The Average Salary of a Hospital CEO

Updated March 23, 2017

The health care industry in the United States is one of the most stable and lucrative and is projected to continue growing. Health care professionals sometimes work their way up the ladder to become CEOs of hospitals and medical facilities. These executives hold an enormous level of responsibility by overseeing the general operation of a hospital. Tasks include developing and implementing policies and procedures, making sure the facility meets regulations and quality requirements and representing the hospital to the public and board of directors.


Many hospital CEOs do not actually have a formal education in an area of medicine but rather in business. Most positions for hospital CEOs require at least a bachelor's degree in business administration and sometimes an MBA. A certain number of years in management at a hospital is also a common requirement. If a candidate is seeking a position at a specialised hospital, such as a cancer centre, experience in that area of medicine may also be necessary.


CEO salaries in general can vary greatly based on the location of the business. A facility in a city with a higher cost of living will often pay a higher base salary. The national average for a hospital chief executive officer ranges between £78,963 and £150,455 a year, according to PayScale in December 2010. However, in the state of California, known for its high cost of living index, the average CEO averaged £334,100 annually.

Type of Hospital

Public hospitals and non-profit facilities pay their CEOs a lower wage than private or for-profit organisations. Charity hospitals, such as Parkland in Dallas, Texas, may pay even less. Patients are often willing to pay private hospitals higher health care costs in exchange for better facilities and shorter wait times. This allows these hospitals to pay executives more.

Hospital or Facility Size

The size of a hospital can also greatly effect CEO salaries. An executive at a small hospital will have less responsibility and be accountable for a smaller staff. For example, a CEO at a hospital with less than 50 beds will average between £63,871 and £99,575 a year. Conversely, an executive officer at a large hospital with 300 to 499 beds can expect an average ranging from £91,000 to 375,000 a year, according to Payscale in December 2010. CEOs of very large hospital systems or networks, such as the John Muir Health System in California, can be compensated at £484,250 in base salary, excluding other forms of additional income.

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About the Author

Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.