The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 20% increase in demand for medical and health services managers by 2026. These professionals ensure that healthcare facilities run smoothly by keeping them up-to-date with government regulations, the newest technology, and patient concerns. This increased demand comes in part because of the aging baby boomer population and longer human life expectancy.
Many administrators work their way up to supervisory positions through commitment and education. A master's degree in healthcare administration makes a working professional more attractive to employers and increases earning potential. If you currently work in the healthcare field, obtaining your master's degree will help you advance through the industry toward placement at prestigious facilities. As a healthcare administrator, you can find work in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient care centers, residential care facilities, and private offices.
What Are the Best Master's of Healthcare Administration (MHA) Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:
|1||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC|
|2||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|3||George Washington University||Washington, DC|
|4||University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN|
|5||Colorado State University - Global||Greenwood Village, CO|
|6||University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL|
|7||University of Denver||Denver, CO|
|8||Rutgers University||New Brunswick, NJ|
|9||University of St Francis||Joliet, IL|
|10||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
Should I Get a Master's in Healthcare Administration?
The ideal master's in healthcare administration (MHA) student holds prior experience in healthcare and should aspire to a leadership role. Administrators take a more holistic approach to healthcare, working with the facility to follow procedures, implement reforms, and create innovative processes to improve patient care. Some positions require you interact directly with clients. In other positions, managers work with personnel to monitor and store patient information. An MHA prepares students to work in any capacity at the management level. Concentrations teach students critical skills in areas that affect healthcare the most.
While in an MHA program, students should take advantage of the networking opportunities and mentorship from advisers and course instructors. Advisers make sure students stay on track to graduate by offering enrollment and registration advice. Course instructors hold years of experience as working or retired healthcare professionals. Instructors introduce students to important contacts for employment and internships. Most schools also operate a career services center to help students with job placement through resume writing and interview workshops. Programs also encourage student engagement through online cohort groups and projects. Instructors encourage innovation, especially as it relates to healthcare reform and technology. The focus remains on providing the best patient care possible.
What Can I Do With a Master's in Healthcare Administration?
A graduate degree in healthcare administration prepares students to lead healthcare facilities and operations. Students work at various levels to keep facilities in line with healthcare compliance rules and regulations, or they may prefer working in IT, managing patients' health information through health informatics. Others choose to work with a specific population to create preventative care initiatives. Professionals can help facilities integrate new medical technologies and advancements. Some administrators manage staff and supervise facility operations.
- Medical and Health Services Manager
This term describes the various administrators and executives that manage a facility on a daily basis. These managers work in many different capacities, assisting with patient care, record keeping, accounting, and marketing. All managers must ensure facilities comply with government rules and regulations.
Median Annual Salary: $98,350*
- Director of Managed Care
Directors work at rehabilitation centers, clinics, and outpatient/inpatient facilities, coordinating tasks and projects between staff and administration. These professionals negotiate contracts between healthcare providers, hospitals, insurance companies, and the facility.
Median Annual Salary: $107,230*
- Clinical Managers
Clinical managers supervise a specific department at a healthcare facility, such as physical therapy. Typically, these industry experts train and direct other departmental staff members while creating policies and meeting team goals.
Median Annual Salary: $89,910*
- Nursing Home Administrator
Administrators supervise nursing home staff, client admissions processes, finances, and overall upkeep of the nursing facility. Many administrators start out as nurses and work their way up to supervisory roles. To operate a facility, the administrator must obtain a license from the state department.
Median Annual Salary: $82,950*
- Health Information Manager
These managers oversee the storage and collection of patient information and organize data into clinical databases for easy access by healthcare personnel and insurance companies. Health information managers also keep up-to-date records of patient services to help with medical billing. Technicians manage paper and electronic health records.
Median Annual Salary: $39,180*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Best States for Healthcare Professionals
The healthcare industry became the highest employer in the United States in early 2018. The healthcare field continues to grow in the United States, with a projected 18% rise between 2016 and 2026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare professions will add almost 2.5 million jobs by 2026, giving individuals with health-related education and training vast opportunities for employment.
Healthcare professions include nursing aide, occupational therapy assistant, physician, and counselor. The healthcare industry does not only mean human healthcare, with veterinarians and animal care workers qualifying as professionals in the field. Healthcare professionals also do not have to work with animals and people directly, with technologists and researchers capturing a large segment of the healthcare sector.
The demand for healthcare professionals boosts earning potential in the field. The annual mean wage for nurses, physicians, and other mid- to advanced-level medical professionals exceeded the national mean wage in May 2017 by almost $30,000.
As the healthcare industry grows across the United States, many states and regions offer more opportunities and higher earning potential for healthcare professionals. The percentage of healthcare workers employed in each state, overall employment numbers, salaries, and healthcare laws all factor into what a healthcare professional can expect in each state.
Opportunities for entry-level positions, access to continuing education programs, licensure reciprocity programs, and protections for healthcare practitioners influence how a state ranks in what it has to offer healthcare professionals. Shortages of healthcare workers in some states may provide healthcare professionals more lucrative employment options as well.
Overall, California employs the most healthcare workers in the nation and offers the third highest mean annual wage for healthcare professionals at just over $96,000. Healthcare employment makes up 7.3% of total employment in California and varies heavily by area. With metropolitan centers like San Jose, San Francisco, and Salinas among the top three highest-paying locations in the country, California offers healthcare professionals high levels of employment and high earning potential.
California will experience a strong demand for nurses by 2025, adding more than 115,000 new positions. General practitioners, physicians, and home health aides will see growth comparable to the projected national average increase as well. California continues to assess options to provide healthcare to all, contributing to the need for healthcare workers.
Healthcare employees make up 10.3% of the total workforce in New York state, offering a high level of employment and earning potential. As the third-highest employer of healthcare professionals in the U.S., many of New York's more than 500,000 healthcare workers earn annual mean salaries that above national figures, at just over $90,000.
According to the New York state Comptroller, the healthcare industry grew by 17% between 2007 and 2017. The New York metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan-based employer in the country, and regions throughout the state project growth during the coming years.
The demand for nurses, nursing and healthcare aides, and general and family practitioners will continue to increase in New York state. The growth of the healthcare industry not only opens employment opportunities to healthcare professionals, but boosts technological innovation and the need for technology workers as well.
The Houston and Dallas areas are among the ten biggest metropolitan area employers of healthcare professionals in the nation. As populations migrate to urban settings, the increased demand for healthcare among an aging population will contribute to this trend. The Sherman-Denison and Victoria areas boast the sixth and ninth highest concentration and location quotient employment, respectively, among healthcare workers in the U.S.
Healthcare professions make up 8.6% of employment in Texas. By 2025, Texas is projected to add 90,000 new nurses to the workforce, an increase that will contribute to the state’s position as the second largest healthcare employer in the U.S. Nursing aides are projected to see a 20% growth by 2026, which is far above the national projection of 12%. Doctors, optometrists, and healthcare social workers will experience increases as well.
With 10.4% of the employment in Massachusetts based in the healthcare industry, the state’s projected growth in healthcare employment offers promising opportunities for healthcare professionals. Many healthcare position grew in 2016, which included dentists, nurses , and home healthcare aides. Massachusetts will add a projected 7,000 new nurses by 2025.
Massachusetts ranks fourth among the top paying states for healthcare professionals, with an average mean wage of just over $95,000. The Boston-Cambridge area sits seventh on the list of highest-paying metropolitan areas for healthcare workers. Peabody-Salem and New Bedford rank fifth and ninth, respectively, in top paying metropolitan areas for healthcare professionals.
The varying education and training requirements in Massachusetts allows for job fluidity and wage increases as the interchangeability among home healthcare aides and human service workers continues to develop. With a shift to outpatient care, the number of positions in doctor’s offices and healthcare facilities has also risen in recent years.
New Hampshire predicts a 15.5% increase in job growth for healthcare social workers in hospitals, ambulatory, residential, and government agency settings by 2026. In hospitals alone, healthcare occupations are projected to increase by 30%.
The healthcare industry in New Hampshire makes up 8.8% of the state’s employment total. Nonmetropolitan areas of New Hampshire, specifically the west-central and southwest regions, offer the highest concentrations and earning potential for nonmetropolitan areas around the country. West-central New Hampshire has the second-highest concentration of healthcare workers, while ranking fourth in nonmetropolitan annual mean wages at just under $99,000.
New Hampshire also participates in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), giving physicians the opportunity to provide services in fellow IMLC states to bring care to underserved areas.
Alaska’s need for healthcare professionals contributes to its position at the top of the rankings, and workers in this area earn annual mean wages of just over $98,000. With a largely nonmetropolitan setting, the whole of Alaska, especially the southeast region, offers some of the highest mean salaries to healthcare professionals. Even in cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks, nurse practitioners earn above the national median for the field.
Alaska’s somewhat limited number of job opportunities will change significantly in the coming years, with increases in the number of jobs projected at above 20% in the fields of nursing, physical therapy, and medical practice in the upcoming years. Healthcare practitioners and technicians have a projected 19.8% job growth rate by 2026, according to Alaska’s labor statistics forecasts. Healthcare support staff have a projected increase of 22%.
Positions in the healthcare industry in Ohio outnumber manufacturing jobs, and the state will see continued increases in the field in the upcoming years. The projected growth for healthcare professionals by 2026 in Ohio exceeds 12%, while healthcare support staff will experience an increase of almost 22% during the same period. Healthcare workers such as home health aides, personal and home aides, physicians assistants, and nurse practitioners are among the top careers that will experience the highest increase, with the home health aides poised for the most growth with an estimated 44%. Ohio employs the third highest number of home health aide workers in the nation.
Between 2016 and 2026, healthcare professionals like registered nurses will see over 8,800 openings annually. Nonmetropolitan areas in northeastern Ohio employ the second largest number of registered nurses in the U.S.
Nonmetropolitan areas in North Carolina, specifically the Piedmont and southern coastal areas, employ large numbers of registered nurses and nursing assistants, making North Carolina an ideal place for healthcare workers to pursue their careers.
The healthcare industry makes up 9.8% of North Carolina’s total employment and the state will add an estimated 24,000 nursing jobs by 2025. With research and medical centers in Raleigh-Durham promoting health initiatives to lower healthcare cost and increase healthcare access, innovation among healthcare professionals remains a vital part of the state’s economic sector.
Healthcare and social assistants programs in North Carolina will experience the highest levels of growth in individual and family services, home healthcare, and practitioner office settings. As a large contributor to the overall economic growth in North Carolina, healthcare workers remain vital to the state’s economy. This affords health professionals an essential place in the state while offering lucrative, competitive career openings.
As the fourth largest employer of healthcare and social assistance workers in the country, Florida provides a wide array of career opportunities. The projected growth for registered nurses in Florida exceeds the national forecast by 6%. By 2025, Florida will add a projected 50,000 new nurses. Nursing assistants will experience similar growth, exceeding the 12% national projection by 5%.
The growth of the healthcare industry has contributed heavily to the overall rise in income in Florida. In 2015, Florida experienced a 5.2% income increase. Healthcare earnings grew by 5.8%.
The healthcare industry makes up 9.4% of Florida's total employment numbers. With an aging population and upcoming retirements, the healthcare and social assistance industry in Florida will also see a need for replacement personnel. By 2030, Florida’s projected healthcare needs will result in employment changes for more than 228,000 workers.
Pennsylvania employs the fifth-largest group of registered nurses and nursing assistants in the country, making it an ideal location for healthcare and social assistant workers to start their careers. Nurse practitioners will likely see a 31% increase in employment opportunities by 2026, adding to potential career advancement.
The healthcare industry accounts for 10.3% of Pennsylvania’s overall employment, and the demand for healthcare professionals continues to rise with the aging population. Pennsylvania also has a large rural population, contributing to its need for healthcare professionals that can work with remote populations. The state and local governments continue to address health disparities by adding initiatives that benefit the state’s populations and healthcare providers alike.
Pennsylvania’s current move to join the IMLC has been delayed, but with an agreement for licensure reciprocity, healthcare workers in the region will find greater flexibility working in the state.
With both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas of the state offering high levels of healthcare employment, Illinois provides opportunities for healthcare professional in various settings. The Chicago metropolitan area employs the third largest number of healthcare practitioners and technicians in the nation. The southern region of Illinois also has a high concentration of healthcare workers with the west-central portion of the state serving as home to the fourth-largest number of nursing assistants in a nonmetropolitan area in the country.
In conjunction with Illinois’s health ranking as the 26th healthiest state in the country, the healthcare industry remains highly active. The need for healthcare professionals remains on the rise, despite the state’s recent economic stagnation. As one of the few industries that experienced growth according to early 2018 numbers, health services continues to offer lucrative employment opportunities. Illinois also participates in the IMLC, giving licensed practitioners in the state opportunities to take part in licensure reciprocity.
The state of Georgia anticipates an increase in healthcare career growth at all levels by 2026. According to labor statistics, positions that require doctoral or professional degrees such as physical therapists and physicians will rise alongside careers that require master’s degrees, which includes healthcare social workers, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Registered nurses, dental hygienists, and healthcare managers round out the top growing healthcare roles in the state.
Much of Georgia’s healthcare industry centers around the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is the fifth-highest metropolitan employer of healthcare practitioners and social assistance workers in the country. Nurses and nursing assistants have high levels of employment in this region.
The rural populations of Georgia receives continued support and attention; however, with legislation aimed to increase care in nonmetropolitan areas. State and local focus on rural health continues to offer opportunities for healthcare professionals. The demand for new nurses in Georgia by 2025 exceeds 25,000, offering a higher-than-average growth rate for the field.
Ten percent of Michigan’s workforce works in the healthcare industry. Registered nurses and nursing assistants in Michigan are projected to experience comparable job growth as the rest of the nation, while internists earned salaries that exceeded the national median in 2017 in the lower peninsula. Michigan has introduced legislation to participate in the IMLC, giving practitioners added incentive to work within the state.
In western Michigan, multiple areas of the healthcare industry will see extensive growth by 2025. Social assistance, ambulatory care, and hospitals are forecasted to experience more than 23% in employment increases. With varying background, education, and training required within those healthcare subsets, this provides career paths for individuals at all levels of the healthcare profession.
The state of Virginia projects across-the-board growth for the healthcare sector, with careers at all levels experiencing increased openings by 2024. Registered nurses, nursing assistants, licensed nursing professionals, and medical assistants are among the fields that will see the highest growth. The healthcare and social assistance industry as a whole will add more than 97,000 jobs by 2024.
In large part driven by its proximity to the nation’s capital, Virginia has a large number of healthcare workers centered in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria region. The area is the tenth largest metropolitan employer of healthcare and social assistance professionals. Registered nurses in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria earn more than the national median wage for the field by more than $8,000.
Virginia continues to experience a shortage of healthcare professionals, opening up career prospects. Virginia’s aging population and workforce puts a particular strain on rural areas, prompting the need for medical practitioners and social assistance workers to work within the state.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area of Minnesota employs the ninth-largest number of healthcare practitioners and technicians in the nation. As a hub for healthcare, the metropolitan area boasts strong national employment for home healthcare aids, nursing assistants, and registered nurses.
As healthcare spending in Minnesota continues to rise, the need for medical practitioners and home healthcare aids grows as well. Individuals that work to provide care to elderly and disabled groups are projected to see continued growth in their occupations.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development predicts a significant increase in the number of positions available to high-skill professions, such as nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and physician's assistant by 2022. Registered nurses throughout the state of Minnesota earn significantly more than the national median salary. The salary for Minnesota nurses hovers around $78,000, while the national median remains consistent at $70,000.
Much of New Jersey’s professional healthcare opportunity rests in the greater New York City area. The New York-New Jersey metropolitan area employs the highest number of healthcare practitioners and technicians in the nation. The mean salary for healthcare practitioners and technicians in the New York-New Jersey region far exceeds the median national wage.
Healthcare and higher education heavily influence New Jersey’s economic growth. Healthcare has continued to add new jobs to New Jersey every year since 1990, and continues to do so. In 2017, healthcare practitioners and healthcare support staff made up 63% of the healthcare industry.
Healthcare employers accounted for more than 12% of wage earning in the state in 2017. In southern New Jersey, healthcare and social assistance positions will grow by almost 12% by 2024 according to labor predictions. With 20% of the population in New Jersey expected to exceed 65 years of age by 2034, the state anticipates a need for nursing home, residential care, and home healthcare workers in the coming years.
Influences upon the healthcare industry in West Virginia come from various settings. The state’s proximity to the District of Columbia-Arlington-Alexandria area contributes to the number of healthcare professionals working in the state. The Huntington-Ashland corridor in the western portion of the state offers numerous employment options for healthcare workers, while the large medical community in the northern portion of West Virginia, based in Morgantown, also employs a significant number of healthcare practitioners and technicians. WVU medicine remains the largest employer in the state with more than 15,000 employees.
The aging population and workforce in West Virginia also prompts the need for more healthcare professionals entering the state.
The nonmetropolitan area of Arkansas has the fifth-highest highest concentration and location quotient of healthcare practitioners and technicians in the U.S.
Arkansas experienced positive overall economic development in 2017 and, while some predictions see a short-term trend in healthcare, the long-term estimates remain strong. Arkansas will experience double-digit increases in both the healthcare practitioner and technician field and the healthcare support service sector by 2026, according to the state’s occupational projections.
By adding more than 13,000 healthcare openings and 8,500 healthcare support positions, healthcare workers in Arkansas are projected to enjoy a job growth rate of 16% and 22%, respectively, over the next several years. Registered nurses will see the largest rise in employment followed by licensed practical and vocational nurse. Five healthcare practitioner careers, including physician assistants, rank among the top 20 growing professions in the state. Nursing assistant, home healthcare aide, and occupational therapy assistant positions are also projected to grow.
Delaware has the fifth-highest concentration of healthcare practitioners and technical occupations in the nation. The mean average wage for healthcare practitioners and technicians in Delaware rests at just over $85,000. This exceeds the state income average of $52,000. The median average wage for healthcare practitioners and technicians across the country hovers at almost $64,000. Healthcare support workers earn an annual mean wage of over $34,000.
Delaware’s healthcare industry makes up 10% of its overall employment, which is largely located in the central part of the state. The simultaneous growth of the healthcare industry, technological sectors, and construction prompted optimistic forecasts for future development. In 2017, state economists predicted an aging population and increased access to healthcare will continue to drive the healthcare industry in both the short term and the long term. The relatively steady outlook for healthcare professions and support fields indicates employment opportunities at all educational and salary levels.
The healthcare industry in Missouri has continued to rise since 1990. Healthcare and social assistance occupations in the greater St. Louis area account for a significant number of healthcare professionals in the state, but areas in the western part of the state boast career opportunities as well. Missouri projected a 15% increase in the healthcare industry between 2008 and 2018, with significant rises in the nursing and home healthcare vocations. Registered nursing positions were expected to reach 71,190 by 2018 and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, exceeded 72,000 in 2017.
Healthcare practitioners and technicians will experience continued growth, with registered nursing positions projected to increase by 16% in Missouri by 2026. This outperforms the national estimate of 15%. Home healthcare aides are projected to see a 35% rise in employment by 2026, with wages above the national median in areas such as Columbia, Kansas City, and St. Joseph.
The state of Mississippi employs almost 78,000 healthcare practitioners and technicians, with an additional 31,400 healthcare support staff professionals. Health diagnosing and treating practitioners will experience a projected 8.7% increase by 2024, with health technologists and technicians seeing a 5.1% rise. The forecast for healthcare support staff reaches almost 10% growth for the same time period, with occupational and physical therapy assistants growing by more than 21%. Nursing, home healthcare, and personal aides will experience almost 12% growth.
Mississippi has the fifth-highest concentration of healthcare practitioners and location quotient in the nation. Northeastern Mississippi hosts the fourth-largest group of healthcare professionals in the nonmetropolitan United States.
Due to the extreme need for healthcare providers in Mississippi, the Mississippi Hospital Association created the Health Careers Center to provide information and resources for individuals interested in working in the state. The state has undertaken initiatives to promote urban and rural healthcare and is a member of IMLC.
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants in Rhode Island earn among the top-five occupations for individuals with master’s degrees in the state. Dental hygienists and medical sonographers boast top wages for associate degree holders, making healthcare professions across the educational spectrum lucrative in Rhode Island.
Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations earn above the national average in hourly mean wages for most occupations, especially in nursing. Healthcare support staff similarly makes more than the national average and many of their regional counterparts. Home healthcare aides in Rhode Island, for example, earn more than $1.30 per hour than their counterparts across the nation.
The top occupations requiring two years or less of education include registered nurses and respiratory therapists. Registered nursing positions are among the highest-growing healthcare professions in the state, followed by nurse practitioners and physical therapists. Pharmacists and occupational therapists also continue to see high demand.
Healthcare professionals make below the national average in fields such as nursing. The mean annual wage in Louisiana in 2016 was just over $41,000, while health practitioners and technical occupations earn a median wage over $52,000.
A large section of the 3.1 million jobs that Tennessee is projected to add by 2022 are in the healthcare industry. Healthcare practitioners and technicians will benefit from aging populations and increased demand for health services in Tennessee. Outpatient facilities, home healthcare, and clinical services will experience the most growth, offering healthcare professionals at all levels opportunities for employment.
The forecast for registered nurses in Tennessee exceeds the projected national growth rate of 15%, with a 19% increase predicted by 2026. Home healthcare aides will see similar growth above national rates, with a 50% rise by 2026.
The healthcare industry in Nashville, which has more than 500 healthcare companies operating out of the city, also provides numerous opportunities for professional growth. The healthcare-based economy in Nashville also influences other employment sectors, including finance and construction. Currently, Tennessee is in the process of implementing participation in the IMLC.
Between 2004 and 2014, South Dakota added more than 8,500 healthcare jobs as the industry grew by 19%. Healthcare projections for the state remain strong, with increases predicted throughout the state by 2024. Nurse practitioners remain in the top three professions that will continue to see employment gains. Nurse practitioners in South Dakota will experience a projected 24% increase by 2024. Nurse practitioners in eastern South Dakota, near the Iowa border, earn above the national average for the field. Physical therapist assistants are projected to see a 22% job growth rate increase by 2024.
The South Dakota Department of Health provides extensive information on the rural areas in need of healthcare practitioners and support workers. The open opportunities for healthcare professionals highlight underrepresented areas while demonstrating initiatives in the state to provide healthcare access to groups in need. South Dakota also participates in the IMLC, giving practitioners the flexibility to practice in bordering states including Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
How to Choose a Master's in Healthcare Administration Program
Choosing the right MHA program takes both research and commitment. Most schools design their master's programs for students with prior work experience and an undergraduate degree.
Many working professionals enroll as part-time students and finish in two years. At the master's level, some instructors expect students to show an advanced understanding of course material through a thesis or capstone project. Programs generally range from 36-53 credits. Schools create the curriculum based on core courses, electives, concentration courses, and capstone/thesis requirements.
Another important consideration for students often includes cost. Some schools charge students a flat tuition rate per semester/quarter, while others charge per credit hour or course. Many online programs use credit hours and individual courses to determine costs. This eliminates additional fees, such as health insurance and on-campus charges. Often, students enroll in online programs to save money and complete coursework at their own pace.
Some schools also offer a hybrid option that requires a few on-campus meetings per semester. For some students, hybrid options work better than fully online or on-campus course formats. When selecting an online program, students should check that the program holds accreditation from a regional accrediting body. Accreditation gives online programs validity, allowing students to easily transfer credits and receive financial aid.
Programmatic Accreditation for Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs
Regional, national, and programmatic accreditation make up the main forms of college accreditation. Regional accreditation gives schools access to federal funding and distributes student financial aid. Most public universities in the U.S. boast regional accreditation from one of six regional accrediting bodies. National accreditation usually goes to trade or technical schools. These schools may offer certificate programs in certain professions like medical assisting or paralegal studies. National accreditation holds no set qualifications, creating their own academic standards for education. Programmatic accreditation involves evaluating specific programs, such as nursing or engineering. These accrediting bodies ensure program instructors lead rigorous courses that prepare students to work in the industry.
Regional and national accreditation remain more common than programmatic accreditation, but programmatic accreditation can set programs apart from others. The Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education grants programmatic evaluation for master's in healthcare administration degrees.
Master's in Healthcare Administration Program Admissions
For both on-campus and online admissions, the process begins with an application. Students pay a fee and fill out the electronic or paper application. Students must submit test scores, high school/college transcripts, a resume, and letters of recommendation. For master's students, schools evaluate GRE test scores and undergraduate transcripts. Some schools grant credit hours to applicants with relevant work experience or military service, reviewing work history through resumes and letters of recommendation. For online programs, most schools manage the entire process electronically and appoint an enrollment adviser to oversee the process. The student creates a profile on the application site and uploads all documents. After receiving the required documentation, the school makes a final decision and contacts the student by email or phone.
- Bachelor's Degree: To gain entry into the program, students need to show proof of a bachelor's degree prior to beginning their education at the graduate level.
- Professional Experience: For this program, students should already hold experience working in healthcare or hold a position as a healthcare administrator.
- Minimum GPA: Not all master's in healthcare administration programs enforce a minimum GPA requirement. For those with a requirement, students usually need a cumulative GPA of somewhere between 2.75 and 3.0.
- Application: Most applications take 60 minutes to complete. The CommonApplication allows students to fill out a basic application and submit it to multiple institutions. The Common App website features a list of schools that use the application.
- Transcripts: Schools use your application to check GPA scores and previous coursework and use the undergraduate transcript to ensure you graduated from the required program.
- Letters of Recommendation: You should start asking colleagues and instructors to write letters of recommendation at least a few months before you apply for MHA programs. This gives the professionals time to write a strong letter prior to the application deadline.
- Test Scores: Many schools require GRE scores for admission. In some cases, an English Language Proficiency Test may also be required.
- Application Fee: Application fees vary by institution, and many schools grant waivers under certain circumstances.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Healthcare Administration Program?
Students can choose a concentration in unique areas of healthcare administration. As students advance through the program, they put their knowledge to work through internships.
Concentrations Offered for a Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration
|Leadership and Organizational Development||Students learn how to allocate resources and assign duties to healthcare personnel. Taking cues from organizational psychology, this specialization trains leaders to understand workers' personalities and address them accordingly.||Director of managed care|
|Population Health||The population health concentration assesses the state of public health within different population groups, such as the elderly and children. This concentration addresses the unique concerns of each group while encouraging the development of preventative measures and educational programs.||Group practice administrator|
|Systems and Policy||As healthcare reform continues to impact the industry, leaders must understand new developments. Learners research government regulations regarding healthcare and the importance of facility compliance. This program focuses on the system and policy changes that affect patients and administrators.||Compliance director|
|Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation||This specialization teaches future health leaders about entrepreneurship to encourage them to create new and innovative healthcare processes.||Academic program or departmental administrator|
Courses in a Master's in Healthcare Administration Program
Curricula for MHA programs varies by school, but each program includes foundational courses that teach the basics of healthcare management and administration. Students take elective courses with a focus on specific areas like health technology or financial management. The following list includes some typical courses for MHA students.
- Foundation of Healthcare Administration
This course motivates students to understand every aspect of the healthcare industry. Learners study important medical terms referring to health and wellness in order to communicate with personnel and stakeholders. This class encourages learners to set goals, work on time management skills, and empathize with people from different cultural backgrounds.
- Law, Ethics, and Policy in Healthcare Administration
Administrators need to be aware of all the changes in healthcare reform and how it affects the delivery of patient care. This course probes current laws and the interests of policy makers. Students also explore regulatory failures and how they impact the facility.
- Healthcare Financial Management and Economics
Based in economics, this course explores money and how it affects a patient's access to care. Learners analyze financial statements to create operational and capital budgets for facilities. Additionally, students create mock business plans using course techniques.
- Healthcare Informatics and Technology Management
This course highlights the importance of health information technology and applications. Students investigate data analytics and electronic health's impact on recordkeeping and population health. Students interested in informatics or other information technology may find this course beneficial.
- Healthcare Operations Management
This course defines healthcare operations as the management of capacity issues, staffing, scheduling, and productivity. Students discuss the supply chain system and the importance of effective management and services delivery.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Healthcare Administration?
Typically, full-time students complete an MHA program in two years. An accelerated program can take less than 24 months, though course requirements affect the length of each master's degree. Most programs consist of 12 courses, with students enrolling in two classes per semester. A full-time student can enroll in more courses to shorten program length.
Program prices vary depending on the number of courses taken. However, this only affects students that pay per course. If you pay a flat tuition rate, you can take as many classes as the university allows.
How Much Is a Master's in Healthcare Administration?
The cost of a master's degree in healthcare administration depends on the school. The best MHA programs allow you to transfer credits or receive credit for prior work experience, which can cut down program length and cost. In addition, some schools will charge more for the addition of a specialization or concentration.
Other costs, especially for online courses, include a technology fee. Technology fees allow students to access electronic resources. Schools can also charge registration, orientation, commencement, and lab fees. Campus fees typically refer to a flat fee that schools charge students to maintain buildings and programs. Students may avoid some of these fees by enrolling in an online program. Usually, students majoring in a health discipline also pay a lab fee. However, master's-level health programs generally do not require a lab component.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Healthcare Administration Prepares For
- American Association of Healthcare Administration Management Certified Revenue Cycle Professional
Applicants with at least two years of healthcare experience can take this exam. However, the association waives the experience requirement if students hold a degree from an accredited institution. The four-hour exam assesses the candidate's knowledge of billing, credit/collections, and patient access.
- American Association of Healthcare Administration Management Certified Compliance Technician
Applicants take a 90-minute proctored exam that evaluates the individual's knowledge of healthcare compliance plans and noncompliance policies. Students must receive a score of 70% or higher to get the compliance technician credential. Students need at least a year of compliance experience before taking the test.
- American College of Health Care Administrators Certified Nursing Home Administrator
The ACHCA certification program is recognized by 20 states and used to determine if an administrator meets licensure eligibility requirements. To receive the credential, candidates must pass a general exam, specialty exam, and work for two years or more as a licensed nursing home administrator.
- American College of Health Care Administrators Certified Assisted Living Administrator
Individual states regulate the assisted living administration process, so a uniform credential from the ACHCA showcases the administrators' commitment to providing quality care. The applicant must acknowledge the ACHCA's Code of Ethics and submit the application fees.
- Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional
The Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals offers a traditional and fast-track program for applicants. The fast-track program helps association members apply for the exam. The traditional program serves professionals with one to five years of administrative experience.
Resources for Healthcare Administration Graduate Students
This initiative introduces students to mentors in long-term care services. Learners can meet their mentors at the ACHCA annual conference and communicate monthly.
The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards created this database of continuing education resources. Users can refine search results by state, city, and program type.
Through ACHCA Marketplace, healthcare vendors share their services with other industry providers. Members find medical equipment, supplies, and consultants through this resource.
This organization promotes cultural and linguistic diversity by providing healthcare workers with the resources and tools needed to understand different cultures.
This tool uses data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify industry trends. Long-term care providers use the LTC Trend Tracker to improve quality care in facilities.
Professional Organizations in Healthcare Administration
Joining a professional organization enables students to interact with other industry professionals. These organizations help professionals advance in their careers by listing job opportunities, hosting conferences, awarding certifications, and providing continuing education courses. To gain access to these associations, students usually pay a small membership fee and complete an application.