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Healthcare management programs examine big-picture policies and issues that affect entire facilities, organizations, and systems. On the other hand, healthcare administration programs focus on day-to-day matters, such as the supervision of personnel, operations, budgets, and departments. A master's in healthcare administration can qualify graduates for careers as clinic directors, office managers, and medical records managers.
Healthcare administration master's programs typically emphasize topics in healthcare finance, personnel management, performance improvement, and medical informatics. Curricula may also include organizational leadership coursework. Healthcare administration students developed b analysis, organization, and communication skills.
Professionals can earn a master's in healthcare administration degree to qualify for career and salary advancement. Master's degree-holders can also pursue doctoral programs in the field. This guide highlights the best healthcare administration master's programs and explores career options and scholarship opportunities for students in the field.
Top 5 Best Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Degrees
|#1||Penn State World Campus University Park, PA|
|#2||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC|
|#3||Florida International University Miami, FL|
|#4||University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA|
|#5||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA|
Recommended Online Programs
What is healthcare administration?
Healthcare administration professionals oversee staffing, organizational finances, and regulatory compliance. Healthcare administrators often supervise personnel, create budgets, and report to boards.
How long does it take to earn a master's in healthcare administration?
Full-time students usually complete healthcare administration master's programs in 2-3 years. Part-time learners may need longer, while students in accelerated programs often graduate more quickly.
What jobs can lead to a career in healthcare administration?
Many healthcare administrators begin their careers as nurses or medical billers and coders.
What is the difference between healthcare administration and public health?
The public health field emphasizes research, education, and disease prevention. Healthcare administration focuses on business and personnel management.
Career and Salary Outlook for Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administrators often work as directors or managers of departments, clinics, and healthcare offices. Major duties include hiring, training, and supervising staff. Administrators may also oversee activities related to budgeting, reporting, and regulatory and legal compliance.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for medical and health services managers to increase 32% from 2019-2029, about eight times faster than the average for all occupations. According to the BLS, these professionals earn a median annual salary of $101,980 per year.
Administrators can work in facilities such as hospitals and doctors' offices. Responsibilities vary based on the professional's position and setting. For example, health information managers work with technology that safeguards patient data, while nursing home managers direct staff in admitting and caring for residents.
A healthcare administration master's degree meets the education requirements for most careers in the field. However, some positions require additional training, licensure, or certification. Some hospital positions require nursing licensure. Nursing home administrators and some assisted living-facility administrators need state licensure. Candidates with professional certification may be more competitive for high-level administrative positions.
|Career||Lowest 10%||Median Annual Salary||Highest 10%|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||Less than $58,820||$100,980||More than $189,000|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Accreditation for Healthcare Administration
Learners researching prospective master's in healthcare administration programs should look for schools with regional accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversees regional accrediting agencies, which require institutions to meet high academic standards. Religious and for-profit schools typically receive national accreditation, which is less prestigious.
Attending an accredited institution ensures students can qualify for federal financial aid. Additionally, most schools only accept transfer credits from accredited institutions. The best healthcare administration programs also hold programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.
Courses in a Healthcare Administration Program
Curricula of healthcare administration master's programs vary by school and concentration. However, the courses below appear in many healthcare administration programs. Common core classes include healthcare finance or budgeting, healthcare services administration, and healthcare information systems. Most master's programs also require an internship and a capstone project or thesis.
Many master's in healthcare administration programs offer concentrations and electives in areas such as epidemiology, healthcare marketing, healthcare improvement, and analytics. Degree-seekers gain skills in research, leadership, personnel management, and problem-solving.
Healthcare Risk Management
Healthcare Services Administration
Healthcare Information Systems Management
Students pursuing a healthcare administration master's degree can reduce out-of-pocket educational expenses by applying for scholarships. Many schools offer scholarships based on financial need, and learners can qualify for awards based on academic achievement and extracurricular involvement. Many scholarships are reserved for individuals studying a particular field, such as healthcare administration.
Who Can Apply: The American Health Information Management Association offers merit-based scholarships for students at various levels, including master's students. Applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA and must be enrolled full time in a program related to health information management. Candidates must hold membership with the association.
Who Can Apply: This award from the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives supports racially and ethnically diverse learners. Applicants must be enrolled full time in a healthcare management graduate program and must demonstrate financial need. Candidates must not have completed classroom work or be enrolled in a doctoral program.
Who Can Apply: The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives offers this scholarship to full-time master's students who are in their final year of a healthcare management-related program. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and U.S. or Canadian citizenship. ACHE student associates receive precedence.
Best Online Master's Degrees in Healthcare Administration
See our rankings methodology page.
The following ranking features the best healthcare administration master's programs for 2021. Updated annually, this list can help prospective students identify high-quality, accredited online programs. Learners can compare the accredited programs below to choose a master's in healthcare administration program that aligns with their interests, budget, and career goals.
Penn State World CampusLocation
University Park, PATuition
Based in University Park, Penn State World Campus offers an online master of health administration in health policy and administration. Students must complete two in-person intensives to complete the program. Most students can complete the program in about 28 months. Potential career outcomes include administrative and management roles within hospitals and health systems, clinics and outpatient care centers, and insurance companies.
The 49-credit program focuses on both a business and healthcare foundation. Course topics include financing healthcare, leadership ethics in health services, financial management in health institutions, and management of health services organizations. Students master change leadership, finance within healthcare, human resources, and health law.
Applicants must possess 2-3 years of work experience to apply to the program, but the school prefers closer to 10 years of experience. Students must be currently employed in the healthcare field. The school does not require GMAT or GRE scores, but students must possess a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission.
Penn State World Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillLocation
Chapel Hill, NCTuition
UNC-Chapel Hill's Department of Health Policy and Management offers an online executive master of health administration. Students complete 49 credits online, with three on-campus sessions required per year totaling eight weekdays and six weekend days.
Students complete courses such as healthcare statistics, financial and managerial accounting, advanced financial management of healthcare, and health law. Students meet face to face for three on-campus sessions for collaboration and networking and complete a capstone requirement toward the end of the degree to demonstrate skills mastery.
To apply, students must demonstrate current employment in the healthcare field in a supervisory role and need three years of healthcare experience. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school does not require standardized test scores.
UNC-Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.
Florida International UniversityLocation
Located in Miami, FIU offers a master of business administration in healthcare. Students complete 42 credits online with three residency requirements. Students can also pursue extra certifications in Lean Six Sigma yellow and green belt and global health administration.
Course topics include financial reporting and analysis, management of healthcare finance and reimbursement, healthcare fraud and abuse, and marketing management in a global environment. Students taking on-campus residencies receive meals and lodging covered by the program and earn the Lean Six Sigma yellow and green belt distinctions with training from a master black belt. Students opting for the global health certification earn this distinction during a study abroad opportunity.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and possess two years of professional work experience to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit standardized test scores, but they may send competitive scores to strengthen an application.
FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.
University of Southern CaliforniaLocation
Los Angeles, CAGraduation Rate
Located in Los Angeles, USC offers an online executive master of health administration. Students complete 36 credits mostly online, with two, four-day residencies required.
Required courses include leading people and healthcare organizations, healthcare economics and reimbursement, information technology and patient engagement, and development and monitoring of quality and patient safety outcomes. Most students complete programs within six semesters of full-time study. Students do not need to complete internships or a supervised placement to graduate, making this a convenient option for senior career professionals.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students must also possess a minimum of five years of professional experience at the mid-to-senior level to apply. USC is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.
Lynchburg, VAGraduation Rate
Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers an online master of science in healthcare administration. Students complete the 42- to 48-credit program solely online in convenient eight-week terms. Students may also choose to specialize in one of more than ten areas, including human resources, public administration, and supply chain management and logistics.
Students take 42 credits in core courses such as legal and ethical issues for health professionals, strategic management and marketing for health professionals, quality assessment and evidence-based decision-making, and grant acquisition and management. General track students stop at 42 credits. The remaining six credits allow students to focus on their specific area of specialization.
Applicants must hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
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