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Becoming a Hospital Administrator

What Does a Hospital Administrator Do?

hospital administrators in a meeting

A hospital is a bustling treatment center for patients, and a complex, interdisciplinary workplace for healthcare personnel. One person is responsible for keeping this symbiotic infrastructure running smoothly - the hospital administrator. As the head of operations, a hospital administrator oversees clinical units, departments or an entire hospital. These professionals manage personnel, finances and facility practices according to a distinct set of policies and procedures established by trustees.

Hospital administrators keep abreast of new laws and regulations in the industry and advances in medicine and medical technology. A hospital administrator also represents the institution she manages at investor meetings, on governing boards, and within the greater community.

Hospital administrators are the true leaders of the institutions they helm. Their decisions reverberate throughout the workplace and the community at large. Administrators’ influence even extends internationally, as their actions and policies affect global healthcare standards.

Workplace Details

Hospital administrators work in many different environments, including urban and general care community hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, group medical practices and outpatient care locations. They make up the largest portion of the healthcare administrative workforce. The majority of them are full-time employees and most work typical business hours except when called upon for administrative issues or emergencies during evening hours, overnight or on weekends and holidays.

Salary and Job Outlook

State
Average Wage
California
$122800
New York
$135640
Texas
$104740
Ohio
$99000
Pennsylvania
$99260

Hover over any state to explore local income and job growth data.

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ALABAMA

Median Salary: 
$88,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $57,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $151,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Birmingham$64,750$98,400$167,900
Huntsville$60,540$87,980$150,150

ALASKA

Median Salary: 
$107,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $65,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): Over $187,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Anchorage$63,980$107,560Over $187,200
Fairbanks$86,350$111,190$123,870

ARIZONA

Median Salary: 
$92,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $56,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): Over $187,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 430

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Phoenix$58,200$92,480Over $187,200
Tuscon$51,210$91,590Over $187,200

ARKANSAS

Median Salary: 
$74,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $44,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $124,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 120

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Little Rock$51,720$84,810$140,120
Fort Smith$44,440$72,030$120,870

CALIFORNIA

Median Salary: 
$117,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $56,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): Over $187,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,400

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Los Angeles$49,800$109,500$183,080
San Francisco Bay$72,120$142,370Over $187,200
San Diego$53,250$111,290$180,190
Sacramento$65,810$136,560Over $187,200

COLORADO

Median Salary: 
$102,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $63,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $175,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 34%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 240

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Denver$69,020$110,820$177,910
Colorado Springs$49,690$89,360Over $187,200

CONNECTICUT

Median Salary: 
$107,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $69,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): Over $187,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 180

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Hartford$66,990$104,330Over $187,200
Bridgeport$72,020$108,310Over $187,200
New Haven$81,720$113,960Over $187,200

DELAWARE

Median Salary: 
$102,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $72,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $171,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wilmington$71,650$103,820$179,700
Dover$66,810$84,410$121,370

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Median Salary: 
$121,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $74,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): Over $187,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Washington DC$75,670$108,150$168,220

FLORIDA

Median Salary: 
$99,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $65,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $174,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 25%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 610

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Miami$66,740$103,290Over $187,200
Orlando$65,590$111,190Over $187,200
Tampa$66,390$100,180$174,950
Jacksonville$62,580$93,250$157,730

GEORGIA

Median Salary: 
$91,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $50,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $157,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 320

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Atlanta$49,770$97,600$165,470
Augusta$54,680$86,580$150,070

HAWAII

Median Salary: 
$104,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $49,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $170,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Honolulu$68,030$110,100$176,670

IDAHO

Median Salary: 
$76,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $45,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $123,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 820

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boise$48,180$78,880$125,440
Idaho Falls$46,470$76,120$108,170

ILLINOIS

Median Salary: 
$94,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $53,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $152,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 460

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Chicago$58,360$100,220$156,570
Rockford$52,960$91,630$151,580

INDIANA

Median Salary: 
$80,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $48,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $133,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 370

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Indianapolis$51,280$86,960$158,480
South Bend$52,580$75,720$117,360
Fort Wayne$46,340$80,690$150,840

IOWA

Median Salary: 
$73,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $49,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $119,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 200

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Des Moines$52,580$78,060$123,340
Cedar Rapids$47,660$72,460$111,250

KANSAS

Median Salary: 
$75,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $51,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $125,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wichita$51,200$73,040$118,190
Kansas City$59,480$90,600$151,370

KENTUCKY

Median Salary: 
$81,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $52,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $139,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 35%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 300

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Louisville$54,300$84,720$142,950
Lexington$57,840$93,260$141,120

LOUISIANA

Median Salary: 
$81,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $54,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $125,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New Orleans$61,490$84,640$128,310
Baton Rouge$50,040$83,760$139,380
Lafayette$52,390$81,400$121,290

MAINE

Median Salary: 
$82,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $55,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $148,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$65,170$87,890$147,990
Lewiston$53,980$82,520$121,930

MARYLAND

Median Salary: 
$100,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $66,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $160,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 510

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baltimore$64,800$96,660$174,690
Frederick$81,230$105,970$158,690

MASSACHUSETTS

Median Salary: 
$100,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $62,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $175,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 370

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boston$67,930$107,470$186,190
Worcester$55,130$91,410Over $187,200
Springfield$57,710$96,070$168,260

MICHIGAN

Median Salary: 
$88,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $53,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $157,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 440

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Detroit$51,710$91,740$184,540
Grand Rapids$59,560$86,670Over $187,200

MINNESOTA

Median Salary: 
$93,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $57,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $154,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 260

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Minneapolis - St. Paul$58,540$96,700$167,640
Rochester$72,160$107,820$156,430

MISSISSIPPI

Median Salary: 
$75,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $44,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $126,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Jackson$54,140$84,500$132,550
Gulfport$52,590$77,830$128,220

MISSOURI

Median Salary: 
$91,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $54,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $158,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 200

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
St. Louis$58,200$94,850$164,670
Kansas City$59,480$90,600$151,370

MONTANA

Median Salary: 
$80,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $44,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $123,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Billings$58,380$88,700$139,670
Missoula$42,090$79,800$128,830

NEBRASKA

Median Salary: 
$85,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $54,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $140,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 120

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Omaha$59,780$89,840$151,810
Lincoln$52,700$85,280$131,140

NEVADA

Median Salary: 
$98,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $50,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $155,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 22%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Las Vegas$49,930$97,220$152,330
Reno$56,900$110,570$185,300

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Median Salary: 
$93,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $62,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $156,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Manchester$67,440$99,170$160,950
Nashua$60,480$83,980$123,140

NEW JERSEY

Median Salary: 
$110,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $81,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $160,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 390

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Newark$82,850$111,810$163,880
Trenton$79,510$106,140Over $187,200

NEW MEXICO

Median Salary: 
$87,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $50,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $159,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Albuquerque$49,700$88,940$166,130
Las Cruces$58,200$93,340$181,370

NEW YORK

Median Salary: 
$113,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $70,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): Over $187,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,190

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New York City$75,970$118,190Over $187,200
Buffalo$66,110$95,080$155,370
Rochester$59,330$90,400$159,120
Albany$63,500$90,860$148,930

NORTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$94,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $67,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $159,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 22%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 390

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Charlotte$67,560$95,090$165,020
Raleigh$65,880$93,370$158,560
Greensboro$66,920$99,980$153,520
Winston - Salem$66,670$90,260$160,700

NORTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$78,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $52,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $130,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Fargo$55,980$92,130Over $187,200
Bismarck$51,890$74,840$111,240

OHIO

Median Salary: 
$87,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $60,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $142,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 700

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cleveland$65,270$89,180$134,250
Columbus$59,430$90,490$163,700
Cincinnati$64,470$93,780$149,300
Dayton$63,770$90,360$141,140

OKLAHOMA

Median Salary: 
$75,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $46,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $125,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 240

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Oklahoma City$45,760$76,180$136,570
Tulsa$48,790$76,730$115,580

OREGON

Median Salary: 
$97,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $55,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $179,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 170

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$56,750$102,180Over $187,200
Salem$62,670$93,530$128,450

PENNSYLVANIA

Median Salary: 
$85,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $51,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $151,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 570

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Philadelphia$62,750$100,490$164,700
Pittsburgh$52,570$78,860$137,990
Harrisburg$54,480$87,660Over $187,200
Allentown$48,780$84,620$139,100

RHODE ISLAND

Median Salary: 
$99,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $67,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $181,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Providence$64,490$97,240$172,760

SOUTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$81,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $47,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $138,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 190

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Greenville$40,010$69,440$127,990
Columbia$44,640$78,840$140,850
Charleston$57,800$89,710$145,030

SOUTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$96,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $65,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $139,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Sioux Falls$68,410$104,800$158,130
Rapid City$61,760$103,960$132,670

TENNESSEE

Median Salary: 
$80,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $50,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $140,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 31%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 410

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Nashville$52,710$84,460$151,840
Memphis$50,350$89,480$146,310
Knoxville$47,670$73,590$126,140
Chattanooga$51,080$81,090$142,850

TEXAS

Median Salary: 
$91,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $55,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $153,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 29%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,070

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Dallas - Ft. Worth$58,920$93,170Over $187,200
Houston$54,040$101,080$159,070
San Antonio$61,620$92,590$143,230
Austin$54,890$89,470$129,650

UTAH

Median Salary: 
$90,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $52,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $156,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 32%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 150

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Salt Lake City$57,810$94,590$166,230
Ogden$52,450$84,820$141,690

VERMONT

Median Salary: 
$84,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $54,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $153,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Burlington$50,720$82,420$145,610

VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$95,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $59,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $162,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 300

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Virginia Beach$61,710$91,250$147,110
Richmond$58,050$98,970Over $187,200

WASHINGTON

Median Salary: 
$102,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $62,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): Over $187,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 300

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Seattle$65,900$109,830Over $187,200
Spokane$60,000$94,630$159,220

WEST VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$90,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $55,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $162,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Huntington$54,870$92,310$145,780
Charleston$52,850$94,030Over $187,200

WISCONSIN

Median Salary: 
$83,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $51,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $132,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 260

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Milwaukee$49,730$86,400$143,350
Madison$64,070$92,390$139,610

WYOMING

Median Salary: 
$85,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $55,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $133,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cheyenne$59,430$86,980$129,660
Casper$52,630$81,760$130,410

According to the US Department of Labor, healthcare administrators collectively have a average salary of $109,370, with a range of about $56,970 to $172,240 or more (the latter two being the median salaries of the bottom and top 10% of earners, respectively). Many command wages on the higher end of this range, depending on the size of the facility they oversee. Higher levels of education do not necessarily result in a higher salary, but greater levels of responsibility do.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the overall job market for healthcare administrators to grow by about 17 percent until at least 2024. In the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare industry, many hospitals are streamlining roles and responsibilities to cut costs. Administrators who used to manage one department may now be in charge of several. And with more hospitals joining large networks, some administrators are responsible for operations at more than one facility. Administrative professionals who are highly cross-trained are the most likely to thrive in this dynamic environment.

Compare Salaries by City

New York City NY Median Pay

$118190 Per Year

$56.82 Per Hour

Los Angeles CA Median Pay

$109500 Per Year

$52.64 Per Hour

Steps to Become a Hospital Administrator

1

Earn a bachelor's degree.

Hospital administrators hold at least a four-year bachelor’s degree and many pursue graduate education (such as a master’s or doctorate degree), necessary at larger facilities or for executive positions high on the administrative ladder.

Show Me Schools »

2

Obtain a master's or doctorate degree.

Graduate education programs in business or health administration take two to three years to complete. A curriculum specific to hospital administration includes courses in hospital organization, strategy, healthcare and business law, finance and economics and healthcare technology systems.

Prospective hospital administration students should check a program’s accreditation status at the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education in order to ensure that they receive an education that meets predetermined quality standards.

3

Get licensed if necessary.

Administrators who work in hospitals do not need to have licenses. However, those employed at long-term care facilities must have them, as required by all US states. Administrators must take an exam for initial licensure, then maintain proof of active practice or continuing education to keep a license active.

4

Strongly consider certification.

Though the law does not require board certification, many hospital administrators get certified in order to maintain their professional standing and to validate their competency in their field. Board certification is available for hospital administrators at the American College of Healthcare Executives.

5

Look for opportunities for growth in your career.

Thanks to their varied knowledge and breadth of experience, hospital administrators are well suited to move beyond a single facility and take on higher levels of responsibility as administrators in healthcare networks or government organizations. They are also qualified to serve as educators or as consultants for new facilities or healthcare organizations.

Explore Degree Paths

BACHELOR'S DEGREE

4 years

Most hospitals require administrators to hold four-year degrees at minimum. Bachelor’s-trained administrators generally don’t hold executive positions – at least at larger hospitals. But they can gain valuable experience as department leaders, mid-level managers, and program directors.

Most hospital administrators hold degrees in health or business. Majors that offer good preparation include:

  • Healthcare administration
  • Health services administration
  • Health information management
  • Public administration
  • Public health
  • Business administration

Show Me Schools »

When choosing a school, it’s important to pick one that offers good value and rigorous educational preparation. The following organizations vet the quality of degree programs and list approved schools on their websites:

Bachelor’s degree programs generally look at healthcare administration broadly rather than focusing on a single setting like a hospital. Expect instruction in:

Healthcare marketing

Learn how to promote your organization and improve its reputation among consumers, employees, insurance companies, and other stakeholders.

Healthcare legal environment

Study laws and regulations affecting healthcare organizations, including privacy, informed consent, and advance directives.

Human resource management

Looks at laws, regulations, and practices governing employment in healthcare organizations, including the needs of contracted and unionized workers.

Administrative internship

Gain supervised work experience and mentoring within a healthcare organization.

MASTER'S DEGREE

2-3 years

If your goal is to become a hospital executive or direct a major program or department, you’ll eventually want to earn your master’s degree. This is especially important at large hospitals, urban and suburban hospitals, and academic medical centers. A master’s degree is the minimum preparation required by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and is preferred by many employers.

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) vets the quality of health administration master’s programs. CAHME graduates are favored by many employers and have exclusive access to certain post-graduate fellowships.

Hospital administrators can choose from a variety of master’s degree options. While names and emphases may be different, the core coursework is usually similar:

  • Master of Science (MS) in Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a healthcare concentration
  • Master of Health Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Health Policy Administration (MHPA)
  • Dual degree (for example, MBA-MPH)

Master’s degree programs in healthcare administration may be residential (face-to-face), online, or executive. The executive track combines online learning with blocks of classroom instruction for the benefit of working professionals. ACHE recommends choosing a program that provides at least some of its instruction in-person.

Master’s students complete 2–3 years of classes and fieldwork beyond the bachelor’s level. Some then continue on to an optional post-graduate fellowship, which lasts about one year.

Master’s level healthcare administration courses include:

Health economics

Study medical care as a unique commodity, using economic principles to explain provider decisions, patient behavior, and insurance markets.

Strategic management

Learn to assess, plan, negotiate, and problem-solve effectively in the risky healthcare environment.

Hospital management

Looks at the unique management needs of acute care organizations, including reimbursement, operations, human resources, finance, and planning.

Health information technology

Gain an understanding of the different applications used to manage, store, analyze, and report patient and organizational data.

Keys to Success as a Hospital Administrator

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Problem-solving

Hospital administrators must be analytical problem-solvers who can also tap into their creativity.

Ability to see the forest and the trees

A detail-oriented personality helps balance effective healthcare delivery and the cost-efficient operation of a hospital, while creative acuity will help an administrator to foresee the broader effects of decisions and policies.

Leadership skills

These professionals are leaders, and as such they have well-honed interpersonal skills, needed to mitigate conflict and negotiate changes that affect many. They know how to motivate staff and communicate with people from various cultural backgrounds and educational levels.

Additional Credentialing Information

Hospital administrators with a graduate degree and five years’ experience are eligible for board certification by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Hospital administrators who specialize in health information management may be eligible for AHIMA’s Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential. Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a CAHIIM-accredited program.

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