Hospital administrators or CEOs are responsible for all hospital operations. It is the top position one can acquire in a medical setting, and thus, years of work experience and education are required. While salaries are high, administrators put in long hours and have heavy responsibility. Administrators may often be called at off hours to handle emergencies relating to the hospital.
Administrators have the largest role in a hospital. One role is directing staff. Administrators meet with department heads to make sure hospital goals are being carried out correctly. Additionally, they control the day-to-day operations of the hospital, making sure patient care is being met in compliance with state standards and hospital policies. Administrators oversee and approve all budget and financial information for the facility and continually seek to improve procedures for patient care. They must possess strong leadership, mediator and multitasking skills to be successful.
Whether the facility is a large or small hospital, much of an administrator's work takes place in the office. However, administrators also meet several times a week with department managers, board of directors and patients, which often takes place in hospital conference rooms. Typically, administrators will do periodic walk-throughs of the facility to observe and direct staff and may make site visits to outside facilities.
Salaries for hospital administrators vary depending on the size of the facility, location, hospital budget and other factors; however, administrators can expect annual salaries ranging from $87,000 to $170,000. Administrators for small hospitals, nonprofits and rural areas can expect salaries in the lower end of the range. Experienced administrators at large hospitals in urban areas will see salaries at the top of the range.
Administrators typically need a master's degree in medical services administration, business administration or something similar. For small hospitals, a bachelor's degree in a similar field combined with extensive work experience may be sufficient. Typically, hospital administrators have at least 5 to 7 years of experience as department managers or care providers before receiving such a promotion.
In every state, administrators must have a bachelor's degree and take continuing education courses throughout their career. The position also requires the passing of a license examination and, in most cases, a state-approved training program. Those seeking positions in specialized hospitals, such as nursing home facilities, may require additional licensing depending on the state.