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What Is the Pay Scale in Health Care Administration?

by Rick Suttle

Hospitals, nursing homes and physicians' offices depend on health care administrators -- or medical and health services managers -- to hire assistant administrators and office workers, set their work schedules and ensure proper billing procedures are followed for insurance claims. They also order supplies and equipment, manage costs to keep them below budget and track the number of beds that are available in their medical facilities. If you want to become a health care administrator, you'll need a bachelor's degree. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging nearly $100,000 annually.

Pay Scale is Competitive

The average annual salary for a health care administrator was $98,460 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent made more than $150,560 annually. To work in this field, you need the minimum of a bachelor's degree in health administration, but a master's degree is the typical industry standard. Employers may also prefer hiring those with three or more years of health care administration experience in hospitals, physicians offices or nursing homes. Other essential requirements are an attention to detail and supervisory, problem-solving, communication, interpersonal, analytical and technical skills.

Drug Industry Pays the Most

A health care administrator can earn more in certain industries. In 2012, they earned the highest salaries of $142,210 in the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industry, according to the BLS. They also earned relatively high salaries working for drug wholesalers and specialty hospitals -- $136,690 and $112,830 per year, respectively. Specialty hospitals can include heart and cancer centers. If you worked as a health care administrator for a medical diagnostics lab, you'd make $105,190. At general and surgical hospitals and outpatient centers, you'd earn $104,680 and $94,720, respectively.

New York State Tops in Salary

Health care administrators earned the highest salaries of $114,550 in New York, based on 2012 BLS data. They earned the second and third highest salaries in California and Connecticut at $113,810 and $111,680 per year, respectively. In Texas, you'd earn an average salary of $94,640 working as a health care administrator, and you'd make $91,720 in Pennsylvania. Your salary would be somewhat less in Ohio and Iowa -- $90,430 and $77,940, respectively.

Job Prospects are Positive

The BLS predicts a 22 percent increase in jobs for medical and health services managers, including health care administrators, from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the 14 percent national hiring rate for all occupations. Increases in demand for medical services among aging baby boomers should increase jobs for doctors, nurses and the number of required facilities. These additional facilities will need qualified health care administrators to run them, which should increase job opportunities for you in this field.

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