How To Become a Hospital Administrator

How To Become a Hospital Administrator

To become a hospital administrator, individuals need education, training, and work experience. But it’s a career worth the time, effort, and also commitment. Hospital administrators are healthcare administration professionals that manage hospitals. They ensure hospitals or medical facilities are running smoothly as smoothly as possible, bring in revenue, and still provide high-quality healthcare to patients.

Being in charge of a hospital administration is a challenging, rewarding, and also lucrative career. A hospital administrator is an excellent career choice for someone who wants to make a difference in health care with no or limited patient contact.

What Skills Do Hospital Administrators Need?

Healthcare administrators need a variety of fundamental skills for their daily job duties. Probably the essential skill is the ability to work on a team. These professionals interact daily with doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff. They also work with patients, families, emergency service workers, government regulators, and insurance companies. So, administrators should have some or all of the below essential skills for this job.

  • Work on a Team
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Detail Oriented
  • Knowledge of healthcare laws and also regulations
  • Technical skills and Technological proficiency
  • Business expertise
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Leadership skills
  • Quick Thinking and Adaptability
  • Critical Thinking and Analytical skills 

What Do Hospital Administrators Do?

Working as a hospital administrator is an enormous responsibility because individuals in this position oversee the daily operation of a department or an entire hospital. They have many administrative duties while ensuring that patients receive proper healthcare. They must also know the latest medical regulations, laws, and technology.


  • prepare and monitor daily budgets
  • oversee all fiscal performance
  • ensure departments operate within their allotted funds 
  • determine rates for health services


  • maintain the records of the medical facility
  • create and maintain existing policies for quality assurance
  • develop departmental goals
  • design incentives to ensure goals are met

Marketing, PR, and Fundraising: 

  • represent the facility at board meetings and with the public
  • participate in community health and fund-raising events
  • handle all public relations


  • mediate between medical staff, department heads, and governing boards
  • communicate with medical staff members  
  • attend staff meetings
  • perform within HIPAA regulations
  • plan departmental activities
  • help develop standard procedures and protocols

Human Resources

  • create work schedules
  • hire, train and supervise employees and new personnel
  • evaluate doctors, nurses, and other hospital employees

Patient Care:

  • approve patient menus
  • implement Health Informatics systems
  • help develop procedures for patient services

Hospital Administration vs Healthcare Administration

Hospital management is a type of healthcare management. Both of these roles have similar qualifications for employment. However, hospital management is more hands-on, and these professionals interact more with the hospital staff. Healthcare administration and management is the big picture and deals more with management’s financial and business side.

Management vs Administration

summaryimplementing plans to achieve hospital goalscreates plans to achieve hospital goals
functionsexecutive in naturelegislative in nature
scopeoversee the entire healthcare facility or organizationoversee daily operations departments, budgets, day to day operations, and staffing
job titlesHospital Managers
Clinic Director
Practice Manager
Health Services Manager
Hospital Administrator
Executive Director
Practice Administrator
Health Services Administrators
Management vs Administration

How Do You Become a Hospital Administrator?
How to be a hospital administrator.

How Do You Become a Hospital Administrator?

Below is a basic step by step guide to becoming a hospital administrator. So aspiring hospital administrators, read on to find out how to get into hospital administration.

  • Step 1: Have a High School Diploma
  • Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Step 3: Complete a Master’s Degree Program
  • Step 4: Gain Work Experience
  • Step 5: Consider a Certification

To become a hospital administrator, an individual should have at least a bachelor’s degree. Most graduate programs require the applicant have a relevant bachelor’s degree, which doesn’t necessarily need to be in healthcare administration. Undergraduate studies in public policy, business administration, social work, marketing, healthcare information systems, human resources, public health, and accounting all work well with a health administration degree program.

Although many employers prefer their hospital administrator education to be a master’s degree or higher. A common hospital administrator degree is in health management, public health administration, nursing, or business administration.

How Long Does it take to Become a Hospital Administrator?

The master’s programs typically take two to three years to complete. In addition to completing courses in a health organization, medical terminology, accounting, health services management, and human resources administration, the student will complete an internship to obtain experience working in an actual healthcare facility. Most hospitals prefer to hire candidates who have work experience in this area. Hospital administrators must be detail-oriented and have good communication and multi-tasking skills. They also need leadership, analytical, and interpersonal skills.

The time it takes to become a Healthcare Administrator depends on where you start. If you have a high school diploma, it takes around four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. Then it takes two more to complete a master’s program. Then you need healthcare management experience. So, fresh out of high school may take you six to eight years to complete your hospital administrator schooling.

Degree or RequirementTime in Years
Bachelor’s Degree4
Master’s Degree2
Work Experience2


Licensure requirements for hospital administrators vary from state to state, although all states require licensure of hospital administrators working in nursing homes. Individuals can earn a license by passing a state exam and meeting work experience requirements. Hospital administrator requirements for each state are on the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards (NALTCAB) website.

What Degree Do You Need for Hospital Administration?

Most master’s programs in healthcare administration are 30 to 36 credits and take one to two years to complete if you attend full-time. Working professionals can complete a part-time program in two to three years. Students who wish to have a hospital administration job can also complete one of many Doctoral programs. But a PhD is not required for most roles. Below are some typical degrees a healthcare administrator may have.

  • Master of Health Administration (MHA program)
  • Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) with a Health Administration focus
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Health Administration
  • Master of Health Systems Management (MHSM)
  • Master of Health Informatics (MHI)

What Do You Learn in a Hospital Administration Program?

Most hospital administrators take classes in some of the below topics during their master’s degree programs.

  • Strategic Planning and Marketing in Healthcare
  • The US Healthcare System
  • Population Health
  • Healthcare Systems / Health Care Systems
  • Health Care Management
  • Patient Care and Health Care Quality
  • Financial Management for Healthcare Organizations
  • Health Policy and Healthcare Strategies
  • Senior Services
  • Healthcare Regulations
  • Public Health Administration
  • Legal Aspects of Healthcare Management
  • Healthcare Ethics and Governance
  • Healthcare Informatics
  • Global Health and Population Management
  • Data Management
  • Healthcare Leadership
  • Ethics and Public Health
  • Information Technology for Healthcare Administration

Where Do Hospital and Healthcare Administration Professionals Work?

Graduates with a master’s degree in healthcare administration don’t work only in hospitals. Below are some other places in the health care industry where these healthcare administrators find employment.

  • home health agencies or home health centers
  • ambulatory care facilities
  • hospice healthcare networks
  • long-term care facilities and nursing homes
  • outpatient clinics
  • health insurance companies
  • mental health organizations
  • managed care organizations
  • public health organizations
  • private medical practices

Job Outlook for Health Administration

Hospital administrators also called medical or health services managers, are in high demand as hospitals and medical facilities strive to provide good healthcare to everyone. The aging population of Baby Boomers needs good healthcare so they can live longer. Thus, we need more professionals in healthcare administration to meet this growing need.

These healthcare professionals should see job growth of 28 percent during the 2021-2031 decade, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Furthermore, the BLS predicts there will be over 100,000 new hospital manager and administrator jobs by 2031. Below are the largest employers of medical and health services managers by industry.

Top Industries% Employed
Outpatient Care Centers7%
Offices of Physicians12%
Nursing and Residential Care9%
Employment by top industries for Health Services Managers


The BLS classifies hospital administrator salaries under medical or health services managers. These professionals earn an average annual wage of $101,340 (BLS), with yearly salaries ranging from $60,780 to $205,620.

Below are the BLS median annual wages for healthcare management positions from the top employers in the healthcare industry.

Top IndustriesAnnual Salary
Outpatient Care Centers$99,540
Offices of Physicians$98,230
Nursing and Residential Care$83,550
Annual salary from the top industries Health Services Managers

Hospital Administrator Certifications & Licensure

Professionals in health services administration can earn many certifications to demonstrate their proficiency in the field. Industry certification is optional. However, it proves competency to current or future employers and shows your interest in professional development.

So, a certification can help professionals get hired, find leadership opportunities, and advance their career. Furthermore, individuals with a certification often have higher salaries. Below are a few professional certification examples.

Certified Professional Compliance Officer

The CPCO credential is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) to the healthcare field. It demonstrates health professionals have the training and knowledge to develop, implement, and monitor a compliance program.

Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives

The FACHE credential is from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Hospital administrators can gain certification with 36 continuing education hours, two references, four volunteer activities, and five years of healthcare management experience. They also need an advanced degree, like a master’s in health administration.

Certified Medical Manager 

The CMM credential offered by PAHCOM is a designation for professionals in healthcare management roles. Applicants need 2 years of healthcare experience in a clinical environment or medical practice.

Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems 

The CPHIMS credential is ideal for administrators who want to demonstrate competence with management systems and healthcare information. To qualify, skilled professionals need an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and five years of previous experience working with information and management systems.

Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional

A CHAP certification is from the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals. Candidates must have seven or more years of real-world experience working as an administrative professional in a healthcare setting. Additionally, they should have an associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university. And administrative assistants must be a member of AHCAP in good standing.

Certified Healthcare Financial Professional 

CFHP is a certification from the Healthcare Financial Management Association. With this certification, health professionals can demonstrate various financial and business skills. In addition, the curriculum covers collaboration and how to understand future trends, as well as a financial strategy.

Professional Organizations

Individuals who are members of a professional association or professional organization can get help with job searches and career development. Below are some popular organizations for health service managers.

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM)
  • Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA)
  • American Hospital Association (AHA)
  • Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
  • Association for Health Care Administrative Professionals (AHCAP)
  • American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
  • Professionals Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
  • Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA)
  • National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards
  • American Coll. of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA)

Advancing Your Career

Your education level and experience qualify you for career advancement. Medical and health services managers can move into higher-paying positions with more responsibility. Some health information managers, for example, are responsible for the entire hospital’s information systems. Other managers may earn a master’s degree to advance to top executive positions in the organization.

Completing a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) degree program qualifies individuals for many roles. It is the starting point for your career path. With a graduate degree, individuals can work as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), an Operations Manager, or a Department Director. Furthermore, many advanced degree programs have specializations or focus areas. Through coursework, certifications, internships, clinical experience, and internships, students train in areas of concentration.

Your Career in Hospital Administration

How To Become a Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators make up the majority of the healthcare administrative workforce. They are the leaders whose decisions play an impact not just on the hospital but also on the community.

High-quality healthcare administration is the best way to ensure patients receive the very best healthcare. Furthermore, learning what it takes to be a hospital administrator is the first step toward pursuing this rewarding hospital administrator career.