Master's Degree Program in Healthcare Administration Overview
As the healthcare industry continues to flourish, the health services administration, also known as healthcare administration, career has also expanded because people are needed to manage the growing number of healthcare employees. Some healthcare facilities are so large, that their health services administration team is comprised of several roles, including managers and assistant managers. As the health services administration career continues to grow, employers look for candidates that have a masters degree because these people tend to already have the skills needed for a smooth transition into the office. Applicants with a lower degree typically need more on-the-job training.
Earning a master's degree in health services administration or a master's degree in healthcare administration provides students with the skills to manage a health department. A master's degree is the typical degree that students must pursue in order to become a health services administrator, although bachelors degrees and PhDs also exist for the subject. The typical master's degree program in health services administration lasts between two and three years.
Often people choose to pursue a career in health services administration after working in another area of healthcare such as nursing administration, however others pursue a master's degree in health services administration in order to change careers. Those that earned their bachelors degree in health services administration may choose to earn their master's degree in order to advance in their careers by either managing a larger department, or transferring to a larger healthcare facility.
Applying to a Health Services Administration Master's Degree Program
In theory and in practice, there is no difference between earning a master's degree in health services administration or in healthcare administration. Both programs may lead to a career as a medical and health services manager.
If you are interested in pursuing a master's degree in health services adminstration career in order to change careers, be aware of the requirements for each health services administration program, as some graduate programs only admit students with a bachelors degree in health services administration. For this reason, applicants to a health services administration graduate program may have a better chance if they have prior experience in healthcare or health services. Other schools prefer to admit individuals who have a broad liberal arts background, so a switch to this career from another profession is possible.
The admissions process for a health services administration graduate school is highly competitive, and applicants were often at the top of their class in college. Admissions are competitive because the program leads to a high-level career that manages health care facilities employees and their patients.
Standardized testing is usually required for admissions into a master's degree program. Some programs expect students to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which is the popular test for graduate school admissions. Other programs will accept scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
How to Choose the Best Master's Degree Program for Health Services Administration
Most health services administration master's degree programs last between two and three years. However, there are a few different types of programs that cater to students of various background and career goals.
Some programs combine coursework with supervised administrative practice. These programs follow the practitioner-teacher model, which is primarily focused on the student obtaining hands-on practice in the field. These programs are usually found at graduate schools that specialize in allied health or medicine. Other colleges with programs more focused on business and public health provide a curriculum that is heavily based on theory and analysis, rather than hands-on practice. In these programs, courses are mainly taught in classrooms, not at healthcare facilities. Even if you do not have healthcare experience coming into the program, many programs have an internship or fellowship requirement as part of graduation requirements.
You have the choice of attending a school that allows you to specialize in managing one type of facility, such as nursing care facilities, hospitals or mental health facilities. Or you may attend a graduate school that encourages a generalist education, and allows you to obtain a job in a variety of healthcare facilities. Executive master's of healthcare administration programs are accelerated programs designed for individuals who are already working in healthcare administrative services.
As online colleges grow in popularity, it is becoming increasingly common for students to pursue a blended curriculum that allows students to take part of their courses online. This online master's degree program in healthcare administration is perfect for those who need to continue working while they are pursuing their master's degree.
There are also joint degree programs in healthcare administration. For example, some programs provide both a master's degree in health services administration and a master's of business administration. Other programs provide a masters degree in health organization management in addition to the master's in health services administration. Some of these programs provide both degrees simultaneously, while others are earned in succession.
Regardless of which program you choose, make sure it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) because they are the only accreditor recognized by the United States Department of Education for health services administration programs. This ensures that the curriculum provides you with all the tools and skills necessary to transition into a career as a healthcare administrator.
What to Expect from a Health Services Administration Masters Degree Program
When attending a master's degree program in health services administration, you will learn the latest in healthcare technology and business practices. Although the structure of each program varies, the end result is the same. This is a professional degree, so all programs are designed to provide individuals with enough training to immediately transition into a medical or health services management career. A sampling of courses for a health services administration include marketing, accounting, human resources management, law and ethics, health economics and health information systems.
It is common for nurses, or other people working in the healthcare profession to advance to a health services administration position after many years on the job. Senior-level management skills are taught through these programs, with specific goals for learning general skills such as financial management, knowledge on public health, organization and structure of health services systems and general knowledge on laws and ethics.
Top 10 Health Services Administration Graduate Schools
- Keiser University, Fort Lauderdale
- Monroe College, Bronx
- Strayer University
- Saint Josephs College of Maine
- Emory University
- University of Baltimore
- Purdue University Global - online
- D'Youville College
- University of Iowa
- Monroe College, New Rochelle
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