Types of Health Administration Master’s Degrees

Prospective students interested in health administration jobs have a few different degrees to choose from. Your choice should depend on your background, interests, and goals. The degrees outlined below are similar in ways, but each degree has key distinctions that set it apart from the rest. Consider the differences and your own goals to decide which programs may be best for you.

Master of Science in Health Administration

Those who get a master’s in health service administration are interested in working in the highest levels of management within a hospital or other health-care institution. A student in these programs will receive an education in business and administration targeted specifically to the health-care field. This is a strong option for students with a business background who lack experience in health care. There is a special focus on the duties of senior health administrators in state, federal, and nonprofit programs. People who have already spent years working in the field often pursue these degrees to further their education and put themselves in a position to get a promotion. Upon earning a Master of Science, health administration jobs at the highest level are available for those who have invested in their education and have strong work experience. Many MHA programs will require you to have work experience before being admitted to the program, but once you are a student, internships and work-study jobs will likely be part of your curriculum. It’s best to have on-the-job experience in addition to coursework.

Here are a few common job titles held by people with MHA degrees:

  • Chief executive officer
  • Clinic manager
  • Health care consultant
  • Program manager
  • Health services manager
  • Medical records manager
  • Hospital administrator

Master’s in Business

Health administration degree-seekers also sometimes choose to pursue a master’s in business, which is a more generalized degree that will give students a variety of business skills that can be applied to a lot of fields. Those who are interested in health care can choose that as their specialization. If you choose a specialization, you can expect to devote one quarter of your studies to that area. An MBA in health administration might be the perfect fit for people who have experience in health care but feel they lack the business know-how to achieve their career goals. During their studies, students will learn a variety of management techniques and duties in areas like finance, accounting, human resources, and marketing. If you are interested in business as it relates to health care but want to have the flexibility to work in other fields, then you should strongly consider this degree. Here are a few jobs available to you if you obtain an MBA degree:

  • Medical facility CFO
  • Health information manager
  • Medical manager
  • Chief nursing officer
  • Practice manager

Executive Master of Health Administration Programs

An executive Master of Health Administration program is designed for busy working professionals who want to quickly advance their careers to enter leadership roles and take on administrative duties. These programs are full of professionals who work in law firms, health departments, care organizations, consulting firms, and pharmaceutical companies. The courses are for highly motivated people who are able to fit the education of a master’s degree into short sessions with little on-campus time. That means a lot of accountability for independent learning. A lot of these programs are taught entirely or mostly online.

The courses in this type of program will cover topics like community leadership, economic and political impacts on the U.S. health system, finance and accounting, professional ethics, marketing, and more. If you already work in the field and want to further your education and network with other professionals in a timely way, this is the degree for you. People who earn this degree typically aspire to these careers:

  • Medical or health services manager
  • Director
  • Executive director
  • Senior manager

Master’s in Health Policy and Administration

This degree is for people with specific leadership interests in health policy. People who are drawn to administrative work and have a special interest in policy and law should consider these programs. This degree qualifies students to interpret law and policies for health institutions. While you will be taught a very specific set of skills, you can rest assured that these skills are very in demand, as so many institutions value an expert on laws like HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act. Applicants for this type of program should have solid work experience within the field with the ambition to enhance their education. Many of these programs are flexible for working professionals and include a lot of online coursework. People with this degree can be hired to work for:

  • Hospitals
  • Health systems
  • Insurance companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Medical group practices
  • Federal regulatory and health services
  • Home health care agencies
  • Clinics and outpatient centers