Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA) Programs

Any healthcare organization — big or small, public or private — needs a team of healthcare administrators to take charge of overall management. From overseeing budgeting to weighing in on staffing decisions, healthcare administrators approach their daily tasks with a unique set of skills and an in-depth expertise of healthcare policies that affect both patients and health professionals. And as technology continues to bring about new medical advancements, healthcare administrators have the job of factoring in data acquired through predictive analytics as well as data surrounding evidence-based care, into their clinical decision-making processes.

Earning a master’s in healthcare administration or an MHA is one way you can learn to coordinate medical services and manage human and financial capital within hospitals, long-term care facilities, health insurance companies, government agencies, nonprofits and more. MHA programs, like many other advanced healthcare degree programs, may help you enter into or advance within one of the fastest-growing industries in the country — the healthcare industry. Employment of medical and health services managers, one type of healthcare administrator, is expected to grow 18% from 2018 to 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s more than three times the average growth rate for all occupations during the same time period.

Admissions Requirements for an MHA Program

Dozens of schools across the country offer master’s in healthcare administration programs. Traditional master’s-level graduate programs often last between two and three years, depending on a student’s enrollment status.

Each school will have its own set of admissions requirements for the program they are offering, but there are a few similarities among those requirements, a bachelor’s being one of them. Certain institutions look for students with a bachelor’s in healthcare or related field, while others will consider students with a bachelor’s in another discipline. Schools may also ask for your GRE scores, a personal statement, and some work experience in the field of healthcare.

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Curriculum

As a degree that focuses on both management and healthcare, a master’s in healthcare administration program typically combines business-related courses with lessons in medical terminology, health information systems and more. An MHA may include courses covering the following topics:

  • Accounting & Budgeting
  • Health Economics
  • Health Information Systems (HIS)
  • Health Services Management
  • Human Resources
  • Health and Human Behavior
  • Law and Ethics
  • Strategic Planning

Many MHA programs are also designed to include up to a year of supervised administrative experience in a hospital or healthcare consulting setting. This allows students to gain hands-on training in the real world.

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Online Masters in Healthcare Administration Programs

An increasing number of colleges and universities are offering master’s in healthcare administration programs online to better fit the lifestyles and needs of today’s working professionals and students. An online MHA program offers students an opportunity to study from home and at their own pace, while still working full-time or part-time jobs and juggling personal responsibilities, such as taking care of family.

Here are some online MHA programs for you to consider:

Ashford University

  • Program Name: Online MS in Healthcare Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 36 Credits
  • Length of Program: Not Available
  • Admissions Requirements: Official undergraduate transcripts, TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable.

Austin Peay State University

  • Program Name: Master of Healthcare Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 30 Credits
  • Length of Program: 10 months – 2 years
  • Admissions Requirements: Official transcripts, bachelor’s degree with 2.5 GPA, GRE scores

Bellevue University

  • Program Name: Online Master of Healthcare Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 36 credits
  • Length of Program: Not Available
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelors or master’s degree, GPA of 2.5 minimum from the most recent 60 credits of coursework in undergraduate degrees, or 3.0 minimum GPA for graduate degrees, letter of recommendation and/or essay.

California State University – East Bay

  • Program Name: Master’s in Healthcare Administration Online
  • Coursework Credits: 48 Quarter Units
  • Length of Program: Not Available
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5; statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation; resume

California State University, Long Beach

Colorado State University

  • Program Name: MHA Program With Accelerated Courses
  • Coursework Credits: 36 credits
  • Length of Program: One year
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPAs of at least 3.0; resumes and essays; requested 30-minute assessment when applying

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Excelsior College

Des Moines University

  • Program Name: Online Master of Health Care Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 48 credits
  • Length of Program: Can be as little as 2 years
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; three references; statement of purpose; resume

Ferris State University

  • Program Name: Master of Healthcare Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 40 – 46 credits
  • Length of Program: Not listed
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0; personal statement; contact information for three professional references; resume

Florida Atlantic University

  • Program Name: Executive MHA online
  • Coursework Credits: 30 credits
  • Length of Program: 15 months
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPAs of at least 3.0; four years of work experience; resume; two letters of recommendation

George Washington University — Sponsored Program

  • Program Name: Online Master of Health Administration program
  • Coursework Credits: 50 credits
  • Length of Program: As little as two years
  • Admissions Requirements: Statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, English language proficiency, official transcripts, completion of financial accounting and introduction to accounts with a B or better grade, interview, and resume.

Learn more about the online Master of Health Administration program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

Sponsored Online MHA Program

Louisiana State University, Shreveport

  • Program Name: Healthcare Administration Master’s Program Online
  • Coursework Credits: 10 graduate courses
  • Length of Program: As few as 10 months
  • Admissions Requirements: One of the following qualifications: Graduate degree, bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA, bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 minimum GPA and three years of professional experience, or bachelors degree with a 2.5 minimum GPA and minimum GMAT score of 450

Midwestern State University

  • Program Name: Online MHA Program
  • Coursework Credits: 45 credits
  • Length of Program: 2- 3 years
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of at least 3.0; GRE scores least in the 50th percentile on the verbal and quantitative; of the GRE, with a score of at least 3.5 on the writing section; volunteer, paid, or educational experience in healthcare.

Montana State University – Billings

  • Program Name: Online Master of Health Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 51 credits
  • Length of Program: 20 – 24 months
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0; GMAT or GRE scores; resume, a letter of application, three references

Peirce College

  • Program Name: Master’s Program in Health Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 36 credits
  • Length of Program: As little as 18 months
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degrees with a minimum GPA of 2.75; personal admissions essays; letters of recommendation

Seton Hall University

Texas Woman’s University

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  • Program Name: Online MBA in Healthcare Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 39 credits
  • Length of Program: As few as 18 months
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0; resume

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University of Nevada – Las Vegas

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Program Name: Online Master’s in Executive Healthcare Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 49 credits
  • Length of Program: 2 years
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of at least 3.0; three years or more of experience in the healthcare or human services industries; GRE or GMAT scores

University of Southern California

  • Program Name: Online Executive Master of Health Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 36 credits
  • Length of Program: Not listed
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree; five to eight years of professional experience in mid to upper career levels

University of Southern Indiana

  • Program Name: Master of Health Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 39 credits
  • Length of Program: Six semesters
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA; at least two years of relevant work experience

University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley

  • Program Name: Master’s in Healthcare Administration Online
  • Coursework Credits: 36 credits
  • Length of Program: As little as 1 year
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s with a minimum GPA of 3.0; a letter of intent; two letters of recommendation

University of West Florida

  • Program Name: Master’s in Healthcare Administration Online
  • Coursework Credits: 40.5 credits
  • Length of Program: Not listed
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degrees with a minimum cumulative and major GPAs of 3.0; GRE, GMAT, or MAT or a GPA above 3.5, a graduate degree, or a minimum of three years of healthcare experience that requires a bachelor’s degree; resume; three letters of recommendation; personal essays

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Weber State University

  • Program Name: Executive Master’s in Health Administration
  • Coursework Credits: 45 credits
  • Length of Program: 2 years
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of at least 3.0; GRE or GMAT unless 5 or more years of experience; learners with at least two years in supervisory roles.

Western Kentucky University

Youngstown State University

  • Program Name: Master’s in Health and Human Services
  • Coursework Credits: 24 credits
  • Length of Program: Not listed
  • Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of at least 2.7

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Why Pursue a Masters in Healthcare Administration?

Medical and health services administrators and managers are core members of any healthcare community or system. They usually possess a thorough understanding of current best practices within their healthcare settings, as well as healthcare regulations. If you have strong analytical, interpersonal, communication skills that you want to put to use to benefit both patients and healthcare professionals, then the career path of a healthcare administrator may be for you.

Kathie Powel is the CEO of the Petaluma Health Center in Petaluma, California. She finds leading a team of highly skilled healthcare professionals truly impactful, particularly to her community. “Highly educated and trained staff members are needed to build systems to document and audit all of our operating, clinical and administrative activities,” Powel told the Sonoma Index-Tribune In 2019.

What Can I Do with a MHA?

A master’s in healthcare administration offers both valuable skills and great opportunities to practice and progress within various healthcare fields. Those in management roles may be able to advance into higher paying positions with more responsibility, with some becoming top executives at hospitals or other institutions.

Healthcare Administration Careers

As employment of health and medical service management roles continue to rise, candidates with a master’s degree in health administration or a related field will likely have better job prospects within the field, according to the BLS.

Professionals who hold an MHA can practice in a range of settings and have several career paths available to them including:

  • Administrative Services Managers
  • Clinical Managers
  • Health Services Managers and Executives
  • Healthcare Social Workers
  • Medical records and Health Information Technicians
  • Nursing Home Administrators

Salary for Healthcare Administration Professionals

The 2018 median annual wage for professionals in the healthcare and medical services management fields was $99,730, according to the BLS. The highest 10 percent of professionals in these fields earned more than $182,600. Of course, salary ranges for MHA graduates will vary depending on many factors including location, experience, and specific job responsibilities.

The BLS also reports that the U.S. is expected to add about 1.9 million new healthcare jobs between 2018 and 2028, thanks to the aging population. With more and more workers entering existing healthcare systems and perhaps creating new ones, healthcare administrators will become key in ensuring those systems are managed and run efficiently.

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FAQS

Still wondering what your educational and professional journey might entail as an MHA holder? Here are a few questions and answers to help you figure that out:

Is a master’s in healthcare administration worth it?

Whether a master’s in healthcare administration pays off in the long run, in part depends on the professional goals you’ve set for yourself. Your degree should ultimately equip you with skills you may need to take on the daily responsibilities of a healthcare administration role. You might also find that your degree was worth it once you begin to create the impact you’ve always dreamt of creating within the healthcare field.

Apart from personal gratification and achieving one’s career goals, the earning potential of an MHA holder may further incentivize you to pursue the degree. According to the BLS “Measuring the value of education”, those who hold a master’s degree may earn close to $1,000 more a month than bachelor degree holders.H3: Is healthcare administration a good career choice?

The outlook for employment in this field is bright. The healthcare industry is now one of the largest job sectors in the U.S. economy, having surpassed retail and manufacturing. Beyond that, people who choose a career in healthcare administration can make a real difference to patients and communities, according to the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA). These professionals often belong to organizations that positively impact the health of the populations they serve. In addition to more traditional healthcare administration roles, opportunities also exist outside the obvious settings, in places like pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, professional societies, and state and federal agencies.

How do I get a master’s degree in healthcare administration?

Accredited graduate programs generally last two or three years, according to AUPHA. Online master’s in health administration programs are also an option for those who work full time or have a need to study remotely. Like traditional programs, online graduate coursework focuses on healthcare’s business and management aspects.

Where can I get a master’s in healthcare administration degree?

Researching online for an MHA program that is right for you is a good first step. The process can seem overwhelming in the beginning since there are numerous options and schools. One of the first items you can look for is the accreditation status of the program or school offering the program. In the U.S., colleges and universities receive accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A school’s accreditation can affect credit transfers as well as federal financial aid eligibility, so students should make sure that the schools they are considering have earned national or regional accreditation. In addition, MHA programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

There are tremendous professional and personal opportunities that can come from obtaining a master’s degree in healthcare administration. The work done by those with an MHA can help improve the quality of life for large groups of people, and positively impact the communities they serve.