Earning a Master's in Healthcare Administration Online

Should I Pursue an MHA Online?

Those interested in working in advanced managerial positions in healthcare settings like hospitals could increase their salary potential and open new job opportunities by earning an online master's in healthcare administration. This degree emphasizes foundational elements of management and finance, incorporating healthcare-specific applications and fundamentals. Graduates of the best online MHA programs often work as hospital administrators and financial managers, or in other advanced positions in healthcare settings.

Earning an MHA online allows learners to maintain their current careers and lifestyles without the interruptions and inconveniences associated with traditional on-campus programs. Accredited online MHA programs, however, include the same rigorous curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, and require students to self-start, keep up with coursework, and meet deadlines. Students in MHA programs online must maintain a strong degree of motivation in their academics to succeed as distance learners.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Healthcare Administration Graduates

Master's in Healthcare Administration Salary

By earning your master's in healthcare administration online, you can increase your salary potential and qualify for more advanced careers in the healthcare industry. Different factors can impact your earnings potential, such as where you live and your level of experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists California and New York as the top paying states for medical and health services managers, and data from PayScale demonstrates that earning potential increases along with experience level, as outlined in the tables below.

Top Paying States for Medical and Health Services Managers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
California 34,140 $122,500
New York 25,850 $136,770
Texas 23,740 $107,290
Ohio 15,330 $100,290
Pennsylvania 14,540 $96,400
United States 346,980 $111,680

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Program Director, Healthcare

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $62,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $74,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $82,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $88,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Healthcare Administration Careers

The best online MHA programs prepare graduates for careers in numerous healthcare fields. Some graduates go on to work in hospitals, while other healthcare administration professionals work in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and insurance organizations. These professionals possess strong managerial skills, and often oversee multiple departments and facets within a healthcare facility. The careers described below are a few examples of jobs graduates with this degree may pursue.

Nursing Home Administrator

Annual Median Salary: $87,093
Projected Growth Rate: 20%

Sometimes called healthcare executives, these administrators work within nursing homes to coordinate medical services across the facility. They may create work schedules, oversee billing and patient payments, prepare and implement budgets, and monitor record-keeping practices. Most states require a special licensure for this position.

Clinical Manager

Annual Median Salary: $69,214
Projected Growth Rate: 20%

Clinical managers generally manage departments within a healthcare facility, such as surgery or nursing, and must fulfill duties specific to overseeing that department. These managers may set departmental policies and procedures, ensure compliance with state and federal laws, and create departmental reports and budgets.

Health Information Manager

Annual Median Salary: $54,322
Projected Growth Rate: 20%

Health information managers oversee the security, management, and maintenance of patient files and records. These managers often seek continuing education to stay current on technology in electronic record management, as well as new and upcoming legislation and policies surrounding the management of patient data.

Operations Manager

Annual Median Salary: $63,502
Projected Growth Rate: N/A

Operations managers in the healthcare field often supervise a variety of departments and areas within a facility. They manage everyday operations, create and implement policies and procedures, handle scheduling for staff, and monitor ongoing projects.

What Can I Expect From MHA Online Programs?

As you research online MHA programs, keep in mind each school has different programs. This guide provides information on common aspects of online MHA programs, such as sample curriculum and available certifications in the field.

Curriculum for Online MHA Programs

Courses you take while earning your accredited online MHA will vary by program. The list below includes common courses from some of the best online MHA programs you may encounter.

  1. Healthcare Research: This course introduces students to the research methodologies most often employed in healthcare research, as well as statistical methods and applications in the field. Students explore both qualitative and quantitative research, data collection and analysis, and basic study design.
  2. Healthcare Leadership: This course emphasizes leadership and management skills necessary for all healthcare administrators. Students learn foundational skills in communication and problem solving, as well as mediation, managing teams and individuals, and decision making. Students learn to understand behaviors at the organizational and individual levels to create and implement effective policies and procedures.
  3. Ethics and Law in Healthcare: Courses in ethics and law in the healthcare field explore complex topics in ethical theory and morality, and how these ideas apply within healthcare settings. These courses also explore the various laws and policies already in place in this field, and best practices for implementing and adhering to these laws.
  4. Grant Writing: This course incorporates fundamentals in writing and communication, alongside a broader understanding of grants and how to apply for and acquire them. Students will practice writing grants, learn about differences between private and public funding, understand the different review processes involved with grants, and practice creating and writing proposals.
  5. Healthcare Financial Management: Healthcare administrators often oversee the finances of their healthcare facility; this course prepares students for this task. The course provides foundational knowledge in areas like accounting and budgeting, as well as in more healthcare-specific finance subjects like profit analysis in healthcare and ethical finance decisions.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Healthcare Administration Prepares For

  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems: This certification provided by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) offers healthcare administrative professionals a way to distinguish themselves from others in the field and increase salary potential. Candidates must have five years of experience in the field or a graduate degree to take the exam.
  • Certified Healthcare Human Resources: The American Hospital Association (AHA) provides a certification in healthcare human resources intended to establish national standards for professionals in this field. Candidates for the certification must have a master's degree and five years of experience in human resources prior to taking the examination.