A Career up Close: Hospital Administrators

"Hospital administrator" is a term that refers to anyone who works in management at a hospital. People must have, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree in order to procure a job in this area. Many schools now offer undergraduate degrees in healthcare administration, complete with courses in hospital management, accounting and budgeting, human resources, planning, regulations and law, and computers/information technology. However, it is common for students to go on to receive a graduate degree before becoming hospital administrators. Coursework builds on what was learned in undergrad, including classes in finance, legal issues, marketing, research, and leadership. Sometimes graduate programs also include supervised training as part of the degree. On-the-job experience counts for a lot, as well. Some hospital administrators don't even start out going through specialized educational programs, but instead begin as nurses or techs and work their way up into administrative positions. In fact, some colleges require students to have hands-on healthcare experience before being admitted into a graduate program.

According to CNN, a job in hospital administration is the 36th best occupation one can have in 2010, right below computer and information scientists and right above programmer analysts. The news site's list of the top 100 jobs was compiled based on positions that provide both great pay and prospects for growth. A lot of times working as a doctor is glamorized as this amazing occupation where people can both make a lot of money and save lives. But not everyone is great at biology and chemistry, or has the stomach to handle cutting into people and seeing blood on a daily basis. This is where hospital administrators come in. They make a difference in peoples' lives and play an integral role in the functioning of the hospital, but get to do so behind a desk or in an office.

In fact, there are a fair number of physicians who are actually moving into administrative positions later on in their career, which can help connect the dots between the medical and managerial sides of the hospital. This also means that more hospitals are looking to hire healthcare administrators who don't solely have a business educational background, but a solid base of healthcare knowledge as well. That being said, at the end of the day most hospitals are looking for people who will be the best at their job, whether it be a former physician, a fresh graduate with a master's degree, or a specialist in computer science and information technology.

Administrators have a plethora of duties, from training other staff and following policies to coordinating medical care and planning departmental activities. Think of what Dr. Cuddy did on the television show House. Of course that show is a dramatization of what actually goes on in hospitals, but people who have seen the show know that Lisa Cuddy kept tabs on other doctors, made sure patients were getting appropriate medical care, handled legal issues, kept the hospital board happy – and was a doctor herself! Hospital administrators need to have a variety of skill sets, including the ability to understand legal regulations and have good oral and written communication skills. Hospital administrators must also be strong problem-solvers who are willing to stay current on industry developments and trends in science and technology.

Sources:

http://work.chron.com/qualifications-required-hospital-administrators-5435.html

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestjobs/2010/full_list/index.html

http://www.princetonreview.com/Careers.aspx?cid=203

About the Author:
Iris Stone is a freelance writer, editor, and business owner who has written on a range of topics. She has experience covering content on medicine, healthcare, and career training, as well as education. Iris is also interested in science and mathematics and is currently studying to be a physicist. Check out her Google+ Profile.

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