From the emergency room accepting trauma patients to the arrival of specialized, million-dollar medical equipment, hospital administration is right in the thick of things. Managing an entire hospital or overseeing a specific clinical area or department, an administrator interacts with many different faces of a facility, including physicians, surgeons, nurses and other healthcare workers.   An administrator of a hospital falls under the umbrella of professionals known as medical and health services managers. Job candidates for these positions generally thrive best in the field when completing a graduate-level education, and gaining years of experience within a healthcare environment.

Job Activities & Responsibilities

The day-to-day activities and responsibilities of a hospital administrator vary according to a range of factors, including the size of a facility, as well as his or her area of expertise. Some administrators have a stronger background in finances and accounting, and may assume a different role then a medical manager that has years of training experience. Since hospitals are a 24-hour facility, an administrator may work nights and weekends. It is not uncommon for medical managers to clock in more than 40 hours per week.

A hospital administrator is generally expected to assume the following duties:

  • Improve the quality and effectiveness of healthcare services at a hospital
  • Create goals and objectives for departments and individual staff
  • Stay in line with healthcare laws, state regulations, and technological advancements
  • Organize records, file documents and review statistics regarding the hospital’s facilities
  • Establish work schedules for staff, and stay in communication with department heads
  • Participate in the recruitment, training and supervision of staff members
  • Oversee the finances of the hospital, including billing and patient fees

Education

A bachelor’s degree qualifies aspiring hospital administrators to enter the field, but the majority of employers tend to favor the job candidate holding a master’s degree. Graduate programs can take between 2 and 3 years to complete. Many students pursue internships or experience up to one year of supervised administrative experience in a hospital environment. A student often pursues a degree in health administration, health management, nursing, public health administration, or business administration when they wish to manage all or parts of a hospital. A background, degree or concentration in religion, theology and divinity also helps graduates seeking a position at a Catholic or other faith-based hospital.

Career Salary & Job Outlook

Hospitals on the state, local and private level represent one of the leading industries hiring medical and health services managers, which earned a median annual salary of $107,230 in 2017. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that the median pay for hospital administrators specifically was $98,350. With years of experience and other factors (such as geographic location) coming into play, the top 10 percent of administrators working at a hospital can earn more than $176,130.

A large population of Baby Boomers is primarily behind the increasing demand for healthcare services, as well as employees to provide hospital care. Additionally, people are living longer and staying more active. Because of this, employment growth for hospital administrators is expected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average of all occupations in the U.S. Job prospects are favorable, especially for administrators with years of experience. It is projected that 72,100 more jobs will become available during this time period.