A masters of health administration is a degree that students receive when they complete a professional program consisting of a variety of healthcare management courses. A masters in health care administration degree allows the holder to pursue a career in high-level management of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and clinics. Depending on the setting, the program a student must complete to earn a master’s in health care administration may be in one of two different formats: classroom-based format or practitioner-teacher format. In a classroom-based model, students are taught by full-time professors. In a practitioner-teacher model, students are taught by current healthcare administrators.
Most accredited MHA programs include similar coursework and degree requirements. The typical master of health administration program requires students to study information systems management, human resource management, communications, healthcare marketing, management of healthcare organizations, organizational behavior, health policy, healthcare economics, business and law issues, and general population health. Graduates of masters of health administration programs should have a well-rounded understanding of management issues specific to working in healthcare settings. An individual with an MHA degree should be prepared to work in a senior management role at any typical hospital or clinic. Most MHA programs focus on providing students with the tools they need to work at the federal, state, and local level, as well as with nonprofit organizations. This is different from a master’s of business administration, which does not typically prepare students for all of these different jobs.
The exact requirements a student must complete to earn an MHA degree vary by program and school. However, most MHA programs require students to master similar health, business, and management topics. A typical master of health administration program has a set of required core classes that every student must take in order to graduate with an MHA degree. These classes will cover relevant issues in healthcare management. Students may also be required to complete other core classes that the school mandates for graduation with any masters. Health administration classes will be included in the program, but the core courses may cover more general subjects, such as mathematics and English. Finally, students may need to complete a certain number of elective courses selected from an approved list in order to receive a master’s in health administration. MHA students usually choose electives consistent with their area of specialization, which may be operations, policy analysis, or public health to fulfill the requirements to earn their masters. Health administration professionals can benefit from the additional skills gained in these courses. Prior to awarding a student with a master’s in health administration, a school may also require the student to pass a comprehensive examination or complete a final project. In some cases, a student may be required to both pass an exam and write a final paper.
In addition to the required courses, many masters of health administration programs also require students to complete supervised administrative experience or internships in an actual hospital or clinic before awarding the master’s degree. These experiences usually include on-the-job training and experience in a nursing care facility, private practice, mental health clinic, or hospital. Completing an internship helps students understand how the topics they covered in class apply in real world settings. To gain the maximum amount of benefit, most MHA students complete their internships in facilities similar to the ones they want to work in after they graduate from the MHA program with their masters. Health administration careers are found in health care facilities around the country.
Accredited online MHA programs usually feature degree requirements similar to those of a traditional accredited MHA program. To earn a master’s in health administration online, students must typically complete the same types of courses and cover similar topics. Online MHA programs may also require students to complete internships or other supervised clinical experience. Finally, an online MHA program may require all students to pass a final exam or complete a project prior to awarding them a master of health administration degree.
Every MHA program is different, but all masters of health administration graduates should finish the MHA program with the same skills, regardless of whether they took courses online or in a classroom. A graduate with a master of health administration degree should be able to work in management at any typical healthcare organization with a deep understanding of the healthcare, law, and ethics involved. A master’s of health administration should give a student everything he or she needs to survive in the world of healthcare management.
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