How to Become a
Hospital Administrator

Woman in uniform using a laptop at a hospital

There are a lot of careers to choose from in the healthcare industry. If being a Hospital Administrator sounds like the right choice for you, then read on. This guide contains essential information such as educational requirements, necessary skills, average salaries and more.

What Does a Hospital Administrator Do?

Hospital Administrators are charged with a wide number of responsibilities, from making budgeting decisions to hiring new administrative personnel. Whether they’re in charge of an entire hospital, a managed care organization, a public health agency or a small clinic it’s up to Hospital Administrators to keep things running smoothly at all times.

Being a Hospital Administrator requires strong communication skills as well as refined business and planning skills. Common Hospital Administrator duties and responsibilities include:

  • Policy-related tasks, such as implementing policy changes

  • Financial tasks, such as budget planning and setting rates for services

  • Coordination-related tasks, such as facilitating communication between different departments of the same hospital

Hospital Administrator Skills

Besides having immense practical knowledge of the inner workings of a medical facility, Hospital Administrators must also have excellent people skills in order to succeed. If the medical staff is out of sync with the policies being put in place by the hospital board, it is the Hospital Administrator’s job to make sure everyone is on the same page. And, if different departments treat patients in different ways, it is up to the Hospital Director to ensure that all of the hospital’s treatments become consistent and cohesive.

Other key Hospital Administrator skills include:

  • Strong business skills

  • Up-to-date knowledge of healthcare industry

  • Ability to effectively communicate with many different people at one time

  • Excellent organization and attention to detail

How Do You Become a Hospital Administrator?

Education and Training

After analyzing a number of online job listings, we’ve found that the baseline requirement for any position as a Hospital Administrator is a bachelor’s degree in business administration, healthcare administration or a related field. Additionally, the vast majority of employers seem to prefer potential candidates with a master’s degree in either business administration or healthcare administration, as well.

On top of a bachelor’s and master’s degree, most employers are looking for a Hospital Administrator who has five or more years of experience in management, especially if that experience included progressively increasing responsibilities as well as team leadership roles. Because of this, it would be wise to start gaining experience well before you complete your educational requirements. This can be accomplished by seeking internships with the administration departments of hospitals, clinics or public health agencies.

To find medical internship opportunities in your area, click here. Working as an intern will not only allow you to gain real-world experience you can add to your resume, but will also help you develop the skills you’ll need to be a successful Hospital Administrator before you even graduate.

Finding a Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for Hospital Administrators is rapidly increasing. Employment is expected to grow by a whopping 17% from through 2024, which means there will be 56,300 Hospital Administrator positions will open up during that timeframe. This growth rate is much faster than the average for all other occupations, and can be partially attributed to the aging of the baby-boomer generation.

So, if you’ve decided to pursue a career as a Hospital Administrator, rest assured that you’ve chosen a great time to do so.

Before starting your job search, make sure that you have a top-notch resume under your belt. A good resume will highlight your own individual assets and skills as well as your education and experience. For guidance and inspiration, browse through JobHero’s library of Hospital Administrator resume samples.

Once you’ve got a great resume, conduct an online job search in order to find positions available in your area. And, before you apply for any of the jobs you find, be sure to write a cover letter that will convey your reasons for applying for the position as well as your unique areas of expertise. For ideas, take a look at our Hospital Administrator cover letter sample.

Insights from an Hospital Administrator

Here is what professionals in this industry had to say about working with patients and their experience as Hospital Administrators.

What should someone consider before becoming a Hospital Administrator?

Like any other hospital-related job, long hours is not something you can escape from. If you are not comfortable with working more than your typical 8 hours or if you're unwilling to work night shifts, this might not be the best job for you.

What is the common career path for a Hospital Administrator?

The first thing you need to do is earn a bachelor's degree in a related field. Examples of these are a bachelor's in Healthcare Practice Management or a bachelor's in Nursing. Step two is to obtain a master's degree in Health Administration which really carves out your path and makes it more clear. There are other concentrations nested inside this path that you can choose from like Data Management, Population Management, Healthcare Strategies, and Senior Services. As you're doing your master's it can be a good idea to participate in an internship or any program that can help you gain experience in the field.

What type of person excels in this job?

Creative problem solvers, logical thinkers, excellent written and verbal communication skills. Integrity is key as well.

What are some of the most important skills for Hospital Administrators to have?

Hospital Administrators need to have industry knowledge and/or experience which is why it's important to become part of an internship program before graduating. Excellent leadership skills, ethical judgment, and adaptability are a must.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Hospital Administrator?

One of the most important benefits is the emotional and moral benefits that come innately with the job. There is always satisfaction when helping others, having a positive impact on the healthcare system for future generations, the contribution to research that help treat diseases. Nothing more pleasing than helping others.

How Much Do Hospital Administrators Get Paid?

Hospital Administrators are paid on either an hourly wage basis or a yearly wage basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for a Hospital Administrator is $45.43, while the lowest-paid earn $27.03 per hour and the highest-paid earn $79.51 per hour.

Top 10 States for Hospital Administrator Salary

Hospital Administrators in the following ten states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

    District of Columbia

    $58.47

    California

    $56.57

    New York

    $54.64

    New Jersey

    $53.33

    Alaska

    $51.70

    Connecticut

    $51.48

    Hawaii

    $50.12

    Delaware

    $49.31

    Colorado

    $49.22

    Washington

    $49.05

    Hospital Administrator Resources

    We’ve put together this list of resources to help you keep exploring a career as a Hospital Administrator.

    Professional Groups

    American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
    The AAHAM offers publications, certification, information, seminars, conferences, events and professional networking. They also offer reduced membership rates for students and retired healthcare administrators.

    American College of Healthcare Executives
    ACHE is an international society consisting of more than 40,000 healthcare executives. They provide their members with credentialing, educational programs and career development tools. Discounted membership rates are available for students, new members and faculty associates.

    Hospital Administrator Blogs

    Thought Leadership on Healthcare
    This blog is written by Jeff Pepperworth, president of Inmar Healthcare Network. With a focus on news and developments within the healthcare industry, this is a great source of information and current events for Hospital Administrators.

    Healing Hospitals
    This blog is written by Nicholas Jacobs, who has more than 20 years of experience in hospital management and is the international director for SunStone Consulting, LLC. Here you can find opinion pieces on big-picture medical issues, as well as anecdotes and news related specifically to hospital administration.

    Hospital Administrator Books

    Introduction to Health Care Management
    A great resource for students and seasoned professionals alike, this book covers all the issues which Hospital Administrators must consider on a regular basis, from ethics to cost management.

    If Disney Ran Your Hospital
    Fred Lee has experience as a hospital executive as well as a cast member at Walt Disney World. In this book, he draws from both experiences to explore the concept of providing hospital patients with an experience which can cultivate loyalty and trust.

    The information in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.