You Can Make a Change: Masters in Health Administration

December 11, 2012


Masters in Health Administration

Masters in Health Administration

America’s healthcare system is undergoing monumental changes. The Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama, set change in motion with a series of health insurance reforms that continue to be rolled out. Many reforms have already been implemented while others are scheduled for 2013 and 2014. What does all of this mean to you? If you’re interested in a healthcare career and want to be involved in making changes to a complex and costly system, a master’s degree in health administration could be your ticket to success. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Master’s in Health Administration?

A master’s degree in health administration is comparable to a master’s in business administration or a master’s in public administration but with an emphasis on the healthcare industry. Many colleges and universities offer graduate programs in health administration. Though details vary from one program to the next, in general, a master’s degree program in health administration is designed to prepare graduate students for executive health administration positions. These programs explore numerous topics such as:

  • Leadership and management practices
  • Organizational behavior
  • Healthcare reform
  • Healthcare delivery
  • Healthcare administration and policy
  • Healthcare policy analysis
  • Personnel administration
  • Healthcare information systems
  • Legal issues
  • Healthcare finance
  • Healthcare marketing

What Do Health Administrators Do?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health administrators plan, direct, and coordinate medical and healthcare services. Job duties range from scheduling staff, supervising assistant administrators, improving the efficiency of healthcare delivery, and complying with regulations to organizing records, securing protected patient information, implementing reforms, and managing the facility’s finances.

Most healthcare administrators have at least a bachelor’s degree with master’s degrees being common. As of May 2010, the median annual wage for health administrators was $84,270. The field is expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than average. The BLS concludes that this growth is due to an increase in demand as the baby boom population ages and people remain active later in life.

In 2013 and 2014, several healthcare reforms under the Affordable Care Act will kick in including:

  • Expanded the authority to “bundle” payments
  • Establishing affordable health insurance exchanges
  • Increased access to Medicaid
  • Ending pre-existing conditions clauses
  • Physician payment modifications
  • And more…

In addition to the existing reforms, a move toward electronic health records requires knowledgeable health administrators capable of seeing the big picture and overseeing the implementation. With a master’s degree in health administration, you will be in a strong position to facilitate meaningful change.

Where to Get a Master’s Degree in Health Administration

Numerous public, private, and career colleges offer master’s degree programs in health administration. Whether you’re looking for a campus close to home and work or prefer the flexibility of an online degree program, you have plenty of options. Look for a degree program that’s accredited and is a good fit for your lifestyle. Most master’s degree programs in health administration, whether campus-based or online, take about one to two years to complete. As with most master’s degree programs, you will be expected to meet specific criteria, complete all required courses, complete a thesis, and complete various projects and applied experiences.

James McDonnel is an avid blogger and independent researcher. He has recently been researching various MBA Health Care Administration programs and reporting his findings to various higher education and healthcare blogs.

You Can Make a Change: Masters in Health Administration

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