Master of Health Administration Information Guide

As the healthcare industry continues to grow, the need for qualified managers and administrators is higher than ever. If you are an organized leader, prepared to plan, coordinate, and oversee medical and health services, then earning your master’s in health administration (MHA) might be just the fit for you. From nursing home administrators to clinical and health information managers, there are a variety of career paths that you can pursue. In this managerial position, you will work with doctors, nurses, technicians, and many other healthcare employees to ensure all departments are running smoothly in order to meet the needs of the patient, as well as the facility.

Top Online MHA Degree and Other Health Programs

A Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree can lead to careers in hospital administration, health insurance administration, health care policy making, and much more. With the growth and aging of the population, healthcare jobs are in high demand and are expected to grow indefinitely. Each of the following schools offers a master's degree program in health care.

Kaplan University
MS: Health Mgmt
MBA: Health Mgmt

Kaplan University -- Kaplan University's MS in Healthcare Management and MBA in Healthcare Management programs are designed to educate the next generation of healthcare leaders. A world-renowned faculty successfully graduates dedicated individuals that find jobs across the country.

George Washington University
MBA: Healthcare

George Washington University -- George Washington University is a respected leader in online education with hundreds of programs offered in its course catalog. The online programs can be completed at a pace that is comfortable to you and in an environment of your choosing, making these programs a flexible and convenient way to earn your Masters Degree. GWU offers an MBA in Healthcare through online courses.

Southern New Hampshire University
MSM: Health Admin

Southern New Hampshire University -- The Southern New Hampshire University MSM in Healthcare Administration program trains the next generation of healthcare administrators. Offered by one of the top universities in the country, the online program allows for students to continue to work while they receive their degree. Graduates find work across the healthcare system.

Grand Canyon University
MS: Health Admin

Grand Canyon University -- Students enrolled in GCU's MS in health administration degree program are taught the necessary skills needed to analyze and resolve issues within the field of healthcare. Students learns the impact economic, quality, cultural, political, and financial factors that shape the delivery of health care and how to factor in cost and economics in the decision-making process.

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MHA Degree Programs

Health AdministrationA Master’s of Health Administration (MHA) is a master’s degree that studies the business of the medical industry and how public health works with the government. There are many career opportunities to explore within the field of health administration. This is a master’s degree that involves many different outlets, giving a student the tools needed to work in health administration in a leadership role. An MHA focuses on:

  • Leadership skills
  • Marketing
  • Organizational skills
  • Financial and statistical analysis
  • Human resources management

What is an MHA Meant For?

An MHA is meant for students who want to work in management positions in healthcare. Students are required to have a bachelor’s degree to enter an MHA program. For most colleges and universities, it’s required that a student have some experience working in the medical field in some capacity. This may be in administrative work or in clinical practice depending on their educational background.

At some universities, an MHA is a fairly new degree. Prior to this, students hoping to work in hospital management enrolled in Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) programs. An MHA is ideal for a student who wants to work in hospitals or in the medical industry for the majority of their careers. An MBA with a focus on the medical community is a more general route for students who may work outside of the medical field as well.

Those looking to work in finance or consulting may benefit from an MBA versus an MHA; it depends on your future career goals and which route best fits your needs. Many well-established universities offer an MBA in healthcare, which is the older version of an MHA. It is important to have a meeting with a school advisor to see what the best program is for your future career plans. The following explores each program further to help you determine the right choice for you:

Combined MHA/MD Programs

A combined MHA/MD program consists of five years with a combination of studying for an MHA/MD. This gives students the opportunity to work in the medical field while obtaining an MHA. Clinicals and hands-on experience are part of the program, along with leadership and management courses. MHA/MD programs are challenging and full-time programs. MHA/MD programs should not be taken part time and in most cases, you are required to be a full time student by the university or college.

Students who are currently in medical school are also encouraged to enter MHA/MD programs if they feel they want to work in the medical industry in a business capacity. Because this is such an intense program, guidance and support are provided by professors and department advisors. Many programs are designed for students to enter the MHA program in conjunction with their MD coursework within the first year of medical school. There are two separate admission programs when entering an MHA/MD program, so be prepared for the fees and paperwork that come with this process. Your school can give you more information on the necessary requirements for this program.

How Long Does an MHA Program Take to Complete?

An MHA program on its own takes one to two years to complete. This is common for all master’s degree programs. This program can also be completed online on a part-time basis if you are a student who is also juggling other responsibilities, such as work or family. Programs that involve medical school will take far longer to complete, and vary from five to seven years, depending on what you’re studying. Studying specialty medicine will take longer, but also puts you in demand for hospitals and clinics in metropolitan areas with higher pay. So if you have the time to commit to specializing in a particular field, you may increase your opportunities for better careers and higher salaries.

What Kind of Salary Can I Expect With an MHA?

An MHA qualifies you for upper-level management and development positions in the healthcare industry. These positions are usually high paying jobs, but can vary based on the area you’re working in. Those working in a rural area may experience less pay than someone working in a large urban setting. Pay varies from $65,000 to $135,000 depending on experience and location, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Other factors than can affect your salary include the type of facility where you work, your level of experience, and your educational background. The BLS provides great salary information for you to compare positions across different facilities and locations.

How Does an MHA Online Degree Compare to a Traditional MHA Program?

Online MHA degrees are becoming more and more common. They offer a great alternative for busy students who need to cater their courses around their schedules and lives. The coursework covered is the same as with a traditional college campus; the differences are that you will receive your lectures and assignments electronically, and most of your work will be done independently. Students should be self-motivated, as they will not have the presence of a classroom environment to rely on. If you are interested in the MHA/MD track, this will be difficult to find online. While you may be able to complete some coursework via the internet, this type of program requires attending a campus as well. It is a more intense program, since you are studying for concurrent degrees, and you will be required to complete clinical hours to gain hands-on experience in a medical setting.

Online MHA programs require students to stick to a schedule. A disciplined schedule must be developed in order to keep up with assignments. Students will have access to a professor and fellow students through an online message board, and professors can often be reached by phone during office hours or via email. Many professors require students to participate in online message board discussions to develop the traditional classroom experience in a virtual manner. This will allow you to work and converse with your online peers in order to get a better grasp on the material and to receive feedback on various topics covered.

MHA degrees are essential for rising to top of the medical industry and working in executive positions. The medical industry continues to grow due to poor health in America and an aging baby boomer population. Nearly every position in the medical field is set for prime growth in the next decade. Those working in the medical field in a management position can expect a 16 percent growth through 2018. There will be the most job opportunities for those with a hefty background in the medical field and business. An MHA helps someone with a medical background learn how to crunch numbers, examine HR issues, and create a more successful hospital or clinic atmosphere. This business background will make you more desirable for future employers.

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