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How Much Do Hospital Administrators Make?

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High Level of Responsibility, With Salaries to Match

Hospital administrators oversee all departments of the hospital from a business perspective. Running a hospital is, in many ways, similar to running a big company. A hospital's numerous departments do very different tasks, but all are working toward one major goal: They strive to make their hospital top in its field, with a renowned reputation in the community and in the industry for top-notch patient care. Most of the education requirements can be completed online, too, at your pace, while the kids are at school or tucked into their beds at night.

Job Description

Hospital administrators work with Human Resources to attract, hire and keep well trained doctors, nurses and support staff at competitive salaries with good benefits. They work to provide challenging careers in which health-care professionals can provide excellent patient care while also learning new skills so they have advancement opportunities. Administrators meet regularly with department heads to learn what the departments' needs are and try to meet them.

Hospital administrators are also tasked with filling the beds in the hospital, much like hotel managers want to book their rooms. But in hospitals, they must also help patients to recover and go home. They answer to their board of trustees, their employees, the patients and the insurance companies.

Many hospital administrators have the title of Chief Executive Officer. Like CEOs of companies in other fields, they spearhead the strategic planning for the hospital, for both the near term and the future. They oversee the budget, advertising and marketing, and overall cost efficiency of the hospital. It can be a stressful job with long hours, but it can also be rewarding, because they have a direct impact on people's lives–both their employees and their patients.

Education Requirements

You can enter the field with a bachelors degree, but to advance to becoming an administrator at the executive level, you'll need a masters degree. Some administrators have earned a masters in business administration (MBA), while others have earned master's in healthcare administration (MHA).

Many schools offer these management degrees completely online. It's entirely possible that you could get your foot in the door with a college degree, and then work for several years while earning your masters degree online even while tending to your family. One of the benefits of an online degree is that you can work at your own pace, taking one course at a time. You can also search for schools that offer online bachelors degrees. Some programs do require a supervised internship in the field before earning your masters degree.

Hospital administrative services managers earned a median salary of $104,340 in May 2016. A median salary is one where half earned more and half earned less. Those who worked their way up to hospital administrators earned median salaries of $120,000 and top salaries of $241,000 or more.

About the Industry

The job of hospital administrator is sometimes stressful, as you're working to take care of every department's needs while maintaining fiscal efficiency. The majority of hospital administrators expressed satisfaction in their jobs, however, because they know they are helping people. Most hospital administrators worked full-time, and about one-third worked more than 40 hours per week.

Years of Experience

Hospital administrators need many years of experience to reach the top executive level. You can begin your career with a bachelors degree and no experience, but you'll need a masters degree to reach the executive level. This is because, in earning the MBA or MHA, you'll learn about marketing, management and finance. Most have 15 to 20 years of experience, working their way up before reaching the top.

Job Growth Trend

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for health-care managers to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is more than twice the rate of jobs in general. As baby boomers age, there will continue to be greater need for medical services, and health-care workers at all levels will be needed to care for them. At the top will be the hospital administrators, overseeing the entire operation.