Salary and Career Outlook for a Master's in Health Administration

A Master's in Health Administration prepares students to oversee the business, clerical and financial aspects of medical care. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for MHA graduates.

Essential Information

Individuals who pursue a Master's in Health Administration (MHA) have usually already completed a bachelor's degree in a healthcare-related field. Those with an MHA degree can specialize in healthcare administration or health information management.

Career Titles Healthcare Administrator Medical Records Director
Required Education Bachelor's degree; MHA for senior level positions Postsecondary non-degree award; MHA for senior level positions
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 23% 22%
Average Salary (2014)* $103,680 (Medical and Health Service Managers) $38,860 (Medical Records Technician)

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

MHA graduates typically work in careers overseeing the business, clerical and financial aspects of medical care. They generally supervise other healthcare employees, ensuring that medical, legal, ethical or financial goals and regulations are met. A master's degree in a health administration field can lead to careers like healthcare administration or health information management.

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators are in charge of healthcare providers' business and office operations. They can be employed by private medical practices, hospitals, healthcare networks or insurance companies.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the healthcare administration field includes executive positions. Healthcare administrators working for hospitals and doctor's offices can work as chief executive officers, overseeing operations for the entire company. The BLS indicates that a master's degree may be appropriate preparation for these positions (www.bls.gov). Workers in lower-level positions can fulfill a variety of administrative roles, from record keeping to reception duties.

According to the BLS, the average yearly salary for medical and health services managers was $103,680 as of May 2014. The BLS reports that pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing offices were the highest-paying employer of health administrators in May 2014, with individuals working in this capacity earning average annual salaries of $158,290.

Competition can be steep in the healthcare administration job market, particularly for senior-level positions. Though the BLS says that a bachelor's degree may be sufficient for entry-level work in this field, those with a master's degree in health administration or a similar area have the best chance of gaining higher-level or executive healthcare administration positions. The BLS predicts above-average employment growth of 23% for healthcare administrator positions from 2012-2022.

Medical Records Director

Responsibility for patient medical records rests with health information managers. According to O*Net, medical records technicians could reach this senior-level position with the help of an MHA.

Medical records directors must make sure that all medical data is accurate, secure and current, as well as being updated and filed promptly. The BLS indicates that information managers must be highly organized and possess technological skill, particularly with federal regulations requiring medical offices to keep all medical files on record electronically.

Health information managers may work in physicians' offices, residential medical centers or hospitals. Some are also responsible for financial records, though this often depends on the size of an information manager's employer. In smaller professional settings, information managers often oversee all types of records in an office, according to the BLS. Managers working for larger companies often serve as heads of records departments and are in charge of supervising multiple employees.

The online salary database PayScale.com reported that a sampling of about 115 health information managers were paid total salaries of $29,606 to $71,619. These annual salary figures include bonus pay, and were reported as of December 2013. Information managers working for hospitals were the most generously compensated, according to this data.

Though the BLS says that a postsecondary certificate is sufficient for a job as a medical records technician, an MHA may help students on their path to becoming a medical records director. Possession of a health information certification can be a strong advantage in a competitive job market. The BLS reports the job market for medical records and health information technicians to be poised for above-average growth of 22% from 2012 to 2022.

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