Earning a Master's in Health Services Administration Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Health Services Administration Online?

Earning a master's in health services administration online prepares graduates to enter a field with an exceptionally strong outlook. As the medical world attempts to meet the healthcare demands of the aging population, as well as incorporate new and advanced technologies, the need for highly trained graduates is expected to grow significantly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the medical and health service management profession to experience a 20% growth rate over the next decade.

Aspiring healthcare administrators are passionate about helping people, but also enjoy detail-oriented tasks and technical operations. Though the majority of these professionals work in hospitals, administrators may also pursue careers in clinics, physician's offices, outpatient centers, and residential care facilities. A health services administration online master's degree prepares graduates for these career tracks by offering advanced and specialized training in specific areas of healthcare administration. Furthermore, an online degree allows students to work and build experience in the healthcare sector concurrently with their coursework. This guide is designed to provide information to prospective healthcare professionals about what a degree and career in this field can offer.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Health Services Administration Graduates

Master's in Health Services Administration Salary

A master's in health services administration online prepares graduates to fulfill a wide range of roles, particularly in management. According to the BLS, employers looking to fill health services management positions usually prefer candidates who hold a master's degree in the field. Additionally, earning an online master's in health and human services gives graduates skills that are easily transferable to a variety of other industries.

The following tables highlight some of the industries that graduates might explore, along with the annual median salaries that accompany those environments. As listed by the BLS, 36% of health services managers work in hospitals, 11% work in physician offices, 10% in residential care facilities, 8% in government, and 7% in outpatient facilities.

Salaries for Medical and Health Services Managers by Industry

Industry Annual Mean Wage
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private $107,230
Government $106,230
Outpatient Care Centers $89,910
Offices of Physicians $89,760
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities $82,950

Master's in Health Services Administration Careers

As the healthcare industry grows and diversifies, the variety and type of careers available to healthcare services administrators is also expected to increase. Graduates may work as consultants or managers within clinics or hospitals. According to the BLS, these professionals often possess detail-oriented and analytical minds, with interests in the technical and operations aspects of the healthcare world. Strong communication and interpersonal skills also come in handy for many of the potential career paths. The following list identifies some of the most common careers available to graduates.

Healthcare Consultant

Annual Median Salary: $76,630

Healthcare consultants assess health organizations and programs, evaluate their effectiveness, and identify areas for improvement. These professionals understand the governing policies and the operations of various healthcare settings. While bachelor's degrees holders may qualify as candidates for many of these positions, those with a master's degree often possess the advanced business and legal experience to operate more effectively.

Operations Manager

Annual Median Salary: $63,700

Operations managers oversee the various aspects of a medical office, department, or clinic, and ensure that employees follow the proper policies and guidelines. Within a master's program, students not only gain the leadership skills to perform the leadership role, but also a thorough understanding of the individual roles they must oversee.

Healthcare Administrator

Annual Median Salary: $64,540

Healthcare administrators fulfill a range of responsibilities: they may perform the roles of patient registration, facility management, and nearly everything in between. While a bachelor's degree satisfies the requirements for many of these positions, professionals with a master's degree possess a competitive edge in the job market.

Source: PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Health Services Administration Program?

Students in a master's in health services administration online learn to manage various operations in a healthcare setting, such as finance, healthcare policy, purchasing, and legal issues. While each program offers different study options and concentrations, the following highlights some of the most common courses, certifications, and licenses available to students on this educational path.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Health Services Administration

Healthcare Policy

Students in this course observe healthcare policies and the role of organizations in policy making. They explore government involvement and the research that informs decisions. By understanding the framework of healthcare policies, graduates can apply this knowledge to careers in consulting or as clinical research coordinators.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Healthcare

Students learn to navigate complex ethical and legal issues in a healthcare setting. Topics include issues in patient confidentiality, consent, and malpractice. As administrators and managers in healthcare, a solid understanding of these potential issues prepares professionals to handle challenging situations.

Marketing in Healthcare Organizations

This course introduces students to value and decision-making regarding goods and services in the healthcare world. Students discover the processes involved in the design, development, and delivery of goods and services, along with how nonprofit and for-profit organizations impact these processes. Graduates can apply this knowledge in healthcare management and consulting positions.

Financial Management

Students learn to use financial tools within a healthcare setting, with a focus on project management, working within budgets, and fulfilling purchasing requests. Graduates apply this knowledge to many different healthcare positions, but professionals managing physician's offices and healthcare clinics will likely make best use of this training.

Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety

While many health services administration programs focus on healthcare quality and patient safety, specific courses in this discipline teach students to assess and evaluate the quality of care programs. Students learn the contemporary approaches to patient care and best practices for healthcare organizations of various sizes. In the professional world, these skills apply to careers in healthcare administration, consulting, and management.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Health Services Administration Prepares For

  • Certified Medical Managers: While healthcare organizations do not require professional certifications, many employers prefer applicants to possess a CMM certification. This assures organizations that a candidate meets some of the industry's highest competency standards. Certified medical managers boast a minimum of two years experience in the field, satisfactory healthcare administration education, and completion of the CMM examination.
  • Nursing Home Administrator: Offered by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards, the mandatory NHA licensure enables professionals to work within the long term care industry. Though each state may feature different requirements, master's degree graduates generally satisfy the education requirements to sit for the exam. Some states may require candidates to write a state examination in addition to the national exam.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations are a very useful career resource for health services administration professionals at every level. Current students and recent graduates often benefit from scholarship opportunities, job boards, and mentor programs. Experienced professionals find great value in the continuing education programs, the networking opportunities, and access to industry publications. The following list identifies some of the industry's largest and most popular organizations for health services administrators.

  • Health Care Administrators Association: As a voice and leader for health services administrators of all types, the HCAA advocates and strives to improved healthcare delivery. The association supports health services administrators through information, educational opportunities, and access to networking events.

  • American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management: Representing a range of healthcare professionals, the AAHAM advocates for improved professional standards, along with better healthcare regulations and legislation. The association boasts many educational and professional development opportunities for its members.

  • American Health Information Management Association: Driven to improve the quality of and processes related to health data and records, AHIMA provides members with industry information, education, and training. The association also connects the health information community and assists with developing the industry's guidelines and governing principles.

  • National Association of Healthcare Access Management: In addition to establishing and offering a set of best practices for professionals, NAHAM offers its members numerous education and certification opportunities. The association also grants members access to career services and industry events.

  • American College of Healthcare Executives: ACHE works to make healthcare more accessible and more effective for everyone. By offering members access to education, professional development, and networking opportunities, the association bolsters the current and future crop of healthcare executives.

  • National Center for Healthcare Leadership: The NCHL develops leaders in the healthcare field by providing education, training tools, and resources. They offer access to best practices, industry publications, and events to help professionals optimize their skills and improve their leadership qualities.

  • Association of University Programs in Health Administration: AUPHA works for the improvement of the educational system of health administration professionals, but they also offer students and current professionals a number of helpful resources. Students can learn about different programs and career opportunities, while current professionals benefit from career services assistance, industry publications, and events.

  • Healthcare.gov: This is one of the most valuable resources on healthcare policy and regulations. Visitors can find information on various national and state programs, along with insurance, benefits, and coverage data.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration: With comprehensive information on food and drug regulations, manufacturing data, and research on current and future products, the FDA offers plenty of help for all health-related professions. Medical professionals can access information on FDA programs, safety advisories, and various educational activities.

  • American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration: ASHHRA provides human resources professionals in healthcare resources to become as successful as possible. The association offers visitors access to publications, educational tools, and industry news and information.