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Healthcare Administration Career Guide

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators regularly interact with doctors, nurses, surgeons, and technicians. They direct the operation of healthcare organizations and rarely meet directly with the patients in the healthcare facility. 

An administrators' duty is to shape the policy that runs the facility and improve the patients’ experience. Healthcare administration careers are essential to successful and efficient healthcare facilities. 

Due to the constant need for healthcare facilities, from hospitals to nursing homes, healthcare administration is a vital, stable job for those interested in improving healthcare policy. 

Two business women wearing masks point at a laptop.

What Is a Healthcare Administrator?

Healthcare administrators work behind the scenes to make large-scale decisions for the healthcare facility or institution. They deal directly with policy and budgets to create better patient experiences and ensure the safety of guests and staff. 

Healthcare administrators have in-depth knowledge of the regulatory framework in patient care. Their responsibilities are entirely different from the responsibilities of a doctor or physician. While physicians manage patients directly, healthcare administrators oversee the facility itself and usually have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in healthcare administration. 

What Do Healthcare Administrators Do?

A healthcare administrator’s job responsibilities may change depending on the facility. Healthcare administrators can work in nursing home, surgery, physical therapy, and other healthcare facilities. 

The most common job responsibilities for a healthcare administrator include: 

  • Develop work schedules for staff and physicians. 
  • Manage facility finances. 
  • Manage patient fees and billing. 
  • Improve facility efficiency and quality. 
  • Ensure that the facility complies with all laws and regulations.
  • Train staff members. 
  • Communicate with physicians and nurses.
  • Present investor meetings and meet with governing boards. 
  • Monitor budgets and spending. 

Healthcare administrators have a wide range of roles and need to be flexible enough to pick up new roles through their employment. The location and size of the healthcare facility may also influence the job responsibilities. 

Some healthcare administrators may manage an entire facility, while others may focus on a single department within a facility. No matter where the healthcare administrator is employed, they are required to know both state and federal laws and ensure that HIPAA laws are followed within their area of responsibility and expertise. 

What Education Does a Healthcare Administrator Need?

Healthcare administrators need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management to get a job in a starting position. This type of degree will teach you business and healthcare fundamentals that'll help you understand daily operations, budgets, strategy, and communication for healthcare positions within medical facilities.

Many employers will require applicants to have an MBA in healthcare management or a master of health leadership to demonstrate that they understand principles of person-focused and culturally relevant care and are adequately prepared for leadership in the healthcare industry. These advanced degrees will go deeper into executive strategy, large-scale management, and leadership principles that are key for administration positions.

Many employers prefer health administration candidates to have experience in a healthcare setting. This type of experience is critical to ensuring you are qualified to take on more leadership responsibilities in an organization. When determining the right healthcare leadership degree for you, consider your desired role.

Best Degrees for a Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare Management – B.S. Business Administration

You can become a healthcare industry leader:...

You can become a healthcare industry leader:...

You can become a healthcare industry leader:


Compare with B.S. Health Information Management

  • Time: 73% of graduates finish within 30 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Health information manager
  • Community service manager
  • Clinical manager
  • Medical records manager
  • Social service manager

The online courses in this career-focused business degree program will prepare you with management-level skills and an up-to-date understanding of our healthcare delivery system.

Master of Health Leadership

A master's focused on managing comprehensive, value-based care,...

A master's focused on managing comprehensive,...

A master's focused on managing comprehensive, value-based care, directly in line with innovations in health and healthcare.

  • Time: 78% of grads finish within 18-24 months. 
  • Tuition and fees: $4,240 per 6-month term.

Examples of careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Managed care executive
  • Director of integrated care management
  • Health center manager/clinic manager
  • Director of integrated facilities

Your rich experience in a health-related field can mean more when you bring a master's level of understanding to the problems that organizations need to solve.

Compare degrees
This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees by clicking the button below.

Compare Similar Degrees

MBA Healthcare Management

Prepare for a career leading private or public healthcare...

Prepare for a career leading private or public...

Prepare for a career leading private or public healthcare organizations.

  • Time: Graduates can finish within 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Administrative director
  • Chief financial officer
  • Other executive-level roles

Healthcare is big business in today's complex economy.  Steer your career with this specialty MBA.

Compare online business degrees

This program is not the only online business degree WGU offers that is designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees by clicking the button below.

Compare Similar Degrees

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Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!

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Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

Learn about online college admissions at WGU.


Doctor and healthcare manager talking to someone

What Skills Does a Healthcare Administrator Need?

Healthcare administrators need to be passionate individuals who strive to improve healthcare and patient experience. Some of the most important skills and qualities of a successful healthcare administrator include: 

  • Business administration skills: Knowing how to run a successful business ensures that healthcare administrators are financially responsible and productive. 
  • Communication: Communication plays a central role in a healthcare administrator’s daily tasks. They must communicate effectively with physicians, insurance collectors, and staff. 
  • Teamwork: Healthcare administrators work as team members to make their healthcare facility better. 
  • Organization: While leading a healthcare facility, organization is key to achieving effective goals and completing time-sensitive projects. 
  • Understanding of patient care: Healthcare administrators need to understand every aspect of patient care—which is why many RNs are drawn to the position.
  • Budgeting: Knowing how to budget millions of dollars ensures that the hospital and healthcare facility is profitable. 
  • Quality assurance: Healthcare administrators must hold themselves to high standards and be prepared to change goals to meet higher standards. 

Administrators will also need to be thoroughly familiar with healthcare regulations, including the nuances of HIPAA laws, and must prioritize the safety of their team members and staff. 

How Much Does a Healthcare Administrator Make?

$104,280

According to BLS, the average annual salary for a healthcare administrator is $104,280. The highest 10% of healthcare administrators earn over $195,630 per year, and the lowest 10% earn less than $59,980 a year. The location, years of experience, and industry can influence the salary.

A healthcare administrator is likely to earn more as they gain more experience. Additionally, a healthcare administrator entering the industry with a master’s degree is expected to earn more than a healthcare administrator entering the field with a bachelor’s degree. 

What Is the Projected Job Growth for Healthcare Administration?

32%

BLS predicts that jobs for healthcare administration will grow by 32% by 2029, significantly higher than the average job outlook of 3%. Healthcare administration is a stable healthcare position with a significant job outlook. 

The population of the U.S. is aging, resulting in more elderly individuals than young individuals. The increase in elderly individuals means that healthcare services are in higher demand and will continue to increase over the next several years. 

Where Do Healthcare Administrators Work?

Varies

Healthcare administrators work in healthcare facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that healthcare administrators typically work in five types of healthcare facilities

-Hospitals: About 33% of healthcare administrators work in state, local, or private hospitals. 

-Offices of physicians: About 12% of healthcare administrators work in offices of physicians. These facilities include general practice facilities and primary care facilities. 

-Nursing and residential care facilities: About 10% of healthcare administrators work in nursing homes.

-Government: About 8% of healthcare administrators work within government facilities. 

-Outpatient care centers: About 7% of healthcare administrators work in outpatient centers. 

Healthcare Administration FAQ's

Healthcare administrators oversee the day-to-day administrative operations of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Their responsibilities include planning and supervising all medical services—including monitoring budgets and updating health records. 

Healthcare administration encompasses all aspects of a clinic or medical facility that help keep it operational. This includes budgetary and staff management, regulatory compliance, facility efficiency, and quality.

A degree in healthcare administration will allow you to pursue a variety of administration positions including administrator for hospitals, medical clinics, or physician offices, or roles with outpatient care facilities, pharmaceutical corporations, or insurance companies. While WGU does not offer a degree in healthcare administration, we do offer bachelor's and MBA degrees in healthcare management as well as a master’s degree in health leadership which may allow you to obtain similar types of roles. 

You will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to begin your career as a healthcare administrator. However, most employers prefer that you have a master’s degree. With this reality in mind, it takes most people between four and six years to become a healthcare administrator. 

Interested in Becoming a Healthcare Administrator?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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