Physicians in top management positions who have a master's degree in business administration in addition to a medical-school diploma earn almost 35% higher salaries than doctors in comparable jobs who do not hold an advanced management degree, a new survey has found.
Doctors with MBAs who serve as either chief executive officers or presidents of hospitals, group practices and health plans earned median compensation of about $350,000 in 2002, compared with approximately $260,000 for physicians with no postgraduate business degree.
Physicians with master's degrees in healthcare administration earned about $300,000 a year in those two top job categories, still well above the salary of their nondegreed colleagues, according to a 97-page report compiled by Cejka Search, a St. Louis-based executive recruitment firm, and the American College of Physician Executives in Tampa, Fla. The national survey, which included responses from 2,060 ACPE members, was first reported exclusively last month in Modern Healthcare, sister publication of Modern Physician.
"We're seeing more and more advanced degrees for doctors," said Carol Westfall, Cejka's president. "Still, the degree is not necessarily a ticket to more money. It plays a role, definitely. If you have two candidates with similar kinds of experiences, though, and one has an MBA and the other doesn't, the job is likely to go to the one with an advanced degree."
Doctors with additional diplomas, including master's degrees in business administration, healthcare administration, public health and medical management, have become increasingly common. An earlier survey by Cejka found that the number of doctors with advanced business degrees jumped about 23% from 1999 to 2001. The number of physicians with medical management degrees doubled over that same three-year period.
Michael Romano is a reporter for Modern Healthcare magazine.