A Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree could be the perfect way for you to launch your career if you have a passion for healthcare and want to make an impact in the industry. Providing training in strategic planning, financial management, policy analysis, and more, an MHA gives students an edge in the increasingly competitive field of healthcare administration.
Keep reading to learn more about how to earn an MHA and the wide range of healthcare roles that are possible with this degree.
What Is an MHA?
An MHA is a highly sought-after degree for those pursuing a career in healthcare management. This degree program provides diverse skills and key learnings to prepare healthcare professionals for a successful and rewarding career. Typically, MHA programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Some programs may also require applicants to have relevant work experience in healthcare or a related field, and many MHA programs require applicants to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
The core curriculum of an MHA program typically covers healthcare finance, policy, and administration. Students learn how to analyze financial statements, manage budgets, and develop strategic plans to improve the efficiency of their organization. Additionally, healthcare law and ethics courses help future healthcare leaders understand the complex legal and ethical issues they may face. MHA programs also teach students how to manage and lead teams, communicate effectively, and use data to make informed decisions. By the end of the program, graduates should have a thorough understanding of the healthcare industry and the skills they need to make a positive impact in their role as healthcare leaders.
Careers in Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administrators are essential for ensuring the smooth operation of medical facilities. There are several common workplaces where healthcare administrators can work, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Hospitals are the most common workplace for healthcare administrators, where they manage and supervise the entire facility's operations. In clinics, healthcare administrators are responsible for organizing and overseeing the daily operations of the facility. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities require healthcare administrators to supervise the management and care of the residents. With the growth of telemedicine, healthcare administrators can also work remotely, managing the operations and staff members from the comfort of their homes. Regardless of the workplace, healthcare administrators play a crucial role in ensuring that patients receive high-quality care.
The job outlook for healthcare administrators is projected to grow by 28% from 2021 to 2031. This increasing demand is due to various factors, including an aging population, an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases, and the ongoing implementation of health-related policies. As healthcare continues to evolve, healthcare administrators will play a crucial role in managing and improving healthcare systems, making it a promising career path for those interested in both healthcare and business.
Responsibilities of Being a Healthcare Administrator
The responsibilities and tasks of a healthcare administrator can vary widely depending on the specific healthcare organization. However, there are some everyday activities that most administrators undertake. A typical day for a healthcare administrator can include meetings with staff to discuss organizational goals and objectives, reviewing financial reports, analyzing patient care data, attending training sessions and seminars, and addressing any operational issues that may arise during daily operations. Healthcare administrators may also be responsible for overseeing the recruitment and hiring of new staff, developing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and managing budgets and resources to ensure that the organization meets its financial goals.
Being a successful healthcare administrator requires both hard and soft skills. These professionals need to be knowledgeable about healthcare policy, finance, and technology to manage operations and make data-driven decisions effectively. In addition, they need excellent communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills to build relationships with staff, patients, and other stakeholders. Effective healthcare administrators have a keen eye for detail, can strategize and anticipate challenges, and possess empathy and compassion. Overall, the role of a healthcare administrator is multifaceted and requires a combination of business acumen, healthcare expertise, patient management, and strong leadership skills.
Jobs Titles to Pursue with an MHA Degree
Obtaining an MHA degree can support your success in a variety of career paths within the field of healthcare, including the following:
- Chief nursing officer: A chief nursing officer (CNO) is a high-ranking healthcare professional overseeing the nursing staff within a healthcare organization. They are critical in ensuring that patients receive high-quality care and that all nursing operations run smoothly daily. To become a CNO, you must typically have a master's degree in nursing or a related field and several years of nursing leadership experience. CNOs must also demonstrate strong leadership skills, deeply understand healthcare regulations and policies, and effectively manage budgets and resources. The role of a CNO requires a combination of clinical expertise and managerial skills, making it an important and challenging position within the healthcare industry.
- Admissions coordinator: The healthcare admissions coordinator is a vital professional in the healthcare industry, responsible for handling admissions procedures and paperwork. This position is crucial to seeing that patients are admitted promptly and efficiently and that the necessary records and documentation are accurate and complete. To become a healthcare admissions coordinator, individuals typically hold at least a bachelor's degree and possess strong communication and organizational skills. Additionally, experience in healthcare, customer service, or administrative roles is preferred, as well as knowledge of medical terminology and insurance policies.
- Corporate healthcare manager: These managers play a critical role in overseeing the healthcare needs of large organizations. As a corporate healthcare manager (CHM), you must have a deep understanding of healthcare administration and possess specific qualities such as excellent communication and leadership skills. The required education includes a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration or a related field, and a master's degree is preferred. Among the key responsibilities of this role are developing and monitoring healthcare policies and procedures, ensuring regulatory compliance and safety standards, and managing budgets and expenses. Additionally, a CHM must have sharp business judgment to make informed decisions and collaborate with cross-functional teams.
- Government healthcare consultant: Government healthcare consultants (GHC) are professionals with significant experience in the healthcare field. Their role is to advise government agencies on healthcare policies and regulations. To become a consultant, you should have a degree in healthcare, public administration, or a related field. Additionally, having several years of experience working in healthcare would be best. Key responsibilities of a GHC include researching and analyzing healthcare policies, communicating findings to government officials, and recommending changes to improve healthcare services. The job also involves keeping up to date with healthcare regulations and industry trends to ensure effective consultancy.
- Health insurance administrator: A health insurance administrator is a vital member of the healthcare industry. Their primary role is to manage and oversee the financial aspects of healthcare organizations. They are responsible for ensuring that healthcare claims are processed accurately and promptly. In addition, these administrators must be well-informed about changes in healthcare regulations and laws. Typically, a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration or a related field is a minimum requirement for this role. Relevant work experience in healthcare or insurance and certification can enhance job prospects in this field.
- Health network administrator: Health network administrators play an important role in ensuring that healthcare facilities run smoothly and offer the best possible care to patients. In short, they oversee the technology and information systems that hospitals, private practices, and other medical facilities use to manage patient records, billing, and more. It's a complex and challenging job that requires a combination of technical skills and managerial know-how. To become an administrator, you typically need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as business or health informatics and several years of work experience in healthcare IT or a related field. Other key requirements include strong communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and working well under pressure.
- Clinical trials manager: A clinical trials manager (CTM) is a crucial figure in the medical research industry, coordinating various aspects of clinical trials. These studies are essential in determining the efficacy and safety of new medical treatments. A CTM must ensure that all participants are treated ethically and safely and that the trial complies with regulatory standards. To become a CTM, you typically must hold a bachelor's or master's degree in a scientific field and have experience in clinical trial management or a related field. Exceptional organizational and communication skills are must-haves in this role, in addition to an in-depth knowledge of clinical research processes and regulations.
- Operations manager: As the healthcare industry continues to grow, the role of a healthcare operations manager (OM) has become increasingly vital. These managers are responsible for ensuring that healthcare facilities run smoothly and efficiently. This includes managing budgets, overseeing staff, coordinating patient care, and implementing new procedures and policies. To become a healthcare OM, candidates must have strong leadership skills, be detail-oriented, and possess a solid understanding of healthcare operations. A bachelor's degree is typically required, although some employers may prefer a master's degree in healthcare administration. Additionally, candidates must have experience in healthcare management and be knowledgeable about healthcare regulations and compliance.
Healthcare Administration Salaries
The salary of a healthcare administrator will vary depending on factors such as the organization's size and the individual's level of experience. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $101,340 as of May 2021. While healthcare administrators work tirelessly to maintain high standards of care, some industries offer higher salaries than others. The top-paying industries for healthcare administrators are pharmaceutical manufacturing, insurance, and medical and diagnostic laboratories.
Prepare Yourself for a Healthcare Administration Career
Healthcare is an ever-evolving industry, and the role of healthcare administrators has become increasingly crucial in recent years. If you want to take on a leadership role in this field, then obtaining an MHA degree from WGU is an excellent first step. Our program provides the knowledge and skills necessary for healthcare administration, including leadership, financial management, and strategic planning. With WGU’s competency-based education model, students work at their own pace while receiving real-world guidance from experienced faculty. Upon completing the degree program, graduates will be able to apply for various healthcare administration positions and significantly impact the industry.