Medical and Health Administrator

Health Care Job Openings

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Job Duties

Working Conditions/Requirements

Education & Preparation

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Employment & Outlook


Sources of Additional Information


Health Administrators direct and coordinate the functions of a hospital or health institution and the activities of staff.  They are responsible for the efficient operation of the health care facility.

Job Duties

Health Administrators may:

Be responsible for the total operation of the hospital or institution

Direct activities of medical, nursing, technical, clerical, service, and maintenance staffs of hospitals

Direct the hiring and training of personnel

Administer fiscal operations such as budget planning, accounting, and establishing rates for health services

Promote public relations with the community

Maintain and develop professional standards, policies, and procedures for various institutional activities

Negotiate for improvements and additions to buildings and equipment

Prepare official reports of hospital or institution activities

Attend meetings of the governing body of the institution

Develop or expand programs or services for scientific research, preventive medicine, medical and vocational rehabilitation, and community health and welfare

Participate in hospital associations and professional activities

Click here  to watch a video on Health Administrators.



Health Administrators may specialize in these areas:

187.117-010 HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATORS coordinate the functions and the staff activities of a hospital.

075.167-010 NURSING SUPERVISORS coordinate, supervise, and evaluate the activities of the nursing staff working in specific nursing services such as obstetrics, orthopedics, pediatrics, and surgery.

187.117-018 INSTITUTION DIRECTORS are Health Administrators who direct and coordinate the functions of clinics, health maintenance organizations (HMO's), preferred provider organizations (PPO's) and other special medical facilities.

Health Administrators may also specialize in the administration of certain management functions and be designated by such titles as policy development administrator or health program analyst.

In addition to learning about these specialties, you may also find it helpful to explore the following Career Exploration Scripts:

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In small hospitals, Health Administrators may personally coordinate the functions and activities that combine to make an organization work. In larger hospitals, they may work through a staff of assistant administrators who direct daily operations. For example, a chief of medical staff may be available to deal with strictly medical matters. The Health Administrator remains informed through formal and informal meetings with assistants, medical staff and other hospital workers. Usually, the Administrator is in complete charge and is responsible only to a policy making body such as a board of trustees. Health Administrators working in positions other than hospital administration have varied working conditions.

Most Health Administrators spend their days in a clean, well lighted, and air-conditioned environment. They usually spend some time in an office and some time walking throughout the hospital.

Health Administrators often work long hours. They work five and one half days a week. However, since hospitals operate around the clock, 365 days a year, Administrators may be called at all hours to settle emergency problems.

Health Administrators may have to attend meetings and conventions of professional associations. State Public Health Department and voluntary Health Agency Administrators travel to inspect facilities in the field.

The Administrator may belong to several hospital associations, such as The American College of Healthcare Executives of The American Hospital Association. Those who belong to associations must pay dues.

You Should Prefer:

  • Activities concerned with the communication of data
  • Activities involving business contact with people
  • Activities directed toward helping people

You Should Be Able To:

  • Gather/analyze/evaluate statistical/other data presented in reports
  • Organize and direct large-scale activities
  • Communicate with people of different types
  • Be flexible in adjusting to changing conditions on the job
  • Make decisions based on personal judgment
  • Work long and irregular hours, often under pressure
  • Participate in community activities and make public speeches

Math Problem You Should Be Able to Solve:

Assume that an ophthalmologist's bill for a cataract operation amounts to $700.00 and the fiscal intermediary finds that this exceeds the usual and customary amount by $150.00. The intermediary pays the doctor 80% of $550.00, which is $440.00. The patient pays the doctor 20% of $550.00 (assuming he has paid the $50.00 deductible), which is $110.00. What is the total amount paid to the ophthalmologist?

Reading Example You Should Be Able to Read and Comprehend:

Proponents of national health insurance consider it a technique for increasing cash flow improving the distribution and delivery of medical care, and controlling charges. It would modify methods for reimbursing providers not only by directly discouraging the costly fee for service approach but also by favoring capitation and salary reimbursement indirectly through the allocation of its medical funds.

Writing Example You Should Be Able to Produce:

Prepare release papers for a patient who is leaving the hospital.

Thinking Skill You Should Be Able to Demonstrate:

Should be able to demonstrate excellent analytical skills, organizational skills, and be detail oriented in running the operations of a health institution.

A graduate degree in health care or business administration and significant experience as an Assistant Administrator in a hospital or other institution are usually required for positions in health administration. The Administrator may also be a physician with training in administration or an individual with at least five years of hospital experience in a key position such as head nurse or business manager.

Administrators of facilities which provide nursing care services must be licensed by the Michigan Department of Community Health Click here  for more information on State of Michigan Licensing, see Nursing Home Administrator for specific information.

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NOTE: A Bachelor's Degree (four years of study beyond high school) or a Master's Degree (five to six years of study beyond high school) or a Professional Degree or Doctorate (seven to ten years of study beyond high school) may qualify a person for this occupation.

The following education and preparation opportunities are helpful in preparing for occupations in this Career Exploration Script:




There are no Vocational Education Programs related to this Career Exploration Script.

Students should obtain the local  Education & Training Opportunities  for information on what happens to students who successfully complete a program. This information is available at each high school or career/technical center.



Programs in Health Care Administration provide opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed for employment in health care management. Positions are found in hospitals, medical care centers, and nursing homes.

Courses within this program may vary from school to school but may include:


Institutional Sanitation


Survey of Data Processing

Human Physiology

Systems Management in the Health Field

Medical Terminology

Purchasing & Materials Management

The Field of Aging

Administering Medical Care Programs

Death and Dying

Group Discipline Procedure

Managerial Accounting

Technical Report Writing

Fiscal Management


Health Economics

  Search for a College and/or Instructional Program


There are no Apprenticeships related to this Career Exploration Script.


Please check the Military web site at


In hospitals and clinics, all of the departments - emergency, X-ray, nursing, maintenance, administration, and food service - must work together to provide quality health care. Health services administrators manage hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities. They also manage individual departments or specific health care programs within a hospital.

What They Do

Health services administrators in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Develop and manage budgets for health care facilities or programs
  • Meet with hospital department heads to plan services and keep the health care facility running smoothly
  • Direct personnel activities, such as hiring, employee evaluation, staff development, and recordkeeping
  • Plan for delivering health services during emergencies and test these plans during exercises
  • Direct the day-to-day operations of the nursing department
  • Direct the operations of support departments, such as maintenance, food services, or administration

Special Requirements

A 4-year college degree in health care, public health, business, nursing administration, or a related field is required to enter most of the specialties in this occupation. Some specialties require further education or prior experience in the health services field.

Helpful Attributes

Helpful attributes include:

  • Interest in planning and directing the work of others
  • Interest in working closely with people
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and concisely
  • Interest in health care

Work Environment

Health services administrators work in hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities. Most work at facilities on land, but some work aboard hospital ships and ships with large sick bays.

Training Provided

Job training provided for some specialties in this occupation. This training consists of 10 to 12 weeks of classroom instruction and practical exercises. Course content typically includes:

  • Planning and directing health services
  • Patient unit management
  • Nursing service administration

Civilian Counterparts

Civilian health services administrators usually work for hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), or other health care facilities. They may also work for colleges and universities, public health agencies, insurance companies, or health management firms. Civilian health services administrators perform duties similar to those performed in the military. Depending on the programs or facilities they manage, civilian health services administrators may also be called hospital administrators, nursing service directors, emergency medical services coordinators, and outpatient services directors.


The services need new health administrators due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. After job training, health services administrators may be assigned to a variety of positions depending on their specialty. Usually, they work under the direction of experienced officers. With experience, they may manage one or more departments in a facility. In time, they may direct a health services facility. Eventually, they may advance to senior management positions responsible for planning health service at many facilities.

E-Learning Courses and Programs

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Volunteer, part-time, or summer jobs as nurse aide, orderly, lab assistant, or clerk may help you to explore this field. Postsecondary programs in health care administration and military service may offer opportunities for experience.

School-to-Work opportunities include:

informal apprenticeships


job shadowing experiences

touring a local Health Administrator employer


volunteer work with a Health Administrator employer

community service work with an agency

Assistance in locating a position may be provided by university placement bureaus or civil service offices. Openings may be listed in publications of health associations and newspaper want ads In addition, you should access and search the Internet's on-line employment services sites such as: - Doctors & Nurses

Michigan Jobs & Career Portal

Michigan Talent Bank

Indeed | one search. all jobs.


USAJOBS - United States Office of Personnel Management

You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services.

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Salaries of Health Administrators depend on the level of job responsibility, size and type of organization, size of the administrative staff, the budget, and, to some extent, geographic location.

Nationally, the average annual base salaries (late 2010) of Health Administrators employed by hospitals were:

Job Title

Small (Under 300 Beds)

Medium              (200-500 Beds)

Large (500 & Over)





Associate Administrator




Medical Director




In 2010, mid-level Health Administrators with a master's degree or equivalent experience employed in federal hospitals earned from $41,563 to $93,175 a year. Assistant Administrators with a bachelor's degree started at $33,979. The salaries of these federal government workers may be higher in some urban areas.

In Michigan hospitals, the annual salaries (mid 2010) of Administrators who performed specific job functions were:

Job Title


Middle Range

Chief Financial Officer (private sector)


$226,199  -  $366,965

Nursing Director


$85,883   -  $118,602

Materials Management Director(private sector)


  $89,466  -   $120,081


Most Health Administrators receive benefits including life, accident, disability, and hospitalization insurance; paid vacations and holidays; and retirement plans. Those in hospitals may also receive optical and dental insurance. Some hospitals may provide Health Administrators with an automobile. These benefits are usually paid for, at least in part, by the employer.

Health Administrators' advancement potential depends primarily on graduate education, experience, and administrative ability. They advance by taking positions with more responsibility. They may begin in small hospitals with broad responsibilities or in large institutions in positions narrow in scope. Advancement usually consists of assuming greater responsibility. Administrative Assistants may advance to become Assistant Administrator, Associate Administrator, and Administrator. Advancement to Administrator may occur in various ways. Sometimes, an administrative assistant may be promoted to assistant Administrator, after completing a residency, and work up to Administrator. More often, the less experienced person moves to a different hospital for a position offering more money or more responsibility.

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Nationally, there were about 283,500 individuals employed as Medicine and Health Managers in 2008 Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2018 as quality and quantity of services increase and as hospital management becomes more complex. Additionally, about 6.0% of them were self-employed. Hospital mergers, shared services, and corporate realignment may limit the number of the top administrative positions. Opportunities will be best for those with graduate degrees.  The industry distribution for Health Administrators looks like this:


NAICS Industry Title

% Employed 2008


Health care



State & Local Government



Educational services, public and private



Federal government



Social assistance



Finance and insurance





To find employers, click Employer/Business Locator.

There are about 9,575 Health Administrators employed in Michigan. Most worked in urban areas in hospitals, clinics, community mental health facilities, health maintenance organizations (HMO's) and preferred provider organizations (PPO's). Others worked for health planning agencies, public health departments, voluntary health agencies, research organizations, government agencies, and rehabilitation centers.

Employment of Health Administrators in Michigan is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2018. An average of 310 openings per year is expected, with 130 due to growth and 180 due to replacement of Administrators who retire, die, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Some additional openings will occur as workers change jobs or occupations.

Opportunities are becoming more available outside of the hospital. The demand for Administrators will be affected by the formation of more home health agencies, consulting firms, rehabilitation centers, universities and research institutions, mental health organizations, and group medical practices, and health maintenance organizations (facilities which offer members a broad range of medical services for a monthly fee paid in advance). Administrators also will be needed in nursing and convalescent homes to handle the growing amount of administrative work expected as these facilities expand. Other Administrators will continue to head various health-related associations.

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American College of
Health Care Executives

Suite 1700
One North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60606-3529
(312) 424-2800

Michigan Department of Community Health Nursing Home Administrators Board
611 W. Ottawa
P.O. Box 30670
Lansing, MI 48909-8170
(517) 335-0918

Association of Schools of Public Health
1900 M Street NW
Ste 710
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-1099

American Public Health

800 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 777-2742


American Hospital Association
Career Information Office

155 N. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 422-3000

American Academy of Medical Administrators
701 Lee Street
Ste 600
Des Plaines, IL 60016-4516
(847) 759-8601

College of Osteopathic Health Care Executives American Osteopathic Healthcare Association 
142 East Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(800) 621-1773

Association of University
Programs in Health Administration

2000 14 St. North
Ste 780
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 894-0940

Federal, State, and Local
Civil Service Offices

College Placement Offices

Local Military Recruiters

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