Pursuing a Career as a Hospital Administrator

hospital administrator

Jobs in the health sector is one of the rapidly growing jobs in America today. In 2018, the number of radiologic and MRI technologists was around 250,000, with the growth rate for the next ten years pegged at around 9%.

Hospitals, small clinics, medical franchise operators, and other health facilities were employing nearly 757,000 doctors and more than 240,000 nurses. The growth rates of jobs as doctors and nurses are at 7% and 26%, respectively.

The health sector is a thriving industry that offers excellent career opportunities from professions that include occupational therapists, opticians, nursing assistants, dietitians, and nutritionists, among others. Another exciting and important job is the hospital administrator. If you don’t have a background in medicine or its related field, but you want to become a hospital administrator, the following discussion will be useful.

Hospitals and Other Health Facilities in America

The total number of participating hospitals in America is perhaps still being debated by those reporting the numbers, but a reasonable range estimate is 6,000 to 7,000 hospitals. This, however, does not include urgent care centers or walk-in clinics.

So combined, there’s a variety of settings by which one can pursue jobs in the health sector.

Becoming a Hospital Administrator

With the American population growing older and partly triggering the growth rate of the health industry, hospital administrators face both challenges and great opportunities in continuing to expand the industry. If you’re aspiring to be one, here are a few things to note:

hospital admin

  1. High-level responsibility. Patients, health practitioners, equipment, government regulation, training, and health standards compliance are but a portion of a list that a hospital administrator needs to be responsible for. Your management, people, communication, and problem-solving skills should be at a very high level, which in part can be obtained by higher studies or extensive experience in a job. You need to understand and possess these requirements to take on the responsibility of a hospital administrator.
  2. Education. The minimum educational background is a bachelor’s degree with a focus on health care administration or healthcare practice management. Competencies learned from a degree, like nursing, will significantly supplement the requirements for hospital administration but is typically not necessary. An advanced degree, like an MA, makes your credentials strong. The knowledge gained from the advanced degree will allow you to navigate the complex operations and dealings in the hospital setting, from managing doctors to implementing health programs.
  3. Get experience. If you’re already pursuing an advanced degree or about to finish it, scout for possible jobs that will give you real-world experience. This might not immediately be in a big hospital setting, but perhaps in small community health centers or walk-in clinics. Dealing with administrative tasks around the office and interacting with doctors, nurses, and patients will provide substance to all the theories you learned in your MA program.
  4. Certifications and licenses. Some settings require certifications or licenses, e.g., as a nurse or social worker, to be able to administer a facility, but some don’t. Keep this in mind as part of your plan. Keep a space in your long-term calendar for possibly taking these licenses and certifications.

Mediating between your hospital’s board of directors and the team of doctors and other staff, coordinating inter-departmental activities, and hiring personnel all seemed like daunting tasks. But if you plan carefully and earn all your credentials, you can become a successful hospital administrator.

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