How To Become a Hospital Administrator: A Complete Guide

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 9 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Hospital administrators oversee administrative tasks in hospitals and healthcare institutions. They may undertake a range of non-medical duties depending on their specialist skills and the requirements of their employer. By reviewing the duties, salaries and requirements of this role, you can decide if you want to pursue this career. In this article, we define hospital administration, discuss how to become a hospital administrator and outline the primary duties and average salary of these professionals.

What is hospital administration?

Hospital administration is concerned with the organisational and business side of hospitals, hospital networks and healthcare systems. It may also involve the management of hospices, nursing homes, outpatient clinics and alcohol and drug abuse recovery centres. It is a specialised management field that requires a broad knowledge of and an educational background in healthcare administration.

What does a hospital administrator do?

The hospital administrator duties are non-medical and can include the following:

  • Creating, implementing and monitoring a strategic business plan for the efficient functioning of a healthcare facility

  • Overseeing everyday hospital activities and authorising the protocols for patient admission and treatment

  • Ensuring that all medical documentation and patient reports are in order and sharing those with the patients and their families when required

  • Carrying out inventory maintenance, keeping the healthcare facility well-equipped and ensuring there are adequate resources at all times

  • Creating and setting up an organisation management system

  • Updating software, information systems and other technologies

  • Ensuring proper communication between different hospital departments, hospital governing boards, vendors and others

  • Overseeing hospital finances, including billing cycles, cash flow management, payroll administration and daily expenses

  • Maintaining hospital buildings, hospital rooms, wards, operation theatres, lobbies, halls and external premises

  • Hiring and overseeing administrative managers and other hospital staff, and providing doctors with what they need

  • Providing training, incentives and assistance to hospital employees

  • Supervising hospital support services such as catering, cleaning, laundry and transport

  • Making sure that the hospital meets the safety requirements for sterilising surgical instruments

  • Complying with and staying updated about laws and regulations

Related: What Is a Medical Assistant? Definition and Career Advice

What are the requirements to be a hospital administrator?

Hospital administrators typically need a combination of education, skills and practical work experience to earn a position. Here are some of the most important requirements:

Educational qualifications

Some healthcare employers prefer candidates with a master's degree, an MBA, or a PhD in hospital administration, hospital management or healthcare management. However, these degrees are not absolutely essential. You can also become a hospital administrator with a bachelor's degree or a postgraduate diploma and three to seven years of work experience in a healthcare facility. Here are some of the courses you can pursue:

Bachelor in hospital administration (BHA)

To get admission to this programme, you must have at least 50% aggregate marks in 10+2, with biology as the main subject, from a recognised state board such as CBSE or ICSE. You must also clear the All-India level Common Entrance Test (CET) or the Undergraduate Aptitude Test (UGAT) conducted by the All India Management Association (AIMA) and get through a personal interview. The BHA programme is of three years duration.

Master of hospital administration (MHA)

It is a two-year course that requires you to have a bachelor's degree in science, with biology, chemistry and physics, from a recognised institution. You must also pass an entrance exam like TISS and Manipal exam and a personal interview round.

MBA in hospital and healthcare management

You need a bachelor's degree in any discipline from a recognised college with at least 50% aggregate marks to pursue this course. You must also pass a management entrance exam like the Common Admission Test (CAT), Management Aptitude Test (MAT) or Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT). The course duration is two years.

MBA in hospital administration

You must have a bachelor's degree in any stream with at least 50% aggregate marks to get admission to this two-year programme. You must also clear MBA entrance exams like the CAT, MAT, XAT and GMAT and perform well in group discussions and personal interviews.

PG diploma in hospital and health management

It is a one-year postgraduate diploma course, and to gain admission, you need to have a bachelor's degree in hospital administration, hospital management, pharmacy, homoeopathy or any medical or dental discipline recognised by the Medical Council of India or the Dental Council of India. You are also eligible if you have an MBBS, BAMS or BDS degree. There are no entrance exams for this course, but you need to have prior experience working in a hospital.

PhD in hospital administration

To get admission for a PhD programme in hospital administration, you will need a master's degree in hospital administration with at least 55% aggregate marks from a recognised college. You must have at least five years of professional and relevant work experience in a healthcare institution. Additionally, you must pass national competitive entrance exams like the National Eligibility Test (NET) with a valid score. Some colleges may also require you to clear a group discussion and personal interview round. The course duration could be anywhere three and seven years.

Necessary skills

Most employers look for the following skills in a hospital administrator:

  • Leadership skills

  • Communication skills

  • Negotiation skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Team-work skills

  • Relationship-building skills

  • Analytical skills

  • Logical skills

  • Data evaluation skills

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Reasoning skills

  • Decision-making skills

  • Research skills

  • Time management skills

  • Administrative skills

  • Business skills

Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a hospital administrator

You can become a hospital administrator by following these steps:

1. Complete a hospital administration course

You can earn a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, a postgraduate diploma or a PhD in hospital administration from a recognised college or university. While the bachelor's and master's courses require a science background, you can do an MBA and PG Diploma course even with a non-science or non-medical background.

2. Acquire work experience

Practical work experience in a hospital or any healthcare institution, preferably in an administrative capacity, is an entry requirement for many hospital administration courses. You might want to look for full-time, part-time or contract work in this field right after passing 10+2. Practical work experience makes you familiar with the nitty-gritty of this profession. It also improves your employability. There is a rising demand in the healthcare sector for well-qualified and experienced hospital administrators.

3. Develop essential skills

Apart from acquiring hard skills for the job, you should develop certain soft skills, such as the ability to stay calm under pressure situations. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are a must, as you often have to interact with people daily. You must also be logical, decisive and innovative, and have a strong sense of responsibility and a knack for organisation and management. It helps to improve your knowledge and skills in data analysis, information technology, finance and business.

4. Prepare your cover letter and resume

A well-written cover letter can get the attention of job recruiters and improve your chances of being invited to a job interview. Along with displaying your writing skills, it can give prospective employers an idea of your self-confidence and thinking ability. Your resume should have well-organised sections that the recruiter can scan to learn about your credentials and accomplishments.

Related: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)

5. Practise for the interview

Compile a list of commonly-asked interview questions for the hospital administration position and practise answering them. You can ask a friend to help you and get their honest feedback about your performance. You can also video-record yourself to get an idea of how you present yourself to others. You can then make a conscious effort to improve and go well-prepared for the interview.

How long does it take to become a hospital administrator?

It can take several years of hard work to become a hospital administrator. You need to complete a three-year bachelor's degree or a five-and-a-half-year MBBS course. In addition to this, you may need three to seven years of work experience in a healthcare facility to get admission to a hospital administrator programme. Depending on which programme you pursue, it can take you anywhere between five to 10 years to become a hospital administrator.

What is the salary for a hospital administrator?

The average salary of a hospital administrator is ₹3,60,630 per year. However, your exact pay can vary depending on your experience, skills, job position, job duties, employer and location. With experience, the remuneration will increase.

Hospital administrator job roles

As a qualified hospital administrator, you can work in hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, drug development centres, clinical trial groups and healthcare-related institutions. Some of the hospital administration roles you can hold are:

  • Hospital superintendent

  • Medical director

  • Nursing director

  • Administrator for public care health facility

  • Patient administration specialist

  • Administrative executive

  • Quality management executive

  • Chief operating officer

  • Head of clinical operations

  • Director of medical college

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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