Every health services organization requires competent leadership. As the supervisors of healthcare institutions, clinical directors oversee all facets of operations to ensure the quality, functioning and success of services and patient care. For those seeking to broadly influence healthcare systems, the role of clinical director may be a perfect fit.

What Is a Clinical Director?

Clinical directors are health organization leaders. They may oversee group medical practices, clinical departments or entire organizations, like hospitals and clinics. Areas of responsibility may include:

  • Clinical directors may be responsible for developing and managing budgets, creating growth strategies or managing other fiscal issues, such as patient fees and billing.
  • Employee Management. While not human resource directors, clinical directors do actively participate in the recruitment, hiring, supervision, management and training of facility staff.
  • Facility Management. Those who work in clinical directorship must ensure their facilities adhere to all appropriate healthcare codes and regulations. They must also be aware of — and enforce — current and changing healthcare laws.
  • Organizational Improvement. Clinical directors are charged with helping their organizations grow and thrive. This means understanding how to maximize efficiency, manage performance and ensure the stability of their programs. It also means finding creative ways to expand their services, develop programs and improve the quality of care.

Clinical directors are also responsible for duties specific to their leadership position. Depending on the type of organizations they run, these might include representing their institutions at board meetings or assessing the capabilities and their facilities’ emergency plans in case of major disasters.

Because of the scope and importance of their work, clinical directors require both the right education and extensive work experience.

How to Become a Clinical Director

Clinical director positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, although master’s degrees are common and sometimes preferred. Advantageous programs of study include health services, nursing, public health, even business management. In addition, clinical directors require previous work experience, often in supervisory administrative roles.

Furthermore, clinical directors may also need specific certifications, depending on the type of institutions they oversee and the states in which they work. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, for example, require particular credentials. Common organizations that offer certifications for clinical directors include:

In addition, clinical directors must also possess certain professional characteristics. The level of their responsibility requires the ability to solve problems through creative and critical thinking, as well as an understanding of broad systems. Clinical directors must be competent, determined and display consummate professional behavior in all situations. Communication skills are a must, since they consistently commune with many people and do their share of public speaking. Finally, they must have a good baseline of technical literacy.

Clinical Director Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical directors have a strong employment outlook. Jobs in the field are expected to grow 20 percent through 2026 — a rate much faster than average. Clinical directors have median wage of $96,540, with hospitals, government facilities, outpatient care centers and physician offices among the top-paying enterprise. Like any position, pay is often contingent on geographic location, experience and tenure at an organization. It may also depend on earning the right degree.

Sources: Payscale, Health Services Insights

Your Career in Health Services Management

At Jefferson Online, the online health services degree helps students reach their full potential in the world of healthcare. The degree features a comprehensive and relevant curriculum and is designed to be completed in as little as two years. With Jefferson’s fully online format, students can attend class when and where they want while working to advance their careers.