There are two types of master's degree programs available in health care administration: the Master of Health Care Administration (MHA) and the Master of Business Administration in Health Care Administration (MBA/HCA). The MHA degree is geared toward health care professionals looking to improve their skills within the medical and health care administration field, while the MBA/HCA degree program is designed for experienced business professionals looking to direct their careers toward health care administration.
Prior to graduation from either of these programs, students may be required to fulfill an internship or residency requirement and complete a capstone project. Most programs can be finished in about two years.
Master of Health Care Administration (MHA)
These programs tend to be offered through a department or school of public health or policy. Students are normally required to complete approximately 45 credits, including core health care administration courses and electives. The curriculum is mainly designed to advance the management and leadership skills of current health and medical care management professionals. Coursework covers emerging theories and best practices related to health care finance, marketing and policies.
Master of Business Administration in Health Care Administration (MBA/HCA)
These programs emphasize business-related medical administration topics such as law, ethics, organizational management, and policy analysis. They also provide interdisciplinary training in the fields of finance, economics, medicine, politics and the social sciences as they relate to healthcare administration. Common course titles include:
- Legal problems and issues in the medical field
- Human behavior in public organizations
- Financial management of medical and health services
- Economics for policy, planning and development
- Statistical methods for business decisions
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), job opportunities for medical and health services managers are predicted to increase by 18% between 2018 and 2028; those who have health care experience and strong technology and management skills should have the greatest opportunities for employment and advancement. Careers in consulting, health care planning and long-term care administration are some of the options available to MBA/HCA and MHA program graduates. In May 2018, the BLS reported that medical and health service managers earned a median income of $99,730 per year.
Those holding a master's degree in medical administration may wish to pursue a doctorate in public policy and management, urban planning and development, or policy, planning, and development. Continuing education opportunities in the form of certification programs and annual conferences are available through professional organizations, such as the American College of Healthcare Administrators (www.achca.org) and the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (www.pahcom.com).
Depending on your educational background, you can choose either a medicine- or a business-oriented master's degree in healthcare administration. Upon graduation, students are prepared for leadership positions in the healthcare industry or doctoral studies in similar areas of interest.