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What Does a Hospital Manager Do?

Job growth for medical and health services managers outpaces all other industries (17 percent growth vs. 7 percent) and the demand will only increase.1

Hospital manager positions include titles such as hospital administrators, patient care managers and practice managers. They typically manage an entire facility, a medical practice group of physicians, or a specific clinical area or department such as finance, materials management or patient care services.1, 9

Anyone planning to make the jump to a hospital manager position needs to learn the qualities needed for success in the field. These qualities include removing roadblocks for employees, having knowledge of the technology in the hospital or facility, and knowing employee routines and responsibilities. Knowing what a typical day or week is like helps open one’s eyes to everything that’s involved in a managerial role at a healthcare facility.

Hospital Manager: A Career Profile

Driven by a passion to serve others, healthcare professionals have found a rewarding field. In a recent PayScale survey that compared median pay, job meaning and satisfaction for 454 different occupations, 74 percent of healthcare practitioners and technicians expressed “high satisfaction.”2

After several years in this profession, many healthcare professionals decide to take their career to the next level as a hospital manager. Hospital managers have at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is increasingly preferred by many employers.

Taking business administration and healthcare management courses  is a good way to enter the field of healthcare management, but an MBA degree with a healthcare management specialization can accelerate advancement to higher levels.

The most common master’s degrees among hospital executives include:

  • Master of Health Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA, Healthcare or Hospital Management specializations)

A career as a hospital administrator can be a  lucrative career option, compensation for this position ranges between $48,000 and $179,000 per year with a median salary of $96,000. Those with more years of relevant experience average higher salaries. The median salary for those with 10 to 20 years of experience is $112,000.3

As a hospital manager, you will focus on the big picture and identify changes to help maintain the highest standards. Many healthcare executives find satisfaction in the social impact of their job and are highly respected in their communities.

A Day in the Life of a Hospital Manager

Hospital managers have very little direct communication with patients, but their work is intrinsically tied to policy changes that improve patient care. Since a hospital is a 24/7 institution, the job entails long hours on-site, working weekends, and being on call to handle urgent issues.5

Hospital administrators are responsible for overseeing the hospital’s staff, policies and finances.  They ensure the hospital runs efficiently while serving the needs of the community and meeting financial goals.3

There is no typical week in a hospital setting. Daily duties vary, depending on the type of facility being managed. 

Generally, hospital administrators must do the following:

  • Set budget and departmental goals
  • Strategize to improve efficiency and quality of care
  • Oversee finances such as patient fees, billing and fundraising
  • Ensure the facility’s compliance with laws and regulations
  • Communicate effectively with departments and staff regularly
  • Represent the organization to investors or governing boards 
  • Oversee work schedules, supplies and budgets1
  • Educate the community on important health topics8

A successful hospital manager adapts to change and stays current on healthcare laws, regulations and technology, and coordinates with staff. 

Help Wanted: What Hospitals Look For

The job market for healthcare administration is booming. It’s also highly competitive. Below are qualities that hospitals look for in a hospital manager.

Education: A master’s degree in business administration and / or healthcare administration are desirable.

Experience: Many hospital administrators have previous upper management experience at another organization or in another field. An estimated 49 percent have between five and 19 years of experience. 3

Analytical skills: The ability to understand and follow current policies and laws. 

Technical skills: Stay informed of the latest advances in healthcare and data analytics.

Communication skills: Must be able to communicate policies and procedures with staff, and represent the hospital or organization to the public.

Leadership skills: Hire, train and motivate staff, and come up with creative solutions to problems regarding staffing and patient care.7

With an education in business administration and healthcare management, found in an MBA with a healthcare management specialization, you can accelerate and improve your chances of landing a healthcare executive position. 

To learn more about careers in healthcare management, please download our free guide here.


1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical and Health Service Managers

2 PayScale, “The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs.”




6 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical and Health Service Managers

7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical and Health Service Managers