MHA Degree Program Salary Outlook

If you want to establish yourself as a leader in health services management with specialized expertise in the field, then you definitely want to consider earning a Master of Health Administration (MHA). The upper level management professionals that come out of MHA programs know health services management from the inside out, often coming from backgrounds that include either lower to mid-level management positions in health administration, or even clinical roles providing direct patient care. This kind of real connection to healthcare services and patient care makes them uniquely qualified for the challenges involved in providing patients with the highest level care available, and doing it all while operating within tight budgets.

As of 2020 there were some 402,500 professionals working in the field of health administration, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary when looking at all education and experience levels was $104,280 that year, but that’s a figure that primarily includes health administrators with bachelor’s degrees. Looking at the higher end of the reported salary range is going to get you a lot closer to what health services directors and executives that hold the MHA or other similar graduate degrees would actually earn. The top 25 percent in the field earn an impressive $139,650 on average, while those in the top 10 percent pull down more than $195,630 a year.

Jobs in the field are being added at an absolutely staggering pace, with BLS projecting a 32% rate of growth over the ten-year period from 2019 to 2029. That’s an estimated 133,000-plus jobs opening up in health services management, a far faster rate than you’d find in most other professions BLS tracks.

But even as the field adds jobs at an unprecedented rate, professional standards are not relaxing. That means demand for health services managers who hold MHAs, MBAs and other graduate degrees is higher than ever.

Getting the right blend of business fundamentals in the context of the unique challenges that come with delivering patient services is crucial, but there are a number of other factors that will also determine just how much you can expect to earn – from the type of employer you work for and where in the country you’re located to the title of the position you end up accepting. Let’s take a closer look at the current state of the field.

Employe – Facility Types With The Highest Concentration Of Health Administrators

To a great extent, the type of facility you end up working for will determine how much you earn as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most popular employer types as of 2020 are:

  1. Hospitals, employing around 33% of all health care administrators
  2. Doctors’ offices, employing around 12% of all health care administrators
  3. Skilled Nursing Facilities, employing around 10% of all health care administrators
  4. Government, employing around 8% of all health care administrators
  5. Outpatient care centers, employing around 7% of all health care administrators

In a recent survey, the top employers for MHA degree holders were recognized as being:

  1. Wamego City Hospital in Wamego, KS
  2. The Women’s Hospital in Newburgh, IN
  3. Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery in Plano, TX
  4. Weatherby Healthcare in Fort Lauderdale, FL
  5. Impact Advisors in Naperville, IL
  6. CompHealth in Salt Lake City, UT
  7. ZocDoc in New York, NY
  8. LiquidAgents Healthcare in Plano, TX
  9. Hayes Management Consulting in Newton Center, MA
  10. Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth, OH

Geographical Location – How Where You Live Impacts How Much You Earn

Another very important factor that will determine your salary is where you work in terms of geographical location. The following states have the highest employment level of medical and health services managers (shown with average salary as of 2019):

  1. California – $138,030
  2. Texas – $100,870
  3. New York – $156,140
  4. Massachusetts – $136,930
  5. Pennsylvania – $107,710

In terms of cities, top salaries can be found in (average salary shown as of 2020):

  1. Vallejo / Fairfield, CA – $174,110
  2. Santa Cruz / Watsonville, CA – $171,430
  3. Madera, CA – $168,090
  4. Bridgeport / Stamford / Norwalk, CT – $156,150
  5. San Francisco / Oakland, CA – $156,050
  6. Corvallis, OR – $155,030
  7. New York / New Jersey – 153,590
  8. Binghamton, NY – $153,100
  9. Salinas, CA – $153,100
  10. Danbury – $151,670
Job TitleJob Description
Hospital CEOAs a hospital CEO, you will make sure that the hospital you run operates in a cost effective manner. You will usually also have a strong focus on finances and budgets, working together with the CFO. You must find ways to save money across the board, while at the same time keeping the standard of quality of care as high as possible.
Hospital AdministratorAs a hospital administrator, you will work largely behind the scenes. Your goal is to ensure each facility within your organization operates efficiently. You could find work in outpatient clinics, hospitals, or nursing homes, for instance. You will be responsible for policy development, budget development, hiring doctors, promoting new treatments, dealing with patient services, ensuring compliance, and more.
Hospital CFOIn this role, you will manage the finances of the hospital. This includes keeping records, future planning, negotiating new contracts, and budgeting. You will work closely together with the CEO, to whom you will report your financial findings.
Pharmaceutical Product ManagerYou master in healthcare administration will also allow you to work in the pharmaceutical industry. Usually, your focus will be on analyzing investments, coming up with new product promotions, reviewing market data, and more. Generally speaking, you will also have to have some experience in consultancy and leadership.
Medical Practice ManagerIn this role, you will do virtually the same things as a hospital administrator, but for a medical practice, which is much smaller in size. Your focus will be on billing, budgets, managing staff, hiring staff, HIPAA compliance, legal compliance, ordering supplies, and managing schedules.
Health Informatics ManagerIn this role, you will be employed by a medical organization and you will hold responsibility for the flow of information, making sure it is completely efficient. All the details that you receive must be sent to the right place within the organization. You must also make sure that the organization’s hardware and software work properly and that they process data the right way.

As you can see, obtaining a master/MBA in healthcare administration opens up a range of interesting career opportunities. At the same time, however, there is no clear cut answer to just how much you can earn if you hold an MHA. If you do want to choose a degree in this field, therefore, you should not do it on the basis of salary online. There are so many factors that are of influence in terms of what you will earn, that there are simply no guarantees. You will, however, always be able to earn more than if you only hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. You will also be able to hold roles with more responsibilities.

Resources and References:

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job growth data for Medical and Health Services Managers.  Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2021.