Master's Degree Programs in Healthcare Finance
While master's programs specifically in healthcare finance are rare, students can choose from several degree options in the field, including MBA and MHA degrees. Explore these degrees, common courses, and typical admissions requirements here.
How to Earn a Master's in Healthcare Finance
Healthcare finance is most commonly offered as a concentration area for master's degree programs like Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Health Administration (MHA), or Master of Public Administration (MPA), but there are also closely related degrees, such as a Master of Finance with a concentration in healthcare management or a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in finance. Some of these degree programs may be available in online formats, can be completed in 2 years, and may require as many as 45 credits. Students in these master's programs usually take core courses, electives, and/or courses in the specialization, with the specialization sometimes requiring between 8 and 9 credits of coursework. Some programs may conclude with a capstone experience.
Courses in health economics explore the economic theories that pertain specifically to the field of healthcare and how these theories can be applied to solving issues and challenges in the field. Some of these courses may conclude with a final analysis project that allows students to apply what they have learned to analyzing real-world markets. Students may discuss the influence of public policy on healthcare markets, as well as concepts in areas like the demand for health services, market performance, and health insurance.
Courses in risk or risk management may also explore closely related subjects, such as regulatory compliance or health insurance. In general, these courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to manage and mitigate different types of risk. Courses that include topics in regulatory compliance may also provide students with an overview of laws and regulations for healthcare organizations and how to ensure compliance with regulations in programming.
Students in healthcare management courses explore management techniques and skills for ensuring healthcare organizations run smoothly and effectively. Some of these courses may focus on various areas of healthcare management, such as operations or healthcare organization, but all of these courses aim to prepare students for dealing with various challenges management in healthcare faces. Specific topics for these courses may include ethics, problem-solving, resource constraints, program implementation, operations performance, and healthcare delivery systems.
Courses in managerial finance or financial management provide students with skills in a variety of financial areas, like accounting and budgeting, to prepare for leadership positions in their organization. Some of these courses may provide students with hands-on training in Microsoft Excel and/or a financial calculator, as well as utilize case studies, readings, and other assignments to teach students. Students in these courses may explore topics in analyzing financial statements, operating budgets, time value of money, valuation, risk vs. returns, and long-term financing.
Depending on the program, students may take a general course in leadership and management or a course specific to leadership in healthcare. Either way, students in these courses explore theories and skillsets in leadership that are necessary to take on more responsibility within their organization. These courses may help equip students with problem-solving skills, train students in how to analyze issues and develop plans to address them, provide ways to motivate employees to help increase performance, and more.
Admission Requirements for Master's Degree Programs in Healthcare Finance
Since healthcare finance is usually offered as a concentration area for a variety of master's degree programs, students should be sure to check the specific admissions requirements for their degree program of interest. In general, applicants to master's degree programs in the field need to have a bachelor's degree and may be required to meet a minimum GPA, usually around a 3.0. Students are typically required or strongly encouraged to submit GRE or GMAT test scores, but some programs may make the exams optional. Some programs, such as an MBA, may require students to have a minimum amount of professional work experience and/or undergo an interview process. Common application materials for master's degree programs related to healthcare finance include transcripts, letter of recommendation, resume, and/or essay responses.
There are several different master's degree programs that offer a concentration in the field of healthcare finance, some of which can be completed online. Students in these programs generally take elective/concentration courses in the field that further develop their knowledge of the healthcare system, leadership skills, and finance skills.