Your Complete Guide to

Master of Healthcare Administration

Online Masters Degree
on May 20, 2021

Why We Love It

  • Competitive Salary
  • Excellent Growth Potential
  • Feeling Good About Yourself
  • Lots of Options

What is an MHA Degree?

In today’s world, it is more important than ever for healthcare professionals to have a mastery of management, planning, organization, financing, law, and ethics.  MHA programs are designed to impart a better understanding of management issues and prepare graduates for senior management roles, traditionally focusing on healthcare administration on three levels of government (local, state, and federal) and in the nonprofit sector.

MHA stands for Master of Healthcare Administration, a professional degree for students with a mastery of knowledge and competence required for careers in health administration.  These important careers include hospital administration, the management of other health services organizations, public health infrastructure, and consulting.  You could have a huge impact on the health and well-being of patients without going to medical school or touching blood.

While colleges of medicine prefer the practitioner-teacher model, classroom-based and online programs are becoming increasingly popular as the need for these professionals grows every day.

An MHA program will teach you about important aspects of healthcare administration, including:

  • Population Health: This refers to the health outcomes of a group of people, including the distribution of those outcomes within that group.
  • Healthcare Economics: This is the branch of economics related to value, behavior, effectiveness, and efficiency in healthcare, in terms of both production and consumption.
  • Healthcare Marketing and Communications: Effective advertising, branding, and online presence can help protect and improve the health of a population.
  • Human Resource Management: A strategic approach to effective management of people can help a company or organization gain a competitive advantage.
  • Governance and Leadership: Guiding and influencing others is essential to effectively running any business.
  • Strategy Formulation and Implementation: This comprises planning and decision-making as well as the executions of those plans and decisions.

What Can You Do With a Master of Healthcare Administration?

The possibilities are endless!

A hospital administrator works with doctors to plan protocols that could save lives.  A clinical director ensures that all patients are receiving the best care available.  A long-term care administrator provides a high quality of life to their residents.  These are all potential futures for someone with a Master of Healthcare Administration, and they could all help to save, prolong, and enrich lives.

Healthcare administration is more important than ever.  An MHA degree could prepare you for a career in hospital or long-term care administration, directing or managing a clinic or private practice, or coordinating admissions.

These are only a few examples.  You get to choose what you’ll do, and you don’t have to know what that is right now.  An MHA could give you the tools you need to do a wide variety of jobs, so you’re not committing to a career before you even finish your degree.

Best Programs for Master of Healthcare Administration

Here’s the best part: We’re going to give you the secrets to finding the best programs for adults, programs that could help you get your MHA degree faster and with as few headaches as possible.  We know planning for college can be confusing, and is dedicated to helping you find the right path for you so that you can complete your degree and start your new career in healthcare administration as soon as possible.

Why We Love an MHA Degree

  1. Competitive Salary: Healthcare administrators are well-paid.
  2. Excellent Growth Potential: Healthcare is an ever-growing field with plenty of room for advancement.
  3. Feeling Good About Yourself: An MHA is a great way to ensure the best possible care for patients.
  4. Lots of Options: An MHA degree could be your gateway to a wide variety of career paths.

Online vs. Traditional Campus

Most people who think about going back to school and getting their MHA never even get started.  Not only are there various entrance hurdles like exams and application fees, but it’s also tough to make school work around your schedule.

Well, now there’s a better way.

With adult-friendly schools, there is really no reason not to go back to school anymore.  What makes a school adult-friendly?  Here are a few key attributes:

  • Adult-friendly schools are totally online.  Online learning is best for busy adults, who have to balance their ongoing education with work, kids, and everything else that comes with being a grownup.  Online schools allow you to work college around your life, not the other way around.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer accelerated programs, with ongoing enrollment.  What’s better than getting your MHA in two years?  Getting it in fourteen months.  And with ongoing enrollment, you don’t have to wait until fall or spring to start on your new journey; many schools offer monthly enrollment periods, meaning you can start whenever it works for you.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer more support than traditional schools.  This includes, but is not limited to, career services, making it easier for you to begin your new career in healthcare administration.  Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that why you’re going back to school?

Admissions Requirements for Master of Healthcare Administration

So what do you need to go to grad school and get your MHA?  You probably need to take the GRE or another entrance exam to get accepted into a program, right?

Not anymore.

Many Adult-friendly schools do not require GRE or entrance exams.  Online programs generally require only a bachelor’s degree to get started, and there are no application fees to worry about.  You start when you’re ready.

Master of Healthcare Administration Curriculum

As mentioned above, a Master of Healthcare Administration degree will expose you to key aspects of healthcare operations such as healthcare economics, health policy, human resource management, information systems management, and financial analysis.  These areas of knowledge are essential to the effective management of a healthcare organization, helping you to serve patients by supporting the doctors and nurses who care for those in your community.

What Courses Will I Take in My MHA Program?

Because running a hospital or other healthcare organization is a challenging endeavor that requires both health-related knowledge and business acumen, the core curriculum of an MHA program will include a healthy mix of courses designed to build and develop your knowledge and skills in these areas.  Examples include:

  • Introduction to Health Services: Knowing about the history, effectiveness, and organization of health systems is important to the foundation of your knowledge of healthcare.
  • Insurance and Risk: Insurance and healthcare are now inextricably linked, and knowing about both private and government-sponsored programs as well as healthcare financing is crucial to effectively running a hospital or healthcare organization.
  • Epidemiology: As we’ve seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiology is more important than ever, and it could inform your decisions in delivering health services and creating new policies.
  • Group Dynamics and Team Leadership: Building interpersonal relationships and understanding how individuals function as team members are critical elements of being an effective leader.
  • Human Resource Management: Related to group dynamics, it is important to understand human behavior and factors that could affect job performance and satisfaction.
  • Statistical Analysis and Quantitative Methods: A hospital administrator needs to understand the fundamentals of statistics and how those concepts apply to healthcare, both in terms of medicine and management.

Specializations and Concentrations

Within a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program, there may be specializations to concentrations available for you to focus your studies as they apply to specific career areas.  These include:

  • Healthcare Operations: Probably the most popular specialization within healthcare administration, this could prepare for various management roles, such as hospital administrator.
  • Health Policy: This combines topics like economics, management, ethics, and health law to help you formulate strategies for the effective management of a healthcare organization.
  • Healthcare Informatics: In today’s digital world, the amount of medical data created and accessed on a daily basis is massive, and the processing, organization, and protection of this information is absolutely crucial.
  • Quality Care: This focuses on patient care, helping you to ensure that optimal care is provided to all patients, both on and off the premises of your medical facility.
  • Financial Management: The financial side of healthcare is more complicated than ever, and it requires specialists who understand economics, accounting, marketing, and management.

Master of Healthcare Administration Program Length

Most Master of Healthcare Administration degrees require between 40 and 60 credits to graduate.  Normally, an MHA program takes about two years to complete.  An accelerated plan, however, could take as little as a year.  This is where adult-friendly schools really shine.  They know their students have jobs, kids, and other obligations that make a traditional school schedule unrealistic.  The best adult-friendly schools make the process as convenient as possible, and they could get you into the workforce as fast as possible, because they know that’s what adults want.

Choosing the Right University or College MHA Program

Choosing the right school for you can be exciting, but it can also be a hassle.  Tuition costs, application fees, accreditation, enrollment windows, and entrance exams are just some of the variables to consider.

That’s why we created the Smartplan.  We want to help people go back to school, to make college more accessible and affordable for everyone.  With our Smartplan, we make it easy for you to start on your path towards your Master of Public Health.  Here are just some of the benefits of your Smartplan:

  • No application fees
  • Accredited colleges and universities
  • No entrance exams or testing
  • Faculty and professors who understand adults
  • Discounts and scholarships available
  • Open enrollment dates

Best Jobs for Those With a Master of Healthcare Administration

What can you do with an MHA?  What kind of salary can you expect?  Here are some common careers for MHA holders, with salary data estimates provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Hospital Administrator: This is a person who plans and directs the business activities of a hospital or other public healthcare organization.  You could make anywhere from $58,820 to $189,000 per year.
  • Practice Manager: Similar to a hospital administrator, this is another kind of health services manager, one who manages the business side of a private practice.  You could make anywhere from $58,820 to $189,000 per year.
  • Clinical Director: This the person responsible for overseeing the clinical departments of a healthcare organization, including hiring, training and scheduling.  You could make anywhere from $58,820 to $189,000 per year.
  • Long-Term Care Administrator: This involves overseeing the care of residential patients, like those in a nursing home.  You could make anywhere from $58,820 to $189,000 per year.
  • Admissions Coordinator or Director: This person maintains and updates admission policies, procedures, and criteria.  They may also be in charge of advertising and marketing to prospective patients.  You could make anywhere from $58,820 to $189,000 per year.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite careers, but this degree does provide you broad skills to work in a variety of healthcare administration jobs, which will likely allow you to draw an excellent salary while helping keep your community healthy and safe.  The best careers are those that pay well AND let you feel fulfilled by giving something back.  And again, you don’t need to know right now which job you want.  These are just some of the possibilities you can choose from.

Cost and Tuition

Cost and tuition vary from school to school, and you’ll want to speak with each of your prospective schools directly.  Fortunately, online schools are generally more affordable than their in-person counterparts.  Adult-friendly colleges understand that you want to save, and they could even help you with financial aid if you’re eligible.  You’ll definitely want to speak to a few schools, and can help you with that.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Do I need to know what job I want before I start an MHA program?

A: No!  An MHA program could prepare you for a wide variety of careers.  You certainly don’t need to know what job you want today.

Q: Will I make more money with an MHA?

A: That depends on a variety of factors.  But as you can see above in the “Best Jobs for Those With a Master of Public Health” section, your MHA could mean excellent earning potential.

Q: How long will I be in school?

A: That could depend on you, your current job, and any other obligations you might have.  An MHA program could take anywhere from one to four years, but our Smartplan is designed to help you find the right degree for you, so could finish as quickly as possible!


Best Jobs for Master of Healthcare Administration Degrees

How to save time and money

Our mission is to help you to avoid paying full price for college. We want your Master of Healthcare Administration degree to be affordable and accessible. Here’s how you could save:

Create Your Free SmartPlan

There are many ways to make college affordable and accessible.

That’s why we created a helpful tool called SmartPlan.

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Think of it as your “college blueprint”, to help you instantly craft a path to your degree:

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  • Free Courses You Could Take for Credit
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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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