Master of Science in Nursing: Health Care Management Degree

Get info about online MSN programs in health care management. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs in health care management are commonly offered through online education. Most programs are designed to fit the schedules of working nurses. Some are totally online, while others offer online courses and require a clinical practicum that must be done in person. Full- and part-time programs are available.

These programs usually call for students to be licensed registered nurses with bachelor's degrees. Courses may cover topics including organizational structure, leadership and healthcare management. Students look at research methods and how research can be utilized in this field. The extensive practicum required in these programs allows nurses to gain hands-on management experience.

Nurses who complete this program are advanced practice nurses who can apply for nurse executive credentials from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Certification requires a combination of education and experience in management.

Master of Science in Nursing Degree for Health Care Management

These programs can prepare experienced nurses for managerial and leadership roles within the nursing community. Along with learning personnel management skills, students are taught to oversee facility resources. Studies also cover ways to offer cost-effective and efficient medical care. Some of these programs are delivered through a combination of online studies and a clinical practicum, while others are offered entirely online.

Information and Requirements

Prerequisites vary depending on the school. Applicants typically must be registered nurses who have completed a set number of courses in areas such as biology, anatomy, physiology, research and statistics. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may be required, but programs are available for those with alternative education and work backgrounds. On a full-time basis, a program can be finished in as little as three semesters, but part-time schedules are also available.

The online study portion of these programs might require a high-speed Internet connection to accommodate the heavy data transfers needed to view synchronous classes. Other technical requirements could include a printer, USB drive and TurningPoint clicker.

Common Courses

These programs are focused entirely on health care management studies, and general education classes aren't included in their curricula. Commonly shared program topics include:

Leadership and Management

This class explains the dynamics of the health care system from an administrative position. Students explore best-practice management techniques and effective leadership tools. Decision-making strategies are also highlighted.

Nursing Research

In this class, students learn how research can be used to assess systems already in place and to evaluate possible improvements. Studies cover advanced research techniques, which can be used to support current or proposed practices.

Health Care System Management Strategies

In examining the profit-making aspect of health care systems and providers, students learn to work on a long-term basis to help create a mutually beneficial system. Finances, organizational structures and operations methods are explored. This class also covers the nurse manager's roles as both an executive and a member of the nursing team.


Career Information

One of the fields open to those with a master's degree in this discipline is medical and health care management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master's degree is the standard requirement for this type of career (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted that job opportunities in this field would increase by 17% in the 2014-2024 decade, which is much faster than average. Another BLS report showed that, as of May 2015, there were approximately 314,950 professionals in this field and the mean wage was $106,070.

Licensure and Continuing Education Information

A license is required for medical and health care managers who manage nursing care facilities. Additionally, some states require assisted-living community managers to be licensed.

Voluntary certification programs are available for those who wish to pursue further education, advance their career or meet continuing education needs. For example, the Nurse Executive-Advanced, Board Certified (NEA-BC) credential is available from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Registered nurses must hold a master's degree and have administrative work experience to qualify; the 30 hours of continuing education that is normally required is waived for individuals who hold a master's degree in nursing administration.

Online MSN in health care management programs are designed for students who are already licensed nurses. Programs typically cover nursing research, leadership and management strategies as well as require students to complete a practicum.


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