How to Become a Healthcare Administrator
The Definitive Career Guide

Avg. Salary

Education Duration
4+ Years

Job Outlook

A Healthcare Administrator’s main goal is to keep a hospital or other health facility running smoothly behind the scenes.

If you are highly motivated, organized, and have great leadership skills, then you may be just the right person to have a career as a Healthcare Administrator.

These healthcare managers will be working with employees as well as insurance companies, doctors, and patients in order to make sure everyone is satisfied.

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What is a Healthcare Administrator?

A Healthcare Administrator is an umbrella term for someone who does all of the behind the scenes business type of stuff for hospitals and doctor’s offices.

You can find Healthcare Administrators handling employees, dealing with vendors, taking care of clients who may be having issues, or working with the budget.

As a Healthcare Administrator, you will be tasked with keeping on top of everything that happens in the areas of the hospital that only employees see, so you must be incredibly organized and able to work by yourself.

This career doesn’t deal with patients on a daily basis but still involves the medical field.


There are several things that a Healthcare Administrator must work on every single day.

Not only will you be required to attend meetings with doctors as well as other administrators and managers, as a Healthcare Administrator it is also your job to:

  • Manage staff
  • Manage patient care and experience
  • Oversee the financial health of the company
  • Ensure compliance with medical ethics and codes
  • Manage policies for hiring, firing, and scheduling, etc.
  • Budgeting


On average, a Healthcare Administrator in the United States makes around $115,000 a year.

In states like Arizona and California, Healthcare Administrators can make over $120,000 a year.

Healthcare Administrators who have many years of experience and certifications can make over $150,000 a year in some areas, like Washington D.C.

However, those that are just starting out in the career or who don’t have a certification or degree will typically make closer to $58,000 a year.

States with smaller populations have salaries closer to $96,000 a year, like Mississippi.

Having a Bachelor’s degree will significantly increase your salary, as well as earning any certifications.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $115,160


Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$150,040
New Hampshire$119,780
New Jersey$120,650
New Mexico$126,820
New York$147,000
North Carolina$118,020
North Dakota$124,470
Rhode Island$131,500
South Carolina$101,990
South Dakota$105,260
West Virginia$110,100
Puerto Rico$77,310
Virgin Islands$95,050

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $150,040.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $150,040
New York - $147,000
Hawaii - $133,320
California - $133,040
Massachusetts - $132,960
* Salary information based on May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical and Health Services Managers, OCC Code 11-9111, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

Step 1 Earn a Degree

In order to work as a Healthcare Administrator, you must have a Bachelor’s degree.

There are several different majors that are acceptable for this career choice.

These areas of expertise include:

  • Health Services Management
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Business Administration
  • Nursing Administration

An important note, make sure that the degree you are planning to obtain is accredited by the Association of United Programs in Health Administration.

A Bachelor’s degree can take around four years to full-time students, and anywhere from five to six years to part-time students.

It’s possible to even earn a degree in Healthcare Administration or one of the other majors, online.

Some of the classes you can expect in a typical Healthcare Administration program include:

  • The US Healthcare System
  • Healthcare Economics
  • Health Laws and Ethics
  • Operations Management
  • Healthcare Information Systems

In order to be eligible to earn a Bachelor’s degree in one of these majors, you must have a high school diploma and a 2.5 GPA in most cases.

Step 2 Gain Work Experience

After graduating from a Bachelor’s degree program, it’s time to enter the workforce.

With this degree, it’s possible to gain an entry-level position in certain businesses and medical facilities.

Some of the places you may want to think about working include:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Consulting Practice
  • Colleges or Universities
  • Emergency Medical Facilities
  • Government Agencies
  • Home Healthcare Facilities

There are so many options for someone who is interested in working as a Healthcare Administrator.

The great thing about this career is that you can jump around and find which niche you enjoy working in the most.

Gain a couple of years of experience, and then seek to become certified so that you can gain even bigger promotions or raises.

Step 3 Become Certified

Having a certification in any career sets you apart from the rest, but as a Healthcare Administrator, it is even more rewarding.

There are several types of certifications that a Healthcare Administrator can earn, some of the most influential are:

  • Certified Medical Manager
  • Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional
  • Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management

Each of these certifications has its own requirements, but the main focus is to gain experience in the field of Healthcare Administration before attempting certification.

Most certifications require at least two years of experience as a Healthcare Administrator.

It is also required to take an exam to gain any of these credentials, as well as many others not listed.

Step 4 Further Your Career

Certifications and experience can always help your career, but other things that you can do to accelerate your role as a Healthcare Administrator include:

  • Earning a Masters degree
  • Volunteer
  • Work in different departments such as insurance underwriting, health information management, or as a nursing home administrator

For those who have earned a Masters degree or have begun looking for new careers may find employment in areas such as:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Administrative Services Management
  • Health Insurance Specialist
  • Training and Development Management
  • Social and Community Services Management

No matter the role you take as a Healthcare Administrator or beyond, it’s important to gain leadership skills, have a keen eye for detail and become experienced with all different types of people.


Employers require Healthcare Administrators to have at least a Bachelors degree in Healthcare Administration or another closely related field like:

  • Business Administration
  • Nursing Administration
  • Health Services Management

Having management and leadership skills is a must for this career.

Not only that, but many employers require technology skills and other knowledge like math and English.

Most Bachelor’s degrees cover the bases on all of these topics, as well as courses that are tailored to your specific major.

While a Bachelor’s degree can take about four years to finish for full-time students, two years of that is taking general education classes.

Most of the classes that you will take for your major in Healthcare Administration include:

  • Evidence-Based Healthcare Administration and Literacy
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare Management
  • Marketing for Healthcare Administration
  • Health and Wellness Across Populations

In a Healthcare Services Management program, you can expect to take courses like:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Human Resources Management
  • Healthcare Financing and Accounting
  • Healthcare Management

Business Administration and Nursing Administration majors will typically have courses geared toward those niches and aren’t the best majors to pick if you are serious about becoming a Healthcare Administrator, though they will work in most facilities.

Once you earn a Bachelor’s degree and you have some experience in the field of Healthcare Administration, you may decide to earn a Master’s degree.

There are many types of Masters degrees out there, from online to accelerated programs.

Most Master’s degrees take about two years to finish and can help you to earn a higher salary or gain that promotion you are looking for.

A typical Master’s degree program in Healthcare Administration will have classes that are focused on leadership and management in the healthcare field.

Some of the classes that can be expected in this type of program are:

  • Epidemiology and Health Planning
  • Healthcare Financial Management
  • Healthcare Strategies
  • Healthcare Information Systems

It’s also possible to specialize in a specific area of Healthcare Administration, such as:

  • Acute care
  • Long term care
  • Environmental health science
  • Maternal and child health

There are many career paths that a Healthcare Administrator can take after earning a Master’s degree.

Look forward to a career as:

  • Medical and health service manager
  • Administrative service manager
  • Healthcare social worker

Video About The Career


Working in the healthcare industry can be very lucrative for Healthcare Administrators, especially if they choose to earn certifications.

There are many certifications that are available in this career, which are completely voluntary.

However, employers like to hire those with certification over Healthcare Administrators with fewer credentials.

Some of the certifications that you can earn as a Healthcare Administrator are:

  • Certified Medical Manager
  • Certified Healthcare Financial Professional
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality
  • Certified Healthcare Access Manager

Other certifications can be found through the American Association of Healthcare Risk Management or the Association of Healthcare Administrative Professionals.

There are separate requirements for each of the certifications, so make sure you research the one that you are interested in.

The Certified Medical Manager certification requires applicants to have a minimum of two years of job experience as well as twelve college credit hours in healthcare or business management.

In order to earn this credential, you must take a 200-question multiple-choice exam that will test your knowledge on:

  • Human resources
  • Finances
  • Risk management
  • Patient clinical education
  • Business Management

The Certified Healthcare Financial Professional certification requires that you have experience in the financial sector of a healthcare facility.

In order to earn this certification, you must take the Business of Healthcare Program online and complete an exam.

The Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality certification is for anyone who works as a Healthcare Administrator.

You must pass an exam in order to be awarded this credential, expect to find subjects like:

  • Organizational leadership
  • Patient safety
  • Performance and process improvement
  • Health data analytics

As a Certified Healthcare Access Manager, you must have at least two years of experience as a manager in a healthcare facility.

You will also need to have a referral from your coworkers, supervisor, and course instructors.

In order to earn this certification, an exam must be taken as well.

This exam is about 115 questions and can take up to three hours to finish.

The exam tests you on your knowledge of front-of-house experiences in the healthcare system.

This includes checking the patients in, helping them with registration, and checking them out when they are finished.

There are so many certifications to be gained as a Healthcare Administrator, you will always have something to look forward to.

Certification Example:

healthcare administration certificate

Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years

Most trainings gained working as a Healthcare Administrator comes from on the job experience.

There are some training programs that will lead students through the ins and outs of business and Healthcare Administration, and these can take about a year to complete.

However, for most Healthcare Administrators who want further education, earning a Bachelor’s degree is the most appropriate.

This can take around four years to complete.

A Bachelor’s degree can set up Healthcare Administrators for entry-level positions in most healthcare facilities.

Job Outlook

Having a career as a Healthcare Administrator could be very promising.

This career looks to potentially grow around 18 percent over the next ten years.

This is quite a bit more than many other careers in this same field, the reason for this rise is that the baby boomer generation is growing older.

This generation aging-up will create more need for medical attention, as well as increase job opportunities when they retire from the workforce.

Healthcare Administrators who are good with technology and can adapt to new and changing healthcare systems will have the best chances in this career.

Employment Growth Projection: 18%


That's a higher than average projected growth of 71,500

Should You Become a Healthcare Administrator?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

Healthcare Administrators working today find their careers to be quite enjoyable.

The reason for this satisfaction is that they feel they are making a positive difference in people’s lives.

Having so many roles as a Healthcare Administrator can be scary but being well-organized is key to making in this career.

There are several different areas to work in as a Healthcare Administrator, which can add to how enjoyable the job can be.

People that are interested in a career as a Healthcare Administrator can expect to find job opportunities in:

  • Doctor’s offices
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health insurance companies
  • Nonprofit organizations

Healthcare Administrators who have had success in the role say that it is a good career because of the ability to gain promotions as well as the variety in daily duties.

Average Salary: High

Average Salary

It can be very lucrative to work as a Healthcare Administrator in the United States.

Starting out, it’s likely that you will make around $56,000 a year, however not long after you could be making nearly $100,000 in some areas.

The average Healthcare Administrator makes around $120,000 a year.

This is after two or more years of work experience but having even more practice as well as certifications or other specialties can provide an even larger salary, at around $150,000 a year in some areas of the United States.

Job Growth Outlook: High

Job Growth Outlook

Healthcare Administrators will see a rise in career opportunities over the next decade.

This is due to the baby boomer generation growing older, they are retiring and creating more jobs for incoming Healthcare Administrators.

Not only that, but the need for more medical care from this generation will create a bigger need for Healthcare Administrators.

As a result, this career will rise by about 18 percent by 2028, which is much higher than many other careers in the healthcare field.

If you are looking to start a career as a Healthcare Administrator, now is the time to take your first steps.

Education Duration: 4+ Years

Education Duration

In order to work as a Healthcare Administrator in most facilities across the United States, you must have at least a Bachelor’s degree.

On average, a Bachelor’s degree takes around four years to finish for full-time students.

After you gain a Bachelor’s degree, you may want to think about earning a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration or an equivalent.

This can take another two years to finish.

All in all, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 years to become a Healthcare Administrator.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Not everyone will succeed in the role of a Healthcare Administrator.

You must be well-organized and good on your toes, but there are some other qualities that go great with this career.

These personal skills include:

  • Empathy
  • Active listening skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Project management abilities
  • Decision-making skills
  • Ability to think critically
  • Good math and budgeting skills
  • Patience
  • Ability to wear many hats at once
  • Healthcare knowledge
  • Medical terminology knowledge

There are many sides to a Healthcare Administrator, which means you must be well-balanced and able to work in many different areas of the healthcare field.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the average salary of a Healthcare Administrator?

Most Healthcare Administrators in the United States can make quite a bit of money, at around $120,000 a year on average.

Those that are just starting out as Healthcare Administrators will likely make a bit less, at $56,000 a year in some areas.

However, with certifications and many years of experience, it’s possible to earn over $150,000 a year as a Healthcare Administrator.

Some areas of the United States have higher salaries, like California and Washington, while smaller states and less populated states pay their Healthcare Administrators a little less.


How long does it take to become a Healthcare Administrator?

For now, it’s not legally required to have a Bachelor’s degree in order to work as a Healthcare Administrator, however, most employers expect it.

This is because a Bachelor’s degree shows employers, as well as clients and patients, that you are competent in your career.

The average Bachelor’s degree takes around four years to complete, and after two years of experience working as a Healthcare Administrator, you can become certified.

This means that it can take anywhere from four to six years to become a Healthcare Administrator.


What does a Healthcare Administrator do?

You could say that a Healthcare Administrator is a jack of all trades.

This is because they are tasked with making sure all of the fronts of the house business gets taken care of in a hospital or other medical facility.

A Healthcare Administrator works with employees, customers, and patients in order to keep everyone safe and happy.

They may work on scheduling, budgeting, customer service, and many other duties throughout the day.


What is the demand for Healthcare Administrators?

It seems that there will be a need for Healthcare Administrators for many years to come.

Over the next decade, this career will rise around 18 percent, which is outstanding compared to other careers in the healthcare field.

Most of the job opportunities are coming from the baby boomer generation, who are growing older and retiring, making room for a new generation of Healthcare Administrators.

That same generation is going to start needing more medical attention as well, which will cause the spike.


How much does it cost to become a Healthcare Administrator?

On average, a Bachelor’s degree in the United States costs around $25,000.

That’s for a typical public university, if you attend a private school you may pay more than $50,000 to become a Healthcare Administrator.

It’s possible to earn a Master’s degree for this career as well, which can cost another $50,000 to complete.

In total, becoming a Healthcare Administrator can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 depending on where you go to school.

USA Healthcare Administrator Info by State

USA Map Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Utah Arizona Montana Wyoming Colorado New Mexico north-dakota/ South Dakota Nebraska kansas/ Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Kentucky Tennessee Mississippi Alabama Georgia Florida South Carolina North Carolina Virginia Michigan Michigan Indiana Ohio West Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maryland Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Vermont New Hampshire Maine Alaska Hawaii New Jersey Vermont New Hampshire Massachusetts

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