What You Should Know About This Degree
Healthcare administration is a dynamic field that requires leadership, organizational, interpersonal, analytical and technical skills that come as much from experience as education. Most MHA programs expect students to have some professional clinical or administrative experience in a healthcare center.
Individuals with several years of experience may qualify for executive MHA programs, which eliminate some admissions requirements and prerequisite coursework. Either way, if you wish to pursue an MHA, plan on gaining some hands-on experience first.
Certain programs, while delivered primarily online, require attendance in either a real or virtual classroom. In low-residency programs, students must attend in-person sessions occasionally throughout the program; the exact number of sessions and when they are held vary by program. Students in hybrid programs live-stream classes that other students attend in person.
While these programs offer more flexibility than on-campus MHA programs, it’s important to consider how the time and financial commitments of attending or live-streaming classes fit into your education plans.
Once you complete your degree, you will need to pass a certification exam to be eligible for most employment opportunities. Multiple agencies offer certification, and certain specializations, such as accounts management or information technology, require specific certifications. Additionally, individuals working in nursing care facilities must obtain a state-issued license. Find out if your program complies with your state’s licensing requirements.
Here are some questions to ask when researching MHA programs:
- Does this program offer the specialization I want? Some career paths require more specialized training in areas such as gerontology, informatics, or policy. If you want to concentrate in one of these areas, make sure that your program of interest offers the specialization you seek.
- Is the program CAHME accredited? Earning your degree from an accredited program is a key advantage to obtaining future employment and certification, as it indicates a high standard of education and training.
Once you have identified the programs that interest you, research their application deadlines, processes, and requirements, including work experience and standardized tests like the GRE or GMAT. This information is typically available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly if you have questions.
Funding your graduate education is another important consideration. Ask the schools you are applying to about scholarship and financial aid opportunities and deadlines. For individuals already employed in the healthcare field, your employer might offer tuition reimbursement or other financial support options for earning your master’s degree.