Health care administration focuses on concepts in medicine, public policy, law, and management, as they apply to health care delivery systems. Graduates with a masters in health care administration are equipped with the industry knowledge and leadership training to work as medical and health services managers, social and community service managers, or health educators. Jobs may be available through hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools, or even government agencies.
Why a Master’s Degree?
While a number of opportunities are available for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in this field, the top management positions will likely go to candidates with an advanced degree. A master’s program prepares students through a research driven curriculum. Common topics may include leadership in health care, health care law, operations, health care ethics, health policy, statistics, finance, and more. For those interested in teaching at the college or university level, a master’s can be a stepping stone towards a Ph.D. program.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
While you are doing your research for potential programs to apply to, make sure you understand what will be required with your application. Below are some common eligibility requirements for a master’s degree:
- Completion of an accredited bachelor’s degree program
- Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
- GRE or GMAT test scores (if required)
- Professional experience in a related field(if required)
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- Application form and fee
- Personal statement(if required)
- Letters of recommendation (if required)
Inside a Healthcare Administration Master’s Degree Program
If you are interested in completing a masters in health care administration online, you will find a number of different schools from which to choose. Most programs at this level take two to three years to complete. This, of course, will depend on whether you remain enrolled full-time, transfer any credits in, or take any breaks from the program. Students should expect a curriculum of advanced survey and seminar courses in topics such as health care operations, industry law and ethics, leadership, health care economics, policy, and statistics, to name a few. A master’s thesis or capstone research project is also common.
Online programs typically run asynchronously. This means, students do not have a scheduled time they must “attend” classes. Rather, they can work at their own pace during times that are convenient for them, as long as they meet deadlines, usually set on a weekly basis. Group discussion boards, streaming video, chat, and web conferencing technology all help to keep the learning environment fresh and engaging.
What’s Next for Healthcare Administration Master’s Degree Holders?
Graduates are prepared to fill management and leadership positions with hospitals, clinics, private practices, nursing homes, and other facilities. Positions can be in either the public or private sectors as medical and health services managers, health educators, or social and community services managers, to name a few options. While some community colleges may allow you to teach with only a master’s degree, most higher education teaching positions will require a Ph.D.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts strong job growth in this industry. For example, the demand for medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 22% from 2010 to 2020. The reported average annual salary was $96,030 for those employed in this occupation in 2011. Those who worked for insurance and employee benefit funds earned the highest salaries at an average of $139,400. However, most positions were found with general medical and surgical hospitals. Please note, these statistics may not reflect actual starting salaries. These can vary based on level of experience, education, location, and the specific position.