Healthcare management is a broad career category that covers a diverse range of positions and work environments. Healthcare managers with the necessary education and work experience can typically qualify for in-demand roles at competitive salaries.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary for health and medical services managers, a category that includes healthcare managers, is $104,280. With so many positions included in this occupation, the salary range is just as broad.
Professional certifications, an advanced education, and specialization can expand your skills and potentially increase your opportunities and salary as you grow in this career.
Healthcare managers work in positions that involve planning, directing, and coordinating medical and healthcare services. Specific responsibilities may relate to an entire facility, a specific department, or a group medical practice. Positions also exist in non-clinical work environments such as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and consulting groups.
The salary you earn can vary by factors including your position, workplace, education, experience, and geographic location. The BLS reports that the top 10% of healthcare managers earn $195,630.
While work experience is typically necessary to pursue positions in healthcare management, professional certifications, an advanced degree, and specialization can expand your skills and potentially increase your opportunities and salary as you grow in this career.
The career pathway to healthcare management isn’t unique to this profession. You can succeed in many fields with similar education and experience.
This chart, based on BLS figures, illustrates salaries for positions that require a level of education and experience similar to those of many healthcare management positions.
|Medical and health services managers||$104,280|
|Administrative services and facilities managers||$98,890|
|Computer and information systems managers||$151,150|
|Human resources managers||$121,220|
With the right credentials, prospective healthcare managers can expect to find an increasing demand for their skills. The BLS projects employment of medical and health services managers to grow a staggering 32% through 2029.
“The healthcare management occupation is increasing at a rapid rate in the United States due to baby boomers retiring and individuals aging and living longer,” says career and leadership coach Christina G. Hall, MHA, ACC, LSSGB, improvement manager at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and founder of CGH Careers, LLC. “This leads to a greater demand of healthcare services for those in need.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 10,000 baby boomers will reach retirement age every day through 2030, at which time all baby boomers will be at least 65 years old.
Other factors are also contributing to growth in the field. The widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs), an expanding focus on risk management, and the emergence of new approaches to treatment and delivery of services have also increased the demand for healthcare managers.
What Factors Can Affect Your Salary?
Your professional credentials can play a role in the types of positions and salaries that you’ll be qualified to pursue. Consider how these factors can impact your earning potential:
- The baseline requirement for entry-level positions in healthcare management is typically a bachelor’s degree. Work experience and an advanced degree are usually required to progress up the ladder, especially if your goal is to reach the highest levels of management in an organization.
- While the entire field of healthcare management is growing, some specialties may be more in demand. Healthcare needs tech-savvy professionals knowledgeable in health informatics and digital health to manage telehealth services, as well as nursing home administrators to run facilities that care for the growing number of older Americans, Hall says.
Healthcare managers who can navigate ever-changing healthcare regulations are also valued. “Being a certified compliance officer would help your career tremendously,” says Coley Bennett, CMM, CHA, CMDP, COCAS, chairwoman of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) National Advisory Board. “If you can wrap your mind around the regulations and keep your eye on the regulations that are coming, you become very valuable.”
- Professional certification demonstrates that you have skills and knowledge beyond the minimum educational requirements of your profession. While not typically required for healthcare managers, certifications can help you stand out in a field of applicants vying for competitive positions.
“Having a certification is formal proof that you’re a lifelong learner,” says Cathy Bartell, MHA,
associate director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration in the Cornell University School of Public Policy and chair of the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) Career Trajectory Group. “While it doesn’t mean that people without a professional certification aren’t lifelong learners, certification is proof that some people keep attaining different competencies in their area.”
- Becoming a healthcare manager requires a combination of education and industry knowledge. Experience can start in an internship and progress to an entry-level position as an assistant manager.
“It depends on the company and the role, but often organizations are looking for individuals with a certain amount of work experience before they are hired to manage a team,” Hall says.
Becoming a healthcare manager requires education and industry knowledge. Experience can start ith an internship and progress to an entry-level position as an assistant manager.
Median Salary by State
Salaries for healthcare managers vary significantly by state. The highest salaries tend to be in states with a shortage of healthcare workers and increasing senior populations, a demographic that requires more healthcare services than younger groups.
Here’s how the BLS ranks healthcare management salaries in all 50 states.
Median Salary: $104,280
Top 10%: $195,630
Projected job growth: 31.5%
|State||Median Salary||Bottom 10%||Top 10%|
|District of Columbia||$140,600||$89,220||N/A|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2029. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.
Salary by Workplace
Where you work can also affect your salary. For instance, the same role or title can include different responsibilities in different workplaces, and this can affect your pay. Here’s a look a some roles, potential responsibilities, and BLS salaries.
|Workplace||Responsibilities||Annual Median Salary|
|Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing||Work in sales, marketing, research/development, and facility management||$195,100|
|Insurance Carriers||Investigate claims, resolve billing discrepancies, manage provider and/or patient relations, and underwrite policies||$131,730|
|Medical Supply Companies||Handle sales, marketing, supply chain, and facility management||$114,040|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||Serve as a department or facility administrator, department manager, team lead, or at the highest level of an entire facility||$113,220|
|Outpatient Care Centers||Serve as a facility or department manager, depending on the size and needs of a specific facility||$100,690|
|Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals||Supervise programs and staff, communicate with families, manage clinical services, and oversee facility operations||$99,360|
|Offices of Physicians||Oversee revenue management, contracts, risk and compliance, finances, and other aspects of business management||$94,240|
|Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)||Oversee staff and day-to-day operations of a nursing home, assisted living community, or memory care home||$94,020|
Salary by Metropolitan Area
A high cost of living and a shortage of qualified candidates can often boost salaries in a city or region. The BLS reports that of the 15 highest-paying metropolitan areas in the nation, 11 are in California.
|Metropolitan Area||Annual Median Wage|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California||$155,200|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California||$154,070|
|Santa Rosa, California||$146,670|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California||$133,420|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania||$132,640|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California||$130,050|
|Urban Honolulu, Hawaii||$126,780|
How Can You Earn More as a Healthcare Manager?
The factors that can play a role in your salary are the same ones that can determine whether you advance. Here’s how.
The amount of experience necessary to move into healthcare management varies by employer and position. Positions at the highest levels of an organization are won by rising through the ranks.
“Anyone who is in top positions had to have started out as a manager or a director,” Bartell says. “They don’t just sail into those positions. Some people attain that level after five years [post-graduate degree], but you don’t launch up to the top. You have to pay your dues.”
Industry experts agree that a bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum requirement for entry-level healthcare management positions like assistant managers. Moving past that level may require additional experience and education, depending on your goal and the organization.
“Your undergraduate will probably get you to a certain level,” Bartell says. “There are a lot of people in the healthcare ecosystem who have bachelor’s degrees and they may be out four or five years, and then they realize that they’re probably not going to get the next big job or accelerate without the master’s.”
While certifications aren’t required for positions in healthcare management, earning one or more of these credentials can demonstrate your commitment to your field.
There is a wide range of certifications related to general healthcare management and specialties.
For healthcare office managers, a Certified Medical Manager (CMM) credential can change the trajectory of your career and impact your earning potential, Bennett says. “A CMM can help you progress from an entry-level salary to a mid-level salary.”
Here are three certifications that healthcare managers can shoot for, depending where they are in their career.
|American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)||Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE)|
|The American Hospital Association’s Certification Center (AHA-CC)||Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM)|
|Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)||Certified Medical Manager (CMM)|