How to Become a Hospital Administrator

A hospital administrator meets with a physician in a crowded hallway.The complexities of healthcare today require hospitals to employ teams of qualified administrators to help deliver patient care efficiently. Effective administrators can streamline the business and operations of healthcare and create a positive environment for patients and staff, allowing caregivers to focus on their patients.

People wondering how to become a hospital administrator should consider the training and education that can lead to a promising career. Pursuing an advanced degree such as an online Healthcare Master of Business Administration offers students expertise in the business of managing health. As they weigh the decision to join the field, understanding what hospital administrators do in their daily work will be helpful.

What Do Hospital Administrators Do?

Hospital administrators’ duties are critical to a hospital or other facility running efficiently. These are a few of their major areas of focus.

Operations Management

While doctors and nurses focus on the hands-on care of patients, hospital administrators oversee a facility’s day-to-day operations. This includes overseeing staff, maintaining policies and regulations, and managing physical and financial assets, such as acquiring new equipment, overseeing renovations in the hospital, and keeping routine supplies in stock.

Budget Oversight

Another important part of hospital administration is managing a facility’s budget. This means tracking costs and revenue, as well as forecasting future expenses and income to decide whether a facility should make adjustments. Hospital administrators often provide financial reports on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis to relevant stakeholders.

Human Resources Oversight

A hospital administrator’s duties often focus on processes that support caregivers with the tools and training they need to succeed. A key element of this involves recruiting and training new hires, managing organizational culture, and overseeing team members’ ongoing development. Good human resources management leads to satisfied team members who work to their fullest potential to provide the best care to patients.

Strategic Planning

Hospital administrators must also focus on a facility’s long-term success and future goals. This encompasses duties such as budgeting, hiring, and facilities management. When undergoing strategic planning, the hospital administrator must implement skills such as gathering together stakeholders for their feedback, creating clear project plans, and building consensus.

State and Federal Regulatory Responsibilities

Another important role of the hospital administrator is to align organization policies with current laws and regulations. This is crucial to providing optimal care and avoiding liabilities. As regulations are always evolving, hospital administrators must be continually aware of the changes in the law and the hospital’s responsibilities.

Education, Skills, and Career Progression for Hospital Administrators

The career path to becoming a hospital administrator can vary. Some individuals come to administration with a clinical background but need to build their management and operations skills. Others may have a business background but need to learn more about the complexities of the healthcare industry.

Whatever the career path, becoming a hospital administrator requires a core set of knowledge. Although students can learn some of this through a bachelor’s degree or certificate program, some employers require administrators to have an advanced degree, such as an MBA with a healthcare focus, particularly for senior positions. These are among the skills that hospital administrators should develop.

Healthcare Industry Knowledge

While hospital administrators don’t need the medical knowledge to treat patients, they do need to understand the industry. Administrators are likely to work within organizations that give care to patients from diverse backgrounds who need treatment for a variety of diagnoses. This means they’ll need to have a broad knowledge base of what tools and processes are required for medical staff to give effective care.

Budgeting and Financial Forecasting

Hospital administrators manage the complex finances of the institution as one of their essential functions. This may be a new skill set, particularly for those with clinical backgrounds. A certificate or degree program that addresses finance and accounting can help those interested in transitioning to administrative roles.


The role of a hospital administrator is cross-functional and involves working with a wide range of staff members, executives, and other stakeholders. This requires strong communication skills, both spoken and written.

Planning and Strategy

Hospital administrators must be able to make strategic plans for the future to allocate resources. They consider past data to inform their goals for the coming months and communicate with colleagues to monitor processes’ success rates.

Hospital Administrator Salary and Job Outlook

The need for qualified hospital administrators continues to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2020 and 2030, positions for medical and health services managers, including hospital administrators, will grow by 32%, which is much faster than the job market as a whole. Hospital administrators made a median base salary of approximately $88,200 as of May 2022, according to information from Payscale.

Become a Leader in Healthcare

Hospital administrators serve a crucial function making sure that hospitals run safely and effectively. They are a key part of every team they work with, as they provide a variety of important functions.

If you’re ready to explore how to become a hospital administrator, consider George Washington University’s online Healthcare MBA. With courses covering patient safety, trends in health systems, and clinical research, our 100% online program prepares graduates to become the healthcare leaders of tomorrow. Find out how George Washington University can help you guide your career.

Recommended Reading:

The Future of Health Insurance

Becoming a Medical and Health Services Manager

What Can You Do with an MBA in Healthcare?


100 Hires, “10 Best Hospital Administrator Job Descriptions”

American College of Healthcare Executives, “Using Data Analytics to Improve Hospital Quality Performance”

Indeed, “How to Become a Hospital Administrator: A Complete Guide”

Payscale, Average Hospital Administrator Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers