ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Working while getting a master’s degree is more feasible than ever, thanks to innovative programs that bring traditional curriculum online. The colleges and universities that offer a Master’s in Healthcare Administration design their online courses to be flexible. This adaptability makes it possible for students to work on their degree at their own pace.
Getting a graduate degree online can provide many new and exciting career possibilities—whether you are experienced in the field or new to the healthcare industry. But it’s important that you choose a program that best meets your career goals.
HOW TO CHOOSE AN ONLINE SCHOOL
There are several things to consider when evaluating online MHA programs. One of the most important is accreditation status.
Accreditation means an independent industry organization has evaluated the program to determine whether it has high academic standards and adequately prepares students for their new career. The U.S. Department of Education has recognized the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) as the sole source of authority on MHA programs.
You will also want to compare:
- Tuition rates
- Financial aid opportunities
- Graduation rates
Finally, note that some schools that offer an online master’s program require at least one campus visit. Campus visits may be mandatory for orientation periods, specific courses, or for capstone and thesis projects. These visits are geared toward developing strategic and creative thinking skills, fostering collaborative leadership traits, and completing hands-on management projects.
If location is an issue for you, make sure you understand any campus visit policies before you choose a school.
AN INSIDE VIEW INTO SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Below, we interview Dr. Anne Hewitt of Seton Hall University and Dr. Liesl Riddle of George Washington University. Both universities offer an online healthcare administration MBA program.
PAYING FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Funding your master’s degree can be accomplished in several ways. If you are already working within healthcare, check to see if your employer has an education grant or a tuition reimbursement program. Many large healthcare organizations encourage healthcare professionals like you to return to school, as upper management positions in this field routinely require graduate-level education.
Another place to look for tuition assistance is with the college you are considering attending. Each school can provide you with financial aid information, including exclusive scholarships that are only for their students. Some schools also have funded fellowships and work/study programs.
The Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) also offers a listing of scholarships that you may be eligible for.
ACCEPTANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION PROGRAMS
To qualify for admission into a master’s degree in healthcare administration, you typically need the following:
- A completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Official transcripts of all your previous college/university education
- A resume or CV
- A personal essay, usually on the topic of your professional goals (the topic is set by the school)
- Letters of recommendation; generally at least three
- A TOEFL or an IELTS with a set minimum score for admission (if English is not your first language)
- GRE scores
Some schools require that you have some professional experience before beginning a master’s program. For example, for the online master’s program at the University of Missouri, you must have at least three years of experience in healthcare or health sciences.
ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION CURRICULUM
To earn your Master of Health Administration degree online, you will need to earn anywhere from 40 to 60 credit hours, depending on the requirements of the school. You can expect to complete a program in anywhere from two to four years, depending on your enrollment status.
Master’s level health administration programs are comprised of courses geared toward creating leaders who can drive healthcare change and improvement. You will likely be taking classes in organizational behavior, ethics, human resource management, statistics, finance, and leadership. In addition to regular coursework, most schools require a graduate thesis or capstone project, demonstrating your ability to synthesize and employ what you learn throughout the program.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES: MASTER IN HEALTH ADMINISTRATION ONLINE
Once you have completed your online health administration master’s degree program, you will be ready to move up the ladder into a management, research, consulting, or executive role. Industries that employ healthcare administration positions include:
- Hospitals and medical groups
- Pharmaceutical and insurance companies
- State and federal agencies
- Independent organizations such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industries with the highest levels of employment in healthcare administration are:
- Office of Physicians
- Outpatient Care Cents
- Nursing Care Facilities
- Home Health Care Services
HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION SALARY
The salaries that come along with executive and management positions in healthcare can be quite enticing, depending on your location and career path. For instance, the BLS reports that the 2018 mean annual wage for medical and health services managers was $113,730, which translates to $54.68 per hour.
The industries with the highest pay for healthcare administrators include:
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
- Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing
- Scientific research and development services
- Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers
- Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations
PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES FOR HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATORS
As a healthcare administration professional, it may benefit you to become involved with related professional organizations—if you aren’t already. Most associations offer student memberships at a discounted rate. Some groups also offer scholarships and networking benefits to members that can be invaluable in creating a successful career.
Organizations offering scholarships include the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management.
Scholarships are just the beginning of the valuable resources these organizations provide—both while you are attending school and throughout your career. Lifelong continuing education and networking opportunities abound, making professional membership an advantageous move.
To learn more about which online health administration master’s degree program is right for you, contact the schools.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia