Master’s in Healthcare Administration
Introduction to Healthcare Administration
An MHA degree, short for Master in Healthcare Administration, is a professional graduate degree designed to help students acquire core business and managerial skills as they apply to healthcare settings. MHA programs often address best practices for how to develop, plan, and manage healthcare facilities, operations, and services.
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What is healthcare administration?
Healthcare administrators run the everyday business of providing patient care and services in the medical field. The scope of their role depends on the medical facility where they work. In a city hospital, for instance, a healthcare administrator might oversee a single department, whereas at a small town or specialty clinic, they may manage the entire organization.
The goal of a healthcare administrator is to keep medical facilities running smoothly in the everyday delivery of patient services. This often entails supervising facility operations, managing budgets, and developing policies or procedures. Healthcare administrators share the priority and purpose of delivering high-quality medical care.
Why is healthcare administration important?
Healthcare administrators play a vital role in addressing the needs and challenges of the healthcare industry. This means improving patient outcomes, reducing healthcare costs, enhancing the patient experience, and using innovative practices and technologies. Administrators interact with healthcare providers, patients, and policymakers. They make important decisions that influence the vision and direction of healthcare organizations.
Without effective healthcare administration, healthcare organizations might struggle to provide high-quality care, manage costs, and adapt to the changing needs of patients and society.
Types of Master in Healthcare Administration Programs
There are a variety of degrees students might pursue under the umbrella of Healthcare Administration. Some have little difference between them while others may be quite distinct. Keep in mind that programs may vary by school.
(MHA) Master in Health Administration Program or Master in Healthcare Administration
MHA degree programs in health and healthcare administration tend to be quite similar in curriculum. But there may be distinctions between the health and healthcare administrative roles in the workplace. At work, a health administrator manages a medical facility overall to help maintain the quality and efficiency of patient services. A healthcare administrator’s everyday job may be a bit different .
A healthcare administrator tends to focus more directly on the facility staff than a health administrator. They assess and manage the staff, providing resources and checking in with workers regularly. So, while a health administrator may address staff concerns as part of their role, a health administrator usually manages staff with a more hands on approach .
(MHSA) Master in Health Services Administration Program
The degree program for a master’s in healthcare services administration (MHSA) likely parallels MHA degree programs in designated curriculum to some extent. But a healthcare services administrators typically develops and manages policies and procedures as a core responsibility. They often focus on directing these system elements for a facility as a primary objective. On the other hand, a health administrator may have a more overarching approach when managing policies and procedures in their everyday work.
(MBA) Master of Business Administration in Healthcare
Master of Business Administration in Health Care degree programs tend to differ from Master in Healthcare Administration programs. In an MBA program, curriculum tends to revolve around business courses such as economics, accounting, and finance. Earning an MBA with a health concentration could require courses in the healthcare field. Examples might include Health Care Economics and Policy or Health Systems Modeling .
(MPA) Master of Public Administration in Health Care Administration
MPA degrees tend to focus curriculum on public policy. Students pursuing an MPA are likely to learn about administration of public and nonprofit organizations as well as developing laws, policies, and regulations.
Popular Master in Healthcare Administration Schools & Programs
Curriculum and Coursework in Master in Healthcare Administration Programs
Master in Healthcare Administration programs typically include core courses in healthcare management and administration, as well as elective courses that allow students to concentrate in areas of interest. Here are examples of courses often offered in MHA programs.
Core courses and electives in Master in Healthcare Administration Programs
- Clinical issues for health services management
- Health care marketing
- Health economics
- Quality improvement in health care
- Health law, regulatory issues, compliance
- Finance for health care
- Health informatics and technology management
- Human resources and leadership
Capstone or thesis
In addition to coursework, students may need to complete a culminating project—for example, a capstone or thesis—and/or participate in an internship. Capstones often are designed to give students hands-on experience in solving real-world health administration problems.
How to get into Healthcare Administration
To pursue a Master in Healthcare Administration degree, students typically need to hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in a related field. It may help to have some volunteer or work experience. For example, were you a clinical professional, military personnel, hospital staff, or caregiver at assisted care facility? Aside from your education and transcripts, some universities have minimum GPA requirements and may want to see a curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, and goals statement.
Choosing a Master in Healthcare Administration Program
Choosing the Master in Healthcare Administration program to further your goals you is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Here are some factors you may want to consider when selecting a program.
Factors to consider when choosing a Master in Healthcare Administration Program
- Curriculum: Not all programs in healthcare administration are the same, and you’ll want to closely examine the course offerings to ensure they are a good fit for you. For example, MBA programs typically require an “MBA core,” with electives focusing more on healthcare. Within MHA programs, you’ll typically find a variety of electives and concentrations that could allow you to target areas of interest.
- Accreditation: When a school has accreditation, a reputable organization has vetted it for the quality and rigor of the education it provides. In addition to school accreditation, healthcare programs themselves may be accredited. The primary accreditor recognized by the United States Department of Education for MHA degree programs is the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). While many universities that offer MHA programs are accredited, CAHME-accreditation adds another tier of approval with courses that are designed around industry professional standards and practices.
- Reputation: There are a number of avenues for assessing the reputation of a school or program. Rankings may be a good place to start, although make sure the criteria that are important to you are reflected in the ranking. You might also talk to current students or alumni to get first-hand insights into the strengths and weaknesses of a program.
- Faculty: Faculty expertise and professional experience are important factors to consider. Read their biographies to determine their areas of interest and knowledge. You could also check out any papers they have published, and, once again speak to current and past students about their experiences.
Is Pursuing a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Worth It?
Healthcare administrators hold a unique position that could empower them to make a significant difference in the industry. Their level of authority typically grants them the power to drive transformative change at an institutional level, making them responsible for implementing meaningful improvements. If you are seeking to make a systemic difference in healthcare, earning a master’s degree in healthcare administration could be a smart move.
As the baby boomer generation ages, demand for healthcare is expected to increase. In fact, the healthcare industry as a whole is projected to grow 13% from 2021 to 2031, a rate that is much faster than average.1 This projected growth could increase the need for healthcare administrators and provide a wider range of opportunities. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, those holding a master’s degree experienced 35% lower unemployment than those with a bachelor’s degree.2
Finally, earning an MHA could increase your earning potential. In general, individuals who hold a master’s degree earn a higher median annual salary that those who hold a bachelor’s degree—$12,480 more in 2021.2 You might also be eligible for higher-level positions that pay more. For example, top executives in healthcare earned a median annual salary of $154,650, a wage that is nearly three and a half times higher than the average for all occupations.3
Careers in Healthcare Administration
A master’s degree in healthcare administration could lead to a variety of career opportunities in the healthcare industry. Here are some examples of job opportunities in healthcare administration.
Hospital administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of hospitals and healthcare facilities. They manage budgets, develop policies, and ensure healthcare services are delivered efficiently and effectively.
Healthcare consultants work with healthcare organizations to improve their operations, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. They may focus on areas such as healthcare informatics, healthcare policy, or healthcare management.
Healthcare Policy Analyst
Healthcare policy analysts investigate healthcare policies and their impact on healthcare delivery. They often work for government agencies, healthcare organizations, or advocacy groups.
Healthcare Information Manager
Healthcare information managers supervise the collection, storage, and analysis of healthcare data. They safeguard healthcare data for accuracy, security, and accessibility for authorized users.
Salaries in healthcare administration
Healthcare administration pay may vary depending on your job, how much experience you have, and where you work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical and health services managers, which includes healthcare administrators, was $104,830 as of May 2022.4 And, as mentioned previously, top executives commanded a median annual salary of $154,650 in 2022.3
States with the highest employment level in Medical and Health Services Managers, 2022:4
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|New York||25,430||$ 145,090|
Top paying states for Medical and Health Services Managers, 2022:4
|State||Annual Mean Wage||Employment|
|New York||$ 171,620||25,430|
|District of Columbia||$ 156,870||1,790|
|New Jersey||$ 153,300||16,490|
Earning a master’s in healthcare administration could open up a world of opportunities for those seeking to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare industry. With a deep understanding of the complexities of healthcare systems and the skills to effectively manage healthcare organizations, graduates of this program may be well-equipped to lead and drive positive change.
GradSchools.com offers 237 Graduate Schools with MHA Programs & Schools
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer or guarantee of employment and that may help prepare students to meet the certification requirements of the field they choose to study. Students should check with the appropriate certifying body to make sure the program they apply to will help meet any certification requirements. Students should also consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.
Colorado State University Global
Grand Canyon University
Western Governors University
Lock Haven University
University of Nottingham
Indiana University Of Pennsylvania
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Georgia Southern University
University of Pittsburgh