Physician executives benefit from MBAs

Salaries rise with more education

Want to earn more money? If you are a physician executive, the best way to boost your earning power is to get an MBA, according to a study by the St. Louis-based healthcare consulting and executive search firm, Cejka & Company.

According to the study, 11% of the 3,900 respondents had MBAs, and they earned more than their counterparts without a masters degree: between $166,000 and $290,000 for MBA graduates, compared with between $160,000 and $240,000 for those without the additional degree. Another up and comer that pays off: physicians with Masters of Medical Management degrees earned between $192,500 and $240,000.

But if you don’t have one of these advanced degrees, don’t fret. According to Roger Rathert, MD, director of Cejka Healthcare Executive Search Services, the MBA acts more as a tie breaker than as a prerequisite for a job — at least for now.

"People who have business degrees are in high demand," says Rathert. "Organizations who hire medical directors or CEOs ideally want physician executives with both business experience and medical expertise. [But] we’ll eventually be at the point where everyone will have them."

Another finding of the survey: Physician executives at practice management companies earn more than those in practice — $227,500 median salary for the former, compared with $175,000 median salary in the latter.

The survey, conducted among the 12,000 members of the Tampa, FL-based American College of Physician Executives, also found that physician executives spend more time managing than they do in clinical roles. The split used to be 50-50, says Rathert. Now it is 68% management and 32% clinical.