Healthcare Administration

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Healthcare Administration?

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Healthcare Administration?
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Katherine Gustafson profile
Katherine Gustafson April 10, 2019

With the healthcare sector booming, healthcare administration jobs grow more plentiful and more lucrative each year. How will a master's in healthcare administration improve your prospects?

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In 2013, Stonish Pierce, regional chief ambulatory, ancillary, and business development officer at Presence Health in Chicago, used his master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) degree to realize a group of nuns’ dreams and serve his community in the process. Putting his training from the USC Price School of Public Policy into action, Pierce co-wrote a comprehensive business plan to secure $12 million in funding in order to convert the bequeathed Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth’s former convent into a specialized healthcare facility, as per the nuns’ wishes. Today, the Presence Center for Cancer and Specialty Care offers a full complement of cancer treatments in a family-friendly multilingual environment to 5,000 patients each year. It was a remarkable achievement, and it is exactly the kind of impactful work that an MHA degree prepares graduates to tackle.

Healthcare administration jobs are becoming increasingly abundant. Healthcare currently accounts for more jobs than any other U.S. employment sector and the healthcare job market shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, as America continues to age, the healthcare job market is poised to accelerate well into the future.

Healthcare administrators not only enjoy good job prospects but also earn excellent incomes; the average annual salary for a medical and health services manager, for example, is $104,830. Those in the top 10 percent of the profession earn as much as $209,990 per year—making a master’s in healthcare administration an excellent choice for those interested in the complex intersection of business and healthcare.

Master’s in Healthcare Administration: The Basics

What is an MHA degree? An MHA degree usually takes two years to complete. The curriculum delves deeply into business and healthcare topics and typically includes courses such as economics for policy and planning, financial management of healthcare services, healthcare information systems, legal issues in healthcare delivery, strategic management of healthcare organizations, and quality of care concepts.

Who gets an MHA degree? Students who have completed bachelor’s degrees in related subjects such as business, economics, or health policy are well suited to master’s in healthcare administration programs. Successful MHA graduates tend to be those with good communication and organizational skills and an aptitude for management. Some students who already hold advanced degrees in related subjects or who have extensive work experience enroll in MHA programs to deepen their education in the business of healthcare.

MHA degree requirements. Most MHA programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree and to have taken the GRE or GMAT. Some programs require or advise applicants to have completed college-level coursework in subjects such as statistics or financial accounting.


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Healthcare Administration Jobs

MHA graduates are well trained for medical and healthcare management roles, including at the highest levels of leadership. They compete for a range of jobs. Here are a few of the most popular:

Medical and Health Services Manager Medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, coordinate and direct medical and health services in healthcare institutions such as hospitals, clinical practices, and medical groups. Along with staffing, training, scheduling, customer service, record-keeping, and billing, these unsung heroes are tasked with overseeing compliance with legal regulations and best practices for the medical field.

Medical and health services managers earn good income, with a median annual wage of approximately $104,830. Low pay for this profession is around $64,100, and the highest earners make more than $209,990 per year. The employment prospects for this field are also excellent, with the job market set to grow 20 percent between 2016 and 2026, almost three times as fast as the average U.S. occupation.

Healthcare CEO MHA students gain business acumen while developing a deep understanding of the workings of healthcare institutions and the larger field of healthcare. Graduates are positioned to be leaders in healthcare, including working their way up to become healthcare CEO at a hospital or healthcare-related company.

Healthcare CEOs can expect to earn a median salary of $189,520 per year, with the top 10 percent of earners averaging more than $239,200. Bonuses and profit-sharing can boost these totals even more. The job market for healthcare CEOs is about average, with 8 percent rate of growth expected between 2016 and 2026.

Director of Operations As a key logistics manager in an organization or company, the director of operations is responsible for overseeing the productivity of employees, supervising purchasing, designing evaluation procedures, and orchestrating research and development, among other high-impact tasks. With a master’s in healthcare administration, graduates can use their degrees to serve as director of operations for a hospital or health-related company.

Director of operations jobs come with a median income of $100,000 per year. Salaries range from $56,000 to $162,000, and bonuses and profit sharing can increase the total pay substantially.

Healthcare Consultant Healthcare consultants provide industry clients with research, analysis, and recommendations to solve management challenges and manage organizational change.

Private healthcare organizations and large public healthcare institutions typically hire healthcare consultants to provide outside, expert advice to keep things running smoothly. Healthcare consultants earn an average salary of around $85,000, with a range from $60,000 to $131,000. Bonuses, profit-sharing, and commissions can increase those numbers.

Social Services Manager or Director MHA graduates are qualified to manage and lead social services agencies, organizations, and programs that provide important services to the public. Social services manager may work with specific communities with particular service needs, such as veterans, those experiencing homelessness, or older adults.

Social service managers can expect to make a median annual wage of $74,240, while social services directors earn more. The social services field is rapidly growing — jobs should increase by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than average for U.S. occupations.

An MHA degree is a powerful choice for those looking to manage, lead, or advise healthcare institutions. You’ll learn the skills you need to make crucial business decisions that affect the bottom line while ensuring that quality patient care remains the top priority.

(Updated on January 24, 2024)

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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