Hospital Administrator Career and Salary Profile

Federal projections call for significant job growth in the coming years.

By University Alliance
Healthcare Management Degree Online

Healthcare is a more complex business now than ever before – and it’s changing rapidly. Skilled hospital administrators are vital to ensuring that medical facilities run efficiently and deliver quality patient care. Depending on its size, a facility may have one or several administrators. Pursuing a career as a hospital administrator can be a rewarding way of helping others; enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Healthcare Management can be a way to begin the process.

Job Outlook for Hospital Administrators

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of health services managers, including hospital administrators, will significantly increase in the coming years. Jobs in the field are expected to grow by 23% from 2012 through 2022, more than double the average growth rate of 11% for all occupations nationwide. Overall, the healthcare industry will see increasing demand for medical services due, in part, to baby boomers reaching retirement age.

Competition for jobs at the highest management levels is expected to be strong, and candidates with experience, business management skills and advanced degrees may have an advantage.

Job Duties

Hospital administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of a hospital, clinic, managed care organization or public health agency. To coordinate the actions of all departments and ensure they function as one, hospital administrators must hold a wide set of skills and knowledge. As part of their typical duties, these professionals may:

  • Act as liaisons among governing boards, medical staff and departments heads
  • Organize, direct, control and coordinate medical and health services in relation to policies set by a governing board of trustees
  • Recruit, hire and evaluate assistant administrators, nurses and doctors
  • Plan budgets and set rates for health services
  • Develop and expand programs for scientific research
  • Assist in the education of new doctors in teaching hospitals
  • Develop procedures for quality assurance, patient services, medical treatments, department activities and public relations outreach
  • Participate in fundraising and community health planning

Administrators need sharp business skills to handle long-term planning, development of operating objectives and budgets, and creation of an overall system for efficient delivery of medical services. These professionals also review financial reports, managed care contracts and major expenditures. They often establish and administer policies, and ensure they are uniformly understood and followed.

Healthcare industry knowledge is essential for hospital administrators, who must stay up-to-date with new laws and regulations, as well as medical and technological advances. As leaders of their institutions, the actions and policies of hospital administrators can affect the workplace and community. A hospital administrator’s interpersonal skills come into use when supervising and mentoring staff, communicating with the community and interfacing with governing boards.

Work Conditions

Hospital administrators usually work in a private office. Because healthcare is a 24/7 industry, these professionals may work flexible hours at times and travel to conferences or among satellite facilities may be required. Work environments include:

  • General care community hospitals
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Group medical practices
  • Outpatient care locations
  • Hospices

At large facilities, a team of administrators may work in specific clinical areas such as therapy, prenatal care or health information. At smaller facilities, healthcare administrators may oversee many different areas, including personnel, admissions, research, education and finance.

Hospital administrators may choose to be a generalist or specialist. Generalists are typically responsible for managing an entire facility, while specialists are in charge of operations in a specific department such as human resources or finance. Specialization can depend on experience and education.

Salary Potential

According to BLS data from May 2014, the average annual salary for health services managers such as hospital administrators was $103,680, with the top 10% of professionals earning at least $161,150 a year. Salary levels are typically commensurate with education, professional credentials and experience; those holding advanced degrees often earn salaries at the top end of the range.

As with employment opportunities, potential salary ranges can be influenced by factors such as local market conditions and a candidate’s work history and educational qualifications.

Education and Training

At the administrator level, most healthcare employers generally require a master’s degree plus a number of years of experience. Candidates for hospital administrator jobs may have knowledge of health services administration, public health or long-term care administration.

When competing to land a hospital administrator position, individuals can benefit from earning an MBA with a specialization in Healthcare Management. Coursework typically includes healthcare policy, information management in healthcare, economics and financial management.

Employers may expect that professionals who have earned an MBA with a specialization in Healthcare Management are able to:

  • Solve real-world challenges with modern theories of leadership, management and negotiation
  • Integrate marketing, operations, personnel and financial initiatives
  • Assess risk using financial, statistical and economic data, and create manageable solutions

Your Path to a Hospital Administrator Career

Individuals with the right combination of business acumen, interpersonal and public relations skills, and a knack for leadership may be an excellent fit for a hospital administrator position.

Earning an MBA with a specialization in Healthcare Management can provide candidates with the skills and knowledge necessary for this rewarding career.

Category: Healthcare Management