Approximately 20,000 management analysts are employed in the health care and social assistance industries. Many health care consultants work in the private sector for firms that provide consulting services to drug companies, health care providers, nonprofits, government agencies, and other organizations. Major health care consulting firms include Beacon Partners, Huron Healthcare, and The Camden Group. Large management consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, the Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company also have health care consulting practices. Other health care consultants are employed directly by hospitals, drug companies, and government agencies. There are also opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial nature. Approximately 18 percent of management consultants are self-employed.
There are many ways to land a job in health care consulting. Large consulting firms often recruit on campus at top colleges and universities. College career services centers can provide job leads and advice on resume preparation and job interviewing. Many consultants cite networking as a key job-search strategy. You can network with recruiters and hiring managers at social-media sites such as LinkedIn or at networking events and conferences held by health care associations.
At large management consulting firms, new hires (sometimes called associates, consultants, business analysts, or fellows) work as generalists for three to five years, tackling a wide range of issues that might include those in health care. Eventually, associates become specialists at the firm, move on to specialty health care consulting firms, or work for other employers that require health care consulting expertise. Those interested in working for consultancies that specialize in health care will get their feet wet a little faster and begin working on basic health care strategy or research as soon as they are hired. But these jobs are difficult to find for new graduates, since firms usually want to hire experienced consultants who can hit the ground running.
Most entry-level consulting workers at large firms are typically known as associates for the first couple of years. After gaining three to five years of experience, an associate may be promoted to a supervisory position where he or she will handle more complex and independent work. Promotion to junior partner (or principal) may occur after seven years or more of exceptional work experience. Those promoted to partner have a financial stake in the firm and managerial duties. Health care consultants who work for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies typically move up the promotion ladder to managerial positions. Some may become top executives. Some consultants advance by opening their own firms and charging higher rates to clients.
Join the Healthcare Consultants Forum of the American College of Healthcare Executives, IMC USA, and other professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Conduct information interviews with consultants, and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. Visit the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) USA Web site, http://www.imcusa.org/search/custom.asp?id=2065, for a database of consultants. The National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants also provides a list of its members at https://nschbc.org/findaconsultant.
Become certified by the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants and IMC USA in order to show employers that you’ve met the highest standards established by your industry.