To say that healthcare is a booming industry is definitely an understatement, given the day we live in. The world has always required healthcare. And for the past two years, timely healthcare is what has been keeping the world moving. For those looking for a career in healthcare administration, this blog will help you.
In the present day, we’ve been forced to turn to technology to keep up with our education. So, when choosing a course in healthcare administration, you don’t even need to attend classes on a college campus. Everything is at your fingertips through technology and the internet. An online master’s degree in healthcare administration can be earned even when you’re confined within your home. It can help you gain both the credentials and the skills that you require to compete in today’s job market.
This blog will guide you on how to choose the right program, what the classes will teach you and the careers that are accessible when you graduate.
What is an Online Master’s Degree Program in Healthcare Administration?
An online master’s degree in healthcare administration prepares the students for management jobs in organizations that deal with healthcare. When studying healthcare administration programs, students gain an extensive understanding of information systems and leadership styles. In addition to this, they also learn to evaluate patient-care practices and manage financial difficulties.
A master of healthcare administration (MHA) focuses on the behind-the-scenes work which is required to run a clinic or a hospital. From hiring new staff to handling insurance, it’s the work that keeps the healthcare centre running. MHA degree programs typically offer the student an all-around education in administration, finance, documentation, policies and technologies. Some of the programs also offer optional electives, like digital informatics or ethics. In some programs, students have the choice of opting for specializations, like organizational development, informatics, healthcare policy and leadership. Through these selections, students can learn program planning, electronic medical records management and policy interpretation. After graduation, candidates who have specializations may stand out more to potential employers.
As mentioned above, you needn’t attend classes on campus. Online MHA programs can either be 100% virtual, or they could have offline requirements like internships or field practicum. Healthcare workers who are looking for ways to improve their management skills and promote their careers enrol in these online programs. And the flexible online timings, formats and the minimum requirements to be on-site ensures that family, work and other obligations aren’t disturbed.
How to choose an online MHA program
There are many factors that determine your selection of an online Master’s degree program in healthcare administration. Granted, a number of online MHA programs have so much in common, especially when it comes to the subject. But you surely have to weigh an equal number of distinctions to choose the program that suits your objectives and needs best. A few things that you need to think about before doing so are listed here.
Cost of the program
One of the most critical factors that determine your selection process is the entire cost of the program. You may have found the course that you’re interested in taking up, but that alone won’t be enough. It is mandatory to look at the fees, tuition and financial assistance opportunities, if any, at each potential institution. In addition to this, you need to calculate your return on investment. To do this, look up salaries in your region.
Sometimes, you may wish to apply for credits from another school. Or you may want to gain competency-based credit for earlier learning. For this, you need to look for schools that offer extensive transfer policies.
School Size and type
The class size can influence your selection process. You need to know if there is a personalized learning approach or if the program uses a cohort. Also, the volume and availability of student services have a major influence on online experiences.
Most of the master’s programs are two-year courses. But some dual degrees or specialities, like MHA/MBA programs, take longer to finish. Longer programs could result in a higher overall cost.
Many of the online MHA programs have a mandatory residentship which you are required to complete on campus. These residentships, or internships, supplement your educational experience. However, if you reside a long distance away from campus, it can prove difficult to meet these commitments. So, it is important to find out if there are any such requirements before you join.
Also, MHA programs commonly require you to finish your course with either a final year project or practice at a local healthcare facility. You have to be sure that you are ready to commit to these requirements before you enrol.
What else to expect from an online MHA program?
Most online master’s healthcare administration programs cover subjects like financial skills, team leadership, organizational awareness and information technology management. MHA programs typically require 36 to 42 credits. Some of the degrees also focus on healthcare policy, strategic leadership, global health and concentrations in informatics.
Students are introduced to the economic factors that affect healthcare service production, funding, reimbursement and consumption decisions. They learn about computer-based patient records and computerized clinical information systems. Students learn how to effectively lead and manage a healthcare setting.
Accreditation for online MHA programs
Accreditation assures that a program or school sticks to the specified standards of efficiency and quality. There are three forms of accreditation: regional, national and programmatic accreditation. The curriculum content, as well as other aspects like teacher qualifications, student services and school expenditures, are evaluated by a third party. Some of the aspects, like the ones mentioned here, are mandatory for all three types of schools.
The complete structure of an institution is subject to regional and national accreditation. For-profit institutions are usually subject to national accreditation, which the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation governs. Also, it should be noted that many schools that are regionally recognized do not accept credits from schools that are nationally accredited.
Accreditation is provided by agencies and organizations that review the programs and departments of a school-based on industry-specific educational standards. When you’re looking to join and study any online MHA programs, it is important to consider a programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.
Jobs in healthcare administration
A Master’s degree in healthcare administration opens doors to highly transferable abilities that are useful in many fields. Government, social services, advocacy and higher studies are some of the potential industries. Medical and health service managers, college administrators and social and community service managers are some of the posts that you can get into after completing a master’s degree in healthcare administration.
Already looking for a healthcare administration job? Check out vacancies here.
Healthcare administration professional organizations
One of the best ways to gain access to scholarships, webinars, online discussion forums and conferences is to join a professional association for healthcare administration. Some of these are listed and discussed below.
Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals
The American Healthcare Administrative Professionals Association or the AHCAP is the only nonprofit healthcare association in the United States for administrative professionals. For students who pursue a master’s degree in healthcare administration, there is a student membership discount. Networking and professional development opportunities, free webinars and access to discussion forums and the AHCAP job bank are only some of the benefits.
American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
For healthcare administrative managers in the US, the American Association of Hospital Administrative Administrators or the AAHAM is the leading professional organization. The main aim of this organization is to assist its members to advance in their careers through seminars, publications, networking opportunities and certifications. The association also represents the members’ legislative and regulatory interests by involving them in major industry groups. Enrollment is free for full-time students.
Health Care Administrators Association
The US’s biggest nonprofit trade association, the Healthcare Management Group of America or the HCAA, is dedicated to serving the interests of human resource managers, medical managers and other healthcare administration professionals. Here, rather than individuals, organizations are the members. However, students and professionals starting out in their careers do benefit from online services like expert interviews and job advertising.
The best online Master’s degree programs in healthcare administration
Now that you’ve got an idea of what a Master’s degree in health administration entails, let’s look at the best online programs.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Having opened in 1795, the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, is the earliest public university in the US. The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Students pursuing a master’s degree in healthcare administration meet once or twice each week for synchronous online classes. Every year, there are three on-campus sessions included in the program, lasting for a total of 14 days. To graduate in two years, the students have to complete 49 credits and produce a technical paper or business plan. Those who apply for the course must have completed their bachelor’s program and provide transcripts with a 3.0 GPA. In addition to this, the applicants must also have three years of expertise in public health or healthcare and be currently working in the field.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania was first a dream in 1740. In 1751, it was brought to reality by Benjamin Franklin. The university is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The university offers a combined master’s program in nursing and healthcare administration. Some of the sample courses include principles in healthcare administration and current topics in health and social policy.
The students must complete 14.5-course units to graduate. When applying, the applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In addition to this, the applicants must be immunized, pass a drug and background check and have CPR certification. Those who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 are exempted from attending the GRE.
Penn State World Campus
World Campus, Penn State’s online learning platform, was introduced in 1998. The Pennsylvania State University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Currently, it has more than 150 online degree programs students can choose from. The master’s program in health administration can be completed either fully online or with in-person management intensives. Usually, the curriculum lasts seven semesters long, or 28 months.
The students must complete 49 credits to graduate. Those who apply must have a bachelor’s degree with an addition of three years’ professional work experience. While applying, they should be employed in the medical field.
Johns Hopkins University
John Hopkins University School of Medicine offers an online master’s program in healthcare management. The program requires the completion of a two-day on-site residency. Some of the topics covered include healthcare law and regulation, healthcare decision making and frameworks for assessing the healthcare market. The university is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Those who apply must be admitted to the John Hopkins’ Carey Business School, in addition to submitting transcripts and recommendation letters that certify the completion of a bachelor’s degree.
University of Southern California
When the University of Southern California was first founded in 1880, the first semester had only 53 students. Now, more than 46,000 students enrol at the university. It is regionally credited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).
The master’s program offered by the university in health administration is in a hybrid format. It combines both asynchronous and synchronous online lectures, with in-person activities to do. The main competencies include business and management knowledge, communication and knowledge regarding the healthcare environment.
To graduate, the students must complete 36 credits in addition to two four-day residencies. The applicants must have completed their bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or more. Moreover, they must have 5 years of experience in the field, from the mid to senior level.
Regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, FIU had a high enrollment in the first semester of its opening. The Florida International University offers a master’s program in business administration in healthcare, where students can graduate in around 18 months. The curriculum combines online classes with 3 residence experiences. One of these residencies can be done entirely online.
Students must complete 42 credit hours to graduate. Applicants must have completed their bachelor’s with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in upper-division courses. In addition to this, they must have two years of professional experience.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The master’s program in healthcare management offered by the university combines online learning along with 26 days of on-campus instruction. The entire program takes around 25 months to complete.
Students must complete 42 credits to graduate. With a GPA of 3.0 in their bachelor’s, the applicants must also have three years of experience in clinical leadership roles and should be currently working in the healthcare field.
Nebraska’s first nursing school, Clarkson College, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The master’s degree offered by the college in healthcare administration is completely online. Students enrol and complete one course at a time, which lasts six weeks. The students need 39 credits to graduate. Those who apply must provide transcripts with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University is part of the University of North Carolina, which has 16 other campuses. The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The master’s program offered at the university in healthcare management is completely online. Only one in-person visit is required per semester. Specializations include information systems or health care administration. The students must complete 46 credits to graduate. To apply, applicants must provide transcripts and a personal statement showing that they have completed their bachelor’s. For those students with less than a cumulative GPA of 3.0, GRE or GMAT scores are a requirement.
Western Carolina University offers more than 120-degree programs. It is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
WCU offers a master’s program in business administration which focuses on healthcare administration. Every other week, the students meet face-to-face to attend classes in a hybrid format. The students must complete 36 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or more to graduate. Full-time students may be able to complete the program in just three semesters.
Those who apply must submit transcripts that demonstrate they have completed their bachelor’s degree. The university may also ask for GMAT or GRE scores, depending on the applicant’s work experience or academic history.
A master’s program in healthcare administration prepares professionals for complex, and more often than not, demanding roles. Owing to an ageing population, a rise in demand for health services and a still-raging pandemic, the healthcare industry is growing at an astonishing rate. Hope this blog helps you narrow down your choices!