Business Administration

Why Get an MBA in Healthcare Administration?

Why Get an MBA in Healthcare Administration?
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Katherine Gustafson profile
Katherine Gustafson April 5, 2019

The average salary for healthcare administration MBAs is $80,000 per year, with some executive directors and CEOs earning well more than $100,000.

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The healthcare industry in the United States is in the throes of change. For one thing, it’s growing fast—the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that 4 million new healthcare and social assistance sector jobs will be added by 2026. Technological innovations are also impacting this field. A national rush toward consolidation is creating larger and more powerful healthcare institutions than ever before.

This level of change in healthcare demands insightful leaders with a deep understanding of business and the peculiarities of the medical landscape. While a generalist Master of Business Administration (MBA) program could provide the core business skills necessary to enter this industry, an MBA in healthcare administration offers the same business education with a focus on the fundamental managerial needs of the healthcare field.

An MBA covers all aspects of business operations, including:

Because the business practices of the healthcare field are unique and uniquely complex, a generalist MBA degree alone does not fully prepare you for a career in healthcare management or leadership.

A healthcare MBA bridges that gap. The degree allows those with healthcare experience to move into more business-oriented aspects of their field, such as healthcare marketing and finance. It positions healthcare professionals to explore the business world beyond healthcare, creating options for roles in healthcare-adjacent fields. Most degree programs culminate in a capstone project through which students receive hands-on real-world experience solving a critical problem in an active healthcare setting. In short, a healthcare MBA is an excellent way to build an impressive business/healthcare portfolio.

Is an MBA in healthcare administration right for you?

Here are 10 reasons to consider a healthcare administration MBA.

1. You’ll get a real business education.

The MBA in healthcare administration is far more business-oriented than other healthcare management degrees like the Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA), the Master of Healthcare Management (MHM), or other non-business graduate programs. The MBA is the most business-oriented degree you can get in healthcare. Your core courses will teach you the fundamentals of business with a healthcare overlay as well as how to manage all aspects of healthcare institutions—from finance to strategy to marketing.

In addition, you’ll undertake plenty of specialized coursework in healthcare administration. The courses you’ll take might include:

  • Community Health Management
  • Comparative Healthcare Systems
  • Decision-Making in a Healthcare Context
  • Financial Management of Health Institutions
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Services Delivery: A Managerial Approach
  • Health Services Systems
  • Health System Organizational Behavior
  • Healthcare Data & Analytics
  • Healthcare Facilities Management
  • Healthcare Entrepreneurship
  • Healthcare Finance
  • Healthcare Law
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Information Technology and Healthcare Management
  • Legal Aspects of Healthcare
  • Managing Healthcare Organizations
  • Public Health Administration
  • Risk Management and Healthcare
  • Strategic Planning for Healthcare Organizations
  • Structural Dynamics in Healthcare

2. You’ll have your pick of jobs.

As an extremely fast-growing field, the healthcare sector presents a secure employment landscape. An MBA in healthcare administration arms graduates to work in a wide variety of healthcare-related institutions and businesses. You’ll be able to pick exactly what interests you and move up with new opportunities. From health administration to human resources and financial management, you will have lots of areas to choose from.

3. You’ll be positioned for leadership.

Getting an MBA orients you toward the business leadership track; an MBA in healthcare administration sets you up to pursue leadership positions within healthcare institutions and health-related businesses. Unlike a traditional MBA student, you will have the medical background necessary to understand the demands of healthcare, making you a more effective health services manager. And unlike someone with a master’s degree in healthcare administration, you will have wide-ranging business skills developed during your MBA studies.

4. You can earn your MBA online.

Most on-campus MBA programs are full-time, often requiring students to relocate and nearly always requiring them to forgo work for two years. An online MBA allows you to study anywhere in the world without leaving your home; online learning is convenient and, according to some, more effective . Since you’ll study part-time on a flexible schedule, you’ll also be able to remain in your current job while you earn your online degree. As an added convenience, most online MBA programs offer three to five start dates every year; you don’t need to wait until next fall to start working toward your graduate degree. More and more business schools offer online programs each year; the popularity of this degree is definitely growing. Online programs confer identical degrees to on-the-ground programs, following similar or identical curricula taught by the same faculty. You can earn an online MBA in healthcare administration from:

5. You’ll get a good return on your educational investment.

PayScale lists the average salary for healthcare administration MBAs at $80,000 per year, with some executive directors and CEOs earning more than $100,000. You’re likely to earn at least $60,000 in your first year with an MBA in healthcare administration, and your earning potential will go up from there.

6. You can supplement healthcare experience with business know-how.

If you’re already working in healthcare or medicine, an MBA in health management can draw on your pre-existing knowledge and round out your skillset. Considering the unique aspects of the healthcare field, this specialized MBA may be most meaningful to those who come to it with a sense of context.

7. You’ll be leading in a dynamic field.

A tech-driven “disruption wave” is about to crash over the healthcare landscape, making this a very exciting place to operate as a leader. With the business skills imparted by an MBA program, you will be well-positioned to confidently help healthcare institutions confront and embrace change.

8. You can learn to push innovation forward.

From digitization to changes in security management to artificial intelligence, healthcare is a focus of 21st century innovation. An MBA in healthcare administration will prepare you to think strategically about how to lead healthcare organizations and healthcare-related businesses through this fast-changing landscape. As a leader, you’ll be in the driver’s seat for exciting new developments.

9. You can pursue business and social good simultaneously.

While an MBA might prepare you to be a savvy, no-nonsense businessperson, a healthcare specialization demonstrates that you have a desire to help people as well. With an MBA in healthcare administration, your passion for business and your interest in making the world a better place can combine into a particularly satisfying career path, allowing you to do business while doing good, too.

10. You can transition to businesses outside of healthcare.

Because healthcare MBA students go through a formal business education, they can transition to working outside of healthcare fairly easily. There are a wide variety of business opportunities available in healthcare-related fields, but if you choose to leave healthcare, the skills imparted by this degree will be applicable in many other industries.

Pursuing an MBA in healthcare administration is best for those whose interests skew toward the business side of healthcare. This degree is also appropriate for those who already have a strong grounding in healthcare and would like to supplement that knowledge with formal business training. With an MBA in healthcare, you’ll be positioned to pursue exciting leadership roles in a quickly transforming field, and you will gain knowledge and skills that can easily translate to the business world outside of the healthcare industry.

Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com

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.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


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