How to Become a Healthcare Administrator:
The Definitive Guide


If you are interested in a career as a Healthcare Administrator, it’s important to have knowledge of the medical field.

It also helps to be organized and on the ball in this career, because as a Healthcare Administrator, you’ll be responsible for overseeing how the hospital or other medical facility runs.

Are you great in management and leadership positions?

Do you put your heart and soul into helping others?

If this sounds like you, then maybe the title Healthcare Administrator is in your future.

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What is a Healthcare Administrator?

A Healthcare Administrator is a very crucial role in a medical facility.

It doesn’t matter where you work, a hospital, outpatient facility, nursing home, the list goes on, as a Healthcare Administrator you’ll need to deal with situations related to healthcare and insurance organizations.

As a leader in this role, you’ll oversee teams of medical personnel and create an efficient work environment.

Those that are looking to get into this career in the future should think about taking courses in human resources, psychology, and healthcare law to complement their education.

Duties

Being a Healthcare Administrator means that you’ll have several hats to wear.

Some of the duties that you’ll like have to face on a daily basis include:

  • Human resource management
  • Designing and maintaining a compliance program
  • Create emergency plans
  • Formulate budgets
  • Manage faculty
  • Create productivity measure in the workplace
  • Inform healthcare providers and patients about regulations and laws

Salary

In the United States, the average salary for a Healthcare Administrator is around $76,000 a year.

Someone that is just starting out in the career will likely make less at around $67,000 a year.

However, with experience and promotions, one can make up to $85,000 a year.

The range can vary depending on education, certifications, and experience in the field.

Some other things that can affect the range in salary include the population around where you work and the size of the facility that you work for.

Unique job requirements and specializations can also give you a leg up in this career.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $115,160

$58K
$76K
$115K
$133K
$189K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$94,160
Alaska$113,990
Arizona$120,280
Arkansas$87,290
California$133,040
Colorado$120,040
Connecticut$128,970
Delaware$131,540
District of Columbia$150,040
Florida$106,710
Georgia$107,610
Hawaii$133,320
Idaho$94,960
Illinois$125,330
Indiana$102,300
Iowa$87,940
Kansas$94,060
Kentucky$90,280
Louisiana$102,210
Maine$95,600
Maryland$126,340
Massachusetts$132,960
Michigan$108,740
Minnesota$112,780
Mississippi$96,210
Missouri$111,450
Montana$97,230
Nebraska$118,560
Nevada$119,030
New Hampshire$119,780
New Jersey$120,650
New Mexico$126,820
New York$147,000
North Carolina$118,020
North Dakota$124,470
Ohio$102,860
Oklahoma$94,460
Oregon$121,690
Pennsylvania$98,560
Rhode Island$131,500
South Carolina$101,990
South Dakota$105,260
Tennessee$102,070
Texas$107,880
Utah$105,010
Vermont$104,950
Virginia$115,410
Washington$121,650
West Virginia$110,100
Wisconsin$111,640
Wyoming$101,120
Guam$94,760
Puerto Rico$77,310
Virgin Islands$95,050

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $150,040.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $150,040
New York - $147,000
Hawaii - $133,320
California - $133,040
Massachusetts - $132,960
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

Step 1Complete a Bachelors Program

In order to work as a Healthcare Administrator, you’ll need to have a Bachelors’s degree.

Depending on where you go to school, you’ll likely have different courses and requirements, but the typical Bachelor’s degree program for Healthcare Administration includes:

  • Communications
  • Math
  • Medical Coding and Terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Office Management
  • Healthcare Marketing
  • Healthcare Management

Since it is required to earn a Bachelors’s degree in this field, college should take around four years to complete.

Make sure that you know if your school is accredited by the Department of Education.

It’s even possible to earn a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration through an online school.

Step 2Earn a Masters Degree

If you’ve earned your Bachelors’s degree and are looking for something more in your career, then it’s time to think about going for your Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

Having a Master’s degree shows that you are competent in the field and will provide you senior position opportunities in your career.

Some of the careers that a Masters degree can offer you are:

  • Hospital administration
  • Long-term care administration
  • Pharmaceutical administration
  • Medical equipment manufacturing
  • International development

Since you should have a basic grasp of the job in order to earn a Master’s degree, the typical courses you’ll take in a Master’s program will be more geared toward the job you desire.

Some of the courses you can expect include:

  • The American Healthcare System
  • Foundations in Business
  • Law and Ethics
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Biostatistics

The average Master’s degree takes around one to two years to complete.

Step 3Gain Certifications

Having certifications in Healthcare Administration is voluntary, however, it will give you a leg up according to employers.

In order to be eligible for certification you’ll have to have a Bachelors’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management is an organization that is committed to this field and offers special training programs and certifications.

The certifications you can expect for this career are:

  • Executive Certification
  • Professional Certification
  • Specialist Certification

Depending on the certification, the training programs can differ in time.

Some training programs take several weeks, while others only have the requirement of taking an exam.

It is up to you to find the right certification that fits your lifestyle.

Step 4Get Experience

Of course, one of the most important things about working as a Healthcare Administrator is the experience.

Having a career while in school may be the best option, as you’ll be able to gain experience as a Healthcare Administrator while earning your degree.

If you are someone who has been working as a Healthcare Administrator for a while and want to find something to boost your resume, then there are other ways to gain experience.

Some other things that you can do to gain experience in the field include:

  • Attending key conferences and events
  • Joining industry organizations
  • Completing continued education

When it comes to continuing your education as a Healthcare Administrator, the requirements may vary.

If your role doesn’t require a clinical background, you won’t need to continue your education.

For those of you who earn specialty certifications, continuing education may include training programs to recertify.


Education

Most Healthcare Administrators earn a Bachelors’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

The average Bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, which can equate to around four years of school time.

There are many degree requirements to earn a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration.

You’ll likely have to take core classes like Math, English, Health, and so on, but you’ll also have tailored courses for your specific career.

These courses are likely to include:

  • Business, Finance, and Marketing
  • Legal and Ethical Studies
  • Human Resources, Management, and Leadership
  • Information and Healthcare Technology
  • Biology
  • Healthcare Systems

Some programs require a capstone project or an internship as well.

A capstone project is a final project that involves real-life situations and how to solve them.

An internship will allow you to have hands-on experience in Healthcare Administration, even before you graduate.

One of the great things about Healthcare Administration is that there is always room to move up.

The way to do that is to earn a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

If you have a knack for planning, direction, and coordinating medical offices then a Master’s degree can help you into a senior position.

Some of the careers you can expect with a Masters in Healthcare Administration:

  • Chief executive officer
  • Hospital administrator
  • Clinic manager
  • Program manager
  • Operations manager
  • Healthcare consultant
  • Health services manager

When looking for a Master’s program, it’s important to find one that looks toward the future of Healthcare Administration.

Many schools are becoming more technology-based, which is great, but you will need hands-on experience as well.

A good Masters in Healthcare Administration program should include:

  • Creating strategic plans
  • Analyzing the effects of healthcare policies
  • Analyzing different leadership ideas
  • Demonstrating management skills

A Master’s degree can take between one year and two years to complete.

Most degrees that require internships and capstone projects will take two years to complete.

Be aware that the school must be accredited with the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.

Video About The Career


Certification

It is not required to earn certification as a Healthcare Administrator, however, many employers will hire those who have certifications over those who do not.

Some of the things that can happen when you earn certification:

  • Higher wages
  • Gives you a competitive advantage
  • Grants you recognition
  • Builds a network
  • Expands your skills

Let’s explore some of the certifications that are available for people interested in becoming a Healthcare Administrator.

A Certified Revenue Cycle Professional is intended for those interested in revenue cycles and becoming a supervisor or senior leader.

A Certified Medical Manager certification is for professionals who understand the administrative management side of the healthcare system.

A Certified Healthcare Financial Professional is for those with a deep understanding of the financial side of the business.

You can also become certified in:

  • Healthcare Quality
  • Healthcare Privacy Compliance
  • Healthcare Research Compliance

Earning a certification is like taking the next step in your career, many certifications only require passing an exam to earn, as well.

The requirements to take many of these exams in order to gain certification are:

  • 2 years of experience in healthcare administration
  • 2 years of patient care support experience
  • 12 post-secondary education credits (minimum)

The Certified Medical Manager exam is around 200 questions and can take up to three hours to complete.
The registration for this exam costs $750 dollars.

The Certified Revenue Cycle Professional exam can take up to 8 hours to complete and is done completely online.

This costs around $300 to apply for.

Many of the training programs and exam information can vary, so it is important to contact the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management to see what you need to do to earn certifications.

Testing schedules can run in different months of the year as well, so keep an eye out for when an exam is coming up.

Certification Example:

Healthcare Administrator Certification

Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years

The average training program to earn a certification as a Healthcare Administrator can vary.

Some programs require several weeks of training, and other programs only require that you take an exam.

Before taking an exam, it’s important to ensure that you are knowledgeable about what you are being tested on.

This will help when showcasing how competent you are in the field.

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Job Outlook

It seems that Healthcare Administrators won’t have to worry about finding a job in the near future.

This career is likely to grow around 18 percent within the next decade.

More Healthcare Administrators are needed due to a rise in population, especially the aging population, and the advancements in the technology of recent years.

Due to the advancements in technology, there will be a need for more medical and health service managers.

These people will be tasked with all of the organizing, managing, and integrating the different elements of the healthcare industry.

Healthcare Administrators who are knowledgeable in health information technology and electronic healthcare records will likely have more job opportunities.

Employment Growth Projection: 18%

406,100
2018
477,600
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 71,500 jobs.

Healthcare Administrator: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Healthcare Administrator?

Overall Satisfaction

Overall Satisfaction: High

Even though working as a Healthcare Administrator can be quite stressful, many who are in this field say that they are very happy with their career choice.

As a Healthcare Administrator, you can expect to work at least 40 hours a week, but most of the time you will be working more than that.

It also may be required to work during the weekends or even holidays.

The opportunity to make a difference gives Healthcare Administrators the push that they need, other added incentives include the salary and the many career opportunities that open up within the medical industry.

Average Salary

Average Salary: High

The average salary for a Healthcare Administrator is very high, at around $75,000 a year.

It is likely that just starting out, you will only make around $64,000 a year.

Opportunities can open up quickly in this field of work, and having certifications or specializations can help increase salary.

After several years of experience, a Healthcare Administrator can expect to make around $85,000 or more.

The size and location of your workplace can also affect salary and job opportunities.

Those that work in larger cities may make more money than Healthcare Administrators working in smaller towns.

Job Growth Outlook

Job Growth Outlook: High

Those that are looking to become Healthcare Administrators should start doing so now.

Within the next ten years, the career will hike around 18%, which is much higher than many other careers in the medical field.

The rise in job growth could be due to several factors, which include:

  • The construction of more medical facilities
  • Retirements
  • Relocations and other issues

The aging baby boomer population has required the increase of healthcare staff, including Administrators.

This is a career that will likely not go away for a very long time.

Education Duration

Education Duration: 4+ Years

It can take a while to become a Healthcare Administrator, but many believe that it is worth the wait.

In order to work in this career, you’ll need to have a Masters degree.

Most Bachelors degree programs take around four years to complete, and a Masters program can last anywhere from one to two years.

Typically, a person interesting in becoming a Healthcare Administrator will spend about six years in school.

This doesn’t include the time you’ll need to train and possibly do internships or externships.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

As a Healthcare Administrator, you’ll be tasked with keeping the medical facility that you work at, in order.

It takes a strong and confident person to work as a Healthcare Administrator.

Some of the skills required for this career include:

  • Incredible communication skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Ability to plan
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Ability to adapt
  • Relationship building skills
  • Ethical judgment abilities
  • Industry knowledge


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much does a Healthcare Administrator make?

On Average in the United States, a Healthcare Administrator can make around $76,000 a year.

When just starting out in the profession, it is more likely that a Healthcare Administrator will make around $67,000 a year.

After years of experience, certifications, and specializations, it’s possible to make over $85,000 a year as a Healthcare Administrator.

Q. What does a Healthcare Administrator do?

The job of a Healthcare Administrator is not an easy task.

These bold-minded people are required to take care of hospitals or other healthcare facilities, making sure that everything is running smoothly on the backend.

This could mean recruiting and training staff members, handling office work, preparing and monitoring budgets, and many other roles.

As a Healthcare Administrator, you’ll have to be on your toes at all times.

Q. How long does it take to become a Healthcare Administrator?

In order to work as a Healthcare Administrator, you must first have a Masters degree.

The typical Masters degree can take anywhere from 1-2 years to complete.

However, in order to go for a Masters degree, you’ll need a Bachelors degree first.

This can take around four years to complete.

All in all, it can take around 6 or more years to become a Healthcare Administrator.

Q. Is there a demand for Healthcare Administrators?

As of right now, there is absolutely a demand for Healthcare Administrators.

More facilities are going to be built, or are being built, which requires more management.

People that are looking to work as Healthcare Administrators would have a lot of luck finding a place to work in the near future.

The demand may also come from older Healthcare Administrators retiring and new ones stepping up to take over.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Healthcare Administrator?

The average Bachelors degree in the United States can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000, depending on where you go to school.

Public universities may be more affordable than private universities, which can make the price vary.

Graduate school can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 on its own.

This means that it can cost between $35,000 and nearly $100,000 to become a Healthcare Administrator.


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