How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

Aug 09, 2019

Those figuring out how to become a healthcare administrator usually need to start with a bachelor's degree and some work experience in the field. Here we discuss the necessary degrees, what a healthcare administrator does, and more.

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What Degree Do You Need to Be a Healthcare Administrator?

Students wondering how to become a healthcare manager, healthcare administrator, or executive, generally need to meet some basic requirements. The requirements for becoming a health care administrator often include education and work experience.

Healthcare administrators usually need at least a bachelor's degree. There are Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degree programs in healthcare administration available. Many of these degree programs are available in online formats. Students in these programs may take courses in topics like:

  • Healthcare finance
  • Healthcare ethics
  • Public health
  • Quality management
  • Healthcare marketing

Although a bachelor's degree is typically the minimum requirement, many healthcare administrators have their master's degree, and some employers may prefer those that do. At the master's level, students may earn a Master of Science (MS) in Healthcare Administration or a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA), each of which are available in online formats.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Healthcare Administrator?

Most bachelor's degree programs in healthcare administration take 4 years to complete, while some master's programs may be completed in as little as 15 months and others take up to 3 years. However, when figuring out how long it would take to become a healthcare administrator, students should also consider work experience and any special certifications.

Although the number of required years may vary by position, many healthcare employers like to see years of work experience in healthcare. Sometimes this work experience may be in clinical positions, such as a registered nurse (RN), or in an administrative position.

There are also optional certifications for healthcare managers offered through organizations like the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management. Other positions have additional requirements. For example, a career as a nursing home administrator requires certification.

What Does a Health Care Administrator Do?

Hospital administration generally encompasses the planning and managing of medical and health-related services for an organization. Healthcare administrators coordinate these services and the actions of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They must be flexible and able to handle upgrades to technology, changes to healthcare regulations, and other variables that affect the industry. Specific job duties may include:

  • Scheduling work shifts
  • Managing budgets
  • Creating plans to improve quality and efficiency in services
  • Training and supervising staff
  • Maintaining facility records
  • Checking compliance with current laws

Healthcare administrators usually work in offices and work on a full-time schedule. Some may need to be on call or work outside of the traditional work hours to meet the needs of their patients.

Healthcare Administration Salary Info

In May 2017, the average annual salary for a medical and health service manager was $111,680, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The majority of medical and health service managers worked in general medical and surgical hospitals and made an average salary of $120,540 the same year. The BLS also reported that medical and health service managers who worked in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry made the highest average salary at $221,360 per year. reported that the average healthcare administrator salary in July 2019 was $65,201. This average was expected to increase over time, as administrators with 10 to 19 years of experience in 2019 made an average salary of $79,749.

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