Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs & Degrees
What Is a Healthcare Administration Degree?
A healthcare administration degree is a program that teaches healthcare management. You could study business leadership skills, plus knowledge specific to the health industry.
A healthcare administration program could help you prepare for growing healthcare career paths. You’ll discover how to navigate the healthcare system, from hospitals to nursing homes. And, you’ll learn what it takes to keep health facilities running smoothly.
What Can You Do With a Graduate Healthcare Administration Degree?
A graduate healthcare administration degree program could help you prepare for roles in the growing healthcare field. About 2.4 million new healthcare jobs are predicted by 2026. That’s 18% growth – much faster than average for all other occupations.
By studying healthcare administration, you could prepare for career paths like Medical and Health Services Manager. These professionals are also called Healthcare Administrators. They manage different aspects of medical and wellness services. That includes everything from small hospital departments to entire practices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare Administrators should see over 72,000 new jobs by 2026. Much of this growth can be attributed to the aging Baby Boomer population, who need more medical services. Plus, the changing healthcare industry could mean increased demand for workers. Medical practices are becoming larger and more complex. And, the growing use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) could mean a need for professionals who understand this technology.
Do I Need a Graduate Degree in Healthcare Administration?
Many employers in the field of health administration prefer candidates with Master’s degrees. But, the entry-level education required for Health Administrator roles is a Bachelor’s degree.
Requirements for Health Administrators may also depend on the role. For instance, a Nursing Home Administrator may need experience as a Registered Nurse. And, Top Executives within healthcare organizations usually need to earn a Master’s.
Health Administrators manage the business end of healthcare. So, they often need business courses like accounting and finance. They also need knowledge specific to the healthcare field. That includes everything from biostatistics to technology used in medical settings.
Jobs in Healthcare Administration
|Social and Community Service Manager||$70,530||141,830|
|Training and Development Managers||$117,690||34,500|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$111,680||346,980|
Top States for Employment: Medical and Health Services Managers
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA||$110,010||230|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA||$106,160||240|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$102,260||660|
Medical and Health Services Managers primarily worked for hospitals, physicians’ offices, and outpatient care centers. They also worked for industries that included:
- Nursing Care Facilities
- Home Health Care Services
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
- Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing
- Scientific Research and Development Services
Popular Healthcare Administration Degree Programs
Healthcare administration degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of health professions and related services.
According to the most recent data (2009/10), there were 6,768 healthcare administration and management degrees awarded to U.S. graduate students. The majority (98%) were at the Master’s level.
Master of Science in Health Care Administration vs. MBA in Healthcare Administration
Both the MBA and MS in Healthcare Administration cover business and healthcare knowledge. But, these programs differ in how they are structured.
An MBA in Healthcare Administration is a business degree. So, you may cover a broad overview of business – including economics, finance, and management strategy. On top of that, you’ll take courses in the healthcare administration concentration. That said, the balance may be tipped in favor of general business courses.
A Master of Science (MS) in Healthcare Administration focuses on business concepts as they apply to the healthcare field. So, most of your courses will take a close look at the inner workings of this industry. Think healthcare law, policy, management, and more. If you’re interested in studying business through a healthcare lens, this program may be ideal.
Healthcare Administration Degree Guide
Master of Science in Health Care Administration
MBA in Healthcare Administration
|Master of Science in Health Systems Management||MBA in Health Care Management|
|Length of Program: 37 credits||Length of Program: 30 credits; two years (part time)|
|This M.S. program specifically focuses on information technology within the healthcare field. You’ll also study core business concepts as they apply to healthcare – like finance and economics.||In the MBA, students pursue a core business curriculum. That includes areas like finance and leadership. They also take courses on the concerns of health organizations – from ethics to information technology.|
|Courses include:||Courses include:|
|No specific program accreditation||The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).|
What Are the Requirements for a Graduate Healthcare Administration Degree?
A Master of Health Administration (MHA) program usually requires between 32 and 60 credits. (Give or take a few!) These typically include core business courses, like finance and marketing. You’ll also apply business concepts to healthcare topics. For example, you could study medical supply chains or healthcare financial management.
Common MHA course requirements may include:
- Epidemiology. This branch of medicine focuses on disease. You’ll explore the causes of disease, and how it spreads. You could also learn how to design research that answers epidemiological questions.
- Health Information Management. Managing information is important for all healthcare facilities. In this course, you’ll study topics like electronic health records and informatics.
- Health Care Marketing. This course applies marketing tools and strategies to the needs of health organizations. You could study public relations, and how marketing fits into a larger strategy.
- Ethical and Legal Issues in Healthcare Management. Most MHA programs include one or more courses on law and ethics. You could study both classic and contemporary theories. And, you’ll apply them to healthcare scenarios you could face on the job.
- Leadership in Health Care. Healthcare administration professionals may lead teams or projects. A leadership course covers key skill areas, like communications and self-analysis. And, you could take a look at different leadership styles to learn which one fits you!
Some MHA programs let you choose a specialty area. So, you could take coursework in that discipline. Some potential specialties include:
- Acute Care
- Long-term Care
- Health Informatics
- Organizational Development and Leadership
- Health Policy and Management
- Management of Aging Services
Finally, many programs call for a capstone project. This is a chance to pull together everything you’ve learned in the program.
Choosing an Accredited Graduate Healthcare Administration Degree
Accredited graduate healthcare administration program must meet rigorous quality standards. So, accreditation can help you ensure your program measures up.
The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) is the authority in this space. They look at factors like program flexibility, outcomes, and a commitment to improvement. CAHME accredits healthcare administration programs that award the following degrees:
- And others
They also recognize multiple disciplines in the healthcare management field. CAHME accredits programs in the following areas:
- Health care administration
- Health services management
- Hospital or other health care organization-specific administration and management
- Health planning and evaluation
- Health policy
written by Rana Waxman
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Healthcare Administration Degree?
An online Master’s in Health Administration may take about two years to earn. That’s for full-time students in a general program. If you study part-time or opt for a specialization, your program could take longer.
Earning a Ph.D. in Health Care Administration could take up to seven years. Often, the program length depends on how long you take to complete your self-paced dissertation.
Health Administration Programs That Could Be Completed in 36 Months or Less
|University||# of Credits Required||Start Dates||Minimum Months to Complete|
|Northcentral University||60||52 (weekly starts)||36 months|
|Pfeiffer University||36||3 starts per year||24 months|
|Walden University||53||N/A||30 months|
|Utica College||36||3 starts per year||24 months|
How Much Does a Healthcare Administration Degree Cost to Earn?
The average cost of earning a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you could find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
Check out the graduate tuition costs of four institutions with healthcare administration programs, as reported by NCES. We compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also reported by NCES.
|Instate/Out Of State Tuition||School|
Top 275 Graduate Healthcare Administration Degree Programs
Saint Leo University
Southern New Hampshire University
Loyola University Chicago
University of New Haven
California State University, Northridge
Grand Canyon University
University of the Sciences
Liberty University Online
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Indiana University Of Pennsylvania