What Does a Health Administrator Do?

Health administrators manage and oversee the day-to-day tasks of health care departments, practices or entire facilities. Find out the typical duties, salary and work environments for a health administrator. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Job Duties Do Health Administrators Perform?

As a health administrator, you plan and manage the delivery of health care services. Your duties mainly focus on business functions, such as finance, admissions, operations and personnel. In a small group practice, all administration duties would be your sole responsibility. In large group practices, you might have several assistants. In either setting, your primary objective will be to assure your organization delivers quality care and it operates efficiently.

At small health care facilities, you may be a generalist who directs every aspect of the operations. At large facilities, you may be one of many specialists supervising specific departments, such as surgery, nursing, information systems or medical records.

In a specialist position, you may develop budgets, procedures and policies for a department and coordinate operations with other departments. For example, as a health information manager, you may be responsible for making sure patient records are accurate, complete and private, whether they're paper-based or electronic. Clinical managers at large facilities typically have prior experience as a practitioner in the area they manage. For example, before directing a physical therapy department, you may have worked as a physical therapist.

Where Do Professionals Work?

General medical and surgical hospitals employ a majority of health care administrators. Other prominent employers include physician's offices, nursing homes, home health care services and outpatient care centers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2010, approximately 282,990 people worked as health care administrators, down from 283,500 in 2008 (www.bls.gov). Total employment was projected to reach 328,800 by 2018.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

July 2011 figures from Payscale.com show the annual earnings for health care administrators in the 10th-90th percentiles were $30,302-$110,131. These figures include bonuses and profit sharing. The BLS salary figures for the same range, as of May 2010, were $51,280-$144,880, but these figures are calculated only using the mean hourly wage, not including bonuses or profit sharing.

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