Master of Health Administration Salary and Career Outlook

Unlike doctors and nurses, heath administrators are not typically patient-facing. Their duty lies in handling the business side of a practice, including monitoring budgets, supervising medical services and managing employees. As a result, this program is focused on preparing potential graduates to excel in nearly anything related to health care facilities operations.

Health care administrators go by a number of titles, including department managers, health care executives and medical service managers. These positions can be found in hospitals, clinics, health care practices, government organizations, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. They have a varying salary scale based on location and education level. That means that professionals working in health care administration may be able to advance their career more successfully should they continue their education.

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Health Care Administration Job Description: What Do Health Administrators Do?

Health care administration workers play a critical role in their place of work, so they require the right training in order to support their facilities with care and efficiency. Each administrator is responsible for maintaining the day-to-day operations of health care provider offices, ensuring that other health care professionals are able to perform their job smoothly. Responsibilities of health care administrators include:

  • Researching and implementing health care laws and regulations
  • Coordinating employee schedules
  • Supervising daily activities
  • Overseeing finances
  • Updating records
  • Handling marketing

Because of their important role in the industry, health administration workers can be found in a variety of settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Hospital networks
  • Home health care organizations
  • Private practices
  • Nursing homes
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Group practices
  • Clinics
  • Urgent care providers
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Insurance companies
  • Government organizations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) page on medical and health services managers, health administrators must have at minimum a bachelor's degree, preferably in health administration, health management, nursing, public health administration or business administration. While many positions require a bachelor’s degree to apply, potential employers may consider candidates more competitive if they earned their master’s degree.

Employers may also require medical service managers to have prior work experience in a clinical or administrative position. According to the BLS, some examples of acceptable work history for health administrators include:

8 Great Jobs in Health Care Administration

Professionals with a master’s in health administration (MHA) will likely be able to find a job somewhere in a hospital, but health administrator jobs are certainly not limited to that one setting. Here are some of the most common jobs in health administration.

Clinical Management Jobs

Clinical managers, or health care program directors, oversee one or more departments within a health care organization. Examples of these departments include surgery, physical therapy or nursing. Responsibilities for clinical managers include hiring and training of staff members, liaising with patients and health care professionals, and coordinating patient care plans, according to aggregated job descriptions on the website Glassdoor.

Health Information Management Jobs

Responsibilities for health information managers include organizing and maintaining clinical databases, tracking patient outcomes, assigning clinical coding for insurance purposes and electronically recording data with information technology systems, according to Western Governors University. Candidates with a passion for measurement clarity will find they are a good fit for this role. They are responsible for ensuring that all clinical, epidemiological, demographic, financial, reference and coded health care data is accurate, up-to-date, accessible only to authorized personnel, and follows all legal and professional standards during sharing and storage.

In addition to data input and maintenance duties, health information managers are also responsible for keeping health information systems up-to-date and up to code. In order to do so, they must stay informed on the latest information technology, trends in managing complex data, and the current laws and regulations on health information systems.

Nursing Home Administration Jobs

Nursing home administrators are responsible for managing nursing home facilities designed for the elderly and disabled. Day-to-day tasks for nursing home administrators include supervising staff, handling admissions, monitoring finances, maintaining the facility and medical equipment, and caring for nursing home residents.

All nursing home administrators must be licensed by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Board. To learn more about the requirements for licensure by state, visit the “State licensure requirements” page on the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Board website.

Government Health Care Administration Jobs

Professionals with a master’s in health care administration may find positions working with local, state, and federal government organizations, such as a local health department, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. Some examples of government health care administration positions include health systems administrator, medical records administrator, public health manager and public health advisor.

Consulting Health Care Administrator Jobs

Health care consultants are third-party analysts responsible for addressing challenges faced by health care administration and management. Using holistic knowledge of the health care industry, consultants analyze data and trends within an organization’s management foundation and suggest changes to policy, processes, practice, and patient care delivery to improve efficiency, profitability and quality of care.

Insurance Jobs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2019 National Health Interview Survey Early Release Program, approximately 87% of interviewees reported being covered by either private or public health insurance. As the nation’s population continues to grow, the need for medical insurance professionals is likely to follow suit.

Many health care administration professionals have found jobs within the medical insurance industry due to their knowledge in medical billing, medical coding and health informatics. Some positions available to health administrators include medical insurance claims specialists, medical insurance billing specialists, medical coding specialists and health informatics data analysts.

Pharmaceutical Administration Jobs

Professionals with a master’s in health care administration with a focus on pharmaceuticals may find positions as pharmaceutical administrators. These administrators may manage daily pharmacy activities, acting as both an organizational manager overseeing pharmaceutical administrative operations and as liaison between different health care organizations, including pharmacies, insurance providers, patients and health care executives.

Chief Executive Officer Jobs

According to the BLS, a chief executive officer is responsible for creating policies and directing an organization within the guidelines set up by a board of directors. Health care industry CEOs are responsible for ensuring that the health care facility they are leading performs efficiently while simultaneously keeping operations in line with the organization's goals and vision.

Health Administration Job Outlook

Health care facilities need administrators in order to run effectively. According to the BLS, the employment of health administration and medical service managers is projected to grow 18% from 2018 to 2028.

Health care services continue to shift from being provided solely at hospitals to singular offices of health practitioners. Combined with the widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs), the demand for managers with knowledge of health information technology (IT) and informatics systems and the ability to help manage health care practices is likely to continue to rise.

Additionally, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's article “The Graying of America: More Older Adults Than Kids by 2035,” the population of people ages 65 and older is projected to grow significantly over the next few decades. This increase in the retirement-aged population is expected to create a higher demand for health care services, leading to a higher demand for health care professionals.

What is the Median Health Care Administration Salary?

According to the BLS pay data for medical and health service managers, the median annual wage in May 2019 was $100,980, with the lowest 10% earning less than $58,820 and the highest 10% earning more than $189,000.

According to the BLS pay data, health care administration positions with government and state, local, and private hospitals offer the highest salaries, with median wages of $111,520 and $110,430 respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, health administrators working in nursing and resident care facilities made the lowest salary per year, with a median wage of $86,820.

Annual salaries for health administrators are based on a number of factors, including:

  • The amount of the administrator’s on-the-job experience
  • The level of the administrator’s education
  • The level of the administrator’s responsibility
  • The location of the health care organization
  • The size of the organization

Medical service managers are often paid through salaries. They typically work 40 hours a week, but are known to work on scheduled days off or weekends during periods of higher demand.

5 Best Paying Cities for Health Administration Careers

As of May 2019, the BLS reported that the five best-paying metropolitan cities for health care administration professionals were:

Metropolitan area

Employment

Employment per Thousand Jobs

Hourly Mean Wage

Annual Mean Wage

Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA

420

4.28

$78.50

$163,280

Vallejo-Fairfield, CA

450

3.16

$76.53

$159,190

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

1,200

2.89

$74.31

$154,570

Salinas, CA

280

1.55

$74.25

$154,440

Hanford-Corcoran, CA

120

2.85

$69.88

$145,340

The highest average annual income for administrators was found in the Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California, area at $163,280. This was followed by the Vallejo-Fairfield, California, area with an average annual income of $159,190. The average annual income for the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut, area falls third on the list at $154,570, followed shortly by Salinas, California, with an average annual income of $154,440. And finally, the fifth highest average annual income was found in the Hanford-Corcoran, California, area at $145,340.

Top States for Health Administration Jobs

When determining which state is the best for your health care career, there are several factors to consider. These factors include employment rates, concentrations of jobs, average salary, average costs of living and the prevalence of the health care industry.

According to the BLS, the five states with the highest employment rates for medical and health service managers are:

State

Employment

Employment per Thousand Jobs

Annual Mean Wage

California

36,940

2.13

$133,040

Texas

33,320

2.68

$107,880

New York

25,740

2.70

$147,000

Pennsylvania

17,330

2.94

$98,560

Massachusetts

15,810

4.37

$132,960

The report also lists the top paying states or districts for health care administrators as:

State or District

Employment

Employment per Thousand Jobs

Hourly Mean Wage

Annual Mean Wage

District of Columbia

1,600

2.21

$72.14

$150,040

New York

25,740

2.70

$70.67

$147,000

Hawaii

1,540

2.43

$64.09

$133,320

California

36,940

2.13

$63.96

$133,040

Massachusetts

15,810

4.37

$63.92

$132,960

And finally, the states with the highest concentration of health care administration jobs and location quotients include:

State

Employment

Employment per Thousand Jobs

Hourly Mean Wage

Annual Mean Wage

Arkansas

5,680

4.67

$41.96

$87,290

Iowa

6,880

4.44

$42.28

$87,940

Massachusetts

15,810

4.37

$63.92

$132,960

Oklahoma

6,540

4.04

$45.41

$94,460

Maryland

10,890

4.03

$60.74

$126,340

Of these three lists, Massachusetts and California appear on both the highest paying and highest employment level list. However, in terms of location quotients, or the rate at which an occupation’s share of an area’s employment compares to the national average, Arkansas, Iowa, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Maryland are the states with the highest concentration of health care administration jobs.

Is a Career in Health Care Administration Right for You?

Earning a master’s in health care administration can set you up to land a job in an ever-growing field. With a wide variety of positions available within the industry, there are a number of ways your knowledge of the business operations, project management and medical services can be put to use in a rewarding, lifelong career.

If you’re ready to advance your career in health care, a master’s in health care administration may be right for you. Learn more about flexible online degree programs to help you land the job you want.

Sponsored

GW Milken Institute of Public Health Logo

GW’s online Master of Health Administration

  • Complete in as few as 24 months
  • No GRE/GMAT scores required
  • Complete in as few as 15 months
Discover GW’s Online MHA Program

Last Updated May 2020