How Do I Become a Clinical Operations Manager?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Leigh
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2019
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Clinical operations managers work in healthcare settings where they manage specific areas of service in which they possess expertise. To become a clinical operations manager, it is necessary to have specific training in the field that is being managed. Education is required for these positions, often a master's degree, a nursing or medical doctor (MD) degree, or a doctor of philosophy degree (PhD). Experience in the field as a clinical worker is usually required as a manager needs first-hand knowledge. Individuals who wish to become a clinical operations manager must be knowledgeable enough in their area to be able to manage others as well as keep records and implement policies.

The first step in the quest to become a clinical operations manager is graduating from high school and obtaining an undergraduate degree. Courses of study vary depending on the individual's specific goals for working as a clinical operations manager, but degree paths often include science, pre-medicine, psychology or nursing. Upon completion of the undergraduate degree, an upper-level degree is often required for a management position. Areas of study include a master's degree in nursing, medical school, a PhD in psychology or healthcare management. Since these fields of study are so diverse, the educational requirements vary considerably in each of them.


An individual needs to be experienced in the field in order to become a clinical operations manager. This means first working as a clinician providing services to patients in some variety of context. After gaining a full understanding of the way that the system operates from a clinical perspective, an individual is ready to move into management. Job paths towards becoming a clinician vary but include working as a nurse, physician or mental health provider in a healthcare setting. A desire to move out of clinical work and into management is needed at this point, as the job descriptions are highly different even though they involve the same field.

Moving from being a clinical worker into the management field requires that the individual go through an application process and be recommended by his superiors. The healthcare setting has to feel good enough that an individual can create and follow through with organizational plans and lead a group of people as the manager. Other responsibilities include creating budgets, keeping records and working with other members of management. Good communication skills and a positive attitude are important in inspiring others to work as a team.


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