As doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and others patient care facilities struggle to keep up with seemingly constant changes to the U.S. healthcare system, the field of healthcare administration is booming. Because governmental policies are always in flux, those who focus on patient health need someone else on board who is knowledgeable about the business side of the job. That is where you come in as a healthcare administrator.
As a healthcare administrator with a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, you have the potential to help medical providers operate successfully while keeping their focus on the health of their patients; not to mention, you have the potential to make a steady, impressive salary yourself.
But how do you know if the money and time you spend on your degree will pay off in the long run? How do you know if a Master’s in Healthcare Administration will take you where you want to go? If you are still weighing the value of an MHA, read on to determine whether this investment will be worthwhile for your career.
Most people who are considering getting a Master’s in Healthcare Administration already have their bachelor’s degrees in the field and are ready to move on beyond entry-level positions, or are just starting out in healthcare and wondering whether they should go straight for their master’s.
This master’s degree is ideal for individuals who wish to work in the healthcare field as leaders rather than assistants. A graduate degree provides candidates with the knowledge they need to lead others through the necessary steps of running businesses that are focused on patient care.
Your advanced degree will open doors and empower you to manage individuals and entire departments for a wide range of medical services, from home rehabilitation to hospitals. During your education, you will learn skills like technical and business competencies, the history of healthcare, and current and contemporary healthcare systems and the technology used in each. You will also be trained in maintaining proper medical records and health information.
Health administration undergraduates sometimes start out in admissions, marketing, risk management, managed-care analysis, or other non-clinical staff positions and work their way into higher-level administrative roles. While it’s possible to work in healthcare administration without an MHA, it can take a lot longer to climb the managerial ladder without a master’s degree. (
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2018, the median wage for health service managers was $99,730 per year, with the highest 10 percent in the field earning over $182,600 in base pay. Employment opportunities for health services managers is expected to grow by 20 percent by 2026. This growth is much faster than growth for other occupations. ( )
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You may find your perfect career path in managing a department within a hospital, overseeing a doctor’s office, helping to run a nursing home, or directing a home health care organization.
In fact, many people who graduate with an MHA end up employed with the important responsibility of managing dental offices, medical and diagnostic labs, ambulatory health care services, or hospitals. You may even work outside the direct medical sector as a liaison for an insurance company, or at the government level, managing a federal government healthcare facility. The possibilities are almost endless.
While you are researching job options and deliberating over whether the MHA is right for you, look for job titles like: facility, clinic, nurse, health services, or operations manager. You will also see titles such as department supervisor or director, hospital administrator, healthcare consultant, or chief executive or operations officer. All of these titles are positions that can only be secured by those with a Master’s in Healthcare Administration.
A quick search on sites like Indeed will show you thousands of healthcare administration jobs in cities all over the U.S. — from Boca Raton, Florida, to Los Angeles, California. Where there is a medical field, there is the need for educated, knowledgeable healthcare administrators.
By virtue of being an advanced degree, a master’s in healthcare administration will allow you to obtain positions with increased responsibility. As such, you will be able to earn a higher salary.
Right now, if you have a bachelor’s in this field or are simply working in another area entirely, you are probably making somewhere between $32,000 and $52,000 annually, depending on your location and your position. But master’s degree-holders in healthcare administration can easily make double that amount, regardless of location. According to Payscale, the average salary in bigger cities ranges from $63,918 in Los Angeles to $105,393 in New York City. Taking into consideration that, according to US and News World Report, those who attend school in their home states pay somewhere between $6,500 to $36,000 for a master’s degree, you could pay for your degree within the first two to three years of starting your new position — if not less.
In other words, your lifetime return on investment for an MHA could be astronomical. Through a 20-year career working solely in San Francisco, for example, and earning no more than the average salary of $103,187 per year, you would gross at least $2,063,740. Remaining in the average bachelor’s degree job at a salary of $40,000 each year, on the other hand, you would have made only $800,000 during that same time period.
With the facts presented here, it’s easy to see that there are numerous jobs available for MHA graduates regardless of location. And in addition, the potential for a much higher salary than you may currently be earning is definitely there. But whether this degree is the right one for you is ultimately your decision. You have to consider multiple factors, including your passion for and dedication to helping others in the role of healthcare administrator and your desire to invest time in the education that is required to obtain these positions.
The choice is up to you!