How To Become A Hospital Administrator

beoming a hospital administrator

Hospital Administrator Requirements: Step By Step

While there is no one specific route to becoming a hospital administrator, there is a progression of steps to guide both your career choices and educational development that can help you reach your goal of becoming a hospital administrator.

1. Earn your Bachelor's degree in health care administration, health systems management or in a health services field like information technology.

2. You can also complete your Bachelor's degree in a clinical area such as nursing, or another therapeutic discipline that allows you to gain experience in the health care industry.

3. Gain work experience in a hospital, outpatient facility or another acute care medical setting, as this will be a crucial component of gaining the qualifications to become a hospital administrator.

4. Once you have your degree and some type of related work experience, you have the basic prerequisites for entry level healthcare administration complete, and can begin to apply for leadership and hospital admin positions.

5. Most large health care industry facilities, including many hospitals, prefer to hire administrators who possess advanced degrees, so you will want to expand your education with a Master's degree in hospital management or administration if you wish to be competitive in the field.

6. You can also investigate specialized certification through a professional association such as American College of Health Care Administrators, or by earning a specialty certification that expands upon your current degree.

A Brief Rundown of a Hospital Administration Leader's Job Role

A hospital administrator is basically the head of operations for an entire hospital. They handle daily business functions of a hospital including personnel management, development of policies and procedures and management of financial issues. In addition, hospital administrators are tasked with staying in the know when it comes to new medical technologies and advances that benefit and advance the facility and programs. Not only do hospital administrators track advances in medical practices and technology, but also in health care reforms and policy changes nationwide.

Hospital administrators are often the public face of a hospital and are highly involved in the community, and with board and investor relations, requiring them to interact with all types of people in order to maintain funding and support.

While a hospital administrator generally works out of an office within the hospital, they must also have a presence in the hospital at large. In order to stay familiar with policies and procedures and be able to recognize when and where changes or improvements are needed, a good administrator is on the floor to ensure operations are running smoothly.

This position requires full time, regular working hours but may also include after hours when needed such as in the case of emergencies. A hospital administrator is on-call for their employees and patients, and is often a key member of ethics committees and planning groups. Administrators also do a good deal of traveling, attending conferences and business meetings within the healthcare group they are a part of.

Healthcare Administrators - Requirements for Success

Before you commit to earning your hospital management degree, it's wise to take some time to assess your fit in this field. Using self assessment, identify if you possess the essential hospital administrator requirements and skills listed below:

  • Leadership Abilities
  • Effective Communication
  • Technical Knowledge or Background
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Analytical Abilities
  • Detail Oriented Approach to Tasks
  • Research and Data Focused

If the traits above sound like you, you may be a great fit for a degree in hospital management. These skills, combined with experience in the health services or medical field, are highly indicative of success in a hospital administration role.

Below is a quick video that outlines the requirements for becoming a successful hospital or healthcare administrator.

The Educational Path of A Hospital Administrator

Considering the job of a hospital administrator is so multifaceted, a professional entering the position will be required to have extensive education. In order to find an education that can prepare you for all duties the role requires, you'll need to do some shopping around.

To obtain employment as a hospital administrator, you will need to obtain at least a Bachelor's degree in Health Care Administration. While a Bachelor's degree in Healthcare Administration is the minimum education requirement to qualify for some hospital administration positions, it is just that…a minimum education. Generally, a Bachelor's (along with experience in the delivery of healthcare) is an option only in smaller facilities or rural areas.

If you want to play ball with the big boys, as they say, you'll need to prepare for the fact that most health management positions will require a Master's degree. You can lean toward a Master's in Health Care Administration or a Health Care MBA, especially if you are looking for positions in large or specialty hospitals.

Basically—the more advanced your health administration education—the more prepared you are to lead.

There are no required credentials or licensures for hospital administrators to earn before obtaining or seeking employment, though some more prestigious or executive positions will require some significant experience.

This is where your previous experience in healthcare can be a great benefit. For instance, if you started out in healthcare as a nurse or medical billing and coding specialist, and are moving up the ladder, your on-the-job knowledge is a bonus. Insider understanding of how the medical community and healthcare facilities function can only improve your ability to lead in this setting.

You can find programs ranging from entry level administration all the way to PhD programs on our site, and we encourage you to start where you are…but plan for the best!

What Do Hospital Administrators Earn?

Due to such a demanding position and the possibility for extra and irregular hours, a hospital administrator is usually compensated with a quite handsome salary. Below we discuss both entry level and top level salaries for health care administration roles in the U.S. for 2018.

Beginning Hospital Administration Salary for 2018

According to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median healthcare administrator salary in the United States is $98,350 per year (BLS, 2018). When looking solely at hospital administrator salary, BLS notes that managers working in state, local and private hospitals earn a median annual wage of $107,230 (2018). Hospital administration salary is slightly higher than that of other health care administrators, and may be related to the acute nature of the hospital environment, which requires an additional degree of management activity and oversight. In fact the OES lists the mean annual wage of hospital administrators in general medical and surgical hospitals as $116,940 per year (2018).

Top States for Hospital Administration Salaries, 2018

According to Bureau of Labor Statistic data retrieved November 2018, the top paying states for hospital administrators are shown below.

Top Hospital Administrator Salary Data for 2018

Experienced hospital administrators can earn even more with experience and qualification. Though often discussed in a difference context, Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), and Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) are also top hospital administrators. These positions often require extensive experience in the medical and administrative fields, and the hospital administration salary associated with these top executive positions often approaches or surpasses $200,000 annually.

Hospital Administration Job Growth

The job outlook and growth for hospital administration salary and employment is projected to grow at a faster rate than average, with over 70,000 new health care management jobs anticipated by 2026. This indicates that starting a career in healthcare administration now may increase your chances of successful employment in the field after graduation. If you are looking to land an executive role, keep in mind that earning your graduate degree in hospital management or hospital administration is a must. Top executive positions are highly competitive are expected to see a much slower rate of growth as compared to entry level hospital administrators over the next decade.

As you can see, getting into the management levels in healthcare can be a rewarding career choice, especially if you are driven to make healthcare more efficient and effective! If you have a passion for quality, a knack for managing people, and the ability to see the full picture of how a healthcare facility operates – it's time to put your skills to use.

Contact the schools you see below with online healthcare administration degrees to learn more about starting a career in hospital administration.

Featured Online Programs:

Online programs may not be available in all states