Healthcare Administration Graduate Schools provide students the opportunity to expand business and executive decision skills that pertain to various aspects of the healthcare industry. A grad school for health care administration could boast a wide range of concentrations within management, public health, health sciences, informatics, and more.
Determining which emphasis lines up with both career goals and prior experience, could help you isolate the program and school that may offer you the education you need.
Within healthcare administration graduate schools degrees are conferred at the Masters and Doctoral levels and some may award non-degree Certificates. There are programs that may appeal to continuing students and scholars as well as to current and aspiring professionals who want to build skills to climb up the corporate ladder.
What is a degree in health administration? A graduate degree in healthcare administration often includes a course plan that melds studies in population health with managerial processes. While the medical staff is in direct contact with patients, someone has to manage the business end of the medical practice. Or, create and implement legislation at the governmental levels.
Study to Lead in the Diverse Field of Healthcare
Healthcare administration is a pretty diverse field with lots of players – insurance and health delivery systems, the pharmaceutical side, hospitals and smaller facilities like eldercare or outpatient clinics. Plus, the various medical departments and staff.
Students may also be tasked with basic or applied research to problem solve or contribute original insights.
The length of time it might take for a full-time student to earn a degree in healthcare administration depends on many factors, one of which is the degree level. We provide some guidelines for an average time to completion but take not this could vary.
DID YOU KNOW?
The average annual salary for medical and health services managers in May 2017 was $98,350i.
College graduates may apply to masters in healthcare administration schools in many cases, no matter what their undergraduate degree is. Applicants might come from backgrounds in health care management and business, biology, sociology, policy, public health, government, social work or allied health professions. Also, it may be helpful, but not necessarily a requirement, to have some prior coursework in economics and statistics.
Most doctor of healthcare administration programs require significant work experience for admission and a masters degree. At least five years of management-level experience in healthcare, public health, or public policy is commonly expected of applicants.
Some schools that offer healthcare administration graduate programs might use the Health Administration, Management and Policy Centralized Application Service. It is a centralized application service, designed for students applying to graduate programs in health administration, health care management and health policy. Make sure to give yourself some advance time to review each school’s policy and process.
Schools that offer masters in health administration programs may pose several options.
From a master of health administration (MHA), health management, or public health, degrees in business with course concentration in health services management or joint degrees. A masters degree in both business administration and public health, for example.
A Master of Business Administration is an advanced professional degree that generally covers all the functional areas of business, with emphasis on strategy, finance and operations. An MBA in Healthcare management could help students apply this body of knowledge to ethically lead and manage various segments of this dynamic industry.
One of the hallmarks of an MBA program is its core curriculum, so in these programs, healthcare management would be considered a concentration. Courses do vary between schools but usually go heavy on building skills across different areas.
Interested students could also compare an MBA with a Master of Science (MS) in Management – Healthcare Management.
A Master of Health Administration (MHA), which is also referred to as a Master of Healthcare Administration, is an advanced professional healthcare degree. MHA schools typically aim to prepare graduates to pursue an executive career in healthcare management. Applicants might therefore need to have some work experience.
MHA vs MBA Healthcare: With an emphasis on leadership and management, some may characterize the MHA as an “MBA for healthcare.” That stated, business majors who are interested in the management side of healthcare, might find an MHA is a differentiated degree compared to a generic MBA.
MHA vs MPH: On the other side, an MHA program is dissimilar to Masters in Public Health degree, where a set of core competencies are required across all programs. Most MHA students have flexibility in deciding their focus. This means there are MHA degrees tailored for health policy, health planning, hospital management and other specific areas of healthcare administration.
A Masters of Public Health (MPH) is an advanced professional healthcare management program. Schools with MPH programs may tailor course lists for those who want to concentrate on the management of community health services, such as health education, or outreach.
Consequently, grads may take away real-world skills that address health inequality on its different levels – local, national, and global. Courses may provide guidance in things like how to shape the policies that allow employees to provide high quality medical care. Also, core MPH topics might highlight the concepts and models used to manage public, governmental and nonprofit health care agencies.
Schools with terminal professional degrees in healthcare administration might offer the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Management (DM). PhD programs in healthcare administration and management are research-focused by comparison. As with masters programs, there are many choices to consider and discerning students would want to keep professional goals in mind when making a selection.
A Doctor of Healthcare Administration is a terminal practitioner degree program. Coursework in a DHA degree program might help participants hone key tactical business skills within the healthcare environment, with a heavy emphasis on research methodology. Diverse topics like conflict management, population health, and healthcare informatics may be presented and a program might culminate in either an applied or theoretical dissertation.
A Doctor of Management (DM) program is a terminal degree for managers who want to develop managerial expertise in healthcare administration. Program courses might be planned out to help students develop a leadership style that might foster a deeper ability to critically evaluate, analyze and solve problems – and ultimately work toward making key contributions – to a student’s technical field.
Core DM topics typically focus broadly on management theory, organizational behavior, leadership and strategy. Participants might also study the finer points of health policy and regulations, economics, informatics and quality improvement models. Students could also build research and writing skills in tandem with a grasp of change management.
A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is the highest award for business students and typically builds off the skills one may have gleaned both through an MBA (or Masters) and their own professional experience. Coursework might help participants refine core business management skills in the healthcare field with its focus on how to apply managerial decision-making skills to healthcare policy and economics.
Some grad schools might offer a Post-Master’s Graduate Certificate in Health Care Administration program. This type of program could cover a few classes – E.g. 16 credits. It may be planned-out to provide students who have already earned an MPA or a similar degree with extra education and training in the niche area of health care administration.
Healthcare administration graduate schools may offer campus, hybrid and online formats that may appeal to different students for their own reasons.
Does it appeal to you to work in diverse teams, make presentations, and lead case study analyses? Would you enjoy live lectures and getting to know faculty as you study to build a foundation in management principles? Would you like to study in a specific city, state or country? If so the campus format could be worth looking into. Side benefits of working towards a degree on campus could include the ability to take advantage of workshops and guest speaker presentations. One might also find it easier to network with students and faculty from a wide range of industries.
Numerous regionally-accredited health administration graduate schools offer professionally accredited programs. Many of these are approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). The CAHME is the only accrediting body for graduate programs in health administration that is currently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
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