Which Pays More – Healthcare Management or Healthcare Administration? [2020 Guide]

Which pays more healthcare management or healthcare administration? Both degrees can lead to leadership positions in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, and residential facilities.

Healthcare Management or Healthcare Administration

Healthcare leadership is a stable field with good pay, many job opportunities, and the chance to contribute to the health and wellness of communities.

Which Pays More Healthcare Management or Administration?

In general, healthcare management and healthcare administration offer comparable salary ranges.

The average annual salary for healthcare management is just slightly higher than that of healthcare administration — $82,000 vs. $79,000.

Curriculum Focus

healthcare management students in business class

Degree programs in healthcare management include many business classes. This business know-how can prepare you to make important financial decisions and provide organizational direction.

On-campus or online healthcare administration degree programs deal less with the ins and outs of the business. Instead, they spend more time covering topics like staffing, quality assurance, and departmental supervision.

Jobs at the Top

hospital CEO meeting with doctors

The strong business foundation of a management program can equip you for executive positions in large healthcare organizations.

Hospital CEOs and COOs often have this type of degree. The impressive salaries that come with those roles help raise the overall average earnings for this degree. Although it’s possible to secure an executive position with an administration degree, you’re more likely to head up smaller healthcare organizations instead.

You could also be responsible for overseeing a large hospital system’s quality assurance, human resources, or regulatory compliance department. Depending on the employer and the position, these jobs may pay nearly as much as some executive roles.

Other Professional Roles

hospital administrator talking to hospital staff

You probably won’t get your start in such high-up roles, of course. Healthcare management students may start with roles in analytics, project management, or finance. Healthcare administration graduates are more likely to get their start in departments like human resources, office administration, payroll, and benefits, or program management.

At this level, management and administration jobs are often quite similar in pay. The experience you gain in those positions may help you advance to jobs with more responsibility and bigger paychecks.

Careers & Salaries – Healthcare Administration vs. Healthcare Management

Careers & Salaries - Healthcare Administration vs. Healthcare Management

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of jobs for medical and health services managers will grow by 18% between 2018 and 2028.

Both a master’s degree in healthcare management and a master’s degree in healthcare administration can prepare you to earn a steady paycheck from this growing line of work.

For a professional with a Master’s in Healthcare Management, Payscale reports the following average salaries:

Careers Average Annual Salary
Chief Executive Officer $161,000
Healthcare Program Director $104,000
Director of Operations $101,000
Healthcare Administrator $90,000
Practice Administrator $89,000
Healthcare Consultant $89,000

The average salary for a graduate student with a traditional or online healthcare management degree is $82,000 per year.

For a professional with a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, the average salaries per Payscale are as follows:

Careers Average Annual Salary
Chief Executive Officer $190,000
Medical and Health Services Manager $120,000
Quality Assurance Director $112,000
Talent Acquisition Manager $82,000
Healthcare Program Manager $79,000
Performance Improvement Specialist $79,000

On average, the annual healthcare administration salary is $79,000.

Healthcare management jobs most often deal with providing overall supervision and direction for a facility. People with this degree work at the top level of management in hospitals or other healthcare organizations. Their jobs may entail running business operations and casting vision for future growth and development.

If your goal is to take a top spot in a medical system, then a management degree could be the best educational path for you.

With enough education and experience, you might eventually become a CEO, a vice president, an executive director, or a chief operating officer. Along the way, you could hold titles like practice administrator, healthcare manager, or financial analyst.

Healthcare Administrators shaking hands after a meeting

Healthcare administration jobs are often more people-focused. With this degree, you’ll have the know-how to assemble strong teams, provide staff supervision, encourage quality care giving, and coordinate departmental activities.

Common roles for healthcare administration professionals include working as a practice administrator, a program manager, or an operations supervisor. These roles are often held at the departmental level. You might specialize in payroll, recruiting, marketing, quality management, or community outreach.

Of course, there is plenty of overlap in the jobs you can do with these two degrees. Even if you opt for an MHA over an MBA in Healthcare Management online, you may end up as a CEO someday. Both your classroom education and the experience you gain during your time in healthcare settings can prepare you for that role.

Both online healthcare degrees offer a variety of settings where you could find employment. These include hospitals, group practices, nursing homes, surgery centers, correctional facilities, and public health departments.

What’s the Difference Between Healthcare Administration and Healthcare Management?

healthcare administrators in a meeting

Because health administration and health management salaries are often quite similar, you may not want to make your final degree choice based on earnings alone. Instead, consider which degree would do the best job of furthering your future career goals.

Understanding the difference between the two programs can help you make that decision.

In either degree program, you will learn valuable leadership skills. If you have your sights set on making a significant contribution to the success of healthcare organizations, then either degree can help you accomplish that goal. There is a difference, though, in what sort of leadership skills you’ll learn.

In a management program, you are more likely to learn business leadership skills. Focusing on topics like data analytics, finance, information technology, and healthcare law will teach you to keep an eye on your organization’s numbers, develop growth strategies, and guide the overall trajectory of your facility.

These studies are good preparation for organization-wide leadership roles, such as being an executive officer or a facility director. The leadership skills emphasized in administration programs are ones that you’ll use for overseeing personnel and improving workplace operations.

No matter the degree level, whether its an associate’s degree in healthcare administration or management, the courses will cover team dynamics, workplace regulations, public health, facility operations and quality management. After completing such a curriculum, you may be a department head or a medical services manager in a healthcare organization.

Healthcare Management Healthcare Administration
GMAT scores may be required for admission GRE or GMAT scores may be considered in the admissions process
Courses may include a business core and healthcare-specific classes Curriculum may cover global health, healthcare delivery, organizational leadership, and quality assurance
May have programmatic accreditation from a business or healthcare organization May have programmatic accreditation from a healthcare-specific accreditor
Concentration options like Leadership, Informatics, Analytics Concentration options like Supply Chain, Population Health, Organizational Leadership
Career options include CEO, VP of Operations, Executive Director Potential job titles include Practice Administrator, Quality Assurance Director, Health Services Manager

Because there is often a good deal of overlap between these two programs, you may want to review a school’s course list before making your final choice. This will provide insight into whether the curriculum aligns well with your personal career goals.

Healthcare Management vs. Healthcare Administration Education Paths

Healthcare management and healthcare administration programs may differ in a variety of ways, including degree type, admissions requirements, and programmatic accreditation.

Healthcare Management Degree

doctors sharing their ideas during a meeting

Many schools offer healthcare management as a specialization for their Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. In that case, you’ll take a business core with classes about finance, marketing, and information technology plus a few courses that are specific to the healthcare field.

There are some colleges that offer healthcare management as a Master of Science (MS) program instead. Even still, you can expect to take multiple business classes. To get into a business-focused program, you may need to submit GMAT scores, and work experience may be required.

This type of program may be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

Healthcare Administration Degree

healthcare administrators in a meeting

If you opt for an administration degree, you might earn a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) or an MS in Healthcare Administration. Unlike an MBA, these are not business-focused degrees, so you will likely take more courses that are specific to the healthcare industry.

This may include classes on healthcare law and ethics, quality management, healthcare delivery systems, hospital marketing, and public health. If your MHA program requests test scores, you may be given the choice of using GRE or GMAT results. You may need a few years of professional experience.

Since this is a healthcare-oriented degree, it’s a good idea to look for programmatic accreditation from CAHME.

Which Is Better Healthcare Management or Administration?

hospital administrators in a meeting

When it comes to healthcare administration and healthcare management, one isn’t better than the other. Rather, they are two equally important branches of healthcare leadership.

Modern healthcare organizations are complex systems. To operate smoothly, some leaders must head up business decisions, and others need to oversee staff operations. Both types of leaders are in demand by hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

If the business aspects of hospital operations appeal to you, then you’ll probably want to opt for a healthcare management program. For those who want to deliver staff and department leadership, healthcare administration may be the better choice.

How Much Do You Make With a Degree in Healthcare Management?

hospital administrator talking to his staff

The average annual salary for people with healthcare management master’s degrees is $82,000. Your personal salary will depend largely on the job you hold.

Executive officers usually make more than junior staff members. While a hospital vice president may earn around $155,000 each year, an operations project manager may make around $73,000. Also, directors of complex organizations may earn more than those who manage smaller practices.

The more work experience you gain, the more opportunities you may have to advance in your organization or move to larger healthcare companies with more room for growth. As you do, your salary may increase accordingly.

What Can You Do With a Masters in Healthcare Administration?

hospital administrator talking to a doctor

Places that healthcare administrators work include hospitals, group medical practices, long-term care facilities, outpatient surgical centers, community health clinics, and public health departments.

In these settings, you might be responsible for staffing-related responsibilities, such as hiring, training, scheduling, or managing employee relations. You might also manage the day-to-day operations of particular departments within a larger organization.

Your role might include implementing procedures to ensure that legal regulations are followed and patients receive quality care.

Common job titles for this degree include practice administrator, operations director, or performance improvement analyst. You could also become a program director or a health services manager.

What Can You Do With a Masters in Healthcare Management?

healthcare manager meeting with doctors

Professionals in healthcare management are often responsible for business decisions that shape how hospitals approach patient care. They may oversee an organization’s finances, information technology, and data analytics. Those in top positions may also be responsible for casting a vision and steering the company in that direction.

Healthcare management master’s degrees can prepare you to take healthcare jobs related to finance, project management, operations, accounting, information technology, or compliance. Over time, you may move into more senior roles, perhaps as a vice president or a chief executive.

You could also work as a consultant who advises healthcare organizations.

Getting Your Degree Online

doctor studying online

Whether you choose to study healthcare administration or healthcare management, an online program may be the best approach to getting your degree. With the flexibility of online courses, you may be able to balance school, work, and home responsibilities.

Through online studies, you’ll learn valuable leadership skills that medical organizations need. A degree in healthcare management will prepare you to work on the business side of things, and a healthcare administration program will teach you to coordinate personnel.

Once you decide which approach is best for you, you’ll be ready to start the application process for your top schools.

Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins