Chief executive officers (CEOs) hold a highly influential and distinguished position in their organizations — they plan they plan companies’ trajectories; help individual departments meet their objectives and comply with rules and regulations, and secure the organization’s’ short- and long-term financial strength and stability. Hospital CEOs have those administrative, financial, and compliance tasks, but they’re also responsible for patient care, safety, and education. In addition, hospital CEOs often participate in philanthropic, social, or fundraising activities related to their careers.
A health care organization’s success depends upon its CEO’s ability to reach goals, meet budgets, and ensure that their institution is equipped with the resources needed to provide safe and effective care to members of the community. A successful CEO should be able to objectively diagnose the company’s issues and understand how to remedy them, as well as lead a culture of accountability and set clear employee expectations. CEOs who can complete these objectives while upholding their obligations to patients make hospitals and health care systems safer, financially stronger, and better able to respond to the industry’s changing needs.
Becoming a hospital CEO is a large but attainable goal, requiring the right combination of education, training, and hands-on experience. Continue reading to learn how to become a hospital CEO.
How to Become a Hospital CEO or Administrator
Hospital CEOs often earn their undergraduate degrees in either business or finance, though those are not the only options. After earning a bachelor’s degree, some future administrators choose to gain on-the-job experience, while others immediately begin pursuing a graduate degree.
While it’s common for professionals who aspire to fill C-level positions to earn a master’s in business or finance, aspiring hospital CEOs should consider pursuing a Master of Health Administration (MHA). The MHA graduate track helps students develop a deep understanding of critical health care industry issues, such as the ever-increasing demand for high-quality, affordable care.
For students without experience in the health care industry but who are interested in pursuing a career in hospital administration, Regis College offers a program that can help them gain up to 100 hours of hands-on field experience working with local health care institutions. This is a remarkable opportunity for some, but it is important to note that this portion of the MHA program is not always mandatory and can be waived for student professionals who have already gained 2 years of related work experience, with at least one of those years being in a managerial position.
Ambitious individuals who are action-oriented, make critical decisions, enjoy being in charge, and can take responsibility for outcomes are good candidates for CEO positions. Hospital CEOs, in particular, should also understand the clinical and operational aspects of the health care industry and be committed to upholding its stringent ethical standards and practices.
A strong performance in human resources, excellent business acumen, and a proven record of financial success are also indicators a person would be a good CEO candidate. Additionally, CEOs and other leaders must be able to forge and maintain relationships within the community as well as understand and comply with all local, state, and federal regulations.