Hospital Administrator Career Overview

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Hospital administrator was named one of CNN's top 100 "Best Jobs in America" for 2015. In fact, at number five on the list, a hospital administrator was one of the most highly ranked health careers on the entire list.

According to CNN, the role of hospital administrator ranked high due to the career satisfaction due that comes with work that makes a positive impact on society.

Job Responsibilities

Hospital administrators are responsible for the entire management of operations of a hospital or healthcare facility, including financial, clinical, managerial, and more. Hospital administrators include CEOs (chief executive officers), chief medical officers, COOs (chief operations officers), CFO (chief financial officers), and other related titles. In large hospitals, there may be several administrators known as specialists, one for each department whereas in smaller facilities, they may act as generalists and oversee the day-to-day operations of all departments.


The income for hospital administrators depends upon which position you hold, and the size and profitability of the hospital. Many hospitals pay a six-figure salary plus a hefty bonus if profit goals are met. Annual income ranges from the low-six figures (just over $100,000) to nearly a million dollars or more, with an average income of $584,000, according to the New York Times in 2014.

Job Outlook

Like most health careers, effective, high-performing hospital administrators are in very high demand. Healthcare is growing, hospitals are busy, and that translates to many job opportunities for hospital administrators.

However, the job market for hospital administrators is likely not quite as white hot as the job market for advanced clinicians such as physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.


Most hospital administration positions require a master's degree, likely an MBA or MHA (masters of health administration). Therefore, these six-figure jobs are not the easiest to attain. Although a bachelor's degree is adequate for some entry-level positions in smaller facilities and in health information management.

If you would like to become a hospital administrator, you are best off pursuing a degree in healthcare administration, health management, health services, public health, or even business administration. Many hospitals also offer postgraduate residencies and fellowships, which usually are staff positions. Graduates with bachelor's degrees in health administration usually begin their hospital administration careers as administrative assistants or assistant department heads in larger hospitals. They also may begin as department heads or assistant administrators in small hospitals or nursing care facilities. Medical and health services managers advance by moving into more responsible and higher paying positions, such as assistant or associate administrator, department head, or CEO, or by moving to larger facilities.


One of the drawbacks to working as a healthcare administrator is the high-stress level due to the intense nature of the work and high level of responsibility. Having the lives of hundreds of sick and elderly people in your hands definitely weighs heavily on a person, so working in healthcare administration is definitely not for the faint of heart.Additionally, hospital budgets are extremely large, so in addition to the responsibility for human lives, hospital administrators also have significant financial duties.

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