Master’s in Health Administration

Advanced Education for Tomorrow’s Healthcare Leaders

READY TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER IN HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION?

Earn your Online Master of Health Administration from the George Washington University

George Washington University

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According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 8,800 individuals completed a master’s degree in health services administration, healthcare administration and management, and healthcare facilities administration in 2013. As a growing popular field of graduate study, healthcare administration offers both medical and non-medical professionals and opportunity to develop advanced organizational and management skills-effectively positioning them to assume leadership positions within the U.S. healthcare system. In this guide, you’ll find comprehensive information on the various master’s degree programs in healthcare currently available, along with top schools, specializations, coursework, timelines, advice for deciding on and applying to master’s programs, and more.

Top MHA Degree Programs: 2016

Undertaking a master’s in health administration program is no small task, and prospective students must be sure the program to which they’re committing offers the best of the best when it comes to academics, staff and career counseling post-graduation. The below schools have programs with these characteristics and more, including excellent student support and financial aid and scholarship opportunities. See which colleges and MHA programs stand out in 201t.

To see how our experts determined this ranking, please visit our methodology page.

Score:

97.50

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

District of Columbia

Public Health School/Program Name:

Milken Institute School of Public Health

GW's Master of Health Administration is for aspiring leaders with at least three years of clinical or administrative experience in the health care or health services industry. With the program's interactive design, students learn from each other's experience as much as they learn from faculty. The curriculum focuses on developing the leadership and ethical skills needed to create highly effective health care organizations, as well as core health care content areas such as quality improvement, decision science, quantitative methods and community health.

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Score:

95.31

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

New York

The MBA program in healthcare management combines business fundamentals with practical applications. Courses are held in the evenings to accommodate those with jobs and other obligations. Full-time students typically graduate in two years, including a summer session. Students who have completed relevant courses at other institutions may be able to waive some graduation requirements.

Union Graduate College's program consists of 17 courses, with core courses including health systems management and financial accounting. Advanced courses cover topics such as health informatics and legal issues, and electives include operations research and group practice administration. Many students complete internships, particularly those without professional experience.

Score:

95.17

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Alabama

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a master's in health administration with two options: a residential program for newly graduated students or career changers and an executive program for health care professionals with at least five years of working experience. The program employs the cohort model, so students progress through classes with the same small group of classmates, building a support network for school and after graduation. Students are also provided with summer internship opportunities and relevant part-time jobs.

At the end of their program, students will have the opportunity to enter a case study competition. Working in teams, participants will use what they've learned in a real-life case, and present their findings to a national panel of judges.

Score:

94.88

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Oklahoma

Through the School of Health Care Administration (HCA), students can earn their MS in healthcare administration with the option of specializing in healthcare leadership and entrepreneurship or in administration. The curriculum covers management concepts that prepares students for careers in higher executive leadership roles. No prior healthcare experience is required, as applicants can have an undergraduate degree in any discipline. Onsite courses are offered at OSU-Still water and OSU-Tulsa, as well as online and distance learning options. The degree requires 32-credit hours for completion and includes a creative thesis with six hours in general graduate level electives.

Score:

94.62

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Missouri

This nationally-ranked program is offered through the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs to prepare students to become leaders in the health care settings. Also offered online, this curriculum incorporates legal, financial, political and managerial aspects for fine-tuning advanced-level skills. The program is an associate member of Association of University Programs in Health Administration and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Management Education. Courses are predominantly offered online, as well as on campus at the downtown Kansas City campus. There are 36 total credits required for degree completion.

Score:

94.36

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Iowa

In as little as 18 months, graduate students can earn their degree for master of healthcare administration to prepare them for roles in the ever-evolving and rapidly changing healthcare industry. With an emphasis on technology, management, finance, economics and policy, this curriculum requires 52 total credit hours and has flexible start dates. Courses include Organizational Development for Healthcare, Leadership in Health Care, Financial Management, Health Law, Health Policy, Human Resources for Health Care Managers and many more that will prepare them to excel in both the private and public sectors.

Score:

94.29

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

North Carolina

This master's degree program has a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the curriculum includes training on inclusion in health care management and research. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill encourages team learning through collaboration on projects. The program uses a nontraditional grading format, with scores of "H" for High Pass, "P" for Pass and so on. As a result, students do not earn a traditional grade point average. The graduate healthcare administration program can be completed in as little as two years. Applicants can request transfer credit from another institution for up to 20 percent of program credits.

Score:

94.28

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Tennessee

The MBA program with an emphasis on healthcare administration can potentially be completed in as little as one year, or in two years with a part-time schedule. Classes are held once per week, and are taught by professors who have experience in related fields. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on business and entrepreneurial experience to provide both learning and networking opportunities.

Applicants with a major outside of business for their bachelor's degree may need additional accounting and finance courses. Students who earned a GPA of 3.25 or higher in their undergraduate studies do not have to take the GMAT to apply.

Score:

94.27

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

California

Students can earn the graduate Master of Healthcare Administration professional degree at the Los Angeles campus or online with an aim to gain employment in both public and private sectors within the healthcare industry. This degree program covers a diverse range of topics, including economics, law, medicine, statistics and public health as they relate to health services. The curriculum focuses on providing students with conceptual and analytics skills, as well as innovative solutions for real-world problems. The program includes an internship and capstone experience. The MHA degree consists of 72 quarter units, or 16 courses, for completion, including HS Healthcare System, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Public Health Research Methods and Quality Appraisal and Education.

Score:

94.17

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Tennessee

Prospective leaders in health administration can explore various options from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. A 1-year executive program targets numerous aspects of leadership, including strategic planning, customer focus, measurement and analysis and operations. This condensed program includes on-campus residencies with an immersion session in the nation's capital analyzing how health policy is made.

Related studies include a master's degree in public health with a concentration in health policy and management. Courses expose students to challenges in managing and coordinating resources, access to care, cost containment, quality assurance and more. This program assists students in securing internships that are relevant to their chosen career paths.

Score:

94.14

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Missouri

For students interested in advancing their careers to hold senior management positions in the healthcare field, they can earn their MHA degree, with convenient online options of course completion. The engaging curriculum cover all legal, ethical, information system technology and business management skills needed to excel in the improvement and implementation of quality delivery of services. The degree requires 36 total hours for completion with 8-week long classes and weekly start dates. Students can work at their own pace. Courses include Health Services Management, Modern Organizations and Health Care, Marketing Management, Human Resources Strategies, Accounting and Managerial Economics.

Score:

94.14

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Michigan

Through the Management and Marketing Department, graduate students can earn their MS Health Services Administration degree to receive a quality theory and practice education for effective healthcare business management. The degree allows professionals to hold leadership roles in their industry by offering foundational emphasis in marketing, law, finance and technology topics. The degree requires 37 credits for completion and includes courses such as Issues in Leadership Studies, Healthcare Decision Making, Managerial Research and Design and High Performance Health Service Delivery. Graduates of this program will be prepared to deal with public health and patient care issues for both public and non-for-profit organizations.

Score:

94.00

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Virginia

The MHA in Health Systems Management prepares students for roles as consultants, analysts and other leadership roles for delivering and managing health services in both public and private sectors. The 46-credit-hour program incorporates a dynamic curriculum that covers IT management, economics, philosophy, management and business areas of study. Courses are offered primarily in the evening, with some weekend offerings and each student can complete the required coursework at their own pace. The curriculum included a Capstone Practicum at the end of the program for students to explore theoretical concepts and apply their management and administrative skills through this non-thesis project.

Score:

94.00

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

South Carolina

The master's program in health administration at the University of South Carolina at Columbia trains students to work in a variety of healthcare setting in the public and private sectors. Curriculum is focused heavily on management topics and also addresses accounting and finance, quantitative method, managerial epidemiology and health planning. Students choose several electives and complete a management residency as well.

Many students are connected with graduate assistantship positions while they attend the program. These positions involve 10-20 hours per week of work with a local healthcare organization and provide students with hands-on learning, networking opportunities and relevant work experience for their resumes.

Score:

93.83

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Minnesota

While earning this degree, graduate students should learn how to effectively implement the most modern healthcare administration strategies to improve the overall quality of health services in a wide variety of settings. This degree is designed for professionals interested in advancing their careers to become chief officers, managers or directors.

The degree requires 48 total credits total and can be completed in as little as 18 months. The curriculum follows the National Center for Healthcare Leadership competency model, with 10-week courses offered. Students can earn a general degree or specialize in an area of concentration, either Health Policy and Management or Public Health.

Score:

93.75

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Pennsylvania

The Fox School of Business has a master's degree program in health administration for working professionals. Applicants are expected to have at least seven years of relevant work and supervisory experience. Students in the program include mid-level health sector managers, physicians, nurse managers, consultants and other health care professionals.

Temple University's program consists of 33 credits that can be completed in 27 months with a part-time schedule, depending on a student's other obligations. Courses are designed to meet employers' needs, addressing business competencies such as implementation management and financial analysis, and organizational competencies such as team leadership and effective communication.

Score:

93.74

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Illinois

Candidates with or without healthcare or business experience can earn a specialized MBA from Saint Xavier University. The program covers both the theory and practical applications of health administration. The curriculum combines business studies with courses on the healthcare industry, for example, healthcare system organization, financing and managed care and legal and regulatory issues. Students also learn about accounting, economics, marketing, statistics, finance and operations and technology management. Those with an undergraduate degree in business may be able to skip the foundational coursework in some of these core subjects.

Score:

93.74

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Pennsylvania

Through the Department of Health Services, students can earn their MS in Health Administration. This degree program focuses on population and status assessment, management and administrative techniques, information systems, policy, organizational development, legal principles and more that make them prime candidates for employment in various healthcare settings. The curriculum is designed for working professionals, with part-time study consisting of two courses, or six credits, per term, or full-time study consisting of three courses, or nine credits, per term. Students have the option of choosing a concentration of healthcare ethics, general, health informatics and organization development and leadership.

Score:

93.57

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Illinois

Two master's degree programs in healthcare administration are available from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Many courses are offered on Saturdays or in the evenings, to allow students to continue working as they earn their degree. The master's program was developed for professionals in health services who wish to follow a management path. In addition to learning core concepts of population health, human resources, finance and management, students also participate in field work experiences with hospitals, long-term care organizations and medical or ambulatory care centers. Students can opt for the generalist track or specialize with a concentration in public health informatics or health services and policy research.

Score:

93.53

Academic/Career Counseling:

yes

Placement services for completers:

yes

State:

Massachusetts

The master's program in healthcare administration at Worcester State University accepts students throughout the year with rolling admissions. Students complete nine required core courses in topics such as organizational behavior, statistical methods and quality management. Two elective courses are also required. Students can choose from human resources management, economics of healthcare, epidemiology, politics and policies in healthcare and a seminar on current issues facing the field.

In their last semester, students take a 3-credit capstone class: either an internship in healthcare or a relevant research project. The program typically takes two years to complete, including two summer sessions.

Breaking Down the Master’s in Healthcare Administration

Students in the MHA@GW program take eight 10-week learning modules online that can be completed in as little as 24 months.

Courses are focused on different core skill sets for becoming a successful leader in a health care organization, including:

  • Community health and quantitative methods/li>
  • Information technology and decision science
  • Finance and economics
  • Law and regulation
  • Leadership and ethics
  • Management and strategy
  • Quality improvement

Students will also have the opportunity to attend four in-person immersions, which take place on GW’s Washington, D.C. campus and at health care organizations nationally and globally. To learn more about MHA@GW’s rigorous curriculum, visit: https://mha.gwu.edu/academics/.

MHA and ROI

Enrolling in and completing a master’s in health administration requires a significant investment of time, effort and finances. The question “why earn an MHA?” is a question that looms over every prospective MHA student.

Financial Considerations

Students must be aware of the financial impact a graduate degree presents. Besides the simple cost factor of tuition, fees and books, students must also consider the financial effect of taking time off work to complete the degree, or even reducing the number of hours worked while going to school. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average total cost of attendance for schools offering graduate programs in health administration was $20,919 in 2013. Below is a table of average attendance costs by healthcare administration degree concentration at the graduate level in 2013:

DegreeConcentration Average Total Costof Attendance
Health Services Administration $22,744
Health/Healthcare Administration/Management $18,038
Hospital and Healthcare Facilities Administration/Management $21,977

Time Investment

For the working professional, completing a graduate degree requires a serious investment of time outside of working hours. The MHA degree traditionally requires between 30 and 36 credit hours of study to complete, while a dual MHA/MBA may require up to 96 credit hours to satisfy graduation requirements. Students may be looking at two to three years of graduate study to earn a degree.

The question remains: “Is earning a master’s in healthcare administration worth it?” A review of the earning potential and career possibilities points to a resounding “YES”!

Earning Potential Increase

Healthcare administration is one of the best paying occupational fields in the country. The median salary for medical and health services administrators was nearly $91,000 in 2013, and the top 10 percent of earners took home at least $155,000. The best paying states include California ($118,040), New York ($118,020), Delaware ($114,640), and New Jersey ($114,420). According to a study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, 32 percent of individuals working in health and administrative medical services hold a graduate degree—a degree that resulted in a measurable earnings increase. In turn, potential six figure paying positions should be an attractive factor when it comes to enrolling in master’s in health administration degree program.

Excellent Employment Opportunities

The career prospects for health service managers and administrators are some of the strongest in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 23 percent national employment growth between 2012 and 2022. At the state level, 10 states are expected to experience even greater employment gains for medical and healthcare administrators:

State Projected Career Growth
Utah 35.4%
Kentucky 30.4%
Texas 30.3%
Georgia 29.1%
Arizona 28.2%
Colorado 26.5%
North Carolina 26.4%
Idaho 24.5%
South Carolina 24.2%
New Hampshire 23.6%

Of those in health and medical administrative services, 32% go on to earn a graduate degree, and as a result boost median earnings 40% to $77,000

MHA Programs and Coursework

Within dynamic healthcare settings, administrators and managers must continually seek to improve the quality, flexibility, cost and performance of their organization’s health services. The need for regularly gaining new knowledge and skills in this space underscores the purpose of the Master of Health Administration. Unlike an undergraduate degree in health administration, which serves a broad target audience, the scope of the master’s is much narrower. Typically, the master’s is aimed at three types of individuals:

  • Current healthcare managers, supervisors or administrators seeking to develop senior-level skills in management
  • Working healthcare professionals (e.g., nurse, physician) desiring to advance into a leadership position within healthcare management
  • The entry-level or professional with minimal experience preparing to enter management positions in healthcare administration or management

At the undergraduate level, students are introduced to core concepts in health administration, including finance, management, human resources and ethics. A basic program of study, the bachelor’s in health administration prepares students to pursue a variety of entry-level administrative careers by developing an understanding of leadership theory and healthcare policy, facility planning and healthcare regulation.

On the other hand, the MHA focuses squarely on developing the next generation of critical thinking, highly talented healthcare administrators by introducing them to the complex realities of the healthcare system and the organizational challenges presented by multifaceted relationships between healthcare providers, clients, the community, insurance companies, the legal system, and more. In MHA programs, students critically examine the function of the U.S. healthcare system, integrating theory with practical application of analytical skills in areas including the following:

  • Healthcare delivery models (managed, and client-centered)
  • Health policy and economics
  • Human resource and strategic managemen
  • Integrated delivery systems
  • Health management ethics
  • Information technology in healthcare
  • Organizational design of health services

Programs

Healthcare providers, administrators and policy makers are challenged by the myriad changes within the U.S. healthcare system. The introduction of the Affordable Care Act has had a wide ranging impact, from providing healthcare coverage to millions of Americans to affecting how insurance may cover a patient. In turn, healthcare organizations must work to 1) improve the level of individual patient care; 2) positively impact health outcomes in patients; and 3) lower costs.

In order to do so, healthcare administrators, leaders and patient care providers must know how to collaborate, innovate and sustain changes within the healthcare system. Because the MHA isn’t a one-size fits all type of program, prospective students can take advantage of related graduate options in the field.

Master of Business (Concentration in Health Administration)

In this program, students develop an advanced understanding of healthcare business practices in three major areas: ethics, law and health policy. With a focus on decision-making and problem solving skills, the MBA with a health administration concentration prepares graduates to assume executive or leadership roles in patient-client advocacy, public health, health administration and patient care. Students examine issues system-wide, from the community-based organization to rural hospital, learning how to apply critical analysis and collaboration skills to issues facing the modern day administrator. MBAs can typically be completed in as little to 18 to 24 months of study, with some universities offering a 12-month accelerated, intensive degree option.

Master of Business (Concentration in Health Administration)

In this program, students develop an advanced understanding of healthcare business practices in three major areas: ethics, law and health policy. With a focus on decision-making and problem solving skills, the MBA with a health administration concentration prepares graduates to assume executive or leadership roles in patient-client advocacy, public health, health administration and patient care. Students examine issues system-wide, from the community-based organization to rural hospital, learning how to apply critical analysis and collaboration skills to issues facing the modern day administrator. MBAs can typically be completed in as little to 18 to 24 months of study, with some universities offering a 12-month accelerated, intensive degree option.

Master of Business/Master of Health Administration (MBA/MHA)

This is a joint program typically pursued by current or future healthcare professionals and executives pursuing leadership and management positions in the healthcare system. The joint MBA/MHA develops skills in broad business areas, including strategic management, financial management and human resource management. On the healthcare side, students in the program build advanced understanding healthcare governance, the regulatory environment, healthcare financing, health policy, health information technology and systems, and organizational performance. Most dual MBA/MHA degrees require between 18 and 36 months to complete—depending on the specific program and if the student attends full- or part-time.

Master of Public Administration (Concentration in Health Services Administration)

Designed for mid-career public administration professionals, the MPA with a concentration in health services administration offers an opportunity to develop an advanced managerial skill set that can be applied to organizations in healthcare and public sector. The MPA diverges from the MHA in its core instruction in the public management at the local, state and federal levels with a focus on how socioeconomic and political issues affect managerial concepts. The MHA concentration expands the graduate’s knowledge base and understanding of the healthcare sector, including staffing, organizational theory, assessment, management theory and more.

Executive Master of Health Administration

Aimed at working professionals, the executive Master of Health Administration degree is offered in a flexible format, allowing for students to complete their studies conveniently and in less time than a traditional MHA. The goal of the executive MHA is to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills required to assume leadership positions within a spectrum of healthcare delivery organizations. Through a combination of on-campus intensive sessions and module-based instruction, students develop an array of applicable skills: community and public health; marketing, management, and strategy; finance; healthcare finance; law and policy; and healthcare quality.

Master of Public Health (Concentration in Health Administration and Management)

An interdisciplinary program of study, the MPH with a concentration in health administration and management studies the intersection of factors (social, financial, organizational, technology, behavior) that impact the quality of, access to and the cost of healthcare in the U.S. In these master’s programs, students examine underlying concepts (e.g., sociological, economical, policy) that drive the healthcare system and how they can develop innovative, critical solutions to foster systematic improvements.

Master of Public Administration/Master of Health Administration (MPA/MHA)

The dual MPA/MHA degree is designed for working or aspiring professionals in administrative or policy-creation positions in public or government organizations. Offered in a flexible format, students can usually complete the degree in approximately three years of study—all while working in a full-time career. At its core, the MPA/MHA prepares graduates to better leverage their professional experience by developing advanced managerial, administrative and health services skills within a healthcare environment.

Choosing an MHA Program

For those considering pursuing a graduate degree in health administration, there are several factors to consider prior to making a program selection, beginning with the student’s professional experience and the student’s career goals. The MHA’s flexibility can serve students from both business-related fields (e.g., finance, marketing), as well as healthcare fields (e.g., nursing, medicine, allied health). The degree is advantageous because students from both backgrounds receive a layer of education that complements and rounds out their professional experience.

Secondly, the MHA degree offers several areas of concentration that allow healthcare professionals to pursue multiple career paths after graduation. The most common specialized areas of study include the following:

Financial Management

In this concentration, students develop competencies in core areas of financial management, including assessing financial systems and performance; financial compliance and risk assessment; financial modeling; short- and long-term investing; management of revenue cycles; and financial planning. From improving the financial efficiency of an organization to increasing profit margins, changing capital structures to ensuring compliance with billing and coding practices, students in financial management tracks can apply those competencies and skills across positions within the health services industry.

Careers in Healthcare Administration Financial Management:

Senior Administrator, Finance

Risk Manager

Human Resources

This concentration provides students the opportunity to focus their studies on the core principles of human resources, developing a leadership-based skill set in areas including employee relations, staff recruiting and training, organizational management, compensation and benefits, and more. Instruction rests in the intersection of the legal, ethical and organizational concepts of human resources—helping students refine their managerial capabilities across a variety of potential problem areas in the workplace.

Careers in Healthcare Administration Human Resources:

Director of Human Resources, Managed Care

Manager, Employee Relations

Operations

Students pursuing an operations specialization in their degree program concentrate their studies on the organizational and operational processes associated with the delivery and management of healthcare services. Coursework in this area develops several MHA competencies including operational and organizational assessment, supply chain management, risk and quality control, and information systems implementation and management. MHA graduates in operations have a solid understanding of external and internal standards, the ability to establish workplace safeguards, a keen understanding of establishing organizational goals, and the ability to leverage data to improve operational efficiency.

Careers in Healthcare Administration Operations:

Physician Group Administrator

Long-Term Care Facility Manager

Director, Patient Care Services

Other concentrations within MHA programs include:
  • Information Technology
  • Health Informatics
  • Managed Care
  • Leadership & Management
  • Marketing & Business Development

In the online MHA program, students will be able to apply their clinical experience in interactive learning exercises. Through innovative online learning technology, the program combines live, face-to-face classes with multimedia course work that is accessible 24/7. The virtual classroom experience offered by MHA@GW allows students to earn their degree and collaborate with classmates no matter where they are in the world. To learn more about the online MHA experience, visit: https://mha.gwu.edu/about/choose-mhagw/technology-overview/.

MHA Coursework

The curriculum in the Master of Healthcare Administration endeavors to develop the core competencies of students in six areas: leadership, organization, critical thinking, analytics, management and community development. In turn, coursework is interdisciplinary in nature, combining the study of health policy and organizational theory, management principles and strategic planning. Becoming a successful healthcare administrator requires an expansive knowledge of the management disciplines, including policy, human resources, finance, organizational management and marketing.

POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION

  • Contemporary Issues in Health Administration

    In this course, students study the healthcare system through a historical lens. Through that viewpoint, students gain an understanding of the different paradigms of the healthcare system and how they shape access to healthcare services, the quality and cost of those services, and how they are delivered.

  • Healthcare Management

    Students in this class study the modern role of the healthcare administrator, focusing on the central knowledge and managerial skills required to become an efficient, effective manager.

  • Healthcare Policy Issues

    Through this class, graduate students examine local, state and federal healthcare policy issues, specifically how public policy shapes healthcare delivery, access, cost and regulation.

  • Healthcare Delivery Systems

    Taking an overview approach, students in this class examine healthcare services in the U.S. and how its institutional infrastructures developed socially, economically and politically. Students gain an understanding of healthcare regulation, the modes of healthcare delivery and alternative models of organizational theory.

FINANCE & LAW

  • Healthcare Accounting

    In this class, students learn about the three major healthcare financial management principles: accounting, finance and budgeting. Students develop knowledge of cost-benefit analysis, healthcare financial transactions and statements, operating budgets and cost control methods.

  • Health Finance

    In this class, students examine the financial management principles of healthcare and insurance, learning about risk management, operating budgets, the Medicare and Medicaid systems, managed care and more.

  • Economics of Healthcare

    In this course, students review the economic foundations of the U.S. healthcare system—studying a range of concepts and theories—from market theory to healthcare costs, supply and demand issues, government reform and more.

  • Healthcare Management Economics

    Through this course, students study both micro- and macroeconomics issues facing the healthcare administrator. Posited within that framework, students examine a spectrum of concepts including resource allocation, data analysis and healthcare market processes.

ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT

  • Performance Management

    In this class, students learn about the fundamental aspects of high-quality, effective healthcare delivery—directly related to the structural processes of the healthcare system. Students develop an understanding of managerial techniques to improve performance in a variety of settings.

  • Human Resource Management

    This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of human resources within healthcare administration, concentrating studies on employee recruiting, acquisition and retention.

  • Strategic Management

    Through this class, students are introduced to the core concepts of the healthcare marketplace and how a healthcare administrator can leverage strategic planning to understand and assess an organization’s strengths and weaknesses to devise policies to gain a competitive advantage in that marketplace.

  • Quality Management

    This course offers students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the various quality components of healthcare delivery, building skills in risk and quality assessment, benchmarking, process improvements and more. Students learn how to evaluate and make systems improvement to provide a greater level of patient care.

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

  • Healthcare Marketing

    Students in this class study contemporary marketing methods that can be applied to the modern healthcare organization. Coursework focuses on target audience research, competitor analysis, marketplace review, consumer behavior and strategic marketing initiatives.

  • Organizational Communication

    Through the study of written and oral communications, students learn the importance communications plays in leadership positions within healthcare. Students develop the ability to work with internal and external stakeholders to communicate in concise, effective terms.

  • Strategic Marketing in Healthcare

    In this class, students examine the role of marketing within healthcare, specifically on the relationship between strategic marketing and healthcare service design.

ETHICS AND LAW

  • Risk Management

    This course serves as an introduction to basic legal concepts in healthcare administration, including, but not limited to, risk management, antitrust regulation, healthcare legislation, liability and corporate partnerships.

  • Ethical Issues in Healthcare Administration

    Through this course students learn about the ethical complexities related to the delivery of healthcare services, including religious issues, medical research, public policy, clinical practice and decision-making responsibilities.

  • Healthcare Law

    Students learn about the basic legal considerations of the health management and administration profession, including a discussion of labor law, legal principles, corporate and business law, legal planning, healthcare law and more.

Selecting an MHA: What to Consider

Improving and elevating their professional reputation, knowledge and abilities are three goals of today’s graduate student in health administration. Finding a program that supports those goals is paramount. In turn, prospective students should seek out graduate schools that have a solid reputation, not only in higher education, but the healthcare industry at large. Successful MHA graduate programs are concerned with student development, personally and professionally, positioning them for leadership positions within various health organizations.

Below is a list of five factors MHA students should consider prior to making a decision about where to attend school:

1.
CAHME Accreditation

Prospective students should review the accreditation of each prospective program to ensure it has accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). CAHME is the only accrediting body of academic programs granting master’s in healthcare management.

2.
Strong Academic/Community Partnerships

Students should seek out programs that have a relationship with local healthcare providers, regional health systems and health networks. These partnerships offer students the opportunity to land part-time work experiences, internships and careers after graduation.

3.
Job Placement Track Record

Students should review the job placement record of their prospective program. Examining the three-year placement records reveals both the program’s success and serves as an overall quality indicator.

4.
Experienced & Diverse Faculty

The faculty of the MHA program should possess extensive experience in broad areas of research and education. The department should consist of diverse faculty members, experts in areas such as ethics, law, informatics, public policy and more.

5.
Breadth of Program

Not all MHA programs are created equal and not all offer students the opportunity to specialize within the multidisciplinary field. Students should review the types of concentrations available, ensuring the program provides extensive academic offerings that match their future professional goals.

Master’s in Health Administration Timeline

The above information—program factors, concentrations and coursework—paints a solid picture about what to consider when reviewing prospective graduate programs. However, MHA students should also develop a solid understanding of master’s degree requirements, by outlining the entire graduate school experience, from application to graduation. Depending on the institution and area of study, students can complete a master’s in healthcare administration in approximately two to three years of study.

The hypothetical timeline below includes information for a two-year general program of study in healthcare administration:

  • Before Applying/ Admission
  • Visit the school and department’s website
  • Contact the program to request information
  • Speak to current student, faculty and alumni
  • Prepare Application Materials
  • Take the GRE or GMAT (based on school requirements)
  • Prepare your statement of purpose or personal statement
  • Request undergraduate transcripts
  • Ask for three letters of recommendation
  • Update resume or CV
  • Submit online application
  • Pay application fees
  • Enroll
  • Accept school offer of admission
  • Apply for scholarships
  • Register for class
  • Attend school orientations
  • Semester 1 (Fall)
  • Meet faculty advisor
  • Introduction to Health Management
  • Introduction to U.S. Healthcare System
  • Introduction to Health Economics
  • Research Methods in Health Administration
  • Begin Summer Residency Preparation
  • File a Graduate Plan of Study
  • Semester 2 (Fall)
  • Health Services Marketing and Planning
  • Quality and Performance Improvement
  • Introduction to Health Informatics
  • Community Health Management
  • Finalize summer residency site placement
  • Summer
  • Participate in summer residency program
  • Semester 3 (Fall)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management
  • Ethics of Healthcare Administration
  • Healthcare Law
  • Compliance & Risk Management
  • Begin research for capstone project
  • Semester 4 (Spring)
  • Transformational Leadership in Health Administration
  • Physician Practice Administration and Management
  • Group Leadership in Healthcare
  • Health Service Delivery Compliance
  • Complete final examinations
  • Capstone project presentation & oral defense

Student Profiles

Health Administrator

Emelife, M.D., Senior Partner, Atlanta South Nephrology MHA@GW offers excellent exposure to experienced professors in the health care field. Given the diversity of the students from all areas of work, I am able to appreciate different viewpoints, including those of my nonmedical colleagues. Read about Charmain’s experience while enrolled in MHA@GW, the online Master of Health Administration from GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.”

Physician or Patient Care Clinician

Denise M. is a registered nurse who is looking to enhance and expand her clinical experience in medical care by pursuing her MHA. She wants to develop advanced expertise in areas such as performance management, healthcare trends and strategies to improve patient care.

Radiologist

Feng L.., a medical doctor specializing in radiology, would like to augment his leadership abilities and business skills by completing a master’s in healthcare administration. He wants to gain an understanding of strategic management, planning and marketing to position himself for department leadership and eventually starting his own radiology group.

The Inside Scoop: Interview with Maheen Khatri

Maheen Khatri is the analytics manager at Eagle Hospital Physicians, a physician-led company that focuses on developing and managing hospitalists for its hospital partners. Khatri holds an MHA/MBA and took the time to talk about his career, education, and provide advice to prospective MHA students.

What is your current role and what do you do?

I am responsible for managing the analytics department and providing actionable data to the hospital partners we work with on an ongoing basis in order to identify opportunities in operations that would improve quality of care, cut costs, and increase productivity. We work with physician and billing data to understand and monitor key metrics such as length of stay and readmission rates at each practice.

Why did you choose health administration as a career field?

I always wanted a career that would allow me to touch peoples’ lives. My courses in undergrad made me quickly realize that I was interested more in business than in clinical science. I decided to pursue health administration because it provided the perfect mix for what I was looking for: a career that would be business-related but also allow me to impact peoples’ lives in a positive way.

Where did you get your MHA degree?

I received my MHA degree from Georgia State University, Robinson School of Business.

Why did you choose that program?

I decided to pursue a dual-degree program from the Robinson School of Business. At the end of my program, I received two degrees: a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Health Administration (MHA). I chose this program for several reasons.

First, because it offers two degrees, which means I would get a stronger base in business with the MBA program. Second, because it has an excellent, well-reputed faculty. Furthermore, this program uses case-based learning, which was very helpful as it connects what one learns in the classroom to the business you work for.

As is typical to most MHA programs, it has a residency program at the end in which it encourages the student to work in a healthcare company or in a hospital to get real-world experience.

How does what you learned in your MHA apply to your career?

I was working while I was taking my MHA courses, and I found that much of what I was learning could be directly applied to my career. I learned about leadership, about work culture, and how the leadership at any company defines the culture. In some of the more technical courses, such as operations, health law, finance and accounting, I learned how to be more productive at work, how to develop my department strategically with a clearer understanding of the big picture of my company’s business, and what role I play in helping it be successful.

What advice would you give to a prospective MHA graduate student?

I would advise prospective MHA graduates to work while completing their MHA degree, because it really helps to connect classroom concepts to reality. It also helps one value and appreciate the education when one sees it being applied by business managers in the healthcare setting. I would also encourage students to be active members of the ACHE and make connections with other people working in healthcare.

MHA Program Spotlights

George Washington University

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University’s online Master of Health Administration is for aspiring leaders with at least three years of clinical or administrative experience in the health care or health services industry. With the program’s interactive design, students learn from each other’s experience as much as they learn from faculty.

The MHA@GW curriculum consists of eight modules focused on the leadership and ethical skills needed to create highly effective health care organizations, as well as core health care areas such as quality improvement, decision science, quantitative methods, and community health. Students will attend live online classes, complete dynamic online coursework and participate in real-world immersion experiences held on the GW campus and at health organizations in the United States and abroad.

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers four graduate certificate programs and a Master of Healthcare Administration. Combining a real-world focus on practical skills and business acumen, the personalized curriculum prepares students to pursue advanced administrative positions across organizations in the healthcare industry. An interdisciplinary program of study, the MHA and graduate certificates are offered through a partnership of the College of Allied Health Sciences, the College of Medicine, and the Carl H. Linder College of Business.

Graduate certificates are available in four concentration areas:

  • Healthcare Administration
  • Healthcare Finance
  • Healthcare Operations
  • Healthcare Policy & Regulation

The degree includes a comprehensive curriculum focused on four major industry practice areas: leadership, quality improvement, management and resource allocation. The MHA option can be completed entirely online and requires 39 semester hours to complete and typically takes two years of study to graduate.