Health care executives are confronted by a working environment that is increasingly difficult to manage. Skyrocketing health care costs, with shrinking reimbursement, threaten the existence of hospitals. A successful hospital chief executive officer (CEO) is one who can effectively manage his/her hospital in spite of industry challenges and problems. Graduate programs in health services administration must be designed to meet the needs of future health care executives. Many times, educators are criticized for not addressing "real world" issues within the curricular structure. The present study was conducted to gather information from executives who are the experts on what to expect in the health care industry regarding the appropriateness of curricular topics. Results indicate that practicing CEOs believe those curricular areas which focus on financial planning, budgeting, medical-legal issues, and strategic planning are more important than those that deal with international health care, epidemiology, or research methods. The information gathered in this study may be useful as a guide for educators, to evaluate and revise existing graduate programs in health care administration. Data presented here may also be used to assist in long-range planning for new health administration programs.