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Top Healthcare MBA Salary and Job Options for Graduates

A team of hospital administrators meet in the hallway of a hospital.

An efficient healthcare facility or organization is an effective patient care delivery system. Healthcare professionals in business management or administrative roles often have the responsibility of guiding this high-level form of efficiency. Their involvement with a facility’s clinical, administrative, legal and financial activities not only can streamline a facility’s functions but also can make it easier for a facility to provide care that improves patient outcomes.

For those aspiring to make such a critical impact on healthcare delivery, earning a Healthcare MBA can be a fundamental step in their journey. The degree can help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to oversee the strategies that optimize healthcare efficiency, as well as lead them toward fulfilling career paths in the industry. A job with a rewarding Healthcare MBA salary is often part of those career paths. Because the degree is useful in attaining positions that can make such a profound impact in healthcare, people interested in a Healthcare MBA should understand how it can prepare them to confidently approach healthcare management and administration.

Healthcare MBA Curriculum

Healthcare MBA programs filter core business concepts through the lens of the evolving healthcare field, leading to a curriculum that meets at the intersection of healthcare and business.

A typical Healthcare MBA curriculum will emphasize concepts that mirror those of traditional MBA programs, such as finance, operations management, technology and human capital. It will integrate these concepts with electives that specifically narrow the focus toward healthcare. Courses can develop a student’s knowledge of clinical research, health system trends, medication development and patient safety.

The combination of business concepts with a variety of healthcare-based electives can equip prospective healthcare management professionals with a unified approach to healthcare management. This can ultimately enable graduates to perform duties pertaining to the business side of healthcare without compromising the effectiveness or efficiency of healthcare delivery. In other words, Healthcare MBA graduates will be able to more effectively optimize healthcare operations. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to lead a healthcare facility or system to a unique position where it can meet its financial goals while also delivering care that can potentially improve patient outcomes.

Healthcare MBA Salary

According to the salary aggregate site Payscale, the average Healthcare MBA salary was approximately $85,000, as of June 2022. While this number provides a baseline for understanding Healthcare MBA salaries, many factors influence pay level, and many MBA graduates working in healthcare command much higher salaries.

For example, the years of experience an individual may have gained in the field prior to earning their Healthcare MBA degree may help shape their earning potential. A graduate with more years in the healthcare industry may command a higher salary.

Job location is also an important factor. A healthcare administrator who works in a city or region with a high cost of living will likely earn a higher annual salary than one who works in a city or region with a low cost of living.

A third factor that is likely to determine a Healthcare MBA salary is the exact career path one pursues. While most healthcare management or healthcare administration professions share a similar goal — to improve care delivery within the framework of sound cost management to allow for improved patient outcomes — many different professional roles involve such work.

Healthcare MBA Job Options

A Healthcare MBA salary hinges on a graduate’s career path, responsibilities and specific position. The degree is valuable in various roles, all of which approach the concept of healthcare management in different ways, including approaches directly tied to the patient-provider dynamic. Regardless of career path, professionals in each of these roles share the end goal of ensuring patients receive the highest level of care possible.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers, sometimes known as healthcare administrators, oversee the services offered by a healthcare facility. Their work ensures operational efficiency through various means, such as ensuring legal compliance, managing budgets, supervising staff and developing strategies to improve perceived weaknesses in care delivery.

These professionals must possess strong leadership and interpersonal skills. They must also have sharp analytical and technical skills that can help them pinpoint operational inefficiencies and implement innovations in care or processes. Medical and health services managers commonly work in hospitals, but they can also work in physicians’ offices, with government agencies, or in specialized facilities such as nursing homes or outpatient care centers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the 2021 median annual salary for an administrator at $101,340. According to Payscale, a Healthcare MBA salary for someone working as a director of operations ranged from $68,000 to $155,000, as of June 2022, while the salary for nursing home administrators ranged from $72,000 to $132,000.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners provide direct patient care coordination in a healthcare facility. While the scope of their practice varies by state, their common duties include performing patient exams, recording patient histories, conducting diagnostic tests, providing treatments, and building proactive patient strategies designed to promote wellness or manage illness. They may also prescribe medications in states that allow for full prescriptive authority.

Essential skills for the role include strong leadership, interpersonal, critical thinking and communication competencies, and NPs ideally possess characteristics such as resourcefulness and compassion. NPs are a good fit for many of the executive responsibilities in the healthcare industry, often advancing into roles where they share in decision-making about effective care delivery and designing or monitoring specific care delivery programs and policies.

The BLS lists the 2021 median annual salary for nurse practitioners at $123,780. According to Payscale, the Healthcare MBA salary range for a director of nursing was $88,000-$166,000, as of June 2022.

Pharmacist

Pharmacists distribute prescription medications to patients. This core duty can include filling prescriptions, explaining the safe usage of medications to patients and ensuring there are no conflicting interactions with other prescriptions. They can also conduct wellness screenings, provide vaccinations and flu shots, and advise patients on health and wellness strategies designed to promote healthy lifestyles.

Pharmacists typically possess strong managerial, analytical, communication and detail-oriented skills, and they also have well-developed computer skills to help them effectively navigate a patient’s electronic health record (EHR). Pharmacists commonly work in pharmacies or drug stores, although they can also work in hospitals.

According to the BLS, the 2021 median annual salary for pharmacists was $128,570.

Hospital CEO

Hospital CEOs oversee the overall operations of a healthcare facility. They work with other C-suite executives to develop short- and long-term functional strategies that optimize patient care, encourage a productive work culture, optimize financial efficiency and foster positive relationships with members of the medical community.

Hospital CEOs must have concrete healthcare knowledge, along with core competencies such as leadership, management, interpersonal and organizational skills. Those in the role can work in a wide range of healthcare environments, from hospitals to specialized care facilities.

The BLS classifies hospital CEOs as top executives, who had a 2021 median annual salary of $98,980. According to Payscale, the average Healthcare MBA salary of a healthcare CEO was around $166,835 as of June 2022, with a range of $93,000 to $300,000.

Become an Agent of Exemplary Care

Regardless of your professional track, earning a Healthcare MBA can be an important step toward becoming a leader in the industry and earning a rewarding Healthcare MBA salary. More importantly, it will position you for attaining a position where you can help a healthcare facility or organization provide optimal care. This can have a positive impact on patients and their families that is also a source of long-term career satisfaction.

The George Washington University’s online Healthcare MBA program can prepare you to pursue these critical roles with confidence. Our program meets at the intersection of healthcare and business, providing you with the knowledge and skills you need to smartly approach care delivery from a practical standpoint. Learn how we can get you ready to make a difference in a crucial field.

Recommended Reading:

Hospital Finance: Past, Present and Future

How the Internet of Medical Things Is Changing Healthcare

What Is Healthcare Marketing?

Sources:

HealthCatalyst, “The Top Five Insights Into Healthcare Operational Outcomes Improvement”

Indeed, “How to Become a Hospital CEO”

LinkedIn, Job Description Template: Healthcare Administration

Payscale, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Health Care Administration Degree

StatPearls, “Practitioners and Prescriptive Authority”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Manager

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pharmacists

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Top Executives

WebMD, “What Is a Nurse Practitioner?”

WebMD, “What Is a Pharmacist?”