The Master's in Healthcare Administration degree is becoming much more prevalent throughout the United States. Many current nurses with their Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or other healthcare professionals with their undergraduate degree, decide to get their MHA degree to fast-track their career to become a Healthcare Administrator. The Healthcare Administrator role has many opportunities in management and running hospitals or different healthcare businesses.
There are multiple options to get a Master's in Healthcare Administration degree online. Most undergraduate degree holders looking to get their MHA enroll in a Healthcare Administration Master's program online and work as a full-time employee in their current job while taking classes online. An MHA degree can take as little as 18 months to complete, but most people tend to go for a couple years.
Consider featured accredited online MHA programs seeking applicants for a Master's of Health Administration:
- The Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University's online Master of Health Administration is for aspiring leaders with at least three years full time experience. With the program’s interactive design, students learn from each other’s experience as much as they learn from faculty. Click for Admissions Information.
Master of Healthcare Administration vs. Master of Health Services Administration
There are a number of different types of health administration programs, but the MHA is perhaps the most common. The Master of Healthcare Administration has many other designations:
- Master of Health Services Administration
- Master of Business Administration specializing in Health Care Management
- Master of Science in Management specializing in Healthcare Administration
Each of these degree options prepare an individual for healthcare administration in slightly different ways with minor differences in focus of material.
What is a Master of Healthcare Administration Degree?
A Master of Healthcare Administration is a graduate level degree for professionals in health care administration and management seeking to further their skills. This degree enhances knowledge of health policy, health economics, management, quality improvement, leadership, finance, etc. This is an option for those already working in healthcare administration who currently, have at a minimum, a BA or BS in a related field.
Typical Pre-Requisites for a MHA Program?
Pre-requisites for the MHA or similar degrees consist of a baccalaureate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA (usually 3.0 or better), a resume / CV, personal statement or letter of application, official transcripts and letters of recommendation. Some programs will require a GRE score or another standardized test score. Almost all programs will require (or highly recommend) some amount of previous work experience. Depending on the student and the program, some programs will require or strongly recommend pre-requisite courses. These will refresh individuals on past topics learned or teach specific concepts that may be new since the individual received a bachelor's degree. If you do not yet have your bachelor's degree or are considering other health administration programs at any level and specialty, consider our sister site focused entirely on health administration degree programs.
Some examples are classes in communication, writing, finance, or introduction to healthcare administration.
Typical MHA Curriculum & Classes
The Curriculum and classes for the MHA are focused on management and leadership. An introductory class into healthcare systems will usually start the course work. The core curriculum will consist of classes teaching organizational leadership, economics, finance, marketing, ethics, and strategic planning. These classes will build off of and incorporate previous work experience. The final part of most MHA curriculum's is a capstone class. This will integrate knowledge and skills gained through study and work to showcase the competency of the student.
Specialties or concentrations may be required by an MHA program. Each of these will have additional classes required for graduation. These classes help to further specialize the individual. Examples of these specialties are Principles of Health Informatics and Comparative Healthcare systems.
Online MHA Degree
Because the MHA is designed for public health or healthcare practitioners already working in their field, many MHA options (and their similar counterparts) are available on-line. The curriculum and requirements will be very similar to traditional degrees. On-line degree's are great options for those in already established careers because they allow for much more flexibility. Many have lectures pre-recorded for viewing at convenient times or may have multiple times/days for lectures. The format of the on-line class room will vary within each program, but many use group discussion forums, interactive projects, and interactive lectures.
Featured Online Public Health Administration Programs
The following schools offer Public Health Administration programs online, and are currently accepting applicants for their program.
School Spotlight: MHA Degrees
University of Cincinnati
Designed to prepare students to take on leadership roles within healthcare systems and organizations, the program at the University of Cincinnati provides a high quality distance learning degree for professionals. This MHA degree has the mission of providing a socially responsible and culturally competent education to instill quality in leadership. To view the full curriculum and apply, visit the University of Cincinnati website.
University of Maryland
The Master of Science in Health Care Administration (MSHCA) at the University of Maryland is designed for mid-career professionals. Each course taken by a student receiving their MSHCA is geared toward preparing students for management and administration in a health care setting. Examples of these courses with management focus include Financial Management for Health Care Organizations and Legal Aspects of Healthcare Administration. To learn more about the course work and capstone class, visit www.umuc.edu
New England College
New England College in New Hampshire offers a Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare management. This program is organized for both the established and new healthcare leader. This program is offered both on-line and on-site providing flexibility for both options. This degree can be completed in as few as 20 months and can be either full or part-time. More information can be found on the New England College website.
Careers: What Can You Do With a Master of Healthcare Administration
An MHA or similar degree graduate has many career options within the scope of healthcare organizations, institutions or systems. Example job titles are:
- Clinical Director
- Health and Social Service Manager
- Program Manager
- Medical Records Manager
According to O-Net Online, job openings for Medical and Health Services Manager positions (positions often requiring an MHA or similar degree) are expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. In 2014 the median annual wage for these positions was about $92,300 in the US. (source)
Certification within Public Health Administration
The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) offers a certification for healthcare managers awarding those who pass the exam the title of Certified Medical Manager. This certification was created to recognize managers with exceptional knowledge, skills, and experience. It is a 3 hour, 200 question exam that tests the candidate in nine domains: Revenue Management, Risk Management, Human Resources, Finance, Contract Management, Business Management, Technology and Data Management, Clinical Performance Reporting, and Patient Clinical Education and Practice Marketing. Information on the CMM can be found at www.pahcom.com.