One of the few industries not hit hard by the recession, healthcare management is an excellent career choice whether you are already working in the industry or interested in switching fields. Students enrolled in this type of program should expect courses in health care economics, management strategy for health care, policy analysis, health care law and ethics, and health care finance. In some cases, a masters in healthcare management may be offered as a specialization within an MBA program. Graduates are prepared with the knowledge and skills they need to work in management positions for hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities.
Why a Master’s Degree?
A master’s degree can be a great option for students interested in pursuing a careers as medical and health services managers or other leadership positions in the industry. While there are administrative jobs available to candidates with only a bachelor’s degree, top positions will typically be reserved for those with a wealth of experience or a master’s degree. Students will take industry relevant courses in finance, economics, public policy, and delivery systems. In addition, business courses in risk management, strategy, and communications may also be common. Those interested in teaching at the college or university level can build upon their master’s degree by completing a Ph.D. program.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
Given the advanced nature of this degree, schools may be a bit more selective in their admissions process. Here are a few common requirements for a master’s program:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
- GRE or GMAT test scores (if required)
- Professional experience (if required)
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- Application form and fee
- Personal statement(if required)
- Letters of recommendation (if required)
Inside a Healthcare Management Master’s Degree Program
Because of the popularity of this field of study, there are a number of options to earn your healthcare management masters degree online. Most students will take approximately two to three years to complete this type of program, given they remain enrolled full time. Any transfer credits brought in or breaks taken from the program will also affect time to completion. Common core subjects include health care finance and economics, health care delivery systems, industry law and ethics, strategic management, risk management, human resources, and business communication. In many cases, students will also be required to complete a capstone research project or master’s thesis to graduate.
Online programs are usually designed with working adults in mind. Students have access to the virtual learning platform 24/7. There they can work on assignments, view course materials, interact with peers through discussion boards, and read instructor feedback. In addition, students may use virtual meeting technology or video chat to work in groups or make presentations. Field research components can be arranged in the individual student’s area.
What’s Next for Healthcare Management Master’s Degree Holders?
Once you earn a master’s degree in healthcare management, you will be equipped with the industry knowledge and business skills to work in management and leadership positions with hospitals, clinics, and other facilities. This of course will also depend on your level or experience and other qualifications. Positions may be found in either the private or public sector as medical and health services managers, social and community service managers, or hospital administrators, to name a few options. Some graduates may also opt to continue on to a Ph.D. program to pursue careers in academia or advanced research.
Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predict strong growth for these occupations. Specifically, the demand for medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 22% from 2010 to 2020. This figure was 27% for social and community service managers. In 2011, the mean annual wage for medical and health services managers was $96,030. Please note, however, this will vary based on your location, level of experience, education, the economic climate, and the specific employer.