What is the Difference Between a MBA in Healthcare Management and a Masters in Health Administration?

Once the decision to pursue a Master’s degree is made, selecting the right program and format is critical to achieving desired, future career goals. Many programs appear similar in content requirements and areas of concentration, yet their minor differences may limit one’s career path, if not chosen carefully. For example, the question is often asked as to the differences between a MBA in Healthcare Management and a Masters in Health Administration. Though each prepares one for middle and upper-level management positions, the differences are significant.

A MBA in Healthcare Management

One who wishes to pursues a traditional MBA will acquire analytical skill sets across several areas of business: accounting, corporate finance, international business, and e-commerce, in order to be an effective business manager upon completion of a program.

A MBA in Healthcare Management follows the same basic curriculum with additional coursework in the administration of healthcare services to patients, the legal environment in the healthcare industry, facilities management, and current healthcare policies. This degree, according to cbsnews.com ,is highly competitive in traditional business environments as well as the healthcare industry.

Individuals who obtain this degree often work as Healthcare Facility Managers, Business Managers for Hospitals or other healthcare service providers, and often serve as business consultants.

A Masters in Health Administration

This program is geared to the individual who wants to follow a career path related only to the Healthcare Industry. A Masters in Health Administration is specifically designed to prepare the individual for the administration of health care services in today’s healthcare industry with a focus on policy, insurance, and financial requirements to fund healthcare services for end users–patients. A Masters in Health Administration trains an individual for the patient aspect of healthcare service management, whereas, a MBA trains an individual for the overall daily management of business operations such as: labor requirements; creating and implementing corporate policies and internal controls; interpreting and making formal reports, to internal and external users, on the organization’s financial statements; and, may be the liaison between middle and upper management.

Individuals who obtain a Masters in Health Administration often work as Long-term care facility administrators, Hospital Health Service/Patient Service Directors, Healthcare Consultants, work for Insurance Companies, and possibly work in federal, state, or local government sponsored healthcare agencies.

Ultimately, both degrees prepare individuals for managerial posts. However, a MBA in Healthcare Management ensures exposure and the acquisition of necessary analytical and management skill sets across the broad range of business functions found in any organization. This individual can be competitive in traditional business environments and the healthcare industry’s workforce. Whereas, a Masters in Health Administration is intended to prepare one for management; they will be responsible for the management of healthcare policy, insurance issues and government regulations as they pertain to administering healthcare services to patients. This career path is limited to career advancement within the healthcare industry.