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How to Become a Hospital Administrator

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Mar 26, 2024
Hospital Administrator Talking With Two Doctors About Items on a List.

How to Become a Hospital Administrator

Hospitals are focused on providing comprehensive health care — from elective surgeries to emergency procedures — to patients in need. While clinical rigor is a hallmark of any good hospital, there is also a need for operational efficiency. To properly address patient needs, hospitals must be managed in a way that is efficient, legally compliant, and financially responsible.

The role of the hospital administrator is to provide that essential high level of management. Those who are passionate about health care and gifted in leadership may gravitate toward this position. As for how to become a hospital administrator, there are several important steps, not the least of which is completing a relevant degree program.

Understanding the Role of the Hospital Administrator 

A hospital administrator is an administrative executive who oversees the day-to-day management of hospital facilities, ensuring providers are equipped to succeed and patients receive a consistently high standard of care. A significant part of an administrator’s job is ensuring the hospital has the resources available to provide a range of clinical care options, all while meeting core business objectives. Their work may also involve providing direct oversight and performance reviews to doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel.

Hospital Administrator Duties and Responsibilities

While the administrator’s roles and responsibilities can vary from one hospital to the next, the typical job description looks like this.

  • Planning and managing the hospital’s finances, including conducting regular budget reviews

  • Recruiting, training, and supervising administrative and HR personnel

  • Collecting and enhancing patient care through the review of facility-wide data

  • Setting and working toward hospital-wide goals

  • Implementing policies to ensure the proper regulatory environment

  • Developing work schedules for different personnel

  • Communicating with the Board of Directors and other stakeholders

Hospital Administrator Salary and Career Outlook

Those who are curious about how to become a hospital administrator will naturally have some questions about salary and career prospects, too. Here’s a look at what to expect in the role.

Hospital Administrator Salary Expectations

According to February 2024 data from the compensation website Payscale, the median annual salary for a hospital administrator is approximately $93,700. Many factors can affect salary range, including years of experience, level of education, and geographic region. The size and scope of the hospital may also be a factor.

Hospital Administrator Career Outlook

Meanwhile, data obtained from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in February of 2024 shows the career outlook for health service managers, a category that includes hospital administrators, is promising. In fact, job openings in the field are expected to grow at a rate of 28% between 2022 and 2032. This rate is much higher than the average for the U.S. job market as a whole during that same time.

How to Become a Hospital Administrator in Five Steps

To qualify for work in hospital administration, it is important to gather the right set of skills and professional competencies. Doing so involves a few basic steps.

1. Earn an Undergraduate Degree

A bachelor’s degree provides the foundational decision-making and critical thinking skills that are necessary for success as a hospital administrator. This may be a degree in nursing or a field more directly related to business.

2. Pursue a Master’s Degree

Most leadership positions will require an advanced degree, signifying a more rigorous understanding of business, finance, and compliance. This may be a master’s in nursing, business administration, or a related field.

3. Gain Experience in the Workplace

To thrive as a hospital administrator, it is first helpful to learn first-hand how hospitals truly function. This means gaining work experience in an entry-level- or mid-level hospital administration position. Working as a nurse leader can also provide useful experience.

4. Seek Certification

Certification can signify the highest standards of administrative know-how, often leading to more prestigious roles or higher salary ranges. Some of the most essential certifications include accreditation from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management (PAHCOM).

5. Develop Key Skills

When pursuing education and administrative experience, it’s crucial to focus on developing essential skills. Some of the competencies most necessary for success in hospital administration include:

  • Written and oral communication

  • Analytic thinking

  • Team building and collaboration

  • Delegation

  • Knowledge of regulatory issues

  • A strong sense of ethics

  • Interpersonal skills

Pursue a Path in Hospital Administration

Hospital administrators play an essential role in helping doctors and patients thrive. To discover more about how to become a hospital administrator, consider applying to a relevant degree program.

At The University of Tulsa, we offer an online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program that is perfect for working nurses interested in starting down a leadership path. The program is designed to equip future administrators with the skills to make a positive, lasting impact.

Discover more about the TU RN to BSN program today.

Recommended Readings

Change Theory in Nursing: How It’s Evolving the Profession

Day Shift vs. Night Shift Nursing: Pros and Cons

International Travel Nursing: How to Work Abroad as a Nurse


Indeed, “How To Become a Hospital Administrator in 5 Steps”

Indeed, “What Does a Hospital Administrator Do? (Duties and Salary)”

Inspira Advantage, “How to Become a Hospital Administrator”

Payscale, Hospital Administrator Salary

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

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