What You Should Know About This Degree
Healthcare administrators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the field, but most employers prefer candidates with master’s degrees and some work experience in an administrative or clinical role. For example, a healthcare administrator may begin their career as a medical records technician or registered nurse. Some MHA programs even include up to one year of supervised experience in a hospital or other healthcare setting.
By combining real-life work experience with a master’s in healthcare administration, your job outlook is favorable. Over the next decade, employment of healthcare service managers is projected to grow much faster than other occupations. Medical group practices will become larger and offer more complex services, and the widespread use of electronic health records will also increase demand for candidates who are knowledgeable in health information technology.
As a prospective healthcare administrator, you might also be considering a master’s in business administration. While an MBA provides broad, general training in management, an MHA combines business-related courses, such as medical terminology, hospital organization, health economics, and health information systems. In other words, an MHA is a more specialized degree that can give you a distinct advantage if you plan to build a career in healthcare.
Here are some questions to ask when considering a master’s in healthcare administration programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? If you’re interested in a career in healthcare administration, an MHA degree provides the leadership, organizational, analytical, and technical skills you need to succeed. Master’s degree programs in healthcare administration are not limited to those who already have a bachelor’s degree in the field. Many students have backgrounds in communications, business, nursing, and other areas.
- What licensing or certifications are required? All states require licensing for healthcare administrators who work in nursing homes. Though requirements vary by state, most ask for the completion of an approved training program and state-specific or national licensing exam. A license is typically not needed in other areas of healthcare administration, but you may choose to become certified in your specific area of practice, whether it’s healthcare office management or health information management.
Once you’ve identified a few MHA programs that interest you, compare the schools’ admissions requirements and application deadlines. You can usually find this information on the university’s website, but consider contacting the program directly to ask questions and express your interest. Remember to apply to your top-choice schools as early as possible to improve your chances of acceptance and financial aid.
Several kinds of financial aid are available to help lower the cost of your master’s in healthcare administration. Complete the FAFSA form to be considered for a wide range of federal and state grants. Most universities also offer low-interest federal loans and information about scholarships based on financial need or academic merit. If you’re already working in the healthcare field, be sure to ask your HR department if employee tuition assistance is included in your benefits plan.