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Master's in Healthcare Administration: Salary and Career Facts

Find out what jobs require a master's degree in healthcare administration. Look at degree program requirements, examine licensing regulations and see what salary you can expect.

What Is a Healthcare Administrator?

Healthcare administrators may also be referred to as healthcare executive or medical or health services managers. They are responsible for directing and coordinating healthcare services for health facilities, clinics, specific departments in a facility or physician groups. They are responsible for seeing to it that the operation of their facility or organization complies with healthcare laws and keeps up with the applicable technological advances. Depending on your position and/or state regulations, you may be required to be licensed. Discover more about this career in the table below:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degrees are common and required by some employers
Key Responsibilities Coordinate and supervise health service clinics
Licensure/Certification Required Voluntary certification is available; licensure is required for nursing home administrators
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 18% growth* (all medical and health services managers)
Median Salary (2018) $99,730* (all medical and health services managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Can I Learn in a Masters in Healthcare Administration Program?

Several graduate schools offer masters-level programs in healthcare administration. Some combine the healthcare-related topics into a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program while others may confer a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree. The main differences between the two programs are the focus areas within the business courses. MBA programs typically provide general business management and leadership training, offering students electives in a specific concentration. All business-related topics in an MHA program stem from how the subject applies to the healthcare industry.

Both options provide you with a solid background in management practices, business operations and critical decision-making. In courses specific to healthcare administration, you'll discuss medical staff and patient relations, a facility's community impact, public health initiatives and legal compliance issues. Most master's programs offer the option to participate in a supervised field study if you have no prior experience in the profession. If you are already employed in the healthcare industry, you may opt to complete a research thesis instead.

What Jobs Will I Qualify For?

Typically, bachelor's degrees suffice to obtain an entry-level healthcare management job. If you're already employed in a hospital or medical facility, a master's degree may give you the additional education and skills necessary to advance to a position of greater responsibility. With a background in the healthcare industry and a master's degree in administration, you may qualify for management and executive positions at several healthcare facilities, including:

  • General hospitals and medical clinics
  • University teaching hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Assisted living and nursing homes
  • Home health care
  • Private physicians' offices

How Much Can I Earn?

Depending on the healthcare institution, salaries fluctuated between less than $58,680 and more than $182,600 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Management staff in medical manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, reported the highest wages. Also in 2018, general medical and surgical hospital managers made up the majority of professionals in this field, and earned a mean salary of $122,460 annually.

Do I Need to be Licensed?

Most healthcare administration jobs aren't state-regulated. However, if you choose to work as an administrator in a nursing home, all states do require you to obtain licensure. In some instances, states also mandate registration for managers of assisted living facilities.

What Are Some Related Similar Careers?

Social and community service managers are responsible for providing and administrating social service and community services to the public. Managing a staff, social and community service managers work to identify a community's specific needs and implement programs that address those needs. They write funding proposals and oversee budgetary considerations. They monitor program performance and institute the necessary adjustments to increase a program's efficiency.

Another position dealing with organizational administration is human resources manager. HR managers generally direct an organization's recruiting efforts, conduct interviews of job candidates, hire employees and then serve as a facilitator in the relationships between executives and employees. They may be responsible for mediating disputes within the company and supervise the implementation of employee benefits.