. This would seem attractive to any student considering a career in consulting. Unfortunately, there aren’t many entry-level opportunities available in consulting because the industry is considered to be made up of experts. To ‘break-in’ a young professional must first cut their teeth in a more traditional job. Luckily, if you’ve decided that you want to eventually become a healthcare consultant, you can make key decisions now that will set you up for success later.
If you’re already an experienced healthcare professional and are looking to learn more about consulting, Spyglass Solutions would love to talk to you about our team and what your goals are as a potential consultant. Contact us at 610-799-7400 or Info@SpyglassSolutions.org.