Hospital Administrator: Career Information and Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Hospital administrators must be organized, have great leadership skills and be able to handle budgets effectively. Let's take a look at some core career information that may help you decide whether or not becoming a hospital administrator is right for you.

Essential Information

Hospital administrators set hospital policy, supervise department heads and manage the facilities' budgets. They are usually required to have a master's degree in health service management, hospital management or a related field. These professionals may also need several years of experience in a supportive position in order to gain experience in tasks such as hospital accounting and patient services as an administrator.

Required Education Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degree preferred for some positions
Other Requirements Additional licensing may be required
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) 32%* (Medical and health services managers)
Median Salary (2020) $104,280* (Medical and health services managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Hospital Administrators

Hospital administrators are usually required to have a master's degree in health service management, hospital management or a related field. These professionals may also need several years of experience in a supportive position in order to gain experience in tasks such as hospital accounting and patient services as an administrator.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

In order to qualify for support positions in hospital administration and be able to gain the experience required to work as an administrator, many individuals earn a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration or a related field. Entrance into the major generally requires completing core courses in accounting and economics. Advanced courses cover topics in financial management, marketing and legal issues in the healthcare industry. Most programs offer electives in the field that may range from operations management to quality control.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in healthcare administration generally require upwards of 43 credits to complete, which may take 2-3 years of study. Professors instruct and lecture on advanced topics in the industry like human resource management and operations leadership. Guest speakers from local hospitals and the healthcare industry may also make presentations to students regarding the current issues in the profession. Additionally, most programs provide seminar-like classes allowing students to work in groups and exchange ideas.

Professional Development

Towards the end of their graduate careers, students may choose to participate in residencies or conduct research projects within a healthcare facility. During the course of these experiences, students generally gain an additional understanding of leadership, planning and managing a hospital department. Goals may include assessing the importance of information systems to analyzing healthcare practices.

Internships

In order to gain practical experience in the industry, students may seek or may be required as part of a degree program to participate in internship opportunities. Most internships involve completing a minimum number of hours working side-by-side with staff in a healthcare facility. School-related internships may be offered through a partnership with a local medical facility. Other internships may be found through hospitals or other medical centers. Through the internship, students typically gain further insights into how a hospital is managed, common management issues and the day-to-day operations of a hospital's administrative staff.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) delineates statistics for medical and health services managers, a category that includes hospital administrators. In 2020, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $104,280, according to the BLS, with the majority earning between $59,980 and $195,630 per year. The BLS expects job opportunities for medical and health services managers to increase by 32% during the 2019-2029 decade.

Hospital administrators have difficult jobs that require focused communication, an organized mindset and the ability to ensure that all facilities in a hospital are working cohesively. As such, hospital administrators often need extensive schooling and on-the-job training.

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