How to Become a Hospital Administrator

Image of a keyboard connected to a variety of medical icons.

A hospital administrator is a healthcare executive who plans, directs and coordinates medical and health services. Hospital administration is a lucrative, high-growth career that engages in important and satisfying work. These factors helped the career claim the No. 8 spot on CNNMoney/PayScale’s top 100 careers for 2017.

Job Duties

A hospital administrator oversees an entire facility or a specific clinical area or department, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Responsibilities include providing strategic plans and adapting to changes in healthcare laws, regulations and technology.

Other job duties include the following.

  • Develop departmental goals and objectives.
  • Improve the efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services.
  • Ensure the facility is compliant with new laws and regulations.
  • Recruit, train and supervise staff.
  • Manage the facility’s finances.
  • Create employee work schedules.
  • Prepare and monitor departmental budgets.
  • Represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards.
  • Keep and organize records of the facility’s services.
  • Communicate with members of the medical staff and departmental heads.

Work Environment

A hospital administrator works in a state, local or private hospital. As a type of medical and health services manager, which is the title used by the BLS, a hospital administrator may have a similar role at physician offices, nursing and residential care facilities, and other healthcare facilities and organizations.

Requirements

Education and Experience

A bachelor’s degree is typically needed to enter the occupation. Degree options include health administration, health management, nursing, public health administration or business administration. It is common for applicants to have master’s degrees, and this is sometimes preferred by employers.

Employers often require hospital administrators to have some work experience. Applicants should have experience in an administrative or a clinical role in a hospital or another type of healthcare facility.

Important Skills and Qualities

A hospital administrator assumes a great deal of responsibility for his or her facility or department. Aspiring candidates for this role should work on developing the following skills and qualities that the BLS has identified.

  • Analytical skills to help with understanding and following current regulations and adapting to laws.
  • Communication skills to effectively communicate procedures with other health professionals and ensure the staff is complying with new laws and regulations.
  • Detail-oriented skills come into play in many parts of the position, such as maintaining scheduling and billing information for the facility.
  • Interpersonal skills to handle staffing problems and discuss patient information with other professionals.
  • Leadership skills for finding creative solutions to staffing and other administrative problems. A hospital administrator must hire, train, motivate and ultimately lead staff.
  • Technical skills to keep up with advances in healthcare technology and data analytics. For instance, the facility may adopt new coding and classification software, as well as electronic health record systems.

Job Outlook

The BLS reports that the employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 17 percent by 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This figure more than doubles the job outlook of all occupations (7 percent) and all management occupations (6 percent).

The growing baby-boom population is remaining active later in life, creating an increase in the demand for medical services. As a result, the healthcare industry should grow, and growth should follow for physicians and other healthcare workers, healthcare facilities and thus managers who organize and manage medical information and healthcare staff.

Pursuing a Career as a Hospital Administrator

Alvernia University’s online BS in Healthcare Administration prepares students for management-level positions in healthcare environments. Potential careers include:

  • Hospital and nursing home administrators
  • Practice managers
  • Operations directors
  • Personal care home and assisted living managers
  • Billing managers
  • Health insurance claims managers

The program takes place in a flexible and convenient online learning environment that accommodates students’ work and personal schedules.