How to Become a Health Care Administrator

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

To become a health care administrator, you should be someone who doesn’t mind taking charge of a situation and has the confidence to see it through.

If you have a background in health care or have an interest in working the health care environment, and also have strong management and people skills, a career as a health care administrator may be right for you. The job involves being the main administrator in charge of major decisions that are made for a hospital or health care facility. You would be responsible for hiring and firing employees, working on budgets, and all the other ins and outs of the smooth operation of a hospital or health care facility. About 40% of health care administrators work in hospitals, and the other 60% work in a variety of settings, such as nursing home facilities, medical practices, home health care agencies, and other settings.


To become a health care administrator, you should be equally good in administrative and health care knowledge and you usually need an M.B.A. in Business Administration to be successful. You should be someone who doesn’t mind taking on a challenge, and you should have skills in many areas, since there are so many diverse challenges within the hospital or health care environment. A background in public relations doesn’t hurt any either!

Typical Education

A typical education for a health care administrator is a Master’s degree in Business or Business Administration (preferred). You need courses which focus on building management skills, financial skills, and public relations skills, since you will be using all of these on your day-to-day job as a health care administrator.

An Alternate Route

It is possible to find employment as a health care administrator without a Master’s degree in some settings but it is better to seek an advanced degree so that you will prepare yourself with the greatest range of skills needed to be successful in this career.

Steps to Becoming a Health Care Administrator

To become a health care administrator, you should be someone who doesn’t mind taking charge of a situation and has the confidence to see it through. You should enjoy helping people, especially people in long-term care facilities or hospitals. If this describes you, follow these steps to make your dream a reality.

1) First, get a Master’s degree in Business Administration. The M.B.A. is the best background for serving as a health care administrator in most instances. No licensing or certification is required beyond the Master’s degree, so long as you complete this requirement. Some courses in Law and Public Relations would also be highly beneficial.

2) Get experience in a health care facility or hospital. It is important that you learn all the aspects of hospital and managed care facilities, so that you can have a broad view of what is required as a health care administrator.

3) Get references from former employers in the health care field and from professors. Good references from both your work background as well as college experience are important to proving your credibility in this role. So keep a portfolio of references from both your college and formal training on the job to make the biggest impression that you can succeed.


Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Get optional certifications for added benefits. Though not required, you may want to seek certification or licensure from an accrediting body such as The American College of Health Care Administrators, or The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, depending upon the area you plan to work. These accredited certifications will increase your credibility and knowledge and are backed by widely recognized entities in the health care industry.

5) Start off as a department manager. Some hospital administrators start as the manager of a specific department, then move up the ladder to top executive. This is a good way to increase your income and career mobility by showing what you can do on a smaller level, then proceeding upward as you build your reputation.

The job of health care administrator is a challenging one, and one that weighs heavily on both managerial and health care knowledge to succeed. The best thing you can do is start with a good education from a college you know and get your M.B.A., then get experience on the lower levels of management and move up from there. A career in this field is rewarding in many ways, both financially and otherwise. Many decisions made on the forefront of hospitals and health care facilities may have both a local and universal result and effect. So, if you want a career with both financial and humanistic rewards, consider using your business degree to become a health care administrator.

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