Health Administration Salary

Regulatory changes, technological advances, and the growth of hospital mergers have all played a part in the meteoric growth of health administrator careers and the salaries that accompany them.

The consolidations and mergers creating larger and larger healthcare systems and healthcare networks translate into an increased demand for healthcare administrators who can navigate this complex, and certainly more competitive, healthcare environment. In 2016, there were 352,200 health administrators in the U.S.; by 2026, this number is projected to rise by nearly 21% to 424,300.

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The Bigger Picture: Examining Total Compensation for Healthcare Administrators

Salary stats don’t often tell the whole story because for many healthcare administrators, their base salary is just a portion of what they actually earn each year.

For example, a 2019 Hospital Executive Compensation Report by Total Compensation Solutions revealed that in 2018, top financial hospital executives earned an average salary of $333,000, but their total cash compensation was $399,000 when factoring in bonuses, and their total compensation package, which includes everything from stock options to retirement savings, totaled $497,000.

According to Modern Healthcare’s 2018 Executive Compensation Survey, total compensation for healthcare executives rose 4.8% between 2017 and 2018. Some of the largest increases in salary during this time were among CFOs in stand-alone hospitals with a net revenue of $300 or more (9.6%) and presidents/CEOs of stand-alone hospitals (8.1%).

This survey broke down the median base salaries and total compensation for healthcare administrators by title and by hospital revenue, as of 2018:

Systems with net revenues of $3 billion or more:

  • President and CEO: Base Pay: $1.4 million, Total Compensation: $2 million
  • Chief operating officer: Base Pay: $880,000, Total Compensation: $1.15 million
  • Chief financial officer: Base Pay: $728,000, Total Compensation: $902,000
  • Chief medical officer: Base Pay: $683,000, Total Compensation: $874,000

Systems with net revenues of $1 billion to $3 billion

  • President and CEO: Base Pay: $954,000, Total Compensation: $1.2 million
  • Chief operating officer: Base Pay: $609,000, Total Compensation: $701,000
  • Chief financial officer: Base Pay: $554,000, Total Compensation: $660,000
  • Chief medical officer: Base Pay: $500,000, Total Compensation: $578,000

Systems with net revenues of less than $1 billion

  • President and CEO: Base Pay: $728,000, Total Compensation: $809,000
  • Chief operating officer: Base Pay: $465,000, Total Compensation: $496,000
  • Chief financial officer: Base Pay: $424,000, Total Compensation: $476,000
  • Chief medical officer: Base Pay: $437,000, Total Compensation: $486,000

Hospitals with net revenues of $300 million or more

  • President and CEO, stand-alone hospital: Base Pay: $800,000, Total Compensation: $927,000
  • President and CEO, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $459,000, Total Compensation: $592,000
  • Chief financial officer, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $438,000, Total Compensation: $503,000
  • Chief medical officer, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $366,000, Total Compensation: $432,000
  • Chief operating officer, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $280,000, Total Compensation: $334,000

Hospitals with net revenues below $300 million

  • President and CEO, stand-alone hospital: Base Pay: $494,000, Total Compensation: $533,000
  • President and CEO, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $316,000, Total Compensation: $373,000
  • Chief financial officer, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $324,000, Total Compensation: $368,000
  • Chief medical officer, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $207,000, Total Compensation: $231,000
  • Chief operating officer, system-owned hospital: Base Pay: $197,000, Total Compensation: $226,000

And it’s not just the highest ranking healthcare executives who enjoy impressive compensation packages. Those in areas like human resources, professional services, and business development also earned total compensation packages that far exceeded their base salaries:

  • Foundation or fund development: Base Pay: $250,000, Total Compensation: $277,000
  • Human resources: Base Pay: $215,000, Total Compensation: $248,000
  • Operations: Base Pay: $205,000, Total Compensation: $236,000
  • Business development: Base Pay: $210,000, Total Compensation: $247,000
  • Professional services: Base Pay: $207,000, Total Compensation: $243,000

The largest increases in salary between 2017 and 2018 were among foundation or fund development administrators (6.9%) and human resources administrators (2.5%).

Department of Labor Salary Trends for Professionals in Healthcare Administration

BLS statistics reveal a median salary of $99,730, with the top 10% earning $182,600 – that’s a significant increase from 2016 numbers that revealed a median salary of $96,540 and a top 10% salary of $172,240.

Not all industries are created equal in terms of healthcare administrator salaries. For example, the median salary for health administrators in outpatient care centers was $106,590, but in general medical and surgical hospitals the median salary was $122,460, and in specialty hospitals, it was $128,010.

According to the BLS, the highest paid health administrators were located outside of clinical settings:

  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing: $221,290
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing: $176,740
  • Scientific research and development services: $166,960
  • Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers: $160,690

The top-paying states for healthcare administrators, in terms of average salary, included:

  • Washington D.C.: $145,760
  • New York: $143,030
  • Massachusetts: $133,900
  • Delaware: $131,260
  • Connecticut: $129,480

Not surprisingly, California was the top state in the nation for its number of healthcare administrators (34,510), followed closely by Texas (30,010) and New York (25,830).

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a full breakdown of salaries for healthcare administrators by state, as of 2018:

Area Name
Employment
Hourly median wage
Alabama
3240
43.51
Alaska
1100
47.62
Arizona
8160
46.88
Arkansas
4900
36.02
California
34510
55.81
Colorado
5460
52.24
Connecticut
5510
52.69
Delaware
1040
55.04
District of Columbia
1580
61.52
Florida
-
46.03
Georgia
8790
46.26
Guam
80
38.40
Hawaii
1640
55.04
Idaho
2070
41.43
Illinois
14050
49.86
Indiana
7350
43.46
Iowa
6670
37.08
Kansas
3890
41.16
Kentucky
5000
40.17
Louisiana
4540
43.68
Maine
2000
41.83
Maryland
11210
54.40
Massachusetts
15380
54.66
Michigan
11960
45.45
Minnesota
8220
48.12
Mississippi
3010
38.92
Missouri
6840
47.29
Montana
1430
41.85
Nebraska
2790
46.39
Nevada
2360
54.48
New Hampshire
1910
47.26
New Jersey
11260
53.49
New Mexico
1640
49.08
New York
25830
59.18
North Carolina
9230
48.57
North Dakota
920
47.97
Ohio
14760
43.89
Oklahoma
6450
38.00
Oregon
4680
50.82
Pennsylvania
16410
42.21
Puerto Rico
1130
30.03
Rhode Island
1660
54.08
South Carolina
5470
41.79
South Dakota
730
48.72
Tennessee
10320
42.81
Texas
30010
45.96
Utah
3560
43.22
Vermont
1060
41.65
Virgin Islands
120
36.77
Virginia
7650
50.01
Washington
6950
51.57
West Virginia
1610
46.60
Wisconsin
6250
47.40
Wyoming
850
44.10

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of employment for medical and health services managers https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119111.htm#st. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

 Job growth projections sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.

All salary and job growth data accessed in July 2019.

Hospital Executive Compensation Report. TCS: Executive Compensation Consultants, Executive Pay, Board Compensation, Nonprofit Compensation. Accessed 17 July 2019. http://www.total-comp.com/Total%20Compensation%20Solutions%202019%20Hospital%20Executive%20Compensation%20Report%20-%20Sample%20Report.pdf

Executive Compensation Survey. Modern Healthcare. Accessed 17 July 2019. https://sullivancotter.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Modern-Healthcare-Annual-Exec-Comp-Article.pdf

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