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Clinical Director

Education and Training: Master’s degree
Average Salary: $93,670 per year
Job Outlook: Good

Clinical directors are administrators who plan and manage the provision of healthcare services within their department, unit, or clinic – typically within their specialized area of practice. Examples include mental health, nursing, medical records, surgery, or physical therapy.

A clinical director’s typical responsibilities include: formulating strategies, creating policies and procedures, planning the use of available resources, developing budgets, managing all the services provided to patients, as well as writing reports. Clinical directors often work closely with their department or unit’s staff, and sometimes liaise with other department managers and assistant healthcare administrators.

Clinical directors typically report to the hospital manager, chief executive officer or equivalent, and update them periodically on the department or unit’s progress.

Education and Training Requirements

Clinical directors typically follow one of two tracks. The first requires at least a bachelor’s degree, relevant training for and experience with the specific unit or clinic. For example, in a mental health clinic, the clinical director should meet or exceed the qualifications of a clinical psychologist by having a Ph.D. in Psychology and state licensure. The second track for clinical directors requires at least a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration or comparable education.

Getting the Job

Aspiring clinical directors should apply for job vacancies directly with the human resources personnel at hospitals and clinics. Another option is to apply for job advertisements that appear in newspapers and on websites with the listed contact. At the same time, those who are already employed at a clinic or hospital may receive special consideration when a clinical director position needs to be filled, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open to any available spots on the horizon.
As a general rule, candidates with primarily academic experience tend to be hired for more generalist positions, while those with more specialized experience tend to be hired for more complex or specialist clinical director positions.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for clinical directors is good, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16% increase in the number of clinical director positions from 2008 to 2018. During this time the healthcare industry in the United States is expected to continue growing and hospitals will remain the largest employers of clinical directors.

Clinical directors looking to further advance in their careers should aim their sights on clinical director positions at larger facilities, management positions that entail greater responsibility, or consider becoming a healthcare consultant.

Working Conditions and Environment

Clinical directors work in an office environment and must use a computer; however, they may just as likely have a private office as share space with other staff. Many clinical directors work long hours and may be contacted during their off time in case of crises and are expected to respond. At the same time, clinical directors may also have assistants who help them with regular or daily tasks.

Salary and Benefits

Most clinical directors in the United States earn between $51,280 and $144,880 each year, with an average salary and annual bonus totaling $93,670. Compensation packages for clinical directors include medical and dental benefits.

Where to Go for More Information

American College of Health Care Administrators
1321 Duke S.t, Ste. 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
(202) 536-5120

American College of Healthcare Executives
1 N Franklin, Ste. 1700
Chicago, Illinois 60606-3529
(312) 424-2800

Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
2111 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 700
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 351-5010

Medical Group Management Association
104 Inverness Terrace E
Englewood, CO 80112-5306
(303) 799-1111

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine