Guide to Healthcare Administrator Salary

Healthcare administrators—also referred to as medical and health services managers—are critical to the smooth operation of healthcare facilities. They are involved in everything from overseeing staffing needs and budgets to ensuring legal compliance and general managerial duties. 

The salary of a healthcare administrator reflects the importance of their role within the public health field. The following guide discusses healthcare administration salary by location, work setting, industry and experience.

Healthcare Administration Salary Overview

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the typical healthcare administration salary falls between (lowest 10%) $59,980 and $195,630 (highest 10%)—the annual median wage was $104,280 as of May 2020. Healthcare administration hourly pay is roughly $50.13 per hour, according to the BLS. 

BLS data shows that those working in healthcare administration often make more than those who work in other management roles. The median annual salary in May 2020 for other management positions was $95,180. Healthcare administration salary is also significantly higher than the average median salary for all occupations in the United States, which was $41,950 in May 2020. 

Those interested in learning how to become a healthcare administrator should start by learning more about the skills, steps and education requirements necessary to enter the field.

Healthcare Administrator Salary by Location 

Location is a key variable in the salary ranges of many occupations, including those related to medical and health services management. According to the BLS, the states with the highest healthcare administration salary in terms of annual mean wage are as follows:

State Mean Annual Wage (May 2020)
District of Columbia $157,590
New York $156,140
Hawaii $139,650
California $138,030
Massachusetts $136,930

When comparing healthcare administrator salary by state, it’s also important to look at the salary differences between various metropolitan areas. The following table shows the top-paying metropolitan areas for those working in healthcare administration:

Metropolitan Area Mean Annual Wage (May 2020)
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $174,010
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA $171,430
Madera, CA $168,090
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT $156,160
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $156,050

The BLS data shows that healthcare administration salary by state is the most favorable in the District of Columbia, New York, Hawaii and California. However, when looked at from a metropolitan area standpoint, California healthcare administration salaries tend to outpace other areas of the country. 

It is important to keep in mind that location is only one factor that plays into salary ranges. Education, experience, the industry and the size of the employer are all part of the salary equation.

Healthcare Administrator Salary by Work Setting

Just as geographic location can play a significant role in determining healthcare administration salary ranges, so can work setting. The following table shows the top median annual wages for healthcare administrators by work setting, according to May 2020 BLS data:

Work Setting Median Annual Wage (May 2020)
Government $116,380
Hospitals; state, local and private $112,870
Outpatient care centers $100,690
Offices of physicians $94,240
Nursing and residential care facilities $89,880

The highest median annual wage for healthcare administrators comes with government-based work, with more traditional healthcare settings not far behind. In certain work settings like hospitals, you may be asked to work nights and weekends. Healthcare facilities tend to be open and staffed 24/7, which means that on-call work is sometimes required for these types of healthcare administration positions. 

Healthcare Administrator Salary by Industry 

Every industry has its own unique demands, which may affect healthcare administration salary. The BLS provides the following data on the top-paying industries for healthcare administrators:

Industry Mean Annual Wage (May 2020)
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing $205,470
Scientific research and development services $167,910
Insurance carriers $161,030
Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing $158,670
Computer systems design and related services $157,480

The responsibilities for healthcare administrators in these industries may vary from those who work in more traditional healthcare settings. For example, healthcare administrators in the pharmaceutical industry may be more involved in the coordination of research and development than individuals working in other settings.

While the industries listed above have the highest healthcare administrator salaries, they are not the most common industries that employ healthcare administrators. The BLS reports that outpatient care centers have the highest concentration of employment for this occupation. Healthcare administrators working in this setting have an annual mean wage of $117,200.

Healthcare Administrator Salary by Work Experience

Work experience tends to be a determining factor for salary potential in healthcare administration. This means that someone with years of experience and a proven track record may expect to earn more than someone with little or no experience. According to the BLS, the top 10% of those working as medical and health services managers may earn up to $195,630 per year. This likely reflects a senior healthcare administrator salary or the salary of someone with experience and a higher degree. 

Ultimately, it is up to the employer to set their own healthcare administrator starting salary. Different organizations have different requirements for education, work experience and job training, but many roles in this field do require an advanced degree. 

On average, those with a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) may expect to earn more than someone with a bachelor’s degree in a similar field. Students also have the option of pursuing an online MHA, which allows them the opportunity to continue working while completing their studies.

FAQs About Healthcare Administrator Salary

Organizations take many factors into consideration when setting salary ranges, so earning potential for healthcare administrators can vary greatly. Salary differences often come down to education, location, work setting and industry. Below, we address some commonly asked questions regarding healthcare administration salary, using information provided from the BLS’s May 2020 data.

How much does a healthcare administrator make?

As mentioned in the guide above, the BLS reports that the median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $104,280 as of May 2020. There are many factors that determine healthcare administrator salary, such as the location, industry and education level.

What types of healthcare administrators make the most money?

Salary ranges for healthcare administrators vary depending on where you work and what type of experience you have. One of the top-earning industries for healthcare administration, according to the BLS, was pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, with an estimated annual mean salary of $205,470. Healthcare administrators working in the District of Columbia, New York, Hawaii, California or Massachusetts may expect higher salaries than in other states.

What is the healthcare administration salary for those with a master’s degree?

Education may play a role in the salary one can expect from a healthcare administration career. The BLS states that master’s degrees are commonly required for these roles and may be preferred by many employers. In addition, employers often require candidates to have previous work experience in the field. Depending on where you work, previous experience and an advanced education may lead to higher salaries.

What can I do to increase my salary in healthcare administration?

Gaining work experience in a related field is one tactic that may boost earnings for prospective healthcare administrators. Current healthcare administrators who want to increase their salary may consider switching industries (e.g., looking for a job at a pharmaceutical company instead of a hospital). Additionally, you may improve your earning potential by completing a master’s in health administration degree or pursuing healthcare administration certifications.

Last updated November 2021.

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