Different combinations of education, practical work experience, and skills help you gain this position. Most administrators need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree before entering this field. You can major in healthcare, health administration, public policy, social services, nursing, and more. There are many entry-level positions that a candidate with an undergraduate degree and essential work experience can find. After completing a bachelor’s degree in hospital or healthcare administration, some job roles include intake coordinator, medical records associate, patient registrar, project coordinator, health information management abstractor, administrative medical assistant, and so on.
However, some positions require a master’s degree, as employers favor advanced positions. Graduate programs in hospital administration can take around two to three years and even require one year of administrative experience in hospitals and healthcare consulting settings that are supervised. Some of the roles you can apply for after a master’s degree in hospital or healthcare administration include clinical manager, healthcare consultant, hospital administrator, compliance officer, director of healthcare quality, chief executive officer, operations manager, nursing director, facility manager, and more.
Besides an academic degree, success in the field of hospital administration is gained by having some work experience in a clinical or administrative role in different healthcare facilities. Some specialties prefer hiring individuals with domain-specific work experience; for example, years working as a registered nurse for nursing home administrators are usually considered appropriate.
Hospital Administrator Skills
Hospital administrators will need knowledge and abilities depending on their duties; therefore, the expertise one needs to have will be job-specific. However, most hospital administrators are expected to have some general skills, including the ability to:
- understand and follow the laws used in the field currently and adapt to new regulations;
- efficiently communicate procedures and policies to other professionals in healthcare and make sure the staff is complying with ethical laws;
- pay attention to details and organize scheduling and billing information in healthcare facilities like hospitals;
- discuss challenges in staffing and information about clients with other professionals;
- find creative solutions to problems in administration and hire, train, and motivate staff to deliver effective healthcare;
- stay updated with advanced technology and data analytics of healthcare.
Hospital Administrator Licenses and Certifications
Professional certifications can help you become a more established and credible professional in hospital administration. Credentialing is generally not required; however, some individuals choose to become proficient through certifications. Many areas have specific certifications that one can take up, including:
American Health Information Management Association
The AHIMA offers several certifications that individuals in healthcare organizations can take up, making them ready for the evolving health space. Most of these certifications are self-paced study-at-home paths, including Certified Coding Associate, Registered Health Information Technician, etc.
Professional Association of Health Care Office Management
This organization offers many credentials that help you prove your competence in the administrative management of healthcare associations. It is one of the few nationally accredited professional certifications that focuses on managers of health care.
American College of Health Care Administrators
This organization provides Certified Assisted Living Administrator distinctions and Certified Nursing Home Administrator certifications. However, the organization speculates modifications in these certifications to stay relevant to healthcare trends.
Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems
This certification is given by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which focuses on management and information systems in the healthcare domain, helping you demonstrate your commitment and credibility in managing different healthcare systems.
Certified Revenue Cycle Executive and Cycle professional
The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management offers this certification. It is suitable for those wanting to acquire comprehensive knowledge of financial operations, information systems, government regulations and policies, and more.
One can acquire licensure in the field of hospital administration as well, although a license is optional. However, some positions, like registered nurses, must have permits or licensure. Most states require state-specific licensure, for which the requirement differs depending on your geographical location. You must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, complete a state-approved training program, and pass the national licensing examination. Some requirements include you have previous work experience in healthcare facilities. The National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards details state licensing requirements.
Hospital Administrator Specializations
Hospital administrators can specialize in one area that requires them to gain expertise and knowledge. Some concentrations can lead directly to specific career opportunities in the healthcare industry, such as:
Health Care Management
This concentration helps you understand the aspects of leading healthcare facilities. You learn about managing healthcare policies and focus on dealing with vendors and purchasing medical equipment. It includes knowledge of health insurance, quality assurance, procedures, decision-making in managed care, principles of management, and more.
Job Roles: Clinical manager, health information manager, social media director, nursing home administrator, clinical research manager, and more.
This specialization teaches individuals to sort, retrieve, input, and manage data related to personnel, patients, and the healthcare facility. It integrates cognitive science, information science, computer science, and other such topics. The topics learned here prepare you for keeping electronic paper records, data analysis, business intelligence, health care information management, etc., that will help you to manage residential care facilities and insurance companies.
Job Roles: Informatics analyst, clinical informaticist, electronic medical record keeper, chief medical information officer, nurse informaticist, informatics manager, etc.
Patient Quality and Safety
This concentration helps professionals understand the role of advocating for patients and learn about decision-making and strategic planning using financial data. One also learns about ethical and legal considerations, human relations, and patient safety strategy and systems in administration and quality management.
Job Roles: Medical director and patient safety officer, patient safety officer or consultant, director of quality management, director of performance improvement, director of quality outcomes, patient safety, etc.
Healthcare Financial Management
In this concentration, you learn about the financial aspects of healthcare administration. You also understand how the decision-making process works in healthcare and challenges based on legal regulations and patient needs. Topics include accounting and legal rules, economics, etc.
Job Roles: Financial analyst, financial auditor, healthcare finance manager, medical records and health information technician, medical billing specialist, financial consultant, payroll specialist, etc.
Healthcare Law and Policy
This concentration is concerned with knowledge of regulations and legislation regarding healthcare. One learns about new laws and understands ways to implement them without challenging the quality of patient care quality. It includes topics like bioethics, health systems, health policies, human resources in healthcare administration, ethics in healthcare, and more.
Job Roles: Medical-legal assistant, personal injury paralegal, medical-legal counsel, regulatory specialist, legal nurse consultant, risk manager, etc.