Masters of Hospital Administration Degree Program Overviews

Learn about Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree programs, which prepare students for roles in hospital administration. Research the degree titles available, the coursework required by MHA programs, and the job opportunities for graduates.

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Essential Information

An MHA is typically a 2- or 3-year program that combines classroom learning with real-world experience. In addition to other admission requirements, applicants to an MHA program should hold a bachelor's degree; professional experience in healthcare may also be required. Internships are common in MHA programs.

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.

Educational Prerequisites

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.

Course Topics

Courses include general business topics, such as finance and human resources, along with healthcare-specific courses like healthcare policy and epidemiology for managers. Healthcare ethics, human resources, finance and healthcare policy are commonly included in an MHA program. 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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