As our healthcare system becomes more complex, a new wave of more highly-trained professionals are likely to be needed to take control of hospital, nursing home and clinic policies in order to improve patient care and streamline internal processes.
When you complete a master's degree in healthcare administration (MHA), you can be equipped with the skills necessary to keep up with the evolving healthcare system and make policy changes for the betterment of a facility, as well as the patients.
Common careers for those with an advanced degree in healthcare administration include:
There are also a variety of settings MHA degree holders can work in, including:
While starting a professional career with an online master's in healthcare administration is one way for students to get their foot in the door, professionals who already have a bachelor's degree, or who already work in healthcare, may also be able to be promoted to a position with higher pay and more prestige after completing an MHA degree program.
Continue reading in order to determine if a healthcare administration degree online is the right choice for you. This page includes information on what schools are looking for when admitting prospective students, what you can expect when you enroll in a program and the job options that are available to you after you graduate.
Although this differs from one program to the next, generally students in master's degree in healthcare administration programs can finish their coursework remotely. However, some schools may require that students complete certain classes on campus. For example, a program may require a capstone course that is conducted face to face.
While everyone has different career aspirations, enrolling in healthcare administration master's programs can be worth the time and financial investment. When you complete this degree, you are eligible to land higher-level positions, as well as earn higher salaries. Completing this degree can make you stand out in the competitive job market, so it is worth considering.
You can find a broad range of healthcare administration graduate programs available, but it may be smart to narrow your focus to only those that are accredited. Accreditation means that a school has been reviewed by an outside agency and found to offer quality education. Accreditation can also assure employers that recent graduates of health administration master's programs are qualified to manage various job responsibilities. The Commission of Accreditation on Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accredits these programs, providing a way for schools to improve through practitioner review.
It takes a lot of knowledge and skill to be able to run a healthcare facility or a department within one. A master's degree in healthcare administration can help students obtain the skills and knowledge base they need to enter a leadership role in the industry. From patient care to technology to policy to finance, students who enroll in a master's degree in healthcare administration can receive a comprehensive and diverse look at the industry, so they are equipped to deal with the complexities of being a decision maker in the healthcare space.
For more information about what to expect from a master's in healthcare administration program, continue reading this section.
How long does an online healthcare administration degree program take?
An online master's degree in healthcare administration can be completed in about 18 to 24 months if you enroll full-time. On the other hand, part-time students may be able to complete their degrees in about two or three years.
What are the requirements to start an online master's healthcare administration degree?
In order to be admitted into a healthcare administration master's degree program, schools may expect you to have at least a 3.0 grade point average in your undergraduate degree program, earn a high score on the GRE exam and have experience in the healthcare field. In addition, healthcare administration requirements may also include submission of your resume, a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation.
Why earn a master's online healthcare administration degree?
As the healthcare industry evolves, there is a growing demand for competent leaders to take the helm of changes at medical facilities. An online master's in healthcare administration can position you to get those jobs. This degree can make you more competitive when looking for work and help you to command higher salaries when you find one.
Years one and two
During the first year of the program, you may take courses that are part of the core curriculum in order to become familiar with the advanced subject matter. These classes may cover ethics in healthcare, managerial accounting, patient safety and quality improvement, and healthcare law.
During the second year of the degree, you can go on to continue taking core classes, as well as coursework in your specialization. You may also take electives during this time.
Choose a specialization and take elective courses:
Since the healthcare field is so broad, there are several areas that professionals can focus their careers on. As a result, a healthcare administration master's degree program may give you the opportunity to specialize in your subject of interest, so you can gain the expertise you need to take a leadership role in that area.
Some schools may require students to complete a capstone project in addition to the curriculum. These projects usually involve a lengthy report and subsequent presentation on some aspect of the healthcare administration field.
Experiential learning can be an important part of any degree program, so depending on the school you choose, you may be required to participate in an internship.
Healthcare administration master's degree programs allow students to take a deep dive into a particular subject so they can get the education they need to achieve their career goals. The following are some examples of the concentrations that you may find at an online healthcare administration school.
Population health. This specialization focuses on disease management and the delivery of healthcare to a specific group of people. The coursework in this area covers disease prevention, health management applications and health analytics.
Policy. If you're interested in becoming an expert on the policies that govern the way care is provided to patients, this concentration can teach you what the laws are, how they're developed and the ramifications legislation has on the industry.
Data management. The proper storage and use of data is an important part of delivering medical care, so if you have an interest in the technological side of healthcare, this concentration is the right choice for you. It covers the clinical and administrative uses for data, the different types of technologies used in the field, and how patient data is compiled and managed.
Healthcare strategies. Students who enroll in this concentration learn about the different ways strategies are developed and implemented to run every area of a healthcare facility. From marketing to policy to finances, this specialization gives you the strong leadership skills you need to strategize on how an organization is run.
Organizational development and leadership. If you enroll in this concentration, you may take classes that teach you how to effectively manage employees, make sound decisions and create a productive organizational culture.
MBA in Healthcare Administration
Students who are interested in focusing most of their education on business concepts that can be applied to any industry may be better served by enrolling in an MBA in healthcare administration program. If you choose this path, you can primarily study areas such as finance, operations management, data-driven decision making and human resources management, and then learn how you can specifically use the deep knowledge of business you gained in the healthcare field.
Click here for more information about MBA programs.
After earning a master's in healthcare administration, you can qualify to enter several different careers in the field. The following are examples of some of the jobs that you may be able to pursue when you're finished with your degree.
Clinical directors play a hands-on role with the medical staff of a facility to ensure that the highest quality patient care is provided. In order to do this, people in that role set goals for the organization, create employee schedules, and draft and maintain budgets. These professionals must have strong communication skills and the ability to motivate their team so that everyone is working toward a common organizational goal.
As a hospice administrator, you can oversee the day-to-day operations inside of a facility. This includes creating policies for a hospice unit, setting rates for services, handling budgeting and overseeing the work of employees.
If you have the desire to be an entrepreneur, you can become a healthcare consultant to use your skills and knowledge to help organizations reach their goals. In this position, you have consultations with your clients to determine what they need, study the trends and use that knowledge to help organizations create a business plan to reach those goals, and follow up as needed to track the progress and adjust the plan accordingly.
Health Information Manager
Patient records are an integral part of a healthcare facility's operations, and they can be used to provide treatment to people, as well as for research purposes and during investigations. As a health information manager, you might be responsible for ensuring that these records are maintained correctly. In order to do this, the position includes evaluating the organization's technology needs and finding products that can help meet those needs, and ensuring that records meet legal requirements.
Medical Office Business Manager
If you pursue this position, you can be responsible for all of the administrative tasks in a medical office. This includes scheduling, maintaining the organization's financial records, maintaining documents and ensuring that the office works within high quality standards. In addition, you may be required to work directly with staff members to train them and monitor their performance.
|State Name||Average Salary||Annual Job Openings||Projected Job Growth Potential|
|District of Columbia||$150,040||190||16.3%|
This certification is for revenue cycle professionals who want to demonstrate their knowledge, as well as their communication and critical thinking skills.
Requirements: At least four years of experience in the healthcare field
Exam format: Multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer, quantitative, true or false, and essay questions
How long does the certification last? Two years
Provided by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM), this certification is designed for people who have strong medical management skills, experience and knowledge.
Requirements: Two years of experience
Exam format: 200 multiple choice questions
How long does the certification last? Two years
This certification, which is offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, is for professionals who are committed to their professional development and learning.
Requirements: At least a bachelor's degree and a minimum of five years of professional experience
Exam format: 115 multiple choice questions
How long does the certification last? Three years
The Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives is a credential for healthcare management professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in various areas, such as finance, human resources, and healthcare technology and information management.
Requirements: Master's degree, a minimum of five years of experience and membership in the American College of Healthcare Executives
Exam format: 200 multiple choice questions
How long does the certification last? One year
Professional associations give healthcare administration workers the opportunity to continue learning throughout their careers by participating in events, networking with other people in the industry and keeping abreast of healthcare news. The following are some examples of organizations you can join as a member of the healthcare administration industry.
Since 1988, the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management has supported physician practice management professionals. Members receive access to resources like a career network, member directory and an industry journal.
The Health Care Administrators Association is dedicated to providing a wealth of resources to help professionals grow in their careers. Members can participate in informative events, get job leads and receive access to publications.
This organization offers membership benefits such as certifications, career resources, industry data and education tools. In addition, members can receive discounts on online classes, uniforms, books and rental cars.
The American College of Healthcare Administrators has been offering career development, networking and education to healthcare administration professions since its inception in 1962. In addition, the association offers scholarships for those who are studying to enter the field.