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The Student’s Guide to MHA Programs

Master of health administration programs are degree programs that allows students to learn about the management and administration of a healthcare organization. Graduates of such programs often assume positions as leaders of hospitals or other healthcare facilities. Students typically enroll in master of health administration programs after completing a four-year degree at a college or university. The coursework for this program usually includes classes focusing on medical knowledge, health care, and administrative responsibilities.

For many universities, health care administration programs are a new development. Before their existence, students who wanted to work in healthcare management obtained a master’s in business administration instead. While health care administration programs are geared toward students who want to work in the health field for the duration of their careers, a master’s in business administration can be used to obtain a management career in other fields as well. However, because it is not tailored to healthcare, it is not as valuable for dedicated healthcare professionals. To choose the best degree, students should speak with an academic advisor and discuss their career plans.

Why do I Need a Master’s in Health Administration?

If you want to be involved in hospital management or any other leadership position in the healthcare field, it is likely that you will need a master’s in health administration. Even if you have an extensive medical background, employers will still require that you obtain this degree in order to learn accounting and other business skills. Likewise, individuals with only a business administration degree won’t understand the intricate workings and complex legal issues associated with the field of healthcare. The master’s in healthcare administration is the perfect degree for anyone wishing to work in healthcare management.

What are the Requirements for Entering Master of Health Administration Programs?

To enter health administration programs that end in a master’s degree, students must typically be interested in working in a management position at a healthcare facility. Students must also have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, some programs require prospective students to demonstrate that they have medical expertise or experience working in a health-related field. Students without expertise or experience may be able to enter a program if they write a letter of interest to the college explaining why they are a good match for healthcare management.

What will I Learn During the Program?

Health administration degrees typically feature a well-rounded curriculum designed to teach students about every facet of managing a healthcare organization. Students will learn about accounting and human resources. They will also learn about healthcare-related ethical and legal issues, as well as strategies for coping with situations that may arise in hospital settings. Finally, students will learn leadership skills tailored specifically to work in the medical field.

Choosing a School

Students can enroll in health administration MBAprograms either online or in a traditional college or university. Programs that lead to a health administration masters online have become increasingly common in recent years. Though they aren’t exactly like a traditional program, they are comparable. Just like a traditional program, however, an online masters in health administration program does require students to stick to a set schedule and complete assignments by predetermined due dates. Most online courses still include a professor who interacts with students via message boards and live chat applications. Students may also be required to perform clinical work or collaborative projects with classmates to complete an online master’s in health administration program.

Regardless of whether you decide to attend a traditional school or obtain your health administration masters online, it is important to make sure that the program you choose is accredited, which means that it meets the requirements for educational excellence as determined by a professional organization. In the past, only traditional brick-and-mortar programs could be accredited. However, it is now possible for an online master’s in health administration program to achieve accreditation as well.

Career Opportunities

Individuals with master’s degrees from health care administration programs often work in hospital management or health-related government positions. It is expected that opportunities for healthcare administrators will continue to grow as the baby boomer population ages. By 2018, experts predict a growth of as much as 16 percent in this field. Even graduates who earned their health administration masters online should have plenty of job opportunities.

Professional Organizations

Graduates of healthcare administration programs can join several different professional organizations. The most popular organizations are the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the American College of Healthcare Executives, and the Medical Group Management Association. Depending on your job description, you may benefit from joining one or more of these organizations. Both the ACHE and the MGMA are dedicated to medical leadership, while the HFMA is more focused on accounting and finances.