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What is an MBA in Healthcare Management?

Receiving an MBA in healthcare management paves the way to enter the quickly growing field of medical and health services management. With a predicted growth rate of 17% and a median salary of $94,500, this career path can certainly lead to lucrative employment. For more details on how and why to pursue this degree, see below.

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With a predicted growth rate of 17% and a median salary of $94,500, this career path can certainly lead to lucrative employment.

Advancing your education and pursuing an MBA in healthcare management will help you reach your career goals quicker. The chart below illustrates the striking difference in salary between a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in healthcare management.

There are a few different options for master’s degrees in the healthcare industry. While all options will prepare you for a career in healthcare management, specialization allows you to adjust your path to best fit your interests.

Degree Description Average Salary* Length
Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA) A master’s in healthcare administration is very specific; it prepares you to work in a hospital or other healthcare facilities. This degree is a great choice if you are certain you want to work in healthcare and is specifically designed for professionals who want to be an administrator at a hospital. These programs are ideal for those with an administrative background. $49,500 2 years
Master’s in Public Health (MPH) A master’s in public health is ideal for learners concerned with disease and injury prevention among the public. This program is ideal for learners who seek to work in labs, research centers, government health departments, and non-profits. The program also prepares students for a role in shaping public healthcare policy. $54,048 2 years
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management An MBA in healthcare management is a broader degree option than the two listed above. This degree allows for a notable level of career path flexibility. Most courses in program of this type focus on business-related topics, including finance, marketing, and human resources. This program is focused less on policy and more on how healthcare facilities operate as a business. $55,971 2 years

Graduates of online healthcare management MBA programs are expected to possess several core competencies when they enter the workforce. Though schools will all differ in the courses they offer to develop these skills, there are still overarching themes that can be identified. Below, we describe a sample online MBA in healthcare management curriculum, and explain how it can help you succeed in the field.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Healthcare Operations By studying how healthcare environments operate on day-to-day and long-term bases, learners are better prepared to understand where specific tasks fit within the field as a whole. This course surveys micro and macro processes throughout healthcare environment operations.

TITLE: Hospital Administrator

SALARY: growth of 8%

Health Information Systems Health information systems are a core component of nearly every aspect of the field of healthcare. In this course, students learn why and how highly sensitive information must be recorded, stored, and handled, and how this information is used to inform and guide processes throughout the field.

TITLE: Health Information Manager

SALARY: growth of 3%

Healthcare Laws and Ethics Law and ethics are the two great pillars of the field of healthcare. Without a thorough understanding of these two fundamental elements, future medical professionals put themselves and others at risk. Understanding the role that these two elements play in healthcare is crucial for student success.

TITLE: Health Information Manager

SALARY: growth of 3%

Healthcare management MBA graduates are hired into a diverse range of careers. We break down some of the most popular ones below.

Hospital Administrator Median Salary: $90,385
  • Hospital
  • Clinics
The primary responsibilities for professionals in this role include overseeing daily hospital operations and finances. This positions requires seasoned expertise in human resources, budgeting, and regulatory practices.
Healthcare Consultant Median Salary: $75,136
  • Private Healthcare Organizations
  • Consulting Firms
Healthcare consultants produce research for clients. Professionals in this role identify problems and seek out solutions, and are usually employed by large and private healthcare organizations.
Health Information Manager Median Salary: $53,936
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Health Departments
  • Insurance Companies
The core responsibility of the health information manager is to oversee proper storage of medical records, highly sensitive information. Health information managers primarily work in healthcare office environments.

For some personal insight into the opportunities an MBA in healthcare can provide, we spoke with Ryan Mentock, a Manager at Family Care PA who received his MBA degree in health management online from George Washington University.

If you’ve decided that an MBA in healthcare management is right for you, the next step is to narrow down the list of schools that draw your interest. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it’s always helpful to choose a school that is within a 100 mile radius of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy the ability to visit campus if the need arises. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area will have a better chance of helping you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools will readily provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, be sure to contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and compensation levels of recent graduates. When compared side-by-side, this information can provide a snapshot of program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Make sure you calculate the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate, and multiply that by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will spend not earning an income. Additionally, compare financial aid options, different schools may offer better financial aid packages and/or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be sure that you are aware of all time commitments and be sure that they will fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses/hospitals

    Ultimately, the reason for your MBA in healthcare management is to find a secure job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. To that end, attending a school with established connections to local hospitals and businesses can be a fantastic leg up upon graduation. Many of these partners will offer internships to students. These internships can lead to full-time employment or provide the network and experience you need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is a formal review process which ensures a school is offering a reputable program that adheres to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident that you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Generally speaking, employers will not hire job candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Healthcare Management program is graduate testimony. Former students can provide an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, including what they liked and disliked about it. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, considering using LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to program graduates.

After you’ve completed your MBA in healthcare management, you can continue your education through certification programs and additional licensing.

Liscense Description
Nursing Home Administrator License All 50 states require that professionals working in nursing homes be licensed. Requirements vary by state, but can include a minimum age and training hour requirement.
Residential Care/Assisted Living Administrator License Some states require that administrators working in an assisted living home or residential care facility obtain a license. Depending on the state, receiving this license first requires a bachelor’s degree and hours of hands-on training.
Certified Medical Manager Designed strictly for experienced professionals and requiring a high level of experience and education, this certificate is intended for healthcare managers working in small group practices and solo providers.
Registered Health Information Administrator The registered health information administrator license is intended for experts in medical records management and health information. This certification process also focuses on ensuring the privacy of patient information and records.

Earning a degree can be expensive. One way to reduce that financial burden is to identify, apply for, and — hopefully — receive scholarships. Scholarship award amounts vary but the right scholarship can chip away at the costs of getting an education while also making you a more attractive candidate throughout your postgraduate job hunt. The challenge is finding the right one: some scholarships have very specific requirements, while others may be extremely obscure. Consider the following scholarship examples: