How Can I Become a Hospital Administrator?

Explore the career requirements for hospital administrators. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements and job outlook 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 Administrator?

A hospital administrator is a health services manager working in a hospital. These professionals are responsible for business operations, such as staff oversight, budget allocation and scheduling. At small hospitals, administrators might supervise the whole facility. At large hospitals, they might be charged with the administration of a single department, such as pediatrics, surgery or oncology, in which case their administrative duties would include coordination with other departments in order to ensure the efficiency of the operation of the hospital as a whole.

Read over the chart below for a snapshot look at this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree for entry level; master's degree is typical
Education Field of Study Health administration, public health, health services, public administration
Key Responsibilities Oversee daily operations of a facility, manage assistant administrators, generate work schedules for employees, implement policies
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for medical and health services managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $102,060 (for medical and health services managers working in hospitals)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties of Hospital Administrators

As a hospital administrator, you will be called on to provide the administrative direction for your facility and to carry the responsibility for the hospital's daily operations. You might implement the policies of the hospital's governing board, make recommendations for future policies and oversee budgets. Your human resources responsibilities would include being responsible for negotiating contracts with physicians, staff and vendors.

Helpful Skills and Characteristics

Strong leadership and communication skills will help you to deal with multiple constituencies, including hospital staff, board members, representatives of the media and the public. You will need planning and analytical abilities, presentation skills and financial knowledge. You should have an in-depth understanding of current healthcare issues and the ability to manage change.

Education and Training

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most hospital administrator positions require a master's degree (www.bls.gov). A degree in healthcare administration is a common credential; however, a degree in business administration, public health or public administration could also meet educational requirements for many positions. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education accredits 72 U.S. schools with health services administration programs.

With a bachelor's degree, you could qualify for an assistant administrator position. You could progress from being responsible for specific areas of operations to a more senior hospital administrator position, or you could start as a manager at a small facility and then become an administrator at a large facility.

Job Outlook

The BLS projects good opportunities for medical and health services managers, particularly for those with strong management skills and work experience in healthcare. According to the BLS, jobs for medical and health services managers are expected to grow 17% between 2014 and 2024. In 2014, about 37% of the 333,333 medical and health services managers in the U.S. were employed at hospitals.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Management positions are available in many healthcare institutions, not just hospitals. For instance, it is possible to get a job as an administrator at a physician's office, physical therapy clinic or nursing home. Another option is to work as a social or community service manager, which involves the oversight of a community organization or social service program. For individuals who are interested in specifically managing employee relations and staffing concerns, a job as a human services manager is a reasonable option. In order to get any of these jobs, applicants usually need at least 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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