Healthcare Administrator: Job Description, Salary, and Educational Requirements

Nurse meets with nurse administratorHealthcare administrators are leaders that head up various types of healthcare organizations. Also known as health services managers or hospital administrators, healthcare administrators are responsible for all aspects of healthcare, including the facilities, services and programs, staff, budgets, relations with other organizations and other management functions. Their role depends largely on the size and type of the healthcare organization.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Healthcare Administrator
Healthcare Administrators on YouTube
Healthcare Management Degree
Healthcare Administrator Job Description
Personality Traits
Career Options
Healthcare Administrator Potential Career Path
More Healthcare Administration on YouTube
Healthcare Administrator Certification
Professional Organizations
Relevant Publications
Apps for Healthcare Administrators

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

Quickly compare salary and job statistics in your area

1. Select a State

2. Select a City

3. Select a Job Title

Source: BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation. * or ** indicate insignificant or unavailable data.

 Level of Education Required Degree in health management at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels
Board Examinations needed Voluntary FACHE certification
Average Salary $101,340
# of Jobs (2014) 300,000
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 23% growth, much faster than usual

Source: and Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

To become a healthcare administrator, one must:

  • Have at least a bachelor’s degree before entering the field; a master’s degrees is also common
  • Adhere to facility requirements for education and experience

Healthcare Administrator Interview on YouTube

Check out this interview with health-care administrator Debbi Lehner, as she discusses her rewarding career in the ever growing healthcare field.

Healthcare Management Degree

Any college graduate may apply for a graduate program in healthcare administration. This is true whether the student has an undergraduate degree in business and healthcare management, biology, sociology, social work, public health, policy, government or allied health professions. Coursework in economics and statistics may be helpful but is not a requirement for enrollment in most graduate programs.

Many students become healthcare administrators through the traditional route of obtaining a master’s degree in public health or health administration but some start with a degree in business combined with some coursework in health service management. A few institutions offer joint degrees where the student receives a master’s degree in both healthcare management and law, for example, or business administration combined with public health. Sometimes doctors or nurses will take courses in healthcare administration so they can take on leadership roles within a healthcare institution.

Curriculum should include coursework on healthcare policy and law, organizational behavior, healthcare financing, human resources, marketing, health information management and other topics relevant to healthcare management.

Wilkes MS Nurse Executive


Healthcare Administrator Job Description

Healthcare administrators are at the top of the ladder at their respective institutions. They work to improve the efficiency and quality in the services delivered by the healthcare institutions they represent. Healthcare administrators accomplish this by communicating with department heads and individual members of the medical staff. These managers stay current on new laws and regulations, and work to ensure compliance with these rules. Administrators can take on a variety of responsibilities within an institution, including managing finances, representing the facility on governing boards or at investor meetings.
The size of an institution may determine the specific duties of the healthcare administrator. Healthcare administrators may keep and organize facility records, create work schedules and manage patient fees and billing at smaller institutions. In some very large institutions, healthcare managers supervise assistant administrators to oversee these details.

Health care is constantly changing. This role will be asked to maintain the quality of care being provided and do it as efficiently as possible. The Health Care Administrator needs to adapt to:

  • the various ways care is delivered
  • the technology deployed
  • the regulations that must be followed
  • the changing work environment
  • the role of preventative care

This role might oversee a number of areas such as:

  • nursing
  • surgery
  • internal medicine
  • medical records
  • information systems
  • human resources
  • finance
  • facilities and material
  • patient admissions

Personality Traits of a Healthcare Administrator

  • Analytical
  • Effective communicator
  • Detail-oriented
  • Solid interpersonal skills
  • Motivating
  • Problem solver
  • Technical aptitude

Career Options

Typical workplaces for a healthcare administrator may include:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician group practices
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Home healthcare agencies

Healthcare Administrator Potential Career Path

Nurses who thrive in the healthcare administration field can move into management roles, with additional education:

  • Department managers
  • Case managers
  • Marketing directors
  • Contract negotiators
  • Department vice-presidents
  • Senior vice presidents
  • Chief financial officers
  • Chief operating officers
  • Chief executive officers


Healthcare Administrators in Action on YouTube

Here’s a video displaying the management & leadership team in action at the Cleveland Clinic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of healthcare administrators to grow by 23 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than average for all occupations. Healthcare services in general will experience growth as an increasing number of aging Baby Boomers and more people remain active later in life. Rising demand will prompt the construction of new inpatient, outpatient and clinical care centers; each of these institutions will need the leadership of a qualified healthcare manager.

Certification Information

Voluntary board certification in healthcare management shows the healthcare administrator has the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to lead a healthcare institution. The American College of Healthcare Executives offers board certification, which permits a certified administrator to identify herself as an ACHE Fellow (FACHE).

Healthcare Administrator Cost of Certification

Certification and licensing for healthcare administrators is not required. Certification is optional through the American College of Healthcare Administrators.

  • CNHA (Certified Nursing Home Administrator) Certification cost: ~$379-$529
  • Recertification every 5 years by completing one of the following:
    • Pass certification exam
    • Complete Executive Portfolio application
    • Attend an approved executive level program
    • Complete master’s degree from a program accredited by the Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration
  • CALA (Certified Assisted Living Administrator) Certification cost: ~$379-$529
  • Recertification every 5 years by completing one of the following:
    • Pass certification exam
    • Complete Executive Portfolio application
    • Attend an approved executive level program
    • Complete master’s degree from a program accredited by the Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration


Professional Organizations

Relevant Publications

Apps for Healthcare Administrators

healthcare dive appHealthcare Dive - Health News: Free (iOS) / Free (Android)
This app allows uers to stay up-to-date on news, jobs, events, and research within the healthcare field.
healthcare informatics mag appHealthcare Informatics Mag: Free (iOS) / Free (Android)
This app displays articles and expert insight from the Healthcare Informatics Magazine and information on the latest technological, managerial, and regulatory developments in the healthcare IT field.
medical care appMedical Care: Free (iOS)
This app displays articles from the Official Journal of the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association. These articles focus on research, planning, and organization in the ever changing field of healthcare.