As an essential service, healthcare is a sector that stays strong even when others struggle through a financial recession. For this reason, pursuing a career in healthcare is almost always a good decision. Having a master’s degree in healthcare administration can help you become a leader by working in some managerial capacity in the healthcare services sector.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs in the medical and health management sector will grow by 32 percent from 2020 to 2030, more than overall predicted job growth for other sectors. Read on to learn about the best MHA programs and universities to study a master’s in healthcare administration, job prospects and salaries, pros and cons to consider, and some alternative paths you can follow to reach the same destination.
Best On-Campus MHA Programs
Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Master of Health Administration (MHA)
Acceptance rate: 11%
Johns Hopkins University, a world-renowned private research university founded in 1876, is located in Baltimore, Maryland. It has an overall acceptance rate of 11%. This prestigious institution got its name from its first benefactor Johns Hopkins was ranked number 1 in Public Health by the US News & World Report in 2021.
The MHA degree program at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health is a full-time program that can be completed in two years. Following the first year of academic coursework, there is an 11-month administrative residency. The program prepares students to be leaders and managers in healthcare facilities, hospitals, health organizations, and insurance and health consultancy companies. The annual tuition is $59,184, and the school’s Financial Aid Office offers financial aid in the form of loans, work-study opportunities, and scholarships.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, School of Public Health
Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
Acceptance rate: 26%
The University of Michigan is Michigan’s oldest university, founded in 1817. Today, it is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The university houses 19 colleges and offers undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral programs in around 250 disciplines. It has an acceptance rate of 26% and was ranked number 4 in Public Health by the US News & World Report in 2021.
The university’s 60 credit-hour MHA program includes a 10-12 week internship. The program aims to help students develop leadership, organizational, and management skills and focuses on management, organization, finance, and marketing related to the healthcare sector. Various forms of financial aid and scholarships are available from the university to assist with tuition, which is $15,476 per term for Michigan residents and $25,530 for non-Michigan residents.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)
Acceptance rate: 25%
The University of North Carolina is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is considered a Public Ivy institution — a public school with academic standards similar to an Ivy League university. It was chartered in 1789 and has an acceptance rate of 25%. The university was ranked number 2 in Public Health by the US News & World Report in 2021.
The MHA program offered by the university’s Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health covers a mix of healthcare services and systems and management concepts and policy analysis. The program is designed for healthcare professionals with at least three years of professional experience and has 60 total credit hours, including a 12-week internship. The tuition is $586.23 per credit hour, and each semester is typically capped at nine credit hours. Different financial aid options can be found at the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.
Best Online MHA Programs
George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health
Online Master of Health Administration
Acceptance rate: 43%
George Washington University is a medium-sized university chartered in 1821 and located in Washington DC. Offering programs in 71 disciplines, it is classified as an ‘R1: Doctoral University” as having very high research activity. The university’s overall acceptance rate is 43%.
The university offers an online master’s in health administration that seeks to offer the same educational excellence as its on-campus program. To be eligible, you must be currently working in the healthcare sector and have a bachelor’s degree as well as at least two years’ of experience. The program seeks to transform students into global leaders in healthcare with a focus on healthcare management, financial leadership & policy, and health economics. The program can be completed in two to four years and has a total of 50 credits, with an average cost per credit of $1,825. The Office of Student Financial Assistance has financial aid options for students.
Florida International University, Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) (Online/ Hybrid)
Acceptance rate: 58%
Florida International University (FIU) was established in 1965 and quickly became the largest university in South Florida. It has more than 50 colleges and centers and offers over 190 programs. FIU has an acceptance rate of 58% and is located in University Park, Florida.
Its health administration master’s program gives you the freedom to complete it as a fully online program or as a hybrid program, which is 50% on-campus and 50% online. It follows a holistic approach, with classes like Organizational Leadership & Management, Professional Development training, Quality Assessment, Information Systems, and Problem-Solving Skills. It is a 48-credit program that can be completed in 18 months through the fast track hybrid option or in 24 months fully online. The tuition for the hybrid and online options are $31,200 and $36,000, respectively.
What Jobs Can You Do With a Master’s in Health Administration?
As an MHA graduate with a strong academic record, you should be able to secure a senior or managerial position at a healthcare facility or health-related organization. Here are some of the jobs you can expect to get, with the annual median salaries for each.
- Director of Managed Care ($120,230)
A director of managed care coordinates all activities and communication between the administration and the managed care staff in a healthcare facility.
- Nursing Home Administrator ($92,797)
A nursing home administrator oversees the clinical and administrative activities of a nursing home and associated facilities.
- Hospital Administrator ($87,351)
A hospital administrator manages the administration and organizational affairs of a healthcare facility.
- Clinical Director ($79,971)
Clinical directors are responsible for managing the affairs of the clinical side of a healthcare facility, including managing medical records, hiring new clinical staff, and departmental budgeting.
- Healthcare Consultant ($79,486)
A healthcare consultant works with the leaders of a healthcare facility to analyze operations, identify problem areas, and suggest solutions.
There are a range of other job prospects for master’s in healthcare administration graduates, such as practice administrator ($74,994), healthcare administrator ($72,826), clinical manager ($72,467), and health information manager ($57,181).
Pros and Cons of Studying Master’s in Healthcare Administration
Here are some of the pluses and minuses of pursuing a master’s in healthcare administration program.
Advantages of a Master’s in Healthcare Administration
- Good Online Study Options: An MHA is one of the best programs in terms of online study options. This means you can earn your degree without needing to quit your job. This makes it ideal if you struggle to find time for full-time, on-campus healthcare administration master’s programs.
- Short Program Duration: Many universities offer the option to complete your entire master’s health administration program in as little as one year, usually on an accelerated track. You may need to dedicate extra time to your studies, but you’ll have your degree in virtually no time.
- Excellent Salaries: The jobs you can get into after completing an MHA are typically better paid than in other sectors.
Drawbacks of a Master’s in Healthcare Administration
- Weight of Responsibility: After securing a master’s degree in healthcare administration, you’ll likely take on a role where you have to manage a large number of people and oversee complex operations. The weight of all this responsibility can be stressful and after-hours work is fairly common in the medical sector.
- Challenges of Regulations: Healthcare is a field that is full of regulations that are constantly changing. As a manager in a healthcare facility, it will be your responsibility to keep up to date with all relevant regulations and changes.
- High-level People Skills Required: As a healthcare manager, you will have to deal with a lot of staff who themselves will be dealing with a great deal of stress as part of their jobs. This demands a high level of people skills, even more so than managerial roles in other industries.
Some Alternatives to Master’s in Healthcare Administration
You don’t necessarily need to have an MHA degree to pursue the kind of roles mentioned above.
Other master’s programs that can help you to secure a managerial role in the healthcare sector, combined with relevant experience, include:
- MBA (Master of Business Administration), especially those that offer healthcare administration topics
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
- Master of Public Administration (MPA)
- Master of Public Health (MPH)
These are all related courses that cover many healthcare topics.
FAQs about Master’s in Healthcare Administration
What Can You Do With a Master’s in Healthcare Administration?
A Master’s in Healthcare Administration qualification prepares you to be a leader or high-level administrator in the health services sector. You could work in hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, nursing departments, insurance companies, or health consultancies in a range of managerial positions.
What Is a Typical Salary For an MHA Degree-Holder?
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for healthcare managers was $104,280 in 2020. However, this number can vary depending on the exact role, organization, and location.
What Are the Prerequisites for MHA Programs?
Requirements for admission to an MHA admission vary depending on the university and the program. Generally, you will need an undergraduate qualification, preferably in a health-related field, such as nursing or biology. Most universities ask for a GPA score (and usually look for a 3.0 GPA or higher), some institutions ask for GRE or similar scores, official transcripts, recommendation letters, academic CV, and a personal statement along with your application. Some universities may require previous work experience, especially online programs.
How Long is a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Program?
Typically, a full-time on-campus program takes 12-24 months to complete. Part-time, online, and hybrid programs can take longer, from three to five years.
With a bit of effort, dedication, and forward planning, you can establish a well-paid career in the healthcare sector with a master’s in healthcare administration. This qualification will help you to secure a leadership role with an attractive salary, coupled of course with the stress and responsibility of a management role.
A health administration master’s will prepare you well to not only handle this stress but also excel in a leadership role in the healthcare sector. Above all, you can expect a great deal of job satisfaction because, at the end of the day, you are doing your bit to save lives.
If you’re deciding between different master’s programs, check out our post on the highest-paying master’s degrees.
Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.
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