The Student’s Guide to MHA Programs

Master of health administration programs are degree programs that allows students to learn about the management and administration of a healthcare organization. Graduates of such programs often assume positions as leaders of hospitals or other healthcare facilities. Students typically enroll in master of health administration programs after completing a four-year degree at a college or university. The coursework for this program usually includes classes focusing on medical knowledge, health care, and administrative responsibilities.

For many universities, health care administration programs are a new development. Before their existence, students who wanted to work in healthcare management obtained a master’s in business administration instead. While health care administration programs are geared toward students who want to work in the health field for the duration of their careers, a master’s in business administration can be used to obtain a management career in other fields as well. However, because it is not tailored to healthcare, it is not as valuable for dedicated healthcare professionals. To choose the best degree, students should speak with an academic advisor and discuss their career plans.

Why do I Need a Master’s in Health Administration?

If you want to be involved in hospital management or any other leadership position in the healthcare field, it is likely that you will need a master’s in health administration. Even if you have an extensive medical background, employers will still require that you obtain this degree in order to learn accounting and other business skills. Likewise, individuals with only a business administration degree won’t understand the intricate workings and complex legal issues associated with the field of healthcare. The master’s in healthcare administration is the perfect degree for anyone wishing to work in healthcare management.

What are the Requirements for Entering Master of Health Administration Programs?

To enter health administration programs that end in a master’s degree, students must typically be interested in working in a management position at a healthcare facility. Students must also have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, some programs require prospective students to demonstrate that they have medical expertise or experience working in a health-related field. Students without expertise or experience may be able to enter a program if they write a letter of interest to the college explaining why they are a good match for healthcare management.

What will I Learn During the Program?

Health administration degrees typically feature a well-rounded curriculum designed to teach students about every facet of managing a healthcare organization. Students will learn about accounting and human resources. They will also learn about healthcare-related ethical and legal issues, as well as strategies for coping with situations that may arise in hospital settings. Finally, students will learn leadership skills tailored specifically to work in the medical field.

Choosing a School

Students can enroll in health administration MBA programs either online or in a traditional college or university. Programs that lead to a health administration masters online have become increasingly common in recent years. Though they aren’t exactly like a traditional program, they are comparable. Just like a traditional program, however, an online masters in health administration program does require students to stick to a set schedule and complete assignments by predetermined due dates. Most online courses still include a professor who interacts with students via message boards and live chat applications. Students may also be required to perform clinical work or collaborative projects with classmates to complete an online master’s in health administration program.

Regardless of whether you decide to attend a traditional school or obtain your health administration masters online, it is important to make sure that the program you choose is accredited, which means that it meets the requirements for educational excellence as determined by a professional organization. In the past, only traditional brick-and-mortar programs could be accredited. However, it is now possible for an online master’s in health administration program to achieve accreditation as well.

Career Opportunities

Individuals with master’s degrees from health care administration programs often work in hospital management or health-related government positions. It is expected that opportunities for healthcare administrators will continue to grow as the baby boomer population ages. By 2018, experts predict a growth of as much as 16 percent in this field. Even graduates who earned their health administration masters online should have plenty of job opportunities.

Professional Organizations

Graduates of healthcare administration programs can join several different professional organizations. The most popular organizations are the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the American College of Healthcare Executives, and the Medical Group Management Association. Depending on your job description, you may benefit from joining one or more of these organizations. Both the ACHE and the MGMA are dedicated to medical leadership, while the HFMA is more focused on accounting and finances.

To learn more about MHA programs, consult the links below.

Healthcare MBA vs. Masters in Health Administration

When you want to work in healthcare administration, you can typically choose one of two degrees: a healthcare MBA or a master of health administration. There are pros and cons to choosing either type of degree. To choose the best degree for you, you should consider what you hope to accomplish in your career. A healthcare MBA is ideal for an individual who wants to focus on the business side of healthcare. On the other hand, an MHA is better for an individual who wants to be involved in healthcare administration but with less of a focus on business.

General Information on Master of Health Administration Programs and Healthcare MBA Programs

A master of health administration is a degree with a sole focus on working as an administrator in the healthcare field. Most students who pursue this degree have already worked as administrators in another field. Most courses in the program are geared toward healthcare, while a few will focus on administration and management. Most health administration programs last two years, but the program may take longer for part-time students.

Healthcare MBA programs focus on the business aspect of healthcare. In this program, not all courses are focused on healthcare. However, a solid portion of them will apply to the healthcare field. This degree is best for individuals who already work in healthcare and want some advanced business training to supplement their skills. You can obtain a healthcare MBA in two years if you attend classes full time, but it may take longer for a part-time student.

Admission Requirements for Healthcare MBA Programs and Health Administration Programs

To qualify for admission to a healthcare MBA program, you must have graduated from an accredited university or undergraduate college. Most MBA healthcare programs also require at least two years of work experience relevant to the degree. Many programs require at least a minimum grade point average. Finally, some programs require a minimum score on the Graduate Record Exam.

Qualifications for health administration programs are similar to those of MBA healthcare programs. To qualify for admission to most health care administration programs, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. You must also have at least a minimum GPA and a minimum score on the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test. Previous work experience is taken into consideration as well.

Common Curriculum for MBA Healthcare Programs and Master of Health Administration Programs

The curriculums of an MBA program and an MHA program are considerably different. While earning an MBA in healthcare, most of the courses you study will focus on business. You will learn about leadership, management, accounting, business law, and ethics. A few courses will be related to healthcare. Health care administration programs, on the other hand, focus more on healthcare. You will learn about running a hospital and the legal and ethical issues related to healthcare. You will also take some business courses.

Benefits of an MBA in Healthcare or an MHA

Either of these degrees is beneficial in the field of healthcare. Both degrees will allow you to work as an administrator in a healthcare setting, such as a clinic or hospital. Either degree gives the holder the opportunity to advance within the field. However, an MBA is usually a better fit for an individual who already has a background in healthcare, while an MHA is better for someone with a background in business.

About the Online Masters in Health Administration Program or MBA Program

It is possible to obtain either an MBA in healthcare or a health administration masters online. An online masters in health administration program or MBA program will typically be similar to the traditional classroom based programs. However, whether you choose to obtain a MBA or health administration masters online or in a classroom, it is important to make sure that your program is accredited. An accredited online masters in health administration program or MBA program is better received in the health field. For example, it is better to earn a health administration masters online from an accredited program than to earn the same degree from a classroom-based program that isn’t accredited.

Career Opportunities Following Healthcare MBA programs or Master of Health Administration Programs

With either degree, you can work as an administrator in a healthcare setting. Individuals who hold healthcare MBAs can transition into administration in other industries more easily, while holders of MHAs have more flexibility within the health field. With either degree, you must typically begin your career in lower management. However, either degree also allows you to move up to the highest administrative positions in the health field.

Professional Organizations for Graduates of Health Care Administration Programs or Healthcare MBA Programs

Regardless of which degree you earn, you can join two main organizations following your graduation. One organization is the American College of Healthcare Executives, which holds conferences and supports continuing education. The other organization is the Medical Group Management Association, which unites management professionals of 12,500 healthcare organizations. Either organization can help you advance within the medical community.