If you choose to pursue a career in the healthcare industry, then you’ll find that there a number of distinct routes that you can choose to help you get to your preferred career destination. The reason that you choose a specific option will depend on your personal and practical circumstances. However, one particularly common option is to obtain a master’s in healthcare administration, or an MHA degree.
An MHA degree is regarded as an advanced college degree that is offered at the graduate level. Entry into a program at this level generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree from your chosen accredited institution. Alternatively, the other entrance requirements that might exist for certain MHA programs might vary somewhat, but they can often include prerequisite courses in health sciences and some experience in the field. You might also find that you need to possess above-average GPA scores.
While there may be many personal reasons why you consider an MHA degree to be best for your goals, you should also try to think about the practical reasons why this kind of career suits you. After all, besides giving you a great career in the healthcare industry, your MHA degree should help you to feel fulfilled and satisfied in your life. Once you’ve determined that this degree is best for your needs, you’ll need to think about where you should obtain your degree, and which specific degree you should choose.
What Is Your Area of Interest?
One of the most important factors you will have to face when choosing your MHA degree program, is what specific area you want to focus on. In most schools for healthcare administration, you will be able to choose from a range of specializations, including:
- Non-profit public health administration
- Financial management
- Hospital administration
- Sports healthcare administration
- Law and ethics
- Human resources
- Mental health
An MHA degree links closely with many different degrees in the health industry, which can often mean that students struggle to determine which is the best that will suit their needs. Above all, it’s important to recognize that MHA programs cater specifically to those who are generally already working within the healthcare industry and would like to move up within their careers. Most of the time, these are administrators or managers who are running medical centers or hospitals, who want to advance to the next level of management. While these circumstances might be typical of the average MHA student, there are also some who are doctors wishing to become certified at the administrative level for their career.
The more records and documents are stored on electronic bases, the more medical centers will require administrators and managers to enroll in MHA programs, or similar courses, in order to gain more advanced knowledge of the current industry. What’s more, MHA programs are now offered within many online universities, which makes the process of obtaining your degree easier than ever.
Examples of MHA Programs
Perhaps some of the most widely-renowned options for MHA degrees include:
- Harvard University in Massachusetts Cambridge’s master of science and master of public health joint degree. This degree follows the style of Harvard college when it comes to advancing the public health system through communication and learning.
- Yale University in Connecticut, New Haven’s master of public health and master of science degrees, are ideal for professionals within the healthcare industry who want to move into the newer field of healthcare management.
- Columbia University in New York’s master of healthcare administration degree offers students a range of options when it comes to furthering their career in public health.
One of the most appealing parts of the current educational climate is that many graduate programs are now offered online, which means that you can take classes from the comfort of your home, at a time that suits you, regardless of your existing work schedule. The classes that you choose will depend on your personal preferences and where you live. Some students prefer to meet their teachers face to face for classes, whereas others prefer to attend some classes in person, and complete other coursework online.
Whatever your decision, so long as you choose an effective and high-quality online program, you should find that you are able to complete the majority of your classes from the comfort of your own home. However, you might find that most MHA programs may require you to visit your local campus at least once. It’s worth checking the requirements for yourself on the college website before you enroll.
Joint Degree Options
One possibility to consider for your degree is a combined solution, which means that you get your MHA degree combined with another professional degree. The primary advantage for this option is that you get two degrees in much less time than it would take to earn each degree separately.
The most popular joint degree in the MHA world is the MHA/MBA dual degree. This is ideal for students who want to learn everything they can about healthcare administration, but also want to gain an insight into the world of business administration in general at the same time. It is ideal for those who wish to get a career on a management level in the pharmaceutical, medical, and biomedical industries.
Importantly, while there are many colleges that offer MHA programs, not all of them are equal. It would be wise to set a few standards when conducting a search to discover the best possible program for your needs. Perhaps the most important standard of all is the one of accreditation, which is the official recognition awarded to institutions using acceptable standards that have been set for a particular type of program.
To become accredited for an MHA program, a college or university must either apply with the U.S. Department of Education, or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. One option is to apply with the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAMHE). Make sure to check for CAMHE accreditation as this is specific to the MHA degree.
In conclusion, the type of MHA program that you choose for your future will have a huge impact on the career path that you take, on your job outlook. Healthcare management degrees offer specialties in a wide-range of different interests, from financial management, to hospital administration and beyond. It may be worth noting that the people who enter into the management side of medicine or the healthcare industry, are usually those who consider themselves to be highly driven and largely compassionate. These people very much want to make a difference in the world. Often, a healthcare administrator will be expected to manage a great deal of responsibility in ensuring the smooth running of medical facilities, but the pay levels that they can expect to receive are often commensurate with the level of accountability.