What is an MBA in Healthcare Management?

MBA Healthcare Management

Earning a master’s degree in healthcare management is the best route for building the key knowledge and skills needed to unlock administrative roles in the medical industry.

At MBA Healthcare Management, we’re dedicated to helping explore and select the right accredited master’s degree for achieving your professional goal of leading a healthcare organization. It’s our mission to continually update our website with unparalleled academic and career resources devoted to the exciting healthcare management profession.

Healthcare administration is a fast-growing management field that focuses on planning, directing, and coordinating the delivery of high-quality patient care services. Health managers play an important role in keeping our country’s medical facilities running smoothly and safely in accordance with the latest legal regulations. Having a bachelor’s degree is required, but most healthcare administrators attend graduate school to sharpen their business acumen for ethical leadership. Medical services are in higher demand thanks to the aging baby boomer population, so graduates with a masters in healthcare management degree are currently benefiting from a rapid job growth of 23 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Healthcare management degrees are typically structured to build upon a broad-based business core with strategic management practices used in hospitals and other facilities. Most master’s in healthcare administration programs allow aspiring leaders to delve into topics like budgeting, information systems, business law, ethics, economics, and quality management. Traditionally, degrees have been offered in an on-campus method with face-to-face instruction. Attending a brick-and-mortar institution for a master’s in healthcare management can be beneficial for developing better communication skills, working on hands-on consulting projects, and networking with fellow students. On the downside, traditional programs aren’t usually convenient for busy working healthcare professionals seeking advancement.

Online learning is becoming increasingly popular for students seeking an MBA in healthcare administration because it offers unmatched flexibility. Students pursuing their degree online are able to access their course materials and lectures 24/7 within their hectic schedules. Working full-time or fulfilling family obligations is easier when you can log in to classes from the comfort of home anytime. Online healthcare administration degrees can also introduce future managers to the technical abilities necessary for maintaining electronic health records. Of course, online students miss out on in-person interaction and only discuss their ideas through text. Online degree programs can also be more challenging because students must be self-reliant.

Since there are advantages to both on-campus and online learning, some business schools are giving students the chance to marry the two into a unique hybrid format. Hybrid master’s in healthcare administration programs give the best of both worlds by pairing convenient online curriculum with some campus trips for face-to-face interaction. Most hybrid degrees will involve commuting to the physical college just once a week or month while completing most course assignments via the World Wide Web. Students choosing a hybrid format for their master’s in healthcare management degree will likely spend at least one semester completing a real-world internship at a location conveniently near their home.

Healthcare Management Degree Levels

Choosing the ideal program match will require that you know about the different kinds of degrees available. Colleges in the United States confer healthcare management degrees at four levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Job opportunities will vary based on the amount of education you have in healthcare administration, so it’s important that you market yourself properly. For instance, having an MBA in healthcare administration is usually mandated for candidates entering senior management positions in mid-sized to large medical practices. Licensing options also vary depending on the degree level you have achieved. The following is an in-depth look at the four levels of healthcare management degrees to help you reach your unique leadership goals.

Associate’s Degree

Although they may be more difficult to find, several respected colleges offer two-year associate’s degrees for students just starting out on a career in healthcare administration. It’s possible to receive an Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) focused in healthcare management. Some schools will offer specific majors in medical office administration or medical practice management to introduce students to the inner workings of healthcare facilities. Associate’s degrees typically require around 60 credits of career-oriented training in preparation for entry-level health services jobs. Earning an associate’s can be a smart method to save money before transferring to a four-year college.

Bachelor’s Degree

At the university level, bachelor’s degrees in healthcare administration will take at least four years of full-time studies to develop a broad foundation in sound business practices. After developing a general education core, students will take introductory and intermediate courses specifically related to managing the daily operations of medical offices. Most will lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, but you may find a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) offering a healthcare management concentration too. Once students complete the minimum 120 credits with an internship or capstone, they’re prepared for moving into entry to mid-level supervisory roles within healthcare administration.

Master’s Degree

Those aspiring to top executive positions will likely need to pursue a master’s degree in healthcare administration to fine-tune their leadership prowess. Accredited graduate schools usually allow managers to earn an MBA in Healthcare Management or Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) over the course of two to three years. One of the best parts of master’s programs is that they give freedom for specialization. Healthcare administration majors may select to concentrate their studies in hospital management, health informatics, patient advocacy, long-term care administration, medical practice management, hospital human resources, and more. Managers with a master’s degree will have their pick of senior positions within the thriving medical field.

Doctoral Degree

Last but not least, universities offer advanced healthcare administrators the chance to further their education with a doctorate. Depending on the university, you may find a Doctor of Health Administration (DHA), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), or Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program for healthcare management. Doctoral students complete anywhere from three to six years of rigorous training beyond the bachelor’s degree before working on an independent dissertation research project. Having a doctorate in healthcare management can be helpful for those seeking to become CEOs, researchers, health policymakers, or university professors. Some medical doctors pursue a dual degree with healthcare management to handle the intricacies of their practice’s administrative tasks too.

Healthcare Management Degree Rankings

Selecting a good masters in healthcare administration program is essential to impress your future employers and reap a long-term return on investment. That’s why you’ll need to weigh many different factors to determine which is the best healthcare management degree for you. Firstly, all healthcare administration majors must narrow down their options to those offered by regionally accredited institutions. This ensures you’ll receive a stellar education that meets financial aid and credit transfer requirements. It’s also advised that you select a master’s program that’s approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) for good career preparation. Other important factors include student-faculty ratio, tuition prices, coursework, internships, awards, and career placement rates.

It’s likely that you don’t have the time to compare all of these crucial characteristics for a large number of schools. Luckily, you’re not alone. Rankings are published by a wide range of online publications to point you in the right direction of good healthcare management programs. Ranking systems will analyze a set of criteria and organize relevant universities from the best to the worst. What’s important to you may not be important to others, so make sure you only use rankings as a starting point for your further investigation. Picking a master’s degree in healthcare management that tops ranking lists could increase your professional marketability.

Perhaps the most well known ranking system in America for learning about the best of the best healthcare administration programs is the U.S. News and World Report. Every year, the U.S. News provides comprehensive rankings showing the best graduate healthcare management programs, top online MBA programs, best business schools, and more. You could also use the Princeton Review’s “Best 276 Business Schools” as a guide for finding a good MBA in healthcare administration. Forbes magazine and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance also highlight affordable graduate business schools. If you’re looking for an elite global college, the Times Higher Education is a trusted resource for ranking world universities too.

Of course, at MBA Healthcare Management, our editors work hard to regularly create our own rankings for the best programs in healthcare administration. We happily do the research to make choosing the perfect healthcare management program a breeze. Take a look at the:

Healthcare Management Careers and Salaries

Graduating with a master’s degree in healthcare management will open many previously locked doors for a plethora of healthcare administration careers. Even during the last recession, the healthcare industry experienced growth. Healthcare management careers can be found in any type of patient care centers from hospitals and physician offices to mental health clinics and medical insurance carriers. An MBA in healthcare management will place you at the top of the food chain in these facilities’ top management positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 310,320 medical and health services managers working in America for a total mean annual wage of $103,680. Some in-demand and popular healthcare administration careers include:

Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators work in general, surgical, and specialty hospitals to make certain their facility is providing adequate medical treatment to patients. Hospital administrators are usually responsible for managing the personnel, budgeting, informatics, and clinical needs of either one department or the entire hospital. Hospital administrators use their master’s-level knowledge of business to control all areas of patient services for quality assurance. Hospital administrators earn a sizeable six-figure average annual salary of $110,840 according to the BLS.

Pharmaceutical Project Manager

Pharmaceutical project managers have the hefty task of supervising the development process for new prescriptions and medical equipment for improved patient outcomes. In the booming pharmaceutical industry, project managers establish teams of researchers and physicians to carry out the testing of new health treatments. Pharmaceutical project managers administer the research timeline to make certain the project remains on time and budget. The BLS states that they’re rewarded with a mean yearly salary of $84,581 for wearing many hats in pharmaceutical research.

Nursing Home Administrator

Nursing home administrators specialize their skills in coordinating the residential care for aging and rehabilitating patients who require round-the-clock treatment. Administrators take a senior-level role in handling the staffing, financial, marketing, legal, and record-keeping aspects of maintaining a nursing home. Nursing home administrators make certain that the facility’s physicians, therapists, nurses, and other staff are working in accordance with laws. In exchange for devoting their career to elder care, nursing home administrators bring home an average yearly salary of $99,838 according to the BLS.

Patient Services Manager

Also referred to as healthcare access coordinators, patient services managers have the primary responsibility of acting as a liaison between patients, their families, and healthcare staff. Some typical duties for patient services managers can include managing admissions papers, forming billing processes, establishing patient rights, training staff, coordinating the delivery of medical procedures, reporting treatment progress, and ensuring that all regulations are enacted. Patient services managers make certain patients receive the highest quality of care and are compensated with a decent average salary of $83,280 each year (BLS statistic).

Now you can see why Forbes magazine named the master’s in healthcare administration the #8 best graduate degree for jobs in America! We invite you to begin clicking through our helpful degree guides to learn more about how you can enter this financially and intrinsically rewarding career. At MBA Healthcare Management, we strive to provide graduate students with guidance in earning a master’s degree and landing their dream job in medical leadership. If you have any further questions or comments, please contact us here!