Earning a Master’s in Healthcare Management Online

Should I Pursue a Healthcare Management Master’s Degree Online?

Online master’s programs in healthcare management often cater to current business or healthcare professionals. For example, an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management requires candidates to have either bachelor’s degrees in business or years of experience in management. Meanwhile, programs in nursing schools often require applicants to have a BSN. Both degrees lead to careers in healthcare management, although some employers may prefer one over another. Therefore, learners must have natural leadership, communication, and organizational skills.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that while some employers hire healthcare managers with just a bachelor’s degree, most require a master’s degree or higher. Healthcare organizations want managers with experience related to the people they manage. Earning a healthcare management master's degree online helps working professionals build relevant experience and make money while they learn.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Healthcare Management Graduates

Master's in Healthcare Management Salary

As the need for healthcare workers rises throughout the country, so does the demand for health and medical service managers. As such, the average online healthcare management master’s graduate who enters this career earns $111,680 annually. However, this changes based on factors like years of experience and location. For example, healthcare managers in New York earn $136,770 per year, on average. Across the country, health service managers with little to no experience make about $62,000 annually. Candidates should also consider the costs of living in some of these areas, which often correlates with the increased wages.

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 Management Careers

While the BLS categorizes all healthcare managers in the same section, organizations employ several types of these professionals. Graduates can find work as nursing home administrators, clinical managers, health information managers, and operations managers in healthcare organizations. A candidate’s background determines which of these roles fits best. For example, applicants with some technical experience fare well as health information managers, while those with significant medical experience enjoy clinical management.

Nursing Home Administrator

Annual Median Salary: $86,996
Projected Growth Rate: 20%

As generations continue to age, the nation’s need for nursing homes and staff rise. Nursing home administrators oversee clinical and business operations within these facilities. Candidates with nursing experience, along with their healthcare management master’s degrees, do well in these positions.

Clinical Manager

Annual Median Salary: $69,177
Projected Growth Rate: 20%

These managers oversee medical professionals in healthcare organizations. They may oversee the emergency department, nurses, or pediatrics. They implement policies and procedures that improve patient outcomes. They also evaluate how well the employees in their department do and report to senior management.

Health Information Manager

Annual Median Salary: $54,172
Projected Growth Rate: 20%

Healthcare organizations balance the convenience of electronic records with the importance of patient information security. These managers ensure their employers walk that fine line. They find ways to securely keep and analyze vast quantities of data, manage IT teams, and remain current with trends in this emerging field.

Operations Manager

Annual Median Salary: $100,410
Projected Growth Rate: 9%

These professionals work in many industries, including healthcare. They set goals for departments, design plans to meet these objectives, and measure success. Operations managers may also analyze reports from other leaders in the organization to find ways to maximize income potential, cut costs, and minimize risks.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Healthcare Management Program?

The curricula for healthcare management online degree programs vary between the business-centered and health-focused schools. Even within the same types of programs, learners find themselves taking different courses depending on their concentrations and electives. However, some classes are common to all programs.

Curriculum for a Healthcare Management Master’s Degree Online Program

  1. Managing Healthcare Organizations: This healthcare management online course is fundamental to many careers. Learners begin to understand the complexities and challenges healthcare systems present. Students learn theories, best practices, and ethical considerations that prepare them to make decisions that benefit patients, companies, and medical staff.
  2. Human Capital Management: In these courses, students learn the value of staff, the cost of inappropriate employment levels, and how to strike the right balance. Many online master’s in healthcare management programs include these courses, especially MBA plans, which may focus specifically on healthcare staff management.
  3. Healthcare Policy Analysis: As legislative bodies continue to change health policy across the country, healthcare management master’s online graduates must prepare to adapt to new laws. These courses help tomorrow’s health service managers understand new legislation, see how it affects healthcare organizations, and make organizational changes accordingly.
  4. Legal Issues in Healthcare: Not only do healthcare organizations have to follow many of the same laws as other businesses, but they also have patient privacy and medical laws to consider. These courses guide learners through current legal issues, types of problems healthcare managers face, and how to keep an organization law-abiding.
  5. Capstone: Many master’s in healthcare management online programs end with capstone courses. Students use the skills they've acquired to create final projects. For example, degree candidates may write comprehensive healthcare business plans. These projects demonstrate their knowledge to professors and potential employers.

Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Healthcare Management Prepares For

  • Fellow at the American College of Healthcare Executives: The ACHE accepts board-certified candidates with experience and education. Applicants can fill these requirements with combinations of management experience, continuing education, volunteer hours, ACHE membership, and community involvement. Candidates must also pass the Board of Governors Examination in Healthcare Management exam and meet recertification requirements every three years.
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management: The American Hospital Association (AHA) allows hospital managers in areas such as facilities, human resources, risk management, and materials management to apply for this certification. Candidates with master’s or bachelor’s degrees need five years of healthcare service experience. Applicants must pass the AHA exam, which consists of 110 multiple-choice questions and lasts up to two hours.