Best Online Master’s in Health Services Programs of 2021
Learn what the future could look like with an online master's in health services — and what it takes to get there.
Updated April 25, 2022
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An online master's program in health services can provide students with the knowledge necessary to begin a lucrative career in healthcare. In these programs, learners develop the skills needed to adapt business models as the field progresses with the introduction of new technologies. A career in health services offers the opportunity to manage both individual physicians' offices and large healthcare facilities.
The field is growing faster than average, providing students the prospect of a stable career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of nearly 140,000 health services manager positions between 2020 and 2030. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $104,280 as of May 2020.
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The cost of earning an online master's in health services is dependent on various factors, including whether you attend school online or in person. The average cost of a master's degree is $66,340, according to EducationData.org, but many online students pay less.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Health Services Program?
Health services professionals must be resilient and adaptable. The landscape of healthcare is ever-changing due to an aging population, new diseases, and innovations in the field. If they can manage these challenges, prospective health services managers can look forward to a lucrative and rewarding career.
Some health services manager positions require a bachelor's degree. However, most employers require a master of science degree. Obtaining an online master's in health services requires the completion of up to 64 credits in 24-30 months.
Students can choose to specialize in key focus areas through elective coursework. Electives can include courses in gerontology, health information, and data analytics. In addition to traditional coursework, students may need to complete an internship, capstone project, residency, and/or research project.
While many online master's in health services programs focus on managing a healthcare business, some programs have begun to introduce a health science-based approach that provides industry-specific training for a more well-rounded degree. Curricula may also prepare students to earn relevant professional certifications.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.
Popular Online Master's in Health Services Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Health Services Program?
Health Delivery Systems
In this course, learners study how health services are delivered in the United States. Classwork focuses on the differences between private and government delivery, as well as on prominent factors currently impacting the healthcare system.
Ethical and Legal Issues
This course delves into the legal history that influences modern healthcare. Students in this class will also learn about the legal and ethical boundaries to keep in mind when providing healthcare services.
This course reviews health information systems and how they are regulated to ensure data privacy, integration, analysis, and reporting.
This course covers healthcare marketing. Students will learn about the regulatory considerations of marketing healthcare services and cover market research and customer analysis and motivation.
In this course, students analyze healthcare management practices. They learn about budgets, cost estimation, purchase analysis, and data monitoring.
What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Health Services Program?
Learners can study for a master's in health services online, on campus, or via a hybrid model. Admission requirements for online and on-campus programs are often the same. Schools often require applicants to possess a bachelor of science degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in students' final 60 credits of undergraduate coursework.
Some programs also require demonstrated business acumen through professional experience or specific coursework. Most master's programs require prospective students to submit a personal statement.
Most programs require applicants to fill out a standard application form. Some programs participate in the Healthcare Administration, Management, and Policy Centralized Application System, which allows prospective students to apply to multiple schools at once. Most programs require prospective students to pay a fee to apply.
While some master's programs require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores, they usually aren't required to to apply to a master's in health services program. Universities often prefer healthcare industry experience and rely on letters of recommendation, essays, and GPA.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants are often required to submit 1-3 letters of recommendation as part of their application. Recent graduates can submit letters from professors, while applicants with professional experience should can send in letters from past or current supervisors. Be sure to give your letter writers plenty of time to meet deadlines.
Resume and Work Experience
Admission into a master's in health services program does not always require work experience, but it is usually preferred. Many programs require prospective students to submit a resume or curriculum vitae. Resumes can help admissions officers understand applicants' professional history and long-term career goals.
Many programs require a writing sample, essay, or personal statement for admission. In these written components, applicants can share their personal and professional experience, goals, and reasons for applying to the specific program. These documents help admissions departments evaluate each student's potential to succeed academically.
Applicants must send official transcripts from every postsecondary institution they have attended. Some programs allow applicants to submit unofficial transcripts to begin the review process. However, for final approval, prospective students must send in official transcripts directly from their past schools.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Health Services Degree?
A career in health services can be rewarding, lucrative, and stable. The BLS projects 32% job growth for medical and health services managers between 2020 and 2030, a much faster growth rate than the average across all occupations during the same period.
Health services professionals can work at governmental agencies, health insurance companies, hospitals, care homes, and other medical facilities. In May 2020, managers working for the government earned the highest median annual salary at $116,380. The top 10% of earners in the field make more than $195,630 annually.
See where an online master's in health services can take you. Learn more about health services careers.
Social and Community Service Manager
Social and community service managers often work for nonprofit organizations that focus on the most prominent health issues impacting their communities. These professionals benefit from strong management and fundraising skills.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $69,600
Healthcare consultants ensure healthcare facilities remain compliant with the legal and policy requirements set forth by regulatory agencies. These professionals also analyze organizations' operations to improve efficiency. They often work with staff administrators and leadership to identify room for improvement. Healthcare consultants may also work for health services research consulting companies and assist clients like pharmaceutical agencies.
Average Annual Salary (November 2021): $79,210
Health Information Manager
Health information managers oversee the management of collected data and ensure that it is utilized and secured under the regulatory policy. A background in information technology is almost always required, and employers increasingly require additional certification. These professionals can earn certification through the American Health Information Management Association.
Average Annual Salary (November 2021): $59,650
Healthcare Financial Manager
Healthcare financial managers oversee all financial aspects of their organization. Certified public accountant status is often required, as is healthcare-specific certification. Managers can earn certifications through the American Association of Healthcare Financial Administrative Management and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
Average Annual Salary (November 2021): $94,740
Hospital Chief Executive Officer
A hospital chief executive officer (CEO) manages the day-to-day operations of the facility, its policies, and its strategic function. In addition to a master's in health services, hospital CEOs must often have a minimum of 10 years of healthcare experience.
Average Annual Salary (November 2021): $153,800
Health Services Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
After completing a master's degree in the field, graduates can pursue a doctorate in health services to further their career or focus on research. Graduates may also seek a variety of certifications provided by related professional associations, including the following options:
- Certified Healthcare Access Manager (CHAM)
- Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)
- Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP)
- Certified Revenue Cycle Representative (CRCR)
- Certified Specialist Accounting and Finance (CSAF)
- Certified Specialist Business Intelligence (CSBI)
- Certified Specialist Managed Care (CSMC)
- Certified Specialist Physician Practice Management (CSPPM)
- Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Health Services Program?
According to EducationData.org, the average cost of a master's degree is $66,340, but many students save money by enrolling online. Master's programs in health services are offered online, on-campus, or via hybrid methods. To understand the true cost of a program, consider the price of books, room and board, and other fees in addition to tuition.
Online master's in health services programs vary in their delivery method, offering prospective students options to fit their life and learning style. Programs may provide both synchronous and asynchronous learning, as well as part-time, full-time, and accelerated pathways. Synchronous programs require students to attend live, online sessions, while asynchronous programs allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule.
Even prospective students only interested in online programs should consider location. Some online master's in health services programs have limited in-person requirements for orientation, labs, or internships. Consider choosing a program at a nearby school if you plan to visit campus regularly.
Accreditation is the process by which colleges and universities certify the quality of their programs and institutions. Regional accreditation is the most important seal of approval. You cannot receive federal financial aid from schools that do not hold regional accreditation.
Employers seek candidates with master's degrees from reputable programs. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education and the Association of University Programs in Health Administration oversee the accreditation of master's in health services programs.
When applying to master's in health services programs, be sure to explore the student services each school provides. Some institutions possess career services departments, which connect students with mentors, maintain alumni networks, and advertise internship opportunities. If you plan to study online, investigate each schools' services for distance learners.
2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Health Services Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Health Services Programs
Is a master's in health services worth it?
A master's in health services is worth it for students and professionals who want to accelerate their career and open the door to leadership opportunities. This degree can help workers increase their earning potential and access managerial roles.
Students can also specialize in a specific area, allowing them to focus their career on a specific aspect of healthcare management, such as compliance, community, information, or finance.
What can I do with a master's in health services?
Master's in health services degree-holders can pursue a variety of different opportunities. One of the most popular positions for program graduates is medical and health services manager. However, degree-holders can also pursue careers as hospital executives, financial directors, and compliance managers.
Are health services majors in high demand?
Yes. The BLS projects 32% job growth for medical and health services managers between 2020 and 2030. This is much greater than the average growth rate across all occupations during the same period.
How much money can I make with a master's in health services?
According to the BLS, medical and health services managers made a median annual salary of $104,280 in May 2020. However, factors like industry, employer, location, and title can all greatly impact salary. As of May 2020, the top 10% of earners in this field made more than $195,630 annually, while the bottom 10% of earners made less than $59,980.
Health services managers working in government earned the highest median annual wages, while those working in nursing and residential care facilities earned the lowest.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in health services?
Some of the highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master's in health services are governmental positions, according to the BLS. As of May 2020, medical and health services managers working for the government made a median annual salary of $116,380. However, private sector businesses like consulting firms and insurance companies may offer even higher salaries.
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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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