What Can I Do with a Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration?
Mastering in healthcare administration can qualify you for an array of leadership opportunities in a dynamic field. There is a steady demand for organizational leadership and specialization in the medical sector. As the fastest growing employment market, healthcare is always in need of qualified workers at all levels of employment, in hospitals, private practices, offices, labs, and public health centers. A master’s degree in healthcare administration can help you build toward a career that offers job security, paths to advancement, and the opportunity to positively impact others.
Just getting started in the field? Check out our look at the healthcare administration major to find out how you can get an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration.
If you’re ready to earn your graduate degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Healthcare Administration.
Or read on to find out what you can expect as a healthcare administration master.
Why get a master’s degree in healthcare administration?
The healthcare industry is in a state of constant and rapid growth. This means that opportunities for leadership and innovation are growing as well. The need for competent leadership in areas such as public health, epidemiology, and pharmaceuticals has never been greater. Earning a master’s degree in healthcare administration gives you the opportunity to help fill these needs, and consequently, to positively impact the lives of many people. Indeed, the top healthcare administration professionals have the power to influence healthcare systems, healthcare policy, healthcare accessibility, and public opinion.
How can I qualify to get a master’s degree in healthcare administration?
Some healthcare administration master’s programs (though not all) may require you to complete a Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If your advanced healthcare administration degree is actually the focus of a graduate MBA program, you may be required instead to complete a GMAT.
If the GRE is needed, your program may either require a general exam, or a GRE specific to the subject of healthcare administration. Some programs may require you to meet a certain scoring threshold while others may merely require that you complete the exam. These requirements will vary from one Healthcare administration master’s program to the next.
For testing tips, check out our Guide to the GRE.
If no GRE or GMAT is required, the primary requirement for gaining eligibility into a healthcare administration master’s program is completion of a bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited undergraduate school. While programmatic accreditation is not specifically required in this field, most regionally-accredited graduate schools will require that your bachelor’s degree be granted by a regionally-accredited college or university.
Some colleges may offer bundled bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, where you could earn your advanced degree in one continuous five-year program. This option could save you time and money if you already know that you’ll be pursuing your advanced degree. However, the accelerated pace of such a program may make this a challenging way to earn both degrees. Find out if your school offers this bundling option and ask about eligibility requirements. But be sure you’re up to the added challenge!
For any additional questions about eligibility, refer to your intended program and learn more about application requirements and any additional requirements such as work experience, academic performance thresholds, and referrals.
If you’re still working on building your qualifications, check out our look at the healthcare administration major to find out how you can get an undergraduate degree in healthcare administration.
What kinds of healthcare administration degrees are there?
Degrees in healthcare administration are offered at every level. The degree you pursue will depend largely on your professional goals. An advanced degree in healthcare administration is recommended if you plan to take on a leadership or organizational management role in a healthcare context. As noted below, your school may offer a healthcare administration concentration as part of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MA, MS, MBA, or MHA): A master’s degree in healthcare administration typically takes two years to complete and requires 30-45 credits. At this level, specialization is expected in areas such as healthcare management, healthcare law and policy, healthcare informatics, or nursing administration and leadership. Courses cover topics including healthcare financial management, organizational behavior, community health assessment, organizational development for healthcare, and healthcare information management. Students must also often complete a professional experience component and research project. Graduates are prepared for advanced roles, such as medical and health services manager, nurse administrator, and training and development manager.
- PhD in Healthcare Administration: The highest-level degree in the field, a PhD in healthcare administration takes three to five years to complete and requires a mix of advanced coursework, comprehensive exams, residential experience, and a dissertation project. At this level, your studies are highly specialized. Students earning a PhD prepare for roles such as post-secondary teacher, administrator, or healthcare system director.
What are some popular healthcare administration specializations?
Healthcare administration is an expansive field. Leadership and organizational management are required in a wide range of healthcare settings from mid-sized local family practices and public health clinics to bustling urban emergency rooms and multi-state healthcare companies. In addition to the wide variety of settings where you could work, you could serve in a wide range of specialized roles. Choose your masters degree specialization based on the setting and role that most appeal to you. Popular areas of specialization include:
- Patient Safety and Quality
- Nursing Administration and Leadership
- Healthcare Informatics
- Healthcare Management
- Healthcare Financial Management
- Healthcare Law and Policy
What courses will I take as a healthcare administration master?
Your specialization will determine many of the courses you’ll take as a healthcare administration major. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as Healthcare Informatics and Organizational Leadership. But you’ll also have the chance to build a degree program around your personal and professional interests.
Common healthcare administration courses include:
- Healthcare Law and Policy
- Medical Ethics
- Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare Industry
- Managerial Accounting for Healthcare
- Information Systems Management for Healthcare
- Patient Safety
- Strategic Planning and Management
- Managerial Epidemiology
- Population Health
- Scientific Inquiry and Research
- Healthcare Systems and Operations Management
Is a master’s degree in healthcare administration worth it?
While working in healthcare administration does not necessarily require you to have earned a master’s degree, many hiring organizations will seek candidates with advanced degrees for leadership opportunities. In most contexts, this also means a healthy wage premium. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers with a bachelor’s degree earned a median annual wage of $70,000, whereas managers with a master’s degree earned a median pay of $90,000. A master’s degree in healthcare administration can significantly improve your ability to access and advance within healthcare organizations, and to enjoy the higher compensation that comes with these opportunities.
What are the top jobs with a master’s in healthcare administration degree?
The medical industry requires tremendous organizational planning, coordination, and leadership. Healthcare administration jobs at all levels are vital to keeping hospitals, labs, public health centers, and practices running. A master’s degree in healthcare administration can lead to a wide range of leadership opportunities within the healthcare industry, including these top jobs:
- Human Resources Managers
- Training and Development Managers
- Medical and Health Services Managers
- Social and Community Service Managers
- Administrative Services Managers
- Postsecondary Teachers
Curious how far you could go with a master’s degree in healthcare administration? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!***
Now that you know how to earn a masters in healthcare administration, check out The Most Influential Schools in Healthcare Administration:
The Most Influential Schools in Computer Science Today
- Harvard University
- Stanford University
- Johns Hopkins University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Yale University
Check out the full list here and get started on your path to an advanced degree in healthcare administration.