October 26, 2023

How to Know if a Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) Degree is Right for You

Healthcare administration is a fast-growing and ever-changing field with an excellent job outlook. Because of this, many people are interested in starting a career in healthcare administration. But with so many degree options -- Associates, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate -- it can be tough to know which is right for you. In this guide, we’ll be exploring one of the most popular options: a Masters in Healthcare Administration degree. 

A Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) can open the doors to a wider selection of job opportunities, leadership positions, and potentially higher salaries. It focuses on understanding healthcare operations and functioning in a leadership role at an executive level.  

If you’re curious about whether or not an MHA is the right education choice for you, keep reading to find out what it is, what you can do with it, and more!

What is a Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) Degree?

A Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) is a masters level degree for professionals who are looking to get into a management or leadership position in the healthcare industry. It’s an option for both existing healthcare professionals and those who are new to the field and have a Bachelor’s in another area. 

What Can You Do With an MHA? 

Graduates with a Masters in Healthcare Administration generally work in the hospital setting but can also work in the following areas:

  • Academia
  • Ambulatory health care service
  • Consulting firm
  • Dental office
  • Health care ethics
  • Healthcare management company
  • Healthcare supply company
  • Health information systems
  • Health policy
  • Home health care service
  • Hospital administration
  • Human resources
  • Infection prevention
  • Insurance company
  • Long-term care administration
  • Maternal and child care
  • Medical and diagnostic laboratory
  • Mental health organization
  • Nursing home facility
  • Outpatient care center
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Physician recruitment
  • Rehabilitation center
  • Veterans health administration

What Jobs Can You Get with a Master’s in Healthcare Administration?

An MHA is an excellent entry-point for a number of different jobs. From Hospital CEO to Nurse Manager, it’s a highly versatile degree. Some of the job titles for a professional with a master’s degree in health administration include:

  • Chief executive officer
  • Chief operations officer
  • Clinic director
  • Clinic manager
  • Department or division director
  • Department or division manager/supervisor
  • Facility manager
  • Healthcare consultant
  • Health services manager
  • Hospital administrator
  • Hospital admissions director
  • Long-term care director
  • Long-term care manager
  • Medical records manager
  • Nurse manager
  • Nursing director
  • Operations manager
  • Practice manager
  • Program manager
  • Social Worker

>> Show Me Online Healthcare Administration Programs

How Much Does it Cost to Get Your MHA?

Cost can vary A LOT for a Masters in Healthcare Administration. According to U.S. News and World Report, an MHA can cost as little as $200 per credit hour for in-state tuition. Out-of-state residents could pay upwards of $1,500 per credit hour.  An entire program can be as little as $10,000 or as much as $75,000.

There are a wide range of affordable options to individuals interested in pursuing a Master's in Healthcare Administration. But it’s important to consider the reputation of the program as well as accreditation.

How Long Does it Take to Get Your MHA?

The length of healthcare administration programs will vary greatly depending on if the program is completed full-time or part-time. 

  • An MHA can be completed in as little as 12 months or as long as 3 years. Most individuals work during the program, so very few complete it within 12 months. 

Additionally, some online programs can be completed at an individual’s own pace with class lengths of only seven weeks. Individuals can complete multiple courses back to back or take time off in between courses. 

What Salary Can You Expect to Earn With an MHA?

The BLS reports an average annual salary in 2020 for Medical and Health Service Managers of $104,830. The BLS does not specifically provide salaries for individuals with or without an MHA. However, salaries will vary greatly depending on the location, position title, and associated responsibilities. 

Salaries for Different Healthcare Administration Jobs

Examples of some of the specific careers an individual can hold with an MHA according to Payscale are:

>> Show Me Online Healthcare Administration Programs

MHA Career Outlook

According to the BLS, in 2022, there were 509,500 Medical and Health Services Managers with a projected need of an additional 144,700 positions. This represents a 28% job increase from 2022 to 2032, which is much faster than the average for all industries.

Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) Degree Programs

According to U.S. News & World Report, here are some of the top MHA programs available.

1. George Washington University

  • #12 Best Graduate schools in Public Health according to the U.S. News & World Report, 2019
  • Start Dates: January, April, July, and October
  • Cost: $91,250
  • Application Requirements:
    • Hold a bachelor’s degree
    • Have at least two years of full-time health sector experience or three years of full-time experience in any industry
    • Be currently employed in the health sector
    • No GRE scores are required.

2. University of North Carolina

  • #3 for Healthcare management programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • Start Dates: April, August, and December
  • Application Requirements:
    • Online graduate school application
    • Currently employed in the health or human services field and have, or expect to have, managerial or supervisory experience.
    • Three years of experience in healthcare or public health by the time classes and currently working in public health or healthcare services (for waivers, contact Director of EMP).
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • Personal Statement
    • Three Letters of Reference
    • Nonrefundable application fee
    • Transcripts

3. University of South Carolina

  • #20 Ranked Health Care Management Program by U.S. News & World Report
  • 92% of Graduates Employed within Three Months of Graduation
  • State Dates: Summer and Fall
  • Cost: $31,131
  • Application Requirements:
    • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
    • A 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale is competitive.
    • Two or more years of health care experience preferred (or comparable professional work experience; one or more years of healthcare experience required.
    • GRE or GMAT scores
    • Three Letters of Reference
    • Completion of one undergraduate course in statistics and one undergraduate course in accounting.

4. Framingham State University

  • Application Requirements:
    • Online graduate application
    • Non refundable $50 fee
    • Have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Students are evaluated primarily on the basis of experience in health care, on the distribution of courses taken in another graduate program, and, if applicable, courses taken in another graduate program, and on their undergraduate and graduate grades.
    • Submit a typed, 300-word personal statement discussing their motivation for seeking a master’s degree in view of prior formal education, current job responsibilities, and career plans.
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Overall undergraduate quality point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale

MHA Accreditation & Why it Matters

When you’re comparing MHA degree programs, you want to make sure that they are accredited by the CAHME, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education

The CAHME is the benchmark for healthcare administration education that advances the quality of healthcare management by setting measurable criteria for delivering healthcare management education. They offer voluntary accreditation to schools that offer graduate level programs for those preparing healthcare administrations. 

Why is it important? Individuals that attend a CAHME accredited program can expect to receive top quality education that is flexible to meeting the diverse learning needs of the students while addressing the ever changing healthcare market. While CAHME accreditation is not required, graduates often have a competitive edge over others. 

>> Show Me Online Healthcare Administration Programs

Masters in Healthcare Administration Coursework 

Classes for Master’s in Healthcare Administration vary based on the program but most degrees require a minimum of 30 credits to a maximum of 65 credits. Specific coursework includes, 

  • Financial Accounting
  • Leading Organizations
  • Medical Practice Management
  • Marketing in Healthcare Organizations
  • Managed Care and Health Insurance
  • Healthcare Consulting
  • Quality and Patient Safety
  • Statistical Learning
  • Epidemiology
  • Population Health
  • Power, Influence, and Negotiation in Organization
  • Project Management
  • Consulting Practicum
  • Business Strategy in Global Environment
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Budgeting and Financial Management 
  • Quantitative Tools for Managers
  • Epidemiologic Inference Public Health
  • Health Finance and Management

MHA programs have specific competencies that are used to measure the success of the course work and administrative residency. While each program might vary in their interpretation of competencies, general competencies include:

  • Health and Healthcare Environment
    • Financing Environment
    • Health Policy Environment
    • Provider Environment
    • Public Health
    • Legal and Regulatory Environment
  • Management
    • Financial Capability
    • Budget Management
    • Market Analysis
    • Operatives Management and Performance Measurement
    • Knowledge Management
    • Population Health Management
    • Workforce Systems
    • Workforce Management
    • Health Services Management
    • Strategic Thinking and Management
    • Systems Thinking
    • Governance
  • Leadership
    • Innovation and Creativity
    • Leading Change
    • Influence
    • Team Leadership
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Cultural Engagement
  • Relationship Management
    • Interpersonal Understanding
    • Relationship Management
    • Collaboration
  • Standards of Professional Behavior
    • Professionalism
    • Initiative
    • Advocacy
    • Professional Development
    • Self-Awareness
    • Mentoring

Paying For Your MHA

There are a variety of ways to pay for an advanced degree including scholarships, loans, and tuition reimbursement through an employer or the government. 

Check out this article for a detailed overview of how to pay for an advanced degree!

Is an MHA Worth It?

Determining if a Master's in Healthcare Administration is worth it is entirely based on your career goals and life plans. But here are some pros and cons to help make the decision a little easier!


  • Increased Salary Opportunities
  • Increased Career Opportunities
  • Flexible Online Programs
  • Mentorship Opportunities
  • Job Security
  • Job flexibility
  • Increased job responsibilities
  • Learning new advanced skills


  • Student Loan Debt
  • Time Commitment
  • Family Sacrifice
  • Stress
  • Increased job responsibilities 


  • What can you do with a masters in health administration?

    • Individuals with a Masters in Healthcare Administration can have the following job titles: chief executive officer, chief nursing officer, healthcare consultant, practice manager, program manager, facility manager, and nurse manager.
  • MHA vs MBA

    • An MBA in Healthcare Administration focuses on general business leadership as well as healthcare administration while a Master's in Healthcare Administration (MHA) focuses on topics specific to healthcare. An MHA focuses on understanding healthcare operations and functioning in a leadership role at an executive level. 
  • What are the highest paying healthcare administration jobs?

    • Some of the highest paying careers available for healthcare administrators are a Hospital CEO, a Hospital CFO, and a Healthcare Chief Information Officer (CIO). Check out this article for our full list of high paying healthcare administration jobs
  • How do you move up in healthcare administration?

    • Earning an advanced degree, such as a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, will allow individuals to advance their career in healthcare administration. It’s important to seek opportunities within your job and healthcare field. 

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