Health Administration Graduate Programs
Study to understand the business side of heath care in one of the dynamically-planned Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs. The general aim of healthcare administration degree programs is to prepare individuals to develop, plan, and manage health care operations and services. This could provide the tools to navigate within health care facilities and across health care systems.
About Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs
Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs are available at all levels – Masters, Doctorate and Certificates. A graduate degree in healthcare administration could help students gain strategic and organizational skills. These are often needed to make executive decisions to impact patient care or even public health care policy.
Participants in healthcare administration degree programs often take a series of business and healthcare-related courses, and may be asked to research independently, take part in internships and/or complete informed capstone projects.
The range of healthcare management programs and various concentrations means students could look for one that lines up with their goals. Whether this is to manage a facility like a hospital or a specific clinical department.
What is Healthcare Management?
Healthcare management, also referred to as healthcare administration, is all about the managerial side of medical and health services. For example, a health management degree might include instruction in management theory and how it could be applied to let’s a hospital administration, an elderly care facility, pharmaceutical company or a psychiatry department.
Generalized health care management topics could draw from the seven (7) courses listed below, but please refer to the individual grad schools and their syllabus. i
- Accounting and Budgeting
- Human Resource Management
- Strategic Planning
- Public Relations
- Compliance, Ethics, and Business Law
- Health Economics
- Health Information Systems
Types of Health Administration Graduate Programs
Master of Health Administration
Health care intensive, Management & Leadership
Master of Health Services Administration
Strong business focus and health administration
Master of Business Education in Healthcare Administrations
Business functional, health administration
Master of Public Health
Population Health, health policy
Master of Public Administration
Public sector, nonprofit management
Masters in Healthcare Administration
There is a full menu of health administration masters degree programs to choose from, and reports by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics actually indicate that masters degrees are both common and sometimes preferred by today’s employers.i
With so many options, one ought to weigh options with professional goals in mind. And, make sure to take note of a program’s ‘required core’ courses to see if they line up with the things you hope to learn about.
How long might it take to earn a Masters degree in health administration? Full-time students might complete a MHA degree in about 2 years though a variable.
Apart from an accredited bachelors degree, form and fee, applicants may need to furnish current resume, essay, and English proficiency if an international student. The type of undergraduate background, minimum GPA and other prerequisites vary between schools.
Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
A Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) is a professional masters program that aims to ready students with the capacity to lead in the healthcare field. Coursework typically takes a wide-angle lens to all aspects of health care management.
U.S. Healthcare System
In some schools with MHA programs, students get started with a course in graduate research and academic writing and once successfully completed, continue on with other courses. These generally kick off with a comprehensive overview of the U.S. healthcare system including concepts, key issues and the types of delivery systems that exist.
Health Care Law and Ethics
Healthcare administration masters degree students could also become familiar with modern theories and practices in population health such as the impact of the Affordable Care Act. And, while not a law program, students could hone critical thinking skills as they build a deeper grasp of healthcare law, ethics and the privacy of information.
Managerial Processes for Health Care
MHA degree students might also study how to manage information and information systems in a modern healthcare organization. Typically, there is some discussion of electronic medical record systems. Other managerial courses could discuss conflict resolution, personnel and teamwork and the marketing and strategic planning for health service organizations.
Electives and Applied Research
An MHA program might task students with an applied research project. This research may have students integrate program content into a systems-based approach to a real-world problem. To tailor the program and perhaps add depth to their research, masters students might choose electives. See below for some general examples.
- Technology in Evidence-Based Decisions
- Electronic Health Records Systems Administration
- Community Based Healthcare
Be a Generalist or Choose a Concentration
An MHA degree program might offer students the option to focus and build general strengths or choose an area of emphasis. Look for unique concentrations as you search.
- Data Management: Study to help healthcare organizations improve their administrative, clinical, and financial strategies by utilizing data
- Population Management: Study to learn the leadership and managerial skills needed to help improve community help and curb epidemics
- Senior Services: Study to develop the skills to provide care for an aging population as you focus on the topics and issues pertinent to the gerontology field
- Healthcare Strategies: Study the finer points about marketing, policy, economics, and other aspects of planning specific to the healthcare system
DID YOU KNOW? Per O’Net, 12% of Health Managers have a Masters degree.ii
Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA)
A Master of Science (MS) in Healthcare Administration could provide students with the organizational skills and technical abilities specific to health systems. At the outset, students might learn about quality improvement and organizational change. Other key topics could include the following.
- Accounting for Health Care Organizations
- Health Care Informatics
- Healthcare Delivery Systems
- Healthcare Law, Ethics
- Managed Care
- Financial Management of Health Care Organizations
Participants in a MSHA program usually follow some set course guidelines onto which they might stack an area of emphasis such as health informatics or organizational leadership. A course in research methods for health services could help with an integrated capstone.
MHA vs MPH (Master of Public Health)
Although a Master of Public Health (MPH) and a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) are two degrees that appear to be similar, they actually have some key differences. Both degrees focus on healthcare and may overlap in some core courses, but the majority of the curriculum required for each is distinct.
The MPH curriculum is usually based on a combination of science, sociology and organizational topics. Public health courses could include core courses in epidemiology, behavioral science, biostatistics, environmental health, sociology, healthcare administration, and other topics related to health and society.
Compared to the MPH degree, the MHA usually puts less emphasis on disease and more on the delivery of healthcare services. In fact, an MHA degree might share some common features with the MBA in Healthcare Administration. For instance, it might offer extra insight in areas such as finance, accounting, management, and marketing.
MBA in Healthcare Management
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management is usually build to help students achieve strong leadership and executive skills in all the functional areas of business. Then, to apply these theories to healthcare settings.
- Business Basics – financial management, managerial economics, statistics
- Healthcare Topics – business data analytics, marketing, operations, personnel, conflict management
- Leadership – values and healthcare business ethics
- Management – policy and law, finance and accounting, risk, economics, strategy
Core Healthcare MBA courses could enable students to critically analyze business problems, forge solutions and make decisions based on evidence and research. Students might also study to understand how to lead and work in teams using effective business communication skills. Program requirements might also include a capstone project, thesis, and/or research project.
Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Healthcare Management
A Master of Public Administration (MPA) with an Emphasis in Health Care Management degree offers a way to gain key insights into how to implement effective health care public policy and improve access to quality care.
Importantly, an MPA degree core topics tend to revolve around organization theory and human behavior. Students might also study intergovernmental relations and the public policy process. A course in public budgeting and financial administration and research methods in public administration might also be central. Treated as a concentration, health administration option courses could overlap some with the MHA degree. See below for some general examples.
- Systems for Health Delivery in the U.S.
- Health Services Administration Theory and Practice
- Leadership in Health Administration Practice
- Health Care Organization
- Managing Change in Health Care Organizations
A comprehensive exam and final project might also be required.
Health Administration PhD Programs
PhD programs in healthcare administration are research-focused doctorate degrees in which students may develop both breadth and depth of knowledge. Students who pursue this more academic degree could research to add scholarly insight (new theory) to the field.
Health Administration PhD programs might enroll students with work experience and a Masters degree or MBA. Some programs might suggest prospective students line up their own research interests with active faculty projects.
Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)
A Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) degree is a practitioner doctorate. Course plans may build on masters-level knowledge to help participants learn more advanced business strategies and cultivate insight into innovative leadership. Grounded in research, students might learn how to make ethical and informed executive decisions based on management science.
Leadership and Management
Apart from leadership and ethics, students might work at their own communication and organizational style. Through group work and case study analysis, participants might learn about evidence-based management principles that are key components to patient centered, quality driven practices and improved patient care.
A course in population health could help participants investigate public health risks and how they relate to globalization, changing demographics, natural disaster, and terror-based disaster. This in tandem with a discussion about modern laws, regulations and how to advocate for health-centered policy.
DHA degree students could study more in-depth topics such as economics, financial management and organizational governance. Other management courses could focus on strategic change and how to adapt theory to further an organization’s position.
A dissertation is the cumulative project for a Doctor of Health Administration degree program. Students might review current practices and develop strategies to use in their specific work environments.
DHA vs DBA in Healthcare Management
While a DHA degree usually focuses and applies business, management and leadership skills exclusively to the health care domain, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) may hone overall executive skills.
In core courses, DBA students study business strategy and how to apply managerial decision-making skills to things like healthcare policy, information technology, marketing and economics. More focused courses in healthcare management could provide more exposure to policy development and implementation along with the following.
- Healthcare Systems (hospitals and hospital systems, ambulatory care services, long-term care services, wellness/prevention services, and community/public health services)
- Laws, regulations, and court decisions related to healthcare operations
Research methods and academic writing courses usually help students with the presentation side of data synthesis. Through them, participants might explore solutions for real-world management challenges that could affect health care delivery systems and the continuum of health services.
Graduate Certificate in Health Administration
A Graduate Certificate in Health Administration is a non-degree award which enables students to build skills and refresh a resume, without the same commitment as for a full grad degree. Health administration certificates may be available in a variety of topics as each one typically addresses one theme – in a few targeted courses.
For instance, a Health Management and Policy Certificate course plan might expose students to the history, basic structures and operations of public health and health care delivery systems. Further courses could examine health policy analysis and basic management principles and practical tools for health management professionals.
Earn a Graduate Degree in Health Administration Online or On Campus
Find a grad school for health care administration that offers campus based or online Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs. Which type of program format most appeals to your learning style?
- Am I seeking a cohort-based model that could create a connected learning community?
- Would an online format provide more flexibility for me as a currently employed professional in healthcare?
- Am I self-motivated?
- Do I prefer hands-on learning and live lectures?
- Is it important for me to study a certain concentration?
Whatever your answers, use them to search for programs in that format. Or, search for graduate health administration degrees in a preferred city, state or country.
Healthcare Administration Accredited Programs
Many graduate schools offer healthcare administration accredited programs. At the institutional level, a school may be regionally or nationally accredited which usually attests to the fiscal stability and student resources. Programs accredited by professional agencies may follow industry guidelines and standards for curricula.
Why Apply to Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs Today?
Per the BLS, Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow at a fast rate of 20 percent from 2016 to 2026 which means a rising demand for skilled administrators.iii
Make sure to review other Healthcare Administration Graduate Programs so that you could choose your perfect degree today! Refine by program level and format to get a list of partner programs that match your filters. Then use the on-page form to contact schools right away.
[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4 | [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9111.00 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6
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