Medical administrators are the heart and soul of a hospital, healthcare facility or medical group. They plan, direct, coordinate and supervise healthcare throughout the organization. In addition to increasing the efficiency of an enterprise, medical administrators are tasked with improving the quality of care.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for medical administrators are projected to grow 16% from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Given ongoing changes in the healthcare environment – including new technology and regulations – the industry will need experienced medical administrators to keep business running smoothly.
Working with risk managers and others in healthcare administration, medical administrators ensure that the organization remains compliant with a wide – and constantly changing – number of industry-specific rules and regulations. Their job responsibilities also include improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare and controlling costs. Medical administrators are often tasked with implementing technologies such as computerization of records.
In large hospitals, a medical administrator will have several assistant administrators to help manage the day-to-day work for such departments as nursing, surgery, therapy and medical records. Medical administrators in smaller facilities generally take on most of these duties themselves. Those working in group medical practices often collaborate with physicians to develop business strategies and oversee practice’s daily activities.
Most medical administrators have offices within a healthcare facility, but may spend time working with staff in other departments. Travel for meetings and conferences, or to inspect satellite facilities, may also be involved.
Currently, the U.S. healthcare environment is experiencing major change. Healthcare reform has yet to be fully implemented, and many programs and regulations are presently in flux. This means that a medical administrator’s job can be an intense, high-pressure position. Medical administrators must be thorough in their research and analysis, and able to make key decisions and recommendations that will impact the entire organization. They should also have strong organizational and multi-tasking skills.
The BLS reports that in May 2009, medical administrators earned a median salary of $81,850. Incomes ranged from a low of $49,750 to a high of $140,300, with the middle 50% earning between $63,700 and $105,980.
Because most medical administrator positions require a bachelor’s degree or higher, associate’s degree holders will typically start off in entry-level healthcare management roles. Those who demonstrate proficiency can move into roles of increasing responsibility, and can position themselves for a medical administrator career with further education and experience.
A position as a medical administrator requires at a minimum a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. However, the industry standard is a master’s degree or MBA in healthcare management, health services administration, health sciences, public health or public administration.
The first step for those looking to become a medical administrator can be an associate’s degree in healthcare management.
Completion of a healthcare management education program helps prepare graduates to:
If you have strong organizational, analytical and communication abilities, excellent decision-making skills and an aptitude for managing the complex inner workings of a healthcare facility, then a job as a medical administrator may be the perfect career for you.