If you consider employment possibilities and annual salary, a Master’s degree in healthcare administration is one of the top 10 graduate degrees, according to “Forbes.” The field is growing faster than average. Although administrators are needed in hospitals, clinics, long-care facilities and home healthcare companies, the need is greatest in doctor’s offices as they offer more and more services. A Master’s program, which follows a Bachelor's degree, is two to three years long.
Many jobs are available with a Bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. This is good preparation for a Master’s in the same field, though it's not required. Undergraduate programs usually take four years to complete. Though many programs are on campus, online options are available. Other healthcare degrees are common starting points. In fact, some administrative positions in health services require a combination of a practical degree, such as nursing, along with a master’s in administration.
A full-time Master's program is two to three years long. If you have a particular interest in the field, such as maternal and child health, marketing, financial management or policy, you may be able to focus on it during your studies. In addition, you have the opportunity to get real-world experience working in a healthcare facility. This is often completed during a summer program between your first and second years. However, some schools require a third year, when you work in a full-time, paid position.
Some schools have part-time programs for people who are working or have other time commitments. Part-time study usually takes slightly longer -- up to three years -- to finish because the program requirements work around your work schedule. However, if you are already working full-time in the healthcare field, you may be eligible for a shorter executive program. Classes are often available online. Campus courses are held summers, evenings and weekends. Many students take two courses each semester, but this is flexible.
The curriculum for a Master’s program has to cover a wide range of healthcare topics. Management courses cover data collection and analysis, statistics, organizational structure, technology, ethics, human resources and quality control. You take classes in finances, such as costs of health care, accounting, corporate finance and cost-effectiveness. Policy issues include problem-solving, advocacy, non-profits, preventative medicine, tobacco use, international differences and public health. In addition, you have a supervised internship program in a healthcare administration setting.
2016 Salary Information for Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $96,540 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, medical and health services managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $73,710, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $127,030, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 352,200 people were employed in the U.S. as medical and health services managers.
- Forbes: The Best And Worst Master's Degrees For Jobs
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers
- Texas State University: School of Health Administration: Bachelor of Healthcare Administration (BHA)
- University of Minnesota: Degrees and Programs
- Virginia Commonwealth University: Master of Health Administration
- Steon Hall University: Master's in Healthcare Administration
- University of Minnesota: Minnesota MHA
- University of Michigan: School of Public Health: UM SPH Department of Health Management and Policy Courses
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Health Services Managers
- Career Trend: Medical and Health Services Managers
Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.