5 things to know before becoming a healthcare consultant

Considering a switch from industry to consulting?

Here are five things to know about the healthcare consulting field, based on a career guide from Washington, D.C.-based George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

1. Compensation. A management consultant's base salary averages over $131,000 annually — in 2015 the median salary was $131,613, according to the report. Additionally, many top firms provide hefty performance bonuses — roughly 25 percent of a base salary — as well as signing bonuses, which can range from about $25,000 to $35,000, according to the report.

2. Location. Typically the highest demand for consultants is in large metropolitan areas, where hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and other potential clients and may be dense. The largest concentration of healthcare consultants (26.1 percent) is currently located in the Southeast and the second highest concentration is in the Mid-Atlantic region, where 18.2 percent of nation's healthcare consultants reside, according to the report. Another 16.7 percent of healthcare clients are based in the West.

3. Type of work. Based on percentage of revenue, the healthcare consulting field's focus first and foremost is strategic management (36.8 percent of revenue in 2015), which involves advising on strategic plans, transactions, value-based care strategies and governance, among other initiatives. The second-highest revenue source is financial management and operations (18.9 percent). After that, human resources and benefits projects account for 12.9 percent of revenue, followed by IT strategy, which accounts for 9.3 percent of revenue for healthcare consultancies. The remainder of revenue is made up for other offerings such as marketing, equipment planning or practice management.

4. Main clients. Hospitals are the most common clients for healthcare consultants, followed by pharmaceutical firms, other healthcare providers, government agencies, medical device companies, and finally, payers, according to the report.

5. Background. No specific educational background is needed to be a consultant — many firms offer entry-level positions to candidates who recently earned undergraduate degrees. However, more senior positions require more industry experience or advanced education, according to the report.

For more information and to see the top 10 consultancies, view the full report here.


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