4 Senior Level Career Tracks in Hospital Management

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Hospital administrators are bound by legal and moral ethics to deliver quality health services that improve community wellness. [1] As community leaders and medical executives, they are prime candidates to represent the public’s interests regarding health law, care provider policies, and organizational principles. In particular, quality of care and patient safety represent the highest priorities for administrators. Stakeholders, such as patients and lawmakers, rely on hospital administrators to ensure that care provider organizations are meeting these standards. As a result, many of the tasks completed by health care administrators involve proactively promoting quality and safety in the patient treatment environment. To accomplish these objectives, it is key that administrators are recruited, trained, and carefully monitored in the delivery of services that fulfill public health care needs. The following descriptions highlight just four of the many career tracks in which hospital senior professionals assume this noble responsibility.

Hospital CEO

Health care organizations hire chief executive officers (CEOs) to perform—among other crucial responsibilities— the fundamental task of identifying areas for improvement. [2] These executives fulfill this objective, in part, by inspiring health care workers to do their best. Health care organizations rely on CEOs to fulfill the primary purpose of consistently delivering positive patient outcomes.

In the United States, hospital CEOs earn an average of $110,000 per year. This is 85 percent higher than the salaries of comparable executives working outside of the medical field. Pay for CEOs does vary, with the lowest 10 percentile earning $55,000 per annum, and the highest segment being compensated at $166,000 per year.

Service Line Administrator

Service line administrators oversee the operation of distinct hospital medical units or departments such as those involved in cardiac care, oncology, orthopedics, and women’s health. [3] They also develop the policies that govern the services and treatments provided to patients. Additionally, service line administrators perform duties such as drafting operational and financial plans. A service line administrator will use their intimate knowledge of various medical disciplines to help care providers achieve organizational objectives. While the career track of the service line administrator is not limited to health care, those who are employed in the field are compensated at the highest levels, earning around $155,000 in annual salary.

Health Informatics Manager

Health informatics managers oversee the information technology (IT) operations of a health organization. [4] They monitor and manage the tasks required to incorporate information technology with clinical practices. Informatics managers also ensure appropriate personnel are proficient in the use of health care hardware and software. Their duties include developing IT policies and procedures that comply with the latest best practices. More importantly, they make sure that organizations stay abreast of, and comply with the many changing laws that regulate the delivery of health services.

Health informatics managers earn roughly $92,819 per year, with approximate salaries ranging between $59,008 and $127,876. Specialty skills, such as project management or advanced clinical information systems education, can boost a manager’s salary toward the higher end of the average pay spectrum. However, employers typically require that job candidates possess several years of related experience to qualify for this high-level post.

Operations Director

Operations directors oversee activities that lie outside the scope of delivering health services including policy, goals, improvement planning and implementation, as well as other areas. [5] These executives evaluate current activities and planning, making adjustments as needed to facilitate positive organizational performance. Because employers typically require these executives to have ten or more years of job-related experience, operations directors are well versed in the concepts, practices, and protocols that are commonly used to direct non-clinical tasks at health care facilities. To overcome daily organizational challenges, these professionals must temper experience and skill with innate ingenuity. Their experience must enable them to lead staff members, exercise competent judgment, and assist organizations in fulfilling non-health service objectives.

With the immense responsibilities of an operations director comes commensurate salary. Health care organizations compensate operations directors an average of $161,956 annually. Yearly salaries may vary depending on geographic location and duties, with some organizations paying $141,971 on the low end, and $184,918 on the high end.

Hospital managers make critical decisions that determine the safety and quality of health care activities. These executives develop goals and procedures, pinpointing and leading the most impactful activities that drive organizational performance. For those who are determined to become health care advocates and make a positive impact on patient services, a career as a health care manager may provide ample opportunities to make a real difference.

Learn More

At Regis, we give you more pathways to pursue your goals in healthcare administration. As a dedicated leader of health administration education, we welcome ambition-driven, self-motivated professionals like you from all health care settings. Gain special insight into areas like management, communications, health informatics, and health policy through our Online Master of Health Administration.

Recommended Sources:

• Improving Patient Safety

• 5 Ways Continuity of Care is Impacting Health Care

• An Overview of Health Informatics for Future Health Leaders


[1] BMJ Journals
[2] Becker’s Hospital Review
[3] Salary.com – Service Line Director
[4] Monster.com
[5] Salary.com