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Discover Your Salary Potential with a Healthcare Management Degree

Salary considerations are an important part of any career decision. Discover how much you can make with a healthcare management degree below and feel confident in your choice.

A healthcare management degree doesn’t just promise a wide array of job opportunities, but high-paying ones at that. If this sounds too good to be true, remember that as baby boomers age, they will require more healthcare. As a result, there is — and will continue to be — a growing need for medical professionals to meet these demands.

Increased demand for healthcare providers means there will be a commensurate increase in the demand for healthcare managers to oversee them and the healthcare institutions in which they operate. In fact, healthcare services managers are expected to see 28% job growth through 2032.

If you have strong leadership skills, are a critical thinker, and are in the market for a career that promises a competitive salary that grows alongside your expertise, a degree in healthcare management may be for you. There are several pathways into this field, each of which correspond with its own pay range, educational requirements and skills. As you might expect, healthcare management salaries vary, but the median healthcare management job salary totals $104,830.

Keep reading to see which positions you’re qualified for according to your education and experience, and how much you can expect to earn in each, as well as the factors that can help bolster your earning potential as you move through the ranks.

Starting Out: Jobs You Can Get with a Certificate or Associate Degree

It is possible to work your way through advanced degrees in healthcare management, but you don’t have to spend years in school to start earning a competitive salary. In fact, many positions are open to applicants who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management but who have a certificate or associate degree and relevant experience.

Health Information Technician

Health information technicians, sometimes also known as medical registrars, analyze clinical data and provide recommendations on the electronic systems that keep hospitals and healthcare organizations running. Although some organizations may require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree or other certification, you typically only need to obtain an associate degree to enter this field.

Average National Pay: The median pay for health information technicians is just over $28 an hour, or $58,250 a year. Jobs are expected to grow 16% through 2032.

Medical Office Manager

Medical offices require managers to run their day-to-day operations. A medical office manager typically oversees one department. However, depending on the facility, a medical office manager may lead several specialty areas.

The responsibilities of a medical office manager are broad and will vary between healthcare institutions. However, medical office managers generally develop and lead goals and initiatives related to healthcare quality in their service area; ensure compliance with rules and regulations; create staff schedules; interview and hire new employees; and manage the department budget.

Educational requirements to become a medical office manager vary. The minimum requirements typically include an associate degree, although some employers may require a bachelor’s degree, additional certification, or several years of work experience in allied healthcare.

Average National Pay: Medical office managers employed in physicians’ office make $99,440 annually.

Patient Services Coordinator

A patient services coordinator is a broad role. When patients navigate the healthcare system, it can be confusing and complex. The patient services coordinator is there to help patients understand when to be seen by their medical provider, how to navigate insurance, what their treatment options are, among additional duties.

Possible degrees for this career include those in business and health, such as health administration, business administration, and health management, among others.

Average National Pay: $32 an hour or $66,560 annually.

Moving Up: Jobs You Can Get with a Bachelor’s Degree

Most healthcare management jobs require or strongly prefer at least a bachelor’s degree. Healthcare management degree salaries often reflect your education and experience.

Many organizations will help cover the cost of a bachelor’s degree if you have an associate degree. Make sure to read the entire job description. A position may state that they will consider someone with an associate degree but require you to obtain a bachelor’s degree within so many years of employment. If a bachelor’s degree is a requirement, there is often reimbursement for obtaining the required degree.

Healthcare Administrator

A healthcare administrator is a higher-level leadership position. The roles and responsibilities of a healthcare administrator will vary by institution, however, their initiatives often take place at the institutional level versus the unit level.

Healthcare administrators may oversee an entire hospital budget or work with service managers on the individual budgets of their departments to meet larger financial goals. They may also work on patient satisfaction targets, becoming involved on a smaller scale if a clinical area is struggling.

Most healthcare administrators have at least a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration, although many hold a master’s.

Average National Pay: The average salary for a healthcare administrator is $75,669. However, this varies significantly by state.

Health Services Manager

A health services manager’s responsibilities often overlap with those of healthcare administrators. While some facilities view these roles and titles as interchangeable, others have distinct job descriptions. A healthcare administrator might write policies and procedures that the manager oversees the implementation of within their clinical areas.

A health services manager role typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree. However, some organizations may accept an associate degree, while others may require a master’s degree in a healthcare or business-related field.

Average National Pay: The healthcare management degree salary for medical services managers is, on average, $104,830 per year.

Medical Practice Manager

While healthcare administrators and health services managers tend to work in larger practices, such as hospitals, a medical practice manager typically works in a medical office or private practice.

Medical practice managers are often responsible for the office’s budget, staff, and compliance with rules and regulations. They may also oversee inventory and supply ordering as well as patient satisfaction and complaints.

The minimum degree requirement is typically a bachelor’s in healthcare business or a related field. Some practices may require a master’s degree.

Average National Pay: The median national healthcare management job salary for medical practice managers is $72,410 per year.

Aim High: Jobs You Can Get with a Master’s, PhD, or Doctorate

If you want to take your education and career as far as it can go, consider a graduate degree in healthcare management; in combination with additional training and expertise, an advanced degree can result in a higher salary.

Keep in mind that these are senior management positions. So, while the graduate degree is essential, you will also need several years of work experience to qualify for these roles.

Healthcare Executive

Healthcare executive roles are senior leadership positions. Examples of executive healthcare roles include chief executive officer, chief nursing officer, chief information technology officer; finance director; service line director; and senior project manager.

Most healthcare executives hold master’s degrees (at a minimum) and have several years of leadership experience under their belts.

Average National Pay: Given the increased responsibility and scope of these roles the salaries for healthcare executives is generally quite high. For example, the average pay for a chief nursing officer is $154,243, and the average salary for a hospital finance director is $124,326.

Health Policy Analyst or Researcher

A health policy analyst typically works for government, non-profit, or healthcare organizations. The role includes analyzing and improving public healthcare policies.

Most organizations require a bachelor’s degree, typically in public health, to work as a health policy analyst. Some roles, particularly those up the ladder, require a master’s degree in public health. Additionally, some employers may require law-related degrees or certifications.

Average National Pay: With advanced education, the salary associated with this healthcare management degree is $66,098.

Professor in Healthcare Management

All healthcare management positions require significant training and education, so the demand for professors in the field will always be steady.

Average National Pay: The pay will vary depending on whether you are teaching part-time or full-time and at which level you are teaching. For example, if you have a doctoral degree, you may earn more teaching master’s or doctoral-level courses.

The national average for a professor in medical administration is $114,792, and the national average for a professor in public health is $144,596.

Other Factors Affecting Earning Potential

As you’ve seen, your level of education can play a significant role in your earning potential, but it is far from the only factor at play. As we’ll discuss in this section, some of these factors are within your control — you can control the amount of networking you do and whether or not you pursue additional certification — and others are outside your control. These include economic conditions and trends in the healthcare industry.

Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about the factors that can affect your salary as a healthcare management professional.

Economic Conditions & Healthcare Policies

Economic conditions and healthcare policies are two macro level factors that hold significant sway over your earning potential. While there is nothing you can do to change them, it is good to be aware of the role they play. In some cases, organizations that are not meeting budget goals or who are straining under poor economic conditions may cut benefits like 401K matching, institute pay cuts, or eliminate positions entirely.

Healthcare policy can also influence pay. The contracts hospitals and other healthcare facilities negotiate with governmental health insurance companies and healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid can dictate reimbursement policies and ultimately affect how employee salaries are paid out.

Experience & Expertise

The experience and expertise you gain as you progress through your career can affect not only your competitiveness for more advanced roles, but for the high salaries that accompany them. For example, having conducted and published original research will make you a stronger candidate for a position as a professor at an esteemed university.

In addition to experience, you can use your current salary as leverage for a higher one in a new position. If you earned $125,000 in a past leadership role, you can work to negotiate a higher salary that adequately compensates you for the expertise you gained while in that role.

Geographic Location

Many organizations consider the cost of living when determining salary ranges for a position. That’s why Massachusetts, New York, and California have the highest average wages and Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia have the lowest.

It’s important to factor in the cost of living as you weigh your desired salary. For example, the average salary for a medical and health services manager in California — an infamously expensive place to live — is $145,090. Meanwhile, healthcare administrators in Northeast Mississippi earn an average of $88,440.

It is crucial to stay ahead of industry and sector trends. For example, with the move towards electronic health records, there is a greater need for individuals trained in electronic data monitoring and security. As a result, the salary you can earn with a healthcare management degree in informatics or information technology will likely be high, and your degree in demand.

Networking and Professional Connections

Building and maintaining professional connections is vital to your professional success. According to LinkedIn, over 85% of jobs are filled via networking — sometimes it simply comes down to who you know.

Keep in touch with past coworkers, instructors, and mentors, and strive not to burn bridges. You can also network by joining and becoming active in professional organizations. Professional conferences and events are also great ways to meet new people in your field.

Type of Healthcare Facility

The type of healthcare facility that you work in also impacts your salary. There may be differences in pay in rural versus urban hospitals — hospitals also offer shift differentials and holiday pay. Those working in general medical and surgical hospital settings earn the most, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Your Salary FAQs, Answered

Several factors are involved in salary determination, and it is common to wonder about the best ways to increase your earning potential. Networking, pursuing higher education, and working in private versus public sectors are just a few variables that determine healthcare management job salaries. Let’s take a closer look at the impact they have below.

Are there opportunities for salary advancement based on performance and achievements?

This depends on your organization. Many facilities offer a clinical ladder program for staff who work directly with patients. The specifics vary by institution, but generally, participants in this program receive a bonus or higher hourly pay for achievements within the ladder.

Examples of things you may accomplish with a clinical ladder include pursuing a higher degree, precepting new hires, and working on a quality improvement initiative for your unit.

Outside of programs like the clinical ladder, a standout performance and other achievements may help you stand out and be more competitive as you apply for various leadership positions over the course of your career.

Are there specific industry sectors within healthcare management that offer higher salaries?

Healthcare executives in what are considered “C-Suite” roles (most begin with the letter “C”) tend to command the highest salaries. These include Chief Executive Officer, Chief Nursing Officer, and Chief Financial Officer.

While higher leadership positions in healthcare management do come with higher salaries, they also come with increased hours and on-call time.

Do salary structures differ between public and private healthcare organizations?

There are some differences in pay between public and private healthcare organizations. For example, salaries in governmental public health sectors are more competitive than in the private sector.

The average government salary for someone working in healthcare management is $119,000. Those in the private sector working for a physician’s office, by comparison, earn an average of $99,440 annually.

Working for public or private healthcare organizations can also dictate your eligibility for additional benefits. For example, if you have significant student loans, you may want to work for government or nonprofit healthcare facilities in order to qualify for Public Student Loan Forgiveness.

Does the school I earn my degree at affect my earning potential?

Where you earn your degree has less of an effect on your earning potential than the type of degree you earn. So, if a higher income is your goal, aim for higher education.

In fact, earnings for those with a doctoral or professional degree are nearly triple those of an individual with a high school diploma. A higher level of education is also correlated with a lower rate of unemployment rate.

How can participating in professional organizations, conferences, and continuing education affect my future salary?

Participating in professional organizations, conferences, and continuing education can all positively affect your future salary. For example, these activities may count towards your clinical ladder if your healthcare system offers such a program.

Additionally, networking through these opportunities can open doors to future job opportunities and demonstrate that you are engaged in your career. Continuing education can also help you meet educational requirements for higher-level managerial positions.

For example, if you are a nurse and pursue a master’s in business administration or healthcare management, you will likely be more competitive for future management positions. Much of management involves budgeting and finances, which these degrees include.

What is the average starting salary for individuals with a degree in healthcare management?

The median salary for someone with a degree in healthcare management is $104,830. The lowest-paid individuals in the field earn less than $64,100.

If you don’t have an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree, or years of work experience, you can expect to pull in a salary on the lower end of this range. However, your salary potential with a healthcare management degree and work experience is high. Those in the top 10% of earners make more than $209,900 annually. In short, expect your salary to go from good to great as you progress through your career.