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Comparing Health Leadership Degrees

Ready to Level Up In Your Healthcare Career?
Get started on a healthcare leadership program of your choice from WGU.

Ready To Get a Masters Degree in Health Leadership?

If you have leadership aspirations and a passion for healthcare, you might be weighing upgrading your bachelor's degree for a one of several master’s degree options. A healthcare leadership degree will equip you with the skills you need to excel in a healthcare management role, but there are multiple programs to choose from. It’s important to pick the one that best aligns with your specific career goals.

WGU offers three healthcare leadership degrees: MBA Healthcare Management, Master of Health Leadership, and MSN Leadership and Management. While all of these programs focus on leadership in healthcare, their curricula and the career paths they lead to are very different. This guide will break each one down for you.

MBA Healthcare Management

Prepare for a career leading private or public healthcare organizations....

Prepare for a career leading private or public healthcare organizations.

  • Time: Graduates can finish within 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Administrative director
  • Chief financial officer
  • Other executive-level roles

Healthcare is big business in today's complex economy.  Steer your career with this specialty MBA.

Compare online business degrees

This program is not the only online business degree WGU offers that is designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees.

Master of Health Leadership

A master's focused on managing comprehensive, value-based care, directly...

A master's focused on managing comprehensive, value-based care, directly in line with innovations in health and healthcare.

  • Time: 81% of grads finish within 24 months. 
  • Tuition: $4,240 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 12 total courses in this program.

Examples of careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Managed care executive
  • Director of integrated care management
  • Health center manager/clinic manager
  • Director of integrated facilities

Your rich experience in a health-related field can mean more when you bring a master's level of understanding to the problems that organizations need to solve.

Compare degrees

This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees.

Nursing – Leadership & Management (RN-to-MSN) – M.S.

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a substantial leap...

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a substantial leap toward becoming a nurse leader.

  • Time: 75% of RN-to-MSN grads finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,998 per 6-month term during undergraduate portion, $4,367 per 6-month term during graduate portion, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350
  • Courses: 32 total courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Quality Director
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Project Manager

If you're driven to lead, this online nursing degree will provide you everything needed to make that career a reality. This program is ideal for current RNs who are interested in earning both their BSn and MSN in an accelerated program.

Compare degrees

This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees.

Nursing – Leadership & Management (BSN-to-MSN) – M.S.

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree who are ready for...

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree who are ready for additional career opportunities.

  • Time: 68% of grads finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $4,367 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350
  • Courses: 15 total courses in this program.

This program is ideal for current RNs who have a BSN and are ready for the next step in their education.

Sample careers and jobs this degree program will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Quality Director
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Project Manager

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of medical and health services managers to grow 17% by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Compare degrees

This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees.

Which Health Leadership Degree is Right for Me?

MBA in Healthcare Management

WGU's MBA in Healthcare Management offers a focused curriculum that prepares you for executive-level positions. Like a general MBA program, your coursework will cover areas such as decision-making, marketing, and financial resource management but will be geared specifically for the healthcare field.

Is Your Background Not in Healthcare?

If you’re transitioning into healthcare from a different industry or if you don't have an undergraduate degree in healthcare, this program is ideal for you. The coursework will give you a chance to learn about healthcare and equip you with the specific knowledge to transition into this industry.

What Will I Learn in an MBA in Healthcare Management?

Courses focus on healthcare, leadership, and management and include:

  • Marketing
  • Managing organizations and leading people
  • Operations management
  • Accreditation audit
  • Service line development
  • Accounting
  • Ethical leadership
  • Financial management
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Global economics

What Careers Can I Pursue with an MBA in Healthcare Management?

An MBA in Healthcare Management can prepare you for a variety of job titles, such as:

Master of Health Leadership

Also known as a Master of Healthcare Administration, an MHL program teaches you how to drive innovation and lead effectively within a healthcare organization. It explores the healthcare industry through comparison research, disruptive leadership concepts, and advanced technology applications. You’ll also examine the use of technology to improve patient care outcomes.

Is Your Background in Healthcare?

That’s great, because this degree program works best if you already have experience in the healthcare industry or a bachelor’s degree in healthcare.

To be considered for this master's degree program, you must be able to demonstrate healthcare experience through one of the following methods:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and experience in healthcare or healthcare-related industry.
  • Or, possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and obtain Master of Health Leadership program chair approval. Clinical experience is not required to be successful in this program.

What Will I Learn in a Master of Health Leadership Degree Program?

This program focuses on quality improvement of health care with an emphasis on professionalism, technology, and ethical practice. Some of the specific subjects taught in WGU’s MHL program include:

  • Leadership, innovation, and management
  • Healthcare systems
  • Healthcare quality
  • Financial management
  • Healthcare analysis
  • Risk management
  • Health information technology
  • Community health
  • Quality improvement

What Careers Can I Pursue with an MBA in Healthcare Management?

These are just some of the jobs you’ll be prepared for with a Master of Health Leadership degree from WGU:

MSN in Leadership and Management

If your professional goal is to have a job in nursing administration and management, getting your MSN is a must. WGU offers two pathways to getting your leadership and management MSN—either the BSN to MSN (if you already have a bachelor’s degree) or RN to MSN (if you need both and are already an RN).

Are You a Registered Nurse?

If so, this program will help you combine your nursing knowledge with strong leadership and business management skills to position you for a career in nursing administration. In order to pursue an MSN, you need to be a registered nurse or have a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN).

What Will I Learn in a MSN in Leadership and Management Degree?

The coursework in this program focuses on helping you build competencies in strategic planning, financial and human resource management, data management, and interprofessional collaboration. Some of specific courses in this program include:

  • Leadership and management
  • Nursing core
  • Foundations of success
  • Health sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Nursing theory and practice
  • MSN core

You’ll also earn an important industry certification, the CPHQ (NAHQ Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality) that can help you boost your résumé before you even graduate.

What Careers Can I Pursue with an MSN in Leadership and Management Degree?

As a graduate of this program, you’ll be prepared for plenty of career options, including:

What Do WGU's Programs Have in Common?

Whichever degree you choose, there is a wide variety of career opportunities open to students of both degree programs. There are also major benefits associated with pursuing a degree program with WGU, including a flexible schedule, coursework and lessons that are fully accessible online, affordable options for every student, and more.  Either the master of science program or the MBA program in IT management from WGU can help you achieve your goals—it just depends on your experience and what you want your future to be.

Why WGU?

Earning Potential

A Health Leadership degree can dramatically impact your earning potential. After graduation WGU students report earning $15,729 more per year.

On Your Schedule

Competency-based education means you can move as quickly through your degree as you can master the material. You don't have to log in to classes at a certain time—you are truly in the driver's seat of your education

Entirely Online

You can do your coursework at night after working at your full-time job, on weekends, while you're traveling the world or on vacation—it's entirely up to you.

No matter which Health Leadership degree path you choose, you’ll have a wide variety of career opportunities available to you. There are also major benefits to pursuing a degree program with WGU, including a flexible schedule, coursework and lessons that are fully accessible online, affordable options for every student, and more. WGU can help you achieve your goals on your own time, according to your schedule.

COST & TIME

An Affordable Masters Degree

By charging per term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. The faster you complete your program, the less you pay for your degree.

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Prepared for Success
on the Job

From a 2021 Harris Poll of 300 employers of WGU graduates.

97% of employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.

95% of employers said that they would hire another WGU grad.

98% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.