Healthcare Administration

MBA in Healthcare Management vs. Master’s in Healthcare Administration

MBA in Healthcare Management vs. Master’s in Healthcare Administration
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Nedda Gilbert profile
Nedda Gilbert February 7, 2019

Are you hoping to take your career to the next level? Allow Noodle to assist you in learning about some of the paths you could take.

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Are you hoping to take your career to the next level? Considering continuing your education? Has the enormous growth in the healthcare industry captured your attention? If so, read on to learn about some of the paths you could take.

The healthcare industry is booming! In 2009, CBS News reported that “healthcare companies can’t find enough MBAs to fill open positions in this $2.26 trillion industry.” Over the past decade, that industry has only grown in size and need. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that healthcare management and administration jobs will experience 20 percent growth by 2026; this is due in part to an aging baby boomer population that is creating an increased demand for healthcare.

What do these figures mean for you? Put simply, if you have been considering advancing your career in the healthcare industry, there is no time like the present. But it’s important to know that a master’s degree is common and preferred for those seeking healthcare management or administration positions. Therefore, you must choose whether you want to pursue an MBA in Healthcare Management or a Master’s in Healthcare Administration.

The information in this article may help you make this life-changing decision. We will break down the differences between the two degrees to help you determine which option is right for you.

MHA vs. MBA: the basics

Earning either an MHA or an MBA will improve your job outlook and potential salary. Both degrees help students to develop their communication skills, analytical skills, and problem-solving skills. But these two graduate degrees have differences as well; it is important to consider the differences thoughtfully.

A Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration is a graduate-level degree that is specifically designed for those considering a long-term career in the healthcare field. Students who pursue this degree will have courses that focus primarily on the healthcare market; while there will be an added focus on business, the priority will be healthcare. For example, courses will focus on specific issues such as public health campaigns.

An MHA is a solid choice for those already in the healthcare field who are hoping to climb the ladder and move into leadership roles within healthcare settings. Additionally, an MHA is a good choice for those who know they want to work in the healthcare industry for the entirety of their career.

On the other hand, an MBA in Healthcare Management is a graduate level degree that focuses primarily on business, with an added specialization in healthcare. Students will take essential graduate-level business courses. For example, courses will include analytics and leadership. The skills students learn in these courses are transferable across various non healthcare-related industries.

For these reasons, many consider an MBA to be a better choice for those who are not sure if they want to stay in the healthcare industry long-term. Unlike an MHA, an MBA is impressive across multiple industries, and the skills developed could be applied to career fields outside of healthcare management. An MBA is also a good choice for individuals in careers that easily lend themselves to the healthcare industry, such as HR directors or financial managers.


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MBA vs. MHA: career options

Again, the key difference between an MBA vs. MHA is that an MHA is far more specialized in terms of career options. Those who earn an MHA are placed primarily in the healthcare industry. Having a well-developed educational background in healthcare, these MHA graduates tend to move into healthcare leadership roles. In contrast, those with MBAs in Healthcare Management may find work as healthcare managers before moving on to different careers later in life.

Ultimately, those who have these degrees will often be in roles such as healthcare manager, hospital CEO (chief executive officer), COO (chief operations officer), health services manager, hospital administrator, operations manager, department director, or healthcare executive.

Additionally, individuals can work in different settings using either of these degrees. For instance, one may work in a small clinic or a specialty group practice, or one may work in a large hospital or nursing home.

MBA vs. MHA salary potential

While potential salaries vary significantly based on location and title, all roles in the healthcare management field earn a nice living. Here are a few recent stats about salaries for these professionals:

Medical and health services managers earned a median salary of $98,350 per year in 2017 according to the BLS, and the top 10 percent of earners took home more than $176,130.

Those with an MHA working in Healthcare Administration make between $45,152 – $ 112,382, according to PayScale.

However, while salary is important when it comes to deciding on your future career, it is just as important to choose a career that you will find fulfilling. You’re in luck in the field of healthcare administration: PayScale claims that 5 out 5 of those surveyed found this career extremely satisfying.

Which degree is right for you?

Ultimately, when weighing the versatility of an MBA in Healthcare Management against the specialized training of an MHA, it all comes down to what you really want for your career. As you choose the degree that is right for you, think long-term. Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you have a permanent passion for healthcare, or do you want to leave your possibilities open down the line?

No matter which degree you choose, you will be selecting a path that offers potential for high earnings and great personal satisfaction.

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About the Author

Ms. Nedda Gilbert is a seasoned clinical social worker, author, and educational consultant with 25 years of experience helping college-bound and graduate students find their ideal schools. She is a prolific author, including The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and Essays that Made a Difference. Ms. Gilbert has been a guest writer for Forbes and a sought-after keynote speaker on college admissions. Previously, she played a crucial role at the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company and was Chairman of the Board of Graduate Philadelphia. Ms. Gilbert holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University and is a certified interdisciplinary collaborative family law professional in New Jersey.

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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