Health Administrator: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a health administrator. Learn about education requirements, licensure requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Health Administrator?

A health administrator, also known as a medical or health services manager, works as a supervisor in a medical facility. A manager may be the head of either an entire clinic or a single department within a large medical institution. They are responsible for coordinating health services, overseeing staff, managing the budget, organizing records and generally ensuring that the facility operates smoothly. Jobs are available at many types of institutions, including hospitals, academic medical centers, small family practices and nursing homes.

Take a look at the chart below for a quick review of this career field.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Health services, public health, business administration, public administration
Key Skills Problem solving, communication, analytical, interpersonal and technical skills
Licensure Required Licensure required if working in nursing care facilities and some assisted living facilities
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17%*
Median Salary (2015) $94,500*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Health Administrator?

A healthcare facility needs a manager to maintain an efficient and productive environment for patients and staff. As a health administrator, your responsibilities might include initiating and enforcing policies, overseeing maintenance and security activities, managing employees and creating operating budgets. You might manage a hospital, clinic or specific department in a hospital, such as oncology or pediatrics. Some health administrators are in charge of a group of health facilities, including pharmacies and surgical centers.

What Education Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most health administrators hold a master's degree ( Recommended fields of study include health administration, business and public health. You must earn a bachelor's degree before enrolling in the master's degree program. You can pursue a bachelor's degree in business or health administration and take courses focusing on management, finance, ethics and human resources.

To enter a master's degree program in public health, business or health administration, you must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) and submit letters of recommendation along with your application. Class work in these areas of study may include public health policy, organizational management and biostatistics. These master's degree programs usually take two years to complete.

Do I Need a License?

Health administrators working in a regular hospital or clinic are not required to be licensed. However, if you want to work in a nursing care facility, you will have to apply for a license issued by your state. Assisted-living administrators may also be required to hold a license. State licensing requirements include completing training courses, passing an exam and continuing your education.

What Is the Salary and Job Outlook for this Profession?

The BLS reported that during 2015, the median salary for a health services manager was $94,500. The BLS also predicted that the demand for health managers will increase by 17% between 2014 and 2024. Many more job opportunities will be available for health administrators with professional experience managing large, complex facilities.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in an administrative role in a health-related organization, you might be interested in a job as a social or community service manager. Instead of working at medical facilities, these professionals manage organizations like family service providers, governmental agencies and civic organizations. Alternatively, you could manage the human resource department of a business, where you would focus on staffing and employer-employee relations. Both of these management jobs require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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