Healthcare administration programs provide you with leadership and management skills for healthcare facilities. If you're deciding whether a master's degree in this field is for you, then you may want to consider the following pros and cons list.
Pros of Earning a Master's in Healthcare Administration
A master's degree in healthcare administration (MHA) can prepare you to work in some well-paying positions. If you're trying to decide whether the outlook and pay are worth the additional education, read on.
An MHA can give you additional career options outside of the typical hospital setting that many graduates of healthcare administration programs go into. A master's degree is often an excellent way to get into the field of education. While a tenured professorship is not likely, you could consider overseeing a college's healthcare curricula and faculty as a healthcare program director. You might also find employment putting together health education and health programs as a health and social services manager.
One of the benefits of the technology boom is that some degrees are offered partially or wholly online. A master's degree in healthcare administration happens to be one of the programs that is offered online by many reputable colleges. Studying from home can allow you to keep working or taking care of your family. This is a great option for students with small children who haven't begun school.
Good Job Outlook
Graduates of healthcare administration programs who pursue roles as medical and health services managers in hospitals and medical facilities can take advantage of a strong job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 20% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than average for other fields in the nation. In fact, that's a projected addition of 72,100 medical and health services manager positions. Social and community service managers can expect a job growth of 18% in that same timeframe.
Medical and health service managers are paid quite well. As of May 2017, they made an average of $111,680 per year, according to the BLS. Though these professionals can work in hospitals and other medical facilities, it was the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry that paid the highest salaries that year. The average annual wage in this industry was $221,360. Not all healthcare managerial professions pay quite as well, though the salaries are still quite good. Community service managers, for instance, earned an average salary of $70,530 as of 2017.
Cons of Earning a Master's in Healthcare Administration
An MHA can have a few downsides as well. Below, we'll look at some of the negatives associated with this program that you may want to consider when deciding whether or not to continue your education.
According to the BLS, most of the positions mentioned throughout this article can be entered with only a bachelor's degree. Though a master's may be preferred, it is not necessary. Continuing your education with a master's degree can add an additional 2-3 years of school. This could mean putting your career or life choices on hold during this time period. Those 2-3 years could cost you experience that could be beneficial when looking for work.
More Student Loans
It's likely that you'll be paying for your college costs with grants and loans. A graduate degree can set you back another 2-3 years' worth of student loans. While grants may cover some of the costs, you'll likely need to take out a few federal loans. Though these only need to be repaid after you graduate, the interest is compounded during that time and added on to the loans in the end. Ask yourself whether a master's degree will really help you reach your career goals.
Whether or not you decide to continue your education in a healthcare administration master's degree program likely depends on your career goals. Ask yourself what type of position and facility you want to work in and determine if the additional student loans will be worth the advanced degree.