How to Become a Hospital Administrator

October 10, 2023


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/10/23

Have you ever considered a career as a hospital administrator? Follow along to learn everything you need to know about how to become a hospital administrator. 

The world of healthcare is broad, and there are many career paths you can take as a future member of the field. Becoming a hospital administrator is an excellent option for people who enjoy planning, organizing, and overseeing activities. This role is integral to the structure of the hospital and can be achieved in fewer academic years than many other healthcare positions. 

Below we’ll take you through each step to becoming a hospital administrator. We’ve also included hospital administrator salary, career outlook, and essential information to help you decide if this career path is right for you. 

Let’s get started!

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What Does a Hospital Administrator Do?

A hospital administrator oversees day-to-day operations at a hospital, nursing home, or outpatient clinic. They have several important roles and tasks, including the following:

  • Overseeing hiring, firing, and salaries
  • Performance reviews 
  • Creating staff schedules
  • Managing employee needs and requests
  • Keeping the facility up to code and regulation
  • Improving efficiency, planning projects, etc.

Hospital administrators have a lot of responsibilities, and while the job can be challenging, it can also be rewarding in many ways. If you enjoy administrative work and have a passion for healthcare, hospital administration could be the right path for you.

Steps to Becoming a Hospital Administrator

Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to become a hospital administrator. Read on to learn more about the educational requirements you’ll need to pursue this role. 

Step 1: Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

The first step to becoming a healthcare administrator is earning a bachelor’s degree. If possible, choose to major in healthcare administration or a similar field, such as business, public health, or even pre-med. In fact, if you’ve been gearing up for medical school, you can still use that knowledge to your benefit as a healthcare administrator. 

Even if you haven’t declared a major, the courses you take in your bachelor’s degree should be a mix of health-related and business courses. You’ll want to make sure that your degree fosters your passions for both healthcare and business management. 

If you’re applying for a bachelor’s in healthcare administration, you can improve your application by expressing your passion for business just as much as your passion for healthcare. Additionally, your application should highlight how you see the two fields coming together and how you intend to improve whatever healthcare environment you end up managing. 

Step 2: Gain Experience in the Healthcare Field

Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, you should immediately look for a position in the healthcare field. Being a hospital administrator is at the top of the food chain in terms of responsibility, so you should gain hands-on experience to get a better idea of what to expect. 

Additionally, most Master of Health Administration (MHA) programs will not accept candidates who have not gained some work experience. You should look for internships, shadowing opportunities, or jobs in business management. Healthcare experience is also excellent for showing that you understand the moving parts of a hospital system. 

Step 3: Earn a Master of Health Administration 

Although it’s not always a necessary step, most high-level positions require a graduate degree. After building up your resume, you should consider taking a Master of Health Administration (MHA) program. You can choose to do your master’s in person or online so long as the program you take is CAHME certified.

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is the only organization that is deemed qualified by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation to certify a healthcare management education program. Any MHA program you choose to take across the country should be certified by the CAHME to ensure it will prepare you for the job. 

Step 4: Earn Certifications

Earning certifications isn’t always a necessary step, but it may help your job outlook and potential salary to obtain some industry certifications upon graduating from your MHA program. There are many certifications to consider, including (but not limited to) the following:

These certifications are only a few of the excellent options out there. Keep in mind that healthcare administrators are at the top of the pyramid, so when it comes to racking up your qualifications, the more the merrier.

Step 5: Get Started!

Once you’ve filled out your CV with all the proper education, experience, and certifications, you’ll be considered an excellent candidate for hospital administrator jobs across the country. Get out there and show them what you’ve got!

Hospital Administrator Salary & Career Outlook

Hospital administrators are in charge of a large variety of staff. Job satisfaction is generally high, although the position can be quite demanding. This line of work can be draining, but it may also be fulfilling if you enjoy being the head honcho and improving the healthcare environment.

The median average salary for hospital administrators in the US is $127,980, almost double the average salary for working adults in the US and is comparable to doctor’s salaries. Below is a table of percentiles for hospital administrator salaries in the US.

Percentile 10% 25% 50% 75%
Hourly Wage $30.82 $39.15 $50.40 $68.84
Annual Wage $64,180 $81,430 $104,830 $143,200

Your salary as a hospital administrator will also vary depending on where you work, years of experience, and industry. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most lucrative industry for medical and health services managers is wholesale electronic markets and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Top-paying work environments are surgical and general medical hospitals.

FAQs: Becoming a Hospital Administrator

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about becoming a hospital administrator. 

1. Is Hospital Administration A Good Career?

The answer depends on what you are passionate about. If you enjoy management roles, business, and are passionate about improving the healthcare space, hospital administration is an excellent choice. Hospital administrators typically make over $100,000 annually and generally have high job satisfaction. 

2. What Does A Hospital Administrator Do On A Daily Basis?

Hospital administrators have a lot of varying responsibilities. They manage hiring, finances, the needs of hospital staff, creating staff schedules, keeping the facility up to code, and much more. 

Hospital administrators play an integral role in the structure of a hospital or clinic and must be prepared to come up with creative solutions to any issues that may arise.

3. What Are the Advantages of Being A Hospital Administrator?

There are many advantages to being a hospital administrator. Although the job can be demanding and requires a broad skillset, hospital administrators report generally high job satisfaction and typically make six-figure annual salaries. 

In fact, hospital administrator salaries can rival those of the doctors they manage. Depending on the industry and level of experience, hospital administrators can make over $200,000 a year. Of course, they also receive excellent healthcare benefits!

4. What Makes A Good Hospital Administrator?

Hospital administrators must be a bit of a jack of all trades as they manage a large variety of issues on a daily basis.To be a good hospital administrator, you’ll have to have a passion for business, be good with people, and have a solid knowledge of the healthcare field. 

Your daily responsibilities will range from hiring employees to budgeting, conducting meetings, scheduling staff, and making major decisions for the benefit of your workplace. Creative problem-solving is a must, and you’ll need a good eye for scheduling. 

Ultimately, what makes a good hospital administrator is a passion for improving the quality of healthcare your hospital provides, whatever it takes!

5. Are Hospital Administrators In Demand?

Yes! According to Indeed job reports, healthcare management positions are popping up all over the country at a strong projected growth rate of 28% from now until 2031. If you’re considering a career in hospital administration, now is a good time to get into the field!

Final Thoughts

If you’re passionate about business, management, and healthcare, becoming a hospital administrator is an excellent career choice. Many positions within the field are popping up all over the country, and the job prospects are only expected to improve over the next ten years. There’s no better time to enter the field of healthcare administration than now!

If you’re considering a career as a hospital administrator, it’s essential to be passionate about the field. You should also build confidence in your problem-solving abilities as hospital administrators undertake a plethora of responsibilities and often have to make tough decisions. You also must be ready to put the needs of patients and the healthcare environment over all else.

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