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Is a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Worth It?

Nalea Ko, MFA
Updated May 23, 2023
Are you interested in a master’s in healthcare administration? For the right person, an MHA can provide a pathway to a high-paying career in a growing field.
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Are you wondering if a master’s in healthcare administration is worth it for you? Earning a master’s can provide you with a versatile and high-income healthcare career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects this career to grow by 32%, faster than average for all other occupations.

This guide can help you decide whether or not to pursue a health administration degree.

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What to Know About Getting a Healthcare Administration Degree

With a 32% job growth rate, the BLS projects employers to add 51,800 jobs every year from 2020-2030. Becoming a healthcare administrator can allow you to advance in hospitals or clinics, an aspect that might become more important as hospital growth shrinks due to increased outpatient clinics and other factors.

An MHA Is a Relatively Convenient Degree to Attain

It takes full-time students about 1-2 years to earn a master of healthcare administration (MHA) degree. Part-time students can expect to spend about three years completing their health administration degree, while accelerated programs let students study at a rapid pace and graduate in 12-18 months.

Graduates often also complete one year of work experience under the supervision of a healthcare leader. Other graduate-level programs, such as master’s in health informatics programs, can take longer to complete, especially with required practicum experiences.

MHA Program Curriculums Can Help Develop Practical and Competitive Leadership Skills

Healthcare workers often pursue an MHA degree after years of clinical experience. An MHA provides the practical skills needed to work in healthcare and nursing leadership with courses in accounting, policy, law, leadership, and marketing.

Graduates with a health administration degree can secure roles as healthcare executives or operations managers. Managers oversee budgets, staff, programs, and facilities. These roles require:

  • check-circleTeamwork and leadership skills
  • check-circleAdaptability and flexibility
  • check-circleBig-picture thinking
  • check-circleCritical problem-solving
  • check-circleSolid organizational skills
  • check-circleAbility to recruit and train new staff
  • check-circleExpertise in reviewing financial records
  • check-circleCapacity to collect and analyze data

An MHA Prepares You for Many Career Options

Earning a master’s in healthcare administration can lead to work in hospitals, private practices, government, and outpatient centers. The industry employs 429,800 medical and health services managers, a figure that will only increase to meet the high demand.

About 33% of these healthcare leaders work in hospitals, with the rest working in physicians’ offices, nursing and residential care facilities, government agencies, and outpatient care centers. Possible career paths for MHA degree-holders include:

  • check-circleBiopharmaceutical manager
  • check-circleClinical director
  • check-circleClinical informatics manager
  • check-circleClinical trials manager
  • check-circleData analyst
  • check-circleHealthcare consultant
  • check-circleHospital CEO
  • check-circleInsurance director
  • check-circleLong-term care nursing administrator
  • check-circleNursing home administrator
  • check-circleRegulatory affairs director

With a Master’s in Healthcare Administration You Can Go Into Public Service, Health, and Policy

A health administration degree provides graduates with several career options. When compared to other graduate degrees, such as a master of business administration and a master of public health, an MHA offers greater options in administration roles. Graduates get jobs in policy, information technology, human resources, operations management, and research.

Earning Potential Is on the Rise for This Industry

Medical and health services managers earn a median annual salary of $104,280. Healthcare administrators who work in government make the most with a median annual wage of $116,380. The other top-paying industries for medical and health services managers include hospitals, outpatient care centers, physicians’ offices, and nursing and residential care facilities.

Healthcare administration salaries vary by industry and experience. The top 10% of medical and health services managers make more than $195,630.

Healthcare Administration Professionals Are In Demand

Healthcare demands brought on by the pandemic and other issues have increased the need for administrators. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of healthcare positions, including healthcare leaders.

Administrators dealt with many challenges, such as canceling elective procedures, a shortage of intensive care beds, and financial cuts. The consequences of these challenges led to the expansion of telehealth, such as telehealth nursing.

Healthcare managers proved during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis that they could provide effective leadership. Effective communication, creativity, and an ability to work together on the administrative level enabled healthcare providers to respond to a greater demand for services. Healthcare systems now have care models to handle future crises.

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The Bottom Line: Is a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Worth It?

Is healthcare administration a good career? With the BLS projecting 139,600 more managers working in the healthcare industry within the decade, whether you choose to join the industry remains a personal choice.

Consider the cost of the program and your career goals. An MHA degree can offer a good return on your investment with higher than average salaries, among other benefits.

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