Working directly with the governing board, medical staff and department heads, hospital administrators direct and manage the day-to-day operations and patient care services of hospitals, including financial management, human resources, quality control and strategic planning. Employment as a hospital administrator requires a master's degree plus extensive knowledge of the provision of health care and related experience as a hospital, public health or long-term care administrator. Knowledge of health care policy and information management in health care is also advantageous.
Business skills are essential to hospital administrators as they navigate the complex economics of health care, state and federal health care regulations, and accreditation standards. As a liaison between the hospital's governing board and medical staff, the administrator must balance the hospital's long-term financial viability with quality standards, advances in technology, customer service and employee satisfaction. The hospital administrator also is often the face of the hospital with the community and in its interactions with local and state government. Balancing these varied roles requires strong interpersonal skills and superior written and oral communication skills.
Accredited undergraduate and postgraduate programs in hospital administration cover business economics, financial management, national and international health care policy, legal issues in health care and global health systems. Certification for hospital administrators is available through the American College of Healthcare Executives. The average annual salary for health care administrators was $103,680 in May 2014, and the top 10 percent earned an average yearly salary of $161,150, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.