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.

Those who obtain a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree supervise employees and subfields within the overarching field of healthcare. Earning an MHA might lead one to become a healthcare administrator or a medical records director.

Essential Information

Individuals who pursue an 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 (2014-2024)* 17% (medical and health service managers) 15% (medical records and health information technicians)
Median Salary (2015)* $94,500 (medical and health service managers) $37,110 (medical records and health information technicians)

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 doctors' 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. Workers in lower-level positions can fulfill a variety of administrative roles, from record keeping to reception duties.

According to the BLS, the median yearly salary for medical and health services managers was $94,500 as of May 2015. The BLS reports that pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies were the highest-paying employer of health administrators in May 2015, with individuals working in this capacity earning median annual salaries of $161,530.

Competition can be steep in the healthcare administration job market, particularly for senior-level positions. Though the BLS states 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 17% for medical and health service managers from 2014-2024.

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 219 health information managers were paid total salaries of $30,580 to $70,005. These annual salary figures include bonus pay, and were reported as of January 2016. 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 15% from 2014 to 2024.

Healthcare administrators deal with business and office operations for a variety of different kinds of healthcare providers, while medical records directors work to ensure the accuracy and proper filing of medical data. Both of these career paths benefit from an MHA and are expected to see above-average growth from 2014-2024.

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools