What is a Master’s in Health Administration?

Masters-in-Health-AdministrationA Master’s in Health Administration is also known as a Master of Healthcare Administration degree. This professional-level degree is required for careers that involve managing programs in

  • hospitals
  • medical clinics
  • public health

Some universities offer an MBA, or Master’s in Business Administration degree, in conjunction with the Masters in Health Administration degree. This allows the student to gain more knowledge in leading large organizations.

Many students interested in pursuing a Master’s degree often have career and family obligations. As a result, more universities are offering flexible options, including:

  • evening and weekend courses
  • online courses
  • full distance learning programs
  • offering credit for previous educational and professional experience

The variety of options mean that both traditional and non-traditional students can pursue an MHA.

What to Expect from a Masters in Health Administration Program

Many Master’s in Healthcare Administration programs take 18 months to three years to complete. In addition, most programs will have both a classroom and residency requirement. This ensures that students gain the knowledge and experience necessary to manage hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Students pursuing a master’s degree in healthcare administration can expect to take both healthcare and business courses. Some course topics may include:

  • health care marketing
  • financing and reimbursement issues
  • health care policy and law
  • risk management
  • organizational psychology
  • human resource management
  • health care ethics

Statistics and research courses may also be required.

What Prerequisites Must be Completed Prior to Enrolling in a MHA Program?

Almost every MHA program requires that the student have a bachelor’s degree. While some programs expect that the bachelor’s degree is in a healthcare-related field, most programs do not have a specific field required. There are some programs that offer MHA programs for those with an RN. However, the program completion time is often longer than a traditional Master’s in Healthcare Administration program. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is often required.

Potential students should check the specific program requirements regarding prerequisites before applying for admittance. Prerequisite courses vary by school. Some programs require students to have taken courses in:

  • statistics
  • psychology
  • healthcare topics

Other programs have prerequisite requirements that include writing and communication courses.

What Possible Career Options are Available for Someone with a MHA?

A Master’s in Health Administration degree can be essential for many management positions in the healthcare field. One of the most popular career choices is hospital administration. An administrator of a hospital focuses on quality of services provided by the hospital while ensuring that the hospital is compliant with all local, state and federal laws. The hospital administrator also works directly with medical professionals and deals with financial decisions and goals. The Princeton Review states that in some hospitals, the administrator is also responsible for the hiring and training of:

  • doctors
  • interns
  • nurses

In addition to hospital administration, those with an MHA may be qualified for a variety of career options. Hospice or nursing home facilities and public health care facilities often hire those with an MHA degree as administrators. Insurance companies, HMOs and medical equipment manufacturers also require administrators and CEOs to have advanced degrees, including a Master’s in Healthcare Administration.

For the business-minded individual who also enjoys making a difference in fast-paced and challenging healthcare settings, a career in healthcare management may be the perfect choice. Most colleges and universities with an allied health program offer a Master’s in Health Administration degree either with or without a dual degree in business administration.