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Medical facilities conjure thoughts of doctors, nurses and patients. Though these roles are commonly associated with the health care industry, medical facilities need a keen business staff to oversee day-to-day operations, ensuring that the staff and patients are happy, well-assisted and efficient. A crucial component of this staff is the health care administrator.
Health care administrator positions are mainly entry-level, but do require skills, experience and education. The health care industry is competitive, making it difficult for candidates without a Bachelor's degree to be considered for an entry-level role. In some regions a Master's degree is considered essential for administrator candidates.
Administrators must be able to work well with patients, staff and colleagues, and oversee all of the facility's operations, ensuring efficiency and quick resolution of problems. Hospital administrators work odd hours and must be on-call, available at all hours. Typically, administrators work 45 to 50 hours a week.
Excellent communications skills and patience are essential to the health care administrator position, as well as sharp managerial skills and an understanding of finance. Administrators assist in the development and analyzing of financial reports including budgets, salary negotiations and tax-related documents. Entry-level health care administrators play a smaller role in developing these financial reports than the team's manager, director or supervisor, but most enter this field with the intention of rising to a management position in the future.
Types of Facilities
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most entry-level health care administrators begin their careers in smaller facilities, such as privately owned dentist, chiropractor or physician offices. They may also work as assistant administrators under hospital directors or supervisors. To work in a nursing home facility, candidates must have a Bachelor's degree, complete a state-approved training course and become licensed in their state. Health care consultants may consider working at accounting firms that provide assistance to facilities when problems arise.
Potential for Upward Mobility
An entry-level health care administrator can potentially move up the corporate ladder to managerial and directorial roles. This typically requires a Master's degree and up to 10 years of experience to be considered for senior-management roles such as department or division director. Executive-level roles such as hospital president, CEO or CFO, may also be possible.