Hospital Manager: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for hospital managers. Get the facts about education requirements, job duties, job outlook, and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Finance and Health Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Hospital Manager?

Hospital managers are in charge of facility operations for either an entire hospital, or for a specific department or clinical area. This involves all aspects of the running of that facility, including overseeing employees, creating and managing budgets, adhering to regulations, and more. This is a career for someone interested in healthcare, but willing and able to multitask and keep a big-picture mindset. It is not a medical profession, but more of a business role, to ensure a facility runs smoothly and corresponds to overall company goals and policies. As such, hospital managers interact daily with physicians, nurses, and other staff, but they also work with stakeholders and represent the facility at investor meetings or conferences.

The table below outlines the general requirements to become a hospital manager.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Health administration, public health, business administration
Key Skills Analytical skills, communication skills, detail oriented, interpersonal skills, problem solving, technical skills
Licensure Required Varies by state and employer
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for medical and health service managers)*
Mean Annual Salary (2015) $106,070 (for medical and health service managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Degree Do I Need to Become a Hospital Manager?

You usually need a master's degree in health administration or a similar field to become a hospital manager. According to the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), more than 70 U.S. schools offer accredited master's programs in this vocation. You might find such programs offered through a university's college of public health, medicine, public administration, allied health or business administration. Many master's degree programs in this field are designed for working professionals, making executive programs, part-time options and online programs common.

Some programs focus on health services administration in general, while others allow you the option to specialize in hospital management. Though bachelor's degree programs in health care administration are also offered, a bachelor's degree generally isn't enough to get a job as a hospital manager; rather, it could qualify you for a management position in a smaller setting, such as a physician's office, small clinic or single department within a hospital.

A bachelor's degree in health care administration could be required for entrance to some master's programs, but schools might also accept candidates with different undergraduate majors. Prerequisite courses commonly include accounting, economics and statistics.

What Will I Learn About?

The coursework in a master's degree program in health care administration covers a variety of business and management topics as they relate to health care delivery. This includes courses in human resource management, financial management, organizational behavior, leadership, strategic planning and information systems. You could also learn about health law, ethics in health care, health care reimbursement, managed care and health care delivery in America.

In many cases, a supervised administrative residency is necessary in place of the typical master's thesis requirement. However, some programs give you the choice to complete one or the other. A master's program in health care management usually takes 2-3 years to complete.

What Might My Responsibilities Be?

As a hospital manager, it'll be your job to supervise health care delivery and make sure the facility runs smoothly. Some of your tasks could include making personnel decisions, establishing hospital policies, overseeing billing and collection, supervising patient flow and creating budgets. As a top-level hospital administrator, you're likely to be less involved in daily decisions and more focused on overall business decisions. You might have assistant administrators who help you with different areas, such as nursing, health information, surgery or medical records.

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for medical and health services managers in general are expected to increase by 17% between 2014 and 2014 (www.bls.gov). This creates a better-than-average job outlook when compared to the national average for all jobs. The BLS anticipates that hospital management jobs will grow at a slower rate than other institutions. However, hospitals are projected tol remain the largest employer of health services managers during this decade, and due to the industry's size, many new jobs should continue to be created.

In 2015, the BLS reported that the average salary for medical and health service managers was $106,070. Those employed in general and surgical hospitals averaged $114,180 at the time, while managers of specialty hospitals, aside from those employed at addictions or psychiatric hospitals, earned an average of $117,070.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Managers are needed in just about every industry. For example, you could consider working as a human resource manager, after earning at least a bachelor's degree. Human resource managers oversee staff hiring and training, and coordinate administrative functions of their organization to ensure day-to-day activities align with the strategic vision set forth by organization executives. You could also become a community service manager. These professionals often work for non-profit organizations, and their job is to supervise social service programs and the people who operate them.

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