How to Become a Hospital Administrator: Youre the Boss

Want to learn how to become a hospital administrator do you know what this health care manager does? Lets take a look.

Jobs in this occupational group can be generally described as those that involve the business aspect (as opposed to the medical aspect) of the hospital and healthcare industry. The job of the hospital administrator involves the following responsibilities:

  • manages personnel, administrative practices and policies
  • makes sure that the medical center complies with government laws and industry policies
  • ensures smooth inter-department relations
  • represents the hospital to the community
  • plans and evaluates the medical facilitys programs
  • heads budget planning and cost containment
  • assesses customer satisfaction and recommends service quality improvement

No one said that it will be an easy job because it is not, and it entails adequate preparation. Here’s how you prepare for this future job.

Complete the required education

Preparation starts with the correct education. Check with the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education for the accredited programs and colleges or universities.

You may start with a program that leads to an associate degree in health care administration.

Completion of this program may open job opportunities as health care administrator or assistant administrator for nursing homes, medical or mental facilities.

You will have better options if you complete a bachelor’s degree, such as a BA or BS in health care administration or business administration.

A healthcare administrator in medical facilities and nursing homes is an entry-level occupation available upon completion of the bachelor’s degree.

From this position, you can gain experience of at least 2 years before you may apply for hospital administrator positions.

You further improve your chances if you pursue an master in business administration (MBA) or a masters degree in hospital administration.

The coursework for an masters in hospital administration has concentrations of medical facility organization, ethics and laws governing the healthcare industry and businesses, medical center strategies, healthcare technology, and finance and economics.

These graduate programs take between 2 and 3 years to complete and are necessary if you are ambitious or are aspiring for top executive positions in the healthcare industry.

Get the proper training and gain the experience

Most curriculum on hospital or healthcare administration include the prerequisite training for the job.

However, on-the-job training may be required for specialized facilities and this is usually conducted to accepted job applicants by the senior administrator or by the outgoing administrator.

States have their own regulations about healthcare administration, including training, and these are usually evaluated upon licensing.

Obtaining higher education often results to higher salaries, but not always. There are instances when greater levels of experience and responsibilities weigh heavier during promotions. So make sure that you balance your education with relevant experience and practical training.

Obtain a license and certification (if necessary)

Hospital administrators are not required to obtain licenses. For certain facilities, however (such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities), they are required by all states to take and pass the licensure and keep their licenses updated. Take note that the position of healthcare administrator is a preliminary step to becoming a hospital administrator.

Most hospitals impose their own policies and require that hospital administrators get board-certified at the American College of Healthcare Executives. This is a way to make certain that they are competent to do their job as administrators.

Develop necessary qualities and skills

The varied tasks of a medical facility manager require the following qualities and skills:

  • problem-solving skill – an analytic mind capable of dissecting problems and solving them is a plus
  • detail-oriented personality – a mind that sees the details and how they contribute to the hospital’s overall function is an advantage
  • creativity and innovativeness – solutions can be sources out of the box, and only creative minds discern this
  • interpersonal skills – the hospital is inter-disciplinary and made up of diverse people, and the ability to reach everyone or every department in the facility is very valuable to negotiate changes and mitigate conflicts
  • communication skills – effective communication indispensable for every organization and an administrator will undeniably require this tool to motivate people
  • Organizational skills

Take entry-level and middle-level jobs

You will never reach the top of the administrative ladder if you are not willing to take the bottom rung. Entry-level and middle-level administrative jobs can be any of the following:

  • Administrative assistants or assistant department heads – usually the entry job in large hospitals
  • Assistant administrators or department heads – usually the entry job in nursing care facilities and small hospitals; they work under the supervision of the senior administrators
  • Healthcare administrator – usually an entry job in nursing care homes and assisted-living facilities
  • Health information manager – they are responsible for patient records and databases
  • Clinical managers – senior administrators for a particular specialty department, such as nursing or surgery department. Nurses who would like to become clinical administrators for nursing departments can take administration degrees and earn administrative experience.

Seek advancement

As in any occupation, seek to improve your craft. If you are currently a hospital administrator in a small hospital, take a higher degree or improve your work experience to qualify for a higher position or a position in a bigger hospital facility.

Become a consultant or professor on healthcare management. Government facilities, rehabilitation institutions, outpatient care centers, healthcare organizations and other networks might have opportunities for advancement available.

Specialized healthcare centers, such as cancer and cardiac care facilities, offer higher salaries and levels of responsibilities.

Explore related fields

Curiously, the highest-paid professionals in the same occupational group as the hospital administrators are the medical managers working in computer systems design and medicine manufacturing industries.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calls this occupational category as medical and health services manager and, in the BLS May 2012 data, the median income for this occupational category was $88,580.

However, medical managers working in the computer systems design industry earned $146,160; while those in the medicine or pharmaceutical products manufacturing earned $142,210.

General medical and surgical hospitals hired the highest number of hospital administrators with annual mean wage of $104,680.

Cross-training at various work environments will be beneficial especially as hospitals begin to cut costs under Obamacare.

While the BLS projects a growth in this field of about 22% in 2020 from the 303,000 jobs in 2010, cost-cutting and organizational structure streamlining will always be a possibility.

Those who have explored many work settings and various specialty fields will have better chances and will thrive better.

So, whether you are one intending to pursue a degree in healthcare administration or one who is already employed as an assistant department head, always shoot for the next higher goal.

Don’t ever think that you have reached the top until the day you retire. There’s always room to grow and improve.

I hope this has helped you learn how to become a hospital administrator.