How Much do Healthcare Administrators Make?

If you're thinking of pursuing a career in health administration, you'll want to know your future earning power. Here are some statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to give you an idea of the average earnings of healthcare administrators/health service managers: as of May 2012, healthcare administrators had mean annual salaries of $98,460, with mean wages per hour of $47.34. The lowest 10 percent of administrators (e.g. those in entry-level positions) earned less than $53,940 annually, with mean wages of $25.93 per hour, while the top 10 percent of administrators (e.g. those in executive positions) earned more than $150,560 annually, with mean wages of $72.39 per hour.

It's also worth noting that the salaries of healthcare administrators are influenced by a number of factors, including education, type of position, job setting, and region. These will be examined in more detail below.

 Education/ Master's Degree

 If you would like to be on the high end of the salary scale, a master's degree is a "must", essentially qualifying you to compete for the better paid jobs in health care administration. Bachelor's degrees don't usually allow you to go beyond an entry-level position (e.g. assistant healthcare administrator), and your earnings aren't likely to exceed $54,000.  

Type of Job

As you'd expect, health service managers who have high-level jobs, with a lot of responsibility, are able to command higher salaries than those in lower-level positions. As noted above, professionals in entry-level jobs typically earn less than $53,940 annually, while those in executive positions usually earn more than $150,560 annually. 

Setting

Setting is also crucial in determining pay levels in healthcare administration. For example, health service managers who manage larger medical organizations (e.g. hospitals) usually earn more than those who oversee smaller organizations (e.g. physicians' offices, nursing homes). To illustrate this point, the annual mean salary of a medical/ health service manager working in a hospital is $104,680 as compared to $82, 240 earned by similar professionals working in nursing care facilities, according to the BLS. In addition, the BLS cites the following Medical Group Management Association statistics, illustrating differences in administrator salaries by size of medical facility:

Size of practice

Annual median salary 

Six or fewer physicians

$86,459

Seven to 25 physicians

$115,000

26 or more physicians

$150,756

Region

Earnings of medical and health services managers also vary by state. For example, BLS figures demonstrate the differences in mean salaries for administrators by state, ranging from $114,550 in New York, to $90,430 in Ohio, and $77,940 in Iowa. These and more examples are shown below:

State

Annual mean salary 

California

$113,810

New York

$114,550

Texas

$94,640

Pennsylvania

$91,720

Ohio

$90,430

Maryland

$100,920

Massachusetts

$110,160

Iowa

$77,940

Rhode Island

$110,930

Salary variations are even more dramatic by area. For instance, the annual mean wage for administrators in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California area is $133,390 as compared to $53,810 in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania area. Further information on regional variations in earnings can be found here.

Summary

When embarking on your healthcare administration career, it's worth considering the factors that will affect your earnings. These include:

  • Level of education
  • Type of job
  • Job setting
  • Region (state/area)

Useful Resources

Clare Xanthos is a writer, editor and researcher residing in Marietta, GA. She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics, and is the author of numerous articles in the field of public health. She recently served as an editor for a groundbreaking book relating to social determinants of health.

Clare Xanthos – Google+

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