Healthcare leaders face many challenges, including rising costs, new technologies, and an aging population. A master's in healthcare management equips these leaders with the skills they need to help their organizations thrive under pressure.

Designed for clinical practitioners, healthcare managers, and career-changers, an MBA in healthcare management teaches individuals to apply business principles to a healthcare setting. Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in a variety of healthcare industries, such as insurance, pharmaceutical development, and medical technology.

This guide helps you evaluate on-campus and online MBA degrees in healthcare management to find the best school for your career goals. Read on to learn more about common courses, concentrations, and admission requirements.

What Is Healthcare Management?

The curriculum of an MBA in healthcare management program approaches business principles through the lens of a healthcare organization. An MBA offers versatile training that applies to various fields. It can also help people move from a clinical career to a business or leadership role.

A master of science in healthcare management focuses almost exclusively on healthcare management practices and leadership. While similar to an MBA in healthcare management, an MS provides more healthcare courses and fewer general business courses.

What Are the Best Online MBA in Healthcare Management Programs of 2020?

Rank School Location
1 University of St. Francis Joliet, IL
2 Florida International University Miami, FL
3 Concordia University Chicago River Forest, IL
4 University of Delaware Newark, DE
5 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
6 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
7 Widener University Chester, PA
8 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
9 Concordia University Wisconsin Mequon, WI
10 Mercer University Macon, GA

Should I Get an MBA in Healthcare Management?

MBA programs in healthcare management cover foundational topics in accounting, finance, and marketing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 18% job growth for medical and health services managers between 2018 and 2028. Many of these managers work in hospitals and physician offices, earning a median annual salary of $100,980.

MBA curricula build on core business skills in accounting, quantitative analysis, and leadership, preparing graduates to address the needs of healthcare organizations. Students delve into financial forecasting and strategic leadership, while also developing analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.

What Will I Learn in a Healthcare Management MBA Program?

Schools may offer healthcare management as a specialization within their MBA program or as a separate master's program. Some programs offer further specializations within the healthcare curriculum.

The courses and specializations listed below are a sample of what you might see in a healthcare management MBA program. Electives and concentrations allow you to tailor your degree to match your academic and career goals.

While schools often welcome students from diverse work and educational backgrounds, some courses may require prerequisites. Students who have taken foundational classes in areas like accounting, statistics, and/or economics are poised to succeed in an MBA program.

Courses

Health Operations

This course examines concepts and practices from various industries and applies them to healthcare operations. Students evaluate case studies and complete projects that provide practical perspectives on issues in supply chain management, information technology, risk management, and human resources.

Statistical Methods for Data Analytics

Healthcare leaders must use a variety of data in their decision-making. This course introduces statistical methods used in interpreting data, including probability distributions, confidence intervals, and correlation.

Health Systems Marketing

In this course, students evaluate marketing channels to create effective healthcare campaigns. Topics covered include competitive assessment, value propositions, and measuring campaign effectiveness. In addition, this course helps learners develop communication skills, organizational awareness, and individual initiative.

Health Economics

In this course, students apply economic principles and theories to the U.S. healthcare system. Topics covered include healthcare payment models, the function of healthcare markets, and the role of government in healthcare markets.

Health Informatics

This course examines the role of technology in healthcare systems — particularly emerging issues related to electronic health records and telehealth services. Students also examine how to use clinical data in health-related research.

Concentrations

Global Health

This concentration includes courses in health policy with an international focus. Students seeking leadership roles in multinational companies and nonprofit organizations can benefit from the cultural competencies developed in this concentration. Learners also improve upon their problem-solving and collaborative skills to address global health needs.

Leadership

Core competencies developed in this concentration relate to leading teams, collaboration, project management, and change management. Students strengthen their decision-making, negotiation, and resource management skills. This concentration prepares graduates for careers as healthcare service managers and executives.

Informatics

Data management and analytics make up the core of this concentration. Students learn about using data in healthcare settings, as well as the role of technology in healthcare services.

Communication

This concentration prepares students to serve as healthcare leaders who are capable of using a variety of communication platforms to effectively engage various audiences. Graduates can pursue careers in public relations, marketing, and internal communications.

Human Resource Management

Healthcare organizations must effectively manage their most valuable resource: their employees. This concentration looks at recruitment strategies, benefits and compensation analysis, and employee development.

What Can I Do With an MBA in Healthcare Management?

Earning an MBA in healthcare management prepares you for leadership positions in healthcare organizations and business roles in affiliated industries. The analytical and decision-making skills you develop through your studies are highly sought after across multiple industries.

Below are some careers you can pursue with an MBA after graduation.

Careers

Medical and Health Service Managers

These managers work with healthcare providers to manage offices, clinics, and hospitals. They may work as nursing home administrators, clinical managers, or health information managers. They develop budgets, represent the facility to the public or investors, and keep records of services.

Median Annual Salary: $100,980

Financial Managers

Charged with providing oversight of an organization's profitability, financial managers track and analyze data related to expenses and revenue. They research market trends to identify new business opportunities and evaluate business processes to find cost savings.

Median Annual Salary: $129,890

Human Resources Managers

The human resources department recruits employees to serve throughout an organization. Managers develop job descriptions, analyze compensation programs, and take part in initial applicant screening and interviewing. They also develop training programs and conduct exit interviews for departing employees.

Median Annual Salary: $116,720

Marketing Managers

Marketing managers develop comprehensive strategies to attract new customers and engage existing customers. They direct advertising campaigns, tracking costs and outcomes. They also help develop public relations materials, write speeches for leadership, and oversee internet content.

Median Annual Salary: $135,900

Top Executives

Chief executives are responsible for the overall management of an organization, as well as establishing strategic goals for new or existing business ventures. They often work with a team of department executives to coordinate activities. These workers may assume roles as general managers, operations managers, or chief executive officers.

Median Annual Salary: $104,690

How to Choose a Healthcare Management MBA Program

Many schools offer MBAs in healthcare management. You can explore some of the top-ranked online programs on this page.

Several factors can impact which school is best-suited to serve your educational goals. Consider expenses, including the cost of books, technology, and required travel to the campus. Additionally, look closely at the courses and concentrations offered.

If you intend to enroll as a distance learner, you should also consider the resources available for online students, including access to library materials, tech support, and career services. If possible, talk with other students or alumni about their experience.

How to Get Into a Healthcare Management MBA Program

Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree. You do not usually need an undergraduate degree in business, but if you come from a nonbusiness background, some schools may require you to complete prerequisite courses before beginning your master's coursework. Most schools also require letters of recommendation and a resume.

Many schools ask students to submit GMAT or GRE scores and have a minimum undergraduate GPA — usually around 3.0. Some schools offer waivers for entrance exams if applicants have a high GPA and/or professional experience.

Read Our Guide to Graduate Admissions

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA in Healthcare Management?

Most MBA in healthcare management programs require 30-50 credits and a two-year commitment. Many students continue to work while pursuing their degree.

Online programs use several different formats. For example, programs with a cohort model establish a sequence of classes and all students complete those classes together as a group. Other schools use a competency-based model, in which students can move on to their next class once they demonstrate mastery of a course's objectives.

Some online programs may also include in-person requirements, which often take place on the weekends.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an MBA in Healthcare Management?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate students paid an average tuition of approximately $18,950 in 2018.

However, this cost varied depending on the type of school a student attended. Public universities offered the lowest tuition, with an average cost of around $11,930. Alternatively, private colleges charged an average of approximately $25,440.

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