Patient Care Administrator: Job Description & Career Requirements

Find out what a patient care administrator does. Learn about the training, skills, salary and employment outlook, to see if this profession is the right one for you.

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Patient care administrators are typically registered nurses and work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation clinics, and hospices. They are in charge of overseeing patient care and services, staff, regulatory compliance, quality of care, and cost containment. Patient care administrators often have duties supervising medical care, overseeing personnel and implementing procedures and regulations.

Required Education An associate's degree or bachelor's degree in nursing
Job Duties Include supervising medical care, overseeing personnel, implementing procedures and regulations; must possess strong communication skills
Median Salary (2015)* $67,490 (all registered nurses)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 16% growth (all registered nurses)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Most patient care administrators are registered nurses (RNs). To become a registered nurse, you'll need a high school diploma and to complete a two-year associate's or four-year bachelor's degree program in nursing. In addition, you'll need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, a national licensing exam for RNs. Some positions may require patient care administrators to have a master's in nursing or a field like medical administration, health care administration, or business. Patient care administrators typically have experience or education both in nursing and in business or management.

Skills Required

Patient care administrators must oversee both patients and staff and maintain systems that are often very demanding and complex. To be effective, they should be excellent multitaskers, pay careful attention to detail, work well with others, and have strong communications skills.

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Employment and Economic Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have specific data on patient care administrators, the outlook for the larger field of registered nurses (RNs) is very good. The BLS reports that employment for RNs may grow as much as 16% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. Median earnings in May 2015 for registered nurses were $67,490, per the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Here are some examples of alternative career options:

Social and Community Service Manager

Having at least a bachelor's degree in public health, social work or business administration, these managers supervise social service programs and staff members who offer services to the public. Faster than average employment growth of 10% was anticipated by the BLS for social and community service managers from 2014-2024, who earned an annual median salary of $63,530 in 2015.

Physician Assistant

These professionals are supervised by surgeons and physicians and provide patient examinations, diagnoses and treatment. Physician assistants (PAs) usually have a master's degree, on top of an undergraduate degree in a healthcare field, and often have experience as an EMT, paramedic or registered nurse. Licensing is required in all states. The median annual wage for PAs was $98,180 in 2015, and a much faster than average employment increase of 30% was forecast by the BLS for the 2014-2024 decade.

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