Career Development

How To Become a Hospital Accountant: Step-by-Step Guide

Learn about the steps important to pursuing a career as a hospital accountant, including education, skills, salary and more.

Hospital accountants are responsible for the financial management of a hospital. They work with the hospital’s budget, billing and accounting systems. If you are interested in working in the hospital industry and have strong financial skills, becoming a hospital accountant may be the right career path for you. In this article, we discuss what hospital accountants do, the average salary and the steps you need to take to become one.

What Does a Hospital Accountant Do?

A hospital accountant is responsible for the financial management of a hospital or healthcare facility. They typically report to the chief financial officer (CFO) and work with other members of the finance team to develop and implement financial plans. The duties of a hospital accountant include:

  • Maintaining financial records and preparing financial reports
  • Developing budgets and forecasting future financial needs
  • Analyzing financial data to identify trends and make recommendations
  • Negotiating contracts with vendors and suppliers
  • Overseeing investments and managing cash flow
  • Assisting with auditing and compliance activities
  • Providing support during the planning and implementation of new initiatives
  • Collaborating with other departments to ensure efficient and effective operations

Hospital Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for a hospital accountant is $74,675. This figure can vary based on the size of the hospital, its location, and the level of experience and education of the accountant.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job prospects for hospital accountants to grow at an average rate over the next decade. The demand for these professionals will likely be driven by the need for hospitals to maintain financial stability in the face of rising costs.

How to Become a Hospital Accountant

Here are several steps you should take to become a hospital accountant.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business

A hospital accountant typically requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business or finance. Some schools offer specialized programs in healthcare administration that can help students learn the skills needed to work in hospitals and other health care organizations.

During your undergraduate program, you will take courses in math, economics, statistics and financial management. These classes will teach you how to use formulas and calculations to track and manage finances. You may also choose to pursue a graduate-level certificate in healthcare administration from an accredited university.

2. Complete an internship with a hospital or health care organization

Before becoming a hospital accountant, you may need to complete an internship with a health care organization. This experience can help you gain hands-on knowledge of the industry and prepare you for a job in accounting. Internships are also helpful for building professional connections that can lead to employment opportunities after graduation.

During your internship, you can learn about how hospitals manage their finances and interact with patients and staff. You can also develop skills such as time management and prioritizing tasks. Additionally, interning at a hospital or other health care organization can help you decide if this is the type of career you want to pursue.

3. Become a certified public accountant (CPA)

To work as a hospital accountant, you must become a certified public accountant (CPA). To earn this credential, you need to complete at least 150 hours of college-level accounting courses and pass the CPA exam. The test consists of three parts covering auditing and professional practice, financial planning and management and taxation.

The requirements for earning the CPA vary by state. Some states require candidates to have an associate or bachelor’s degree in accounting from an accredited institution.

4. Obtain experience working with hospital financial records

After earning your CPA, you can begin working as a hospital accountant. You may be able to find entry-level positions with hospitals that don’t require a CPA. However, many employers prefer candidates who have earned their CPA because it demonstrates advanced knowledge of accounting practices and gives them more credibility in the field.

As you work toward gaining experience, consider volunteering at a local hospital or health care organization. This will allow you to network with professionals in the industry and gain valuable on-the-job training.

5. Develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills

Hospital accountants must be able to analyze data and identify trends in order to make informed decisions about how the hospital’s budget should be spent. They also need strong problem-solving skills to address issues that arise with patient billing or other financial matters.

Employers often look for candidates who have experience working in a similar role, as this can help them develop these skills more quickly. Candidates who are CPAs may have an advantage when applying for jobs because they already have some of the necessary qualifications.

6. Stay up to date on changes in the health care industry

The health care industry is constantly changing, and it’s important for hospital accountants to stay up to date on these changes. For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made significant changes to how hospitals operate.

Employers may also make changes to their benefits packages or introduce new policies that affect how hospital accountants do their jobs. It’s important for hospital accountants to keep track of these developments so they can continue providing high-quality services to their employers.

7. Join professional organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is a professional organization that offers resources and training to CPAs. Joining the AICPA can help hospital accountants stay up to date on changes in accounting standards, learn about new developments in the field and network with other professionals. The AICPA also offers a certification program for those who want to specialize in healthcare accounting.


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