Masters of Hospital Administration Degree Program Overviews
A career in hospital administration usually requires a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA). As the chief executive, a hospital administrator may oversee the business side of a healthcare facility and as well as the actual delivery of medical services.
Master of Healthcare Administration
An MHA is typically a 2- or 3-year program that combines classroom learning with real-world experience. In some cases, these programs allow students to add emphasis to their course of study, which could result in specialized experience in hospital administration. Some programs may allow MHA students to simultaneously pursue a Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health or Master of Public Administration. Healthcare ethics, human resources, finance and healthcare policy are commonly included in an MHA program.
A student must have an accredited bachelor's degree for admission to such a program. A school may require the completion of a management course before entering the program if a student's degree is in a subject other than business. Some schools require at least a year of experience working in the healthcare field.
Courses include general business topics, such as finance and human resources, along with healthcare-specific courses like healthcare policy and epidemiology for managers. In addition to classroom work, most programs require an internship in a healthcare facility. Course topics may include:
- Healthcare in the United States
- Security practices
- Leadership in healthcare
- Cost management
- Information technology
- Healthcare law
Popular Career Options
Graduates of MHA programs can work in a variety of fields and settings, including hospitals, nursing care facilities, consulting firms, hospices and mental health organizations. These professionals are typically responsible for the organization and planning of the delivery of healthcare to the patients within a facility. Some possible career titles could include:
- Healthcare executive
- Health service manager
- Healthcare administrator
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Beyond the master's degree level, administrative healthcare professionals can further their careers both through certification and doctoral programs. Certification can be earned through the American Health Information Management Association, which awards the Registered Health Information Administrator credential. Individuals planning to work in nursing care facilities must be licensed by the state, and those planning to work in assisted-living facilities may also require licensure.
At the doctoral level, students may specialize in areas such as quality improvement for healthcare facilities or in long-term care facility management. These programs can be designed to prepare students for either professional advancement, to positions like health system chief executive officer or chief financial officer, or for academic positions at universities.
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