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Overview of a Master’s in Healthcare

As you consider returning to school for a master’s degree in healthcare (this could be a management or healthcare administration program), remember that your degree program should be practitioner-focused to best support healthcare organizations or the healthcare system as a whole. While you aren’t a healthcare provider, you can support them in roles such as health service managers, financial management, healthcare administration positions, integrated healthcare delivery positions, healthcare executives, and other healthcare jobs and qualified healthcare professionals within specific health systems and the healthcare industry.

A master’s healthcare administration degree program should prepare students by focusing on helping you to develop skills in leadership, strategy, quality improvement, human capital management and human resources, and technology within the purview of healthcare administration and financial management of healthcare organizations and the healthcare industry. It is common for a regionally accredited institution to offer an online master of health administration degree program that may be a cheaper alternative than traditional on-campus educational programs to prepare students for a healthcare leadership position in the healthcare industry.

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  • A degree in healthcare will likely allow a good deal of flexibility. You should be able to find an administrative position within a nursing home, private medical practice, a dental practice, an insurance company, or a government agency.
  • The growth in this profession means that current and future healthcare administrators should easily be able to find a position within the field. Ongoing healthcare reform and a population across the US that is aging are fueling the expansion of this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the healthcare field and positions for healthcare managers or administrators is expected to grow 23% between 2012 and 2021.
  • This degree will allow you to gain an administrative position in a field that actually allows professionals to make a difference wherever they are employed. Facilities and practices across the country need administrators. Master’s degree programs that recognize this will be among the first to ensure that courses offer the most current knowledge.


  • If you are looking for a degree that gives you a broad range of skills and knowledge regarding business overall, then a master’s in healthcare may not be what you need.
  • While you may enjoy working in healthcare administration, you don’t want to discount the possibility that, one day, you may decide that it’s time to switch to management or administration in a different field. Since these degrees are field-specific, shifting to a new industry might prove difficult.
  • Rather than earning a master’s in healthcare administration, you may want to look more closely at an MBA with a concentration in healthcare; this degree gives you a wider choice of fields in which you may work.
  • Another consideration for you is that, if your healthcare administration position focuses on finance or marketing, these are skills you can take with you into another professional field.

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Overview of a Master's in Healthcare

What Healthcare Master’s Degrees are Available?

As you consider your options, keep in mind that the US population is getting older, which means healthcare and healthcare administrators are going to be in high demand for years to come. The older generations will be consistently addressing routine healthcare, as well as needing medical assistance for new health issues that develop due to the aging process.

In addition, because of the increase in electronic patient records, a healthcare administrator in health informatics is well-positioned to lead their organization in transitioning from paper records to electronic and in ensuring that every electronic record will be protected from hackers and cyber-thieves.

Your healthcare organization may be a member of a medical group, such as a hospital, medical practice, specialized medical office, pediatric practice, or a facility that assists in carrying out diagnostic tests. The healthcare administrator who helps this group must have excellent organizational skills. In addition, a skilled and attentive healthcare administrator will take the time to talk to as many employees as possible as a way of detecting issues within the organization.

  • MHA (Master’s in Healthcare Administration)
  • MHL (Master of Health Leadership)
  • MHA (Master of Health Administration)
  • MHCA (Master’s in Healthcare Administration)
  • MHCL (Master of Healthcare Leadership)

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Admission Requirements to Enter a Master’s Healthcare Degree Program

As you prepare to request admission to the healthcare master's degree programs you’re most interested in, keep in mind the admission requirements you’ll have to meet. For most universities, you’ll need to satisfy requirements such as the following:

  • GRE/GMAT: Must be less than five years old
  • English Language Proficiency Tests: International students who speak a language other than English are required to submit English Language proficiency test scores: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Student visas for international students (F-1 or J-1 status required)
  • Official transcripts from all universities, colleges, from your healthcare bachelors or a related field
  • Letters of Recommendation: Up to three of these letters may be required
  • Statement of Purpose: A student will submit an essay explaining their career plans and why they want to attend this specific program

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master’s Degree in Healthcare?

Because you earned credits in general education classes during your undergraduate education, you won’t have to worry about these courses. Instead, you’ll focus solely on master’s level courses focused on healthcare administration along with any specific focus or specialization you may choose.

If a program offers you the opportunity to combine your healthcare experience with business management skills, you should seriously consider it. This type of degree program should be created with professional healthcare professionals in mind. And, ideally, the program will be available online so you can balance work, educational goals, and family more easily. You may graduate in two to three years: some programs may allow you to complete classes on your schedule, while others will have a deadline for completing all courses.

Potential Careers in Healthcare with a Master’s Degree

  • Chief Nursing Officer:
    In this position, you’ll direct the work and activity of the nurses on your staff. You’ll be responsible for making sure that safety policies are followed closely so that patients are safe and recover well. One of your roles will be to manage staffing levels for every shift on every floor. You’ll create strategies and processes to be followed before emergencies take place.
    Average annual salary: $127,800
  • Deputy Executive Director, Non-Profit Organization:
    In this position, you work directly under the facility’s executive director and you may also work closely with the board of directors. You’ll be responsible for developing budgets and ensuring they are followed. As new initiatives for the organization are created, you will be responsible for ensuring the ideas are initiated and carried out in accordance with the executive director’s orders.
    Average annual salary: $80,000
  • Director of Operations:
    Your main role may be employee management, ensuring that each member of the organization is able to be productive. You may also make purchases such as those for equipment or personal protective equipment. You may be required to negotiate with sellers and vendors as you try to get lower prices on the items your facility needs.
    Average annual salary: $91,300

Options to Advance

As you think of the different ways to advance, don’t discount going back to school to earn an MBA in Healthcare Administration. Because of this field’s explosive growth, the opportunities for a talented administrator will be many.

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This industry will be in need of qualified managers and leaders who are able to weave healthcare insights with good business knowledge for years to come. With your knowledge, you’ll be able to help your organization create change or adapt to changes other organizations have initiated.

Or you can return to school to earn a health administration certificate. You’ll earn the certificate in a shorter time frame. Select certificate courses that focus on an area of specialization within healthcare administration.

If you do have goals that mean returning to school, and you have the time, why not consider an Executive Master of Health Administration? Use your existing knowledge of healthcare management to earn your degree, then help improve your facility in one of several areas, such as healthcare informatics or risk management.

Colleges that Offer Traditional Master’s Degrees in Healthcare

  • University of New Orleans
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    This program was created for career healthcare professionals who want to advance in their organization and develop a broader understanding of healthcare. Those who want to move healthcare into the 21st century will be particularly interested in attending. Once graduated, students will be able to effectively manage their organizations.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Healthcare Administration Management
  • University of Arkansas - Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
    Little Rock, Arkansas

    This master’s degree program has existed and educated bachelor's degree graduate students for more than 30 years. It is also the only Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) program in the state of Arkansas. Our healthcare management programs will help graduates work in facilities that provide and insure healthcare, finance and regulate healthcare.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Health Services Administration
  • California State University at Long Beach - College of Health & Human Services
    Long Beach, California

    The College of Health & Human Services’ Master of Science in Healthcare Administration is affiliated with several regional healthcare facilities to offer field trips, personnel resources, internships, and even adjunct faculty. Their MHA healthcare management degree program holds an accreditation from CAHME. Students in this program discuss critical functions for the management of healthcare, as well as those critical parts of the healthcare system in the US.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Healthcare Administration/Management
  • University of Central Florida
    Orlando, Florida

    The Department of Health Management & Informatics at the University of Central Florida offers two face-to-face healthcare tracks: Executive Health Services Administration and a Health Services Administration specialization. The Health Services Administration is traditional, offering courses in mixed-mode. The Executive Administration attracts health management professionals and is offered only online.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Health Administration
  • University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
    St. Augustine, Florida

    The College of Health Sciences offers a Master of Health Administration program which allows students to develop the skills they need and that employers are seeking. The faculty at the university’s College of Health Sciences created a curriculum in collaboration with healthcare leaders to achieve the perfect skill set in their graduates.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Hospital and Healthcare Facilities Administration/Management

Colleges that Offer Online Master’s Degrees in Healthcare

  • Colorado State University Global
    Aurora, Colorado

    CSUG’s master’s program in Healthcare Administration and Management is an online master's degree program that helps to prepare you to lead as a manager. You will learn organizational leadership, how to view and create policy, and problem analysis so you can step back, view the entirety a problem, and take the correct steps to fix it. Whether that means reassigning or hiring more community health workers, changing practices, using a new health management approach or whatever else it takes to ensure health care quality and quality management increase, this master's program will prepare you with the leadership skills to be one of the healthcare leaders.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master’s in Healthcare Administration and Management
  • Southern New Hampshire University
    Manchester, New Hampshire

    SNHU knows that healthcare administrators hold a critical role in healthcare today. That is why we offer master's in health online programs to help professionals work in the health professions to ensure that healthcare is provided equitably, with equal access to the best possible care, for everyone. Using your leadership skills you'll obtain from this master's in health management degree program, you ensure that all employees within your organization are providing healthcare, no matter the patient’s status.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA)
  • University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
    Dartmouth, Massachusetts

    This master’s degree was created so that healthcare administrators can provide leadership, management, and knowledge for employees in a healthcare organization. In this program, you’ll learn what it is to provide effective healthcare management. With our online programs, you’ll learn how to develop time- and money-saving strategies, reduce the errors that develop in carrying out new processes, and as a health administration master you'll know how to redesign the organization’s processes and increase high-quality care.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Regis College
    Boston, Massachusetts

    This online MHA reflects the high quality of the on-campus MHA program. Active healthcare administration professionals teach every course; Regis has designed and developed its online master curriculum with the input of healthcare professionals that will allow you to build the skills you will need after graduation to enter a leadership position in the healthcare industry.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Healthcare Administration
  • Western Governors University
    Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington

    With our online master's in healthcare degree programs, WGU teaches its graduate students to offer value-based care. This new approach is giving graduates the business skills needed to transform how healthcare is offered so that patients can enjoy good health. Rather than offering fee-for-service healthcare, WGU teaches you how to develop an understanding of each patient’s health needs to ensure healthcare quality. You should have a desire to solve problems for healthcare consumers and be ready to develop specialized skills that are needed for administrative positions in the health professions.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Health Leadership (MHL)
    • MBA-Healthcare Management (MBA-Healthcare Management

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