Medical Administrator Career Guide

What is a Medical Administrator?

A medical administrator is a professional whose primary function is to ensure the smooth running of all elements of the medical facility. They are efficient multi-taskers and use their specialist knowledge of best medical practice to manage either hospital wards, clinics, medical departments, or entire medical facilities.

A medical administrator is an exceptional professional who has a wide range of well-developed skills and characteristics that have come from their experience in a relevant hands-on medical career as well as in-depth graduate study in an area of the medical industry.

What Does a Medical Administrator Do?

The primary responsibility of a medical administrator is to plan, organize, coordinate, and manage medical services while ensuring the level of care offered by the organization is consistent and aligned with the medical institution’s established long-term goals.

A medical administrator’s working day is spent completing various tasks that require urgent and non-urgent action. Medical administrators have different workflows and responsibilities due to variation in the industry, but most days will start off with a medical administrator seated in their office where they check their daily meeting schedule and organize their to-do list ranked by order of importance.

Medical administrators spend a lot of time at their desk on their computer and answering phone calls. A significant part of their day is also spent on their feet visiting various hospital departments where they can observe patients and staff in action, discuss pressing concerns with key figures or front-line staff, call meetings with under-performing staff members, delegate tasks to staff members, or have face-to-face interviews with potential employees. When the need arises, medical administrators can be required to work off-site.

Related Reading: Administrative Nurse Career: Job Duties, Skills & Educational Requirements

There are two kinds of medical administrators: specialists and generalists. Specialists are highly-trained and have a great depth of experience in one particular area of medical practice. These types of medical administrators work in organizations that are too large to have one medical administrator govern all divisions, and instead employ multiple medical administrators who work together. This role is also known as medical and health service manager, healthcare administrator, or healthcare executive and the title can be switched interchangeably depending on the preference of the organization. However, the function is primarily the same.

A medical administrator is a people manager and is responsible for meetings on a weekly, daily, quarterly, and yearly basis. Meetings take place with an extensive range of staff and can range in size, from one-on-one meetings with specific staff members to discuss urgent matters to meetings with executive members to address the long-term strategy of the clinic.

Depending on the time of year, a medical administrator may be required to spend a significant portion of the day preparing budgets, approving spending, negotiating with suppliers, or complying with audit requests. They may also engage in the marketing aspects of the business and can spend as much time as is required creating an effective campaign which falls in line with marketing suitable for the demands of the healthcare industry.

Medical administrators are also skilled project managers and can expertly deal with each step, which includes initiating, planning, execute, controlling, and ultimately close the project when they evaluate the goal has been achieved.

Where Does a Medical Administrator Work?

Medical administrators, healthcare administrators, and healthcare executives work in offices in medical organizations, such as nursing homes, clinics, hospitals and mental health facilities.

Regardless of where they are, medical administrators are kept busy either at their desk or up on their feet. However, the role provides enough variation that ensures no day is ever the same making it an excellent fit for individuals who enjoy the challenge of constant change while keeping active.

What Do You Learn in a Medical Administration Degree?

Medical administration students learn a variety of skills and in-depth industry knowledge, including:

  • Knowledge of health issues – Medical administration degrees provide students with an understanding of current health issues they may have to address in their hospital or practice.
  • Health administration – Training covers the day-to-day aspects of health administration, such as how to manage suppliers, manage health budgets, allocate resources, and assess for quality.
  • Management techniques – Medical administrators, are people managers. A standard degree equips graduates with a range of people management techniques which enables them to manage employees. In addition, it also includes specific skills such as strategic management which can be learned through health management case studies.
  • Causation of health issues – The medical administration major equips graduates with an understanding of the causation of health issues in order to help them proactively manage their responsibilities.
  • Emerging health issues – A major part of the medical administrator’s role is managing for future demands. Knowledge of emerging health issues prepares graduates with the background required for effective strategic planning and implementation skills.
  • Codes of practice – All medical administrators are required to follow codes of practice and ensure their medical organization is compliant. The course makes graduates aware of what they need to know and how they can best direct their organization towards meeting this requirement.
  • The legal side of health – Medical administrators may be required to manage any legal repercussions as a result of bad practice or negligence. An education on the legalities of the health industry serves as a preventative to assist medical administrations in identifying issues before they arise.
  • Statistical skills – Medical administrators are required to be adept at handling data of every size. Through practical assignments, students come to grips with the data, analysis, and subsequent reporting required in the role.
  • Health marketing – Most typical medical administration degrees will include a public relations component, where students learn the most effective ways to market health businesses to consumer areas.

What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Medical Administrator?

Unlike other roles in the medical industry, it is not an entry-level role that provides on the job training.

The minimum requirement to become a medical administrator is a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as a Bachelor of Health Administration, which may provide direct entry for outstanding graduates. Admission requirements for the Bachelor of Health Administration are a high school diploma (or GED). Depending on the school, SAT/ACT scores may also be required.

In some cases, a master’s level education (plus relevant experience) is required before you can step into the role. With a duration of anywhere between 2-3 years, a master’s degree requires applicants to have a good undergraduate track record, submit a personal statement combined with a resume. In addition, applicants may be required to submit a recent GRE (Graduate Record Exam) score or a GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) score.

What are the Advantages of an Online Medical Administration Degree?

The advantages of studying an online medical administration degree:

  • Earn while you learn – You don’t have to give up your current career when you choose to up skill with an online medical administration degree. You can seamlessly transition into a new role without a gap in your resume.
  • Quick career change – In some cases, the online program can be completed in a minimum of 28 months, so can transfer to a better paying role in a short timeframe.
  • Significant income boost – Medical administrators work in a high paying field, so you’ll receive a significant pay rise in relation to how much time and money you have to spend on your course.
  • Flexible delivery methods – An online degree is much more flexible than an on-campus degree, so you don’t have to disrupt your life to attend. This is an excellent option for people working in the medical industry who have family commitments and can’t make significant lifestyle changes.
  • Less expensive fees – Online degrees are typically less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. You won’t have the demand for dorm room fees, nor will you have to worry about travel costs.
  • Study across borders – Instead of just studying at your local university, you could choose to study at an out-of-state or international university. This is a good option if you’d like to study at a university that is renowned for a specific field or has a reputation for creating outstanding graduates.
  • Networking opportunities – While you’re studying from a distance, you still have access to your classmates and teachers. You’ll meet like-minded people and might hear about job opportunities through the network your university provides.

What Does It Take to Become a Medical Administrator?

Budgeting and Financial Skills

Medical administrators are required to be proficient in all aspects of medical practice budget and financial planning management. This can vary from a long-term goal of over five years which takes into account the long-term direction of the organization, to an annual plan or end of year financial, through to a yearly budget, a daily budget, expenditure, suppliers, and payroll management.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning and management play a key role in a medical administrator’s functions. Medical administrators are responsible for providing a long-term vision for the organization they work for as well as providing the roadmap to bring that vision to fruition. Strategic planning requires medical administrators to be proficient at determining priorities, directing business focus and resources, as well as making sure all personnel involved in the organization are working toward this goal. They must also be adept at objectively evaluating their own work.

Program Management

Medical administrators must be adept at managing or delegating every step of the program management workflow in order to achieve goals in relation to the organization. Project management is a highly-skilled area in which medical administrator can choose to hold relevant certifications or complete additional study to increase their competence in the area.

Exceptional Communication Skills

Medical administrators are required to deliver critical information to a wide variety of people who have different levels of responsibility, functions within the medical organization setting, and a varying degree of comprehension when it comes to technical or medical information. It is important that a medical administrator can communicate effectively, clearly, and professionally across all mediums with all audiences to ensure full understanding that any action required takes place within appropriate timeframes.

People Management

Medical administrators recognize that the employee experience (EX) is a key component of the success of and is a large driver of the health organizations results. A medical administrator is required to be responsible for hiring, leading their team, as well as providing constructive feedback

They are also responsible for taking appropriate disciplinary actions should an employee breach any aspect of the hospitals code of practice, code of conduct, patient rights, or any relevant law governing the appropriate actions of staff. Medical administrators should possess a high level of functioning emotional intelligence and approach situations openly while also being approachable.

Industry Experience

Most medical administrators need previous hands-on experience in medical organizations of a similar scope or one that has similar functions. This is because a medical administrator is required to know the demands of the role from the perspective of medical staff. As patient lives are on the line, it is important the medical administrator in charge understand exactly what is required. It is not uncommon to see medical administrators step into the role after years of proven service in other medical professions, such as nursing.

Marketing Awareness

Medical administrators are occasionally responsible for creating, developing, and deploying new marketing campaigns to drive new potential patients toward the practice as well as raise awareness of the facility in the service area. A medical administrator should possess the relevant knowledge and awareness of marketing techniques and approaches that work in the health and wellness industry.

Market Analysis and Data Analysis

To strengthen their results in their marketing efforts, a medical administrator may be required to be proficient at completing effective marketing analysis that truly reflects the demographics of their patient base in their service area. Medical administrators are also expected to be proficient in analyzing any data relevant to medical practice management.

Medical administrators should be confident with their statistical math skills as well as their ability to make sense of data and how that applies in the real world day-to-day running of the organization for which they are in charge. This skill appears in multiple overlapping functions, such as financial management as well as marketing analysis.

Multi-tasking Skills

Medical Administrators are required to continually deal with complex and sometimes challenging tasks simultaneously. This means multi-tasking skills are fundamental.

Awareness and Sensitivity

A medical administrator is required to execute his or her role in a way that does not infringe on the rights of any persons when it comes to race, age, disability, color, gender, veteran status, marital status, religion, or national origin. This requires a medical administrator to act in accordance with the rights of all individuals as well as demand all staff of their organization to comply with relevant federal, state, and local laws that govern these areas. Failure to do so will result in legal action, which a medical administrator will be responsible for managing through to a resolution.

What are the Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Administrator?

The role of medical administrators comes with a variation of pros and cons, which include:

Pros

  • Many transferable skills – a medical administrator is a highly-skilled role that transfers well to various domains. Should a medical administrator wish to step out of medicine, they are equipped with enough skills to handle any executive level management role.
  • Lucrative remuneration – Medical administrators enjoy a high level of pay relative to others in the medical profession. Pay increases with medical administrator experience, making it an excellent long-term career choice.
  • High job satisfaction – As a high ranking professional with the ability to make executive decisions, medical administrators report a high level of job satisfaction than others in the medical field.
  • Regular task variation – The role of medical administrator is not repetitive, every day presents a new challenge, which is a big positive for those who like to improve themselves as well as their workplace.
  • Socially-orientated role – As medical administrators are required to be the face of the organization, they meet and socialize with a wide range of people.
  • Leadership status – A medical administrator is a key figure in any medical establishment. They provide a leadership function, which can be very satisfying for those who desire to take charge and have the organization’s successes attributed to their actions.

Cons

  • Demanding role – The role requires responsibility for many areas simultaneously. They are also required to react, and act should an issue occur. If responsibilities are not managed well, this can lead to administrator stress and occupational burnout.
  • Up-to-date in many areas – Medical administrators are required to possess up-to-date knowledge and comply with all regulations at all times. This can cause significant stress if the administrator feels they are lagging behind the industry or failing to perform.
  • People management – Medical administrators are responsible for managing people, which can be a highly-stressful and challenging task as they are also responsible for hiring, firing, and dealing with complaints between employees.

How Much Does a Medical Administrator Make a Year?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median salary for a medical administrator in 2020 was $104,280 per year or $50.13 per hour. Payscale.com suggests a medical administrator earns an average of $72,826 per year, with the highest annual salary for this role is in the $100,000 range.

Variation in pay is attributed to the broad range of responsibilities and skills each role possesses relative to the size of the medical administrator’s respective organization. Medical administrators can reasonably expect a high-end salary in demanding roles with a large amount of responsibility in large medical institutions.

What is the Job Outlook for Medical Administrators?

According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for medical administrators is likely to grow in demand by up to 32% between the years 2020 to 2030. This is a significantly faster rate than expected, but it is in line with the increasing demands of the aging population, which means it may increase to a greater degree as time goes by making it an excellent career choice for those in the industry wishing to make a career switch.

Related Reading

Further Reading

Copyright © 2022 HealthSchoolGuide.net. All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.