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Top 30 Healthcare Management Degree Options

graduate degreeBy Kristen Fescoe
Published August, 2015

While the job market has seen great losses over recent years, the healthcare market continues to expand at an unexpected pace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average rate of growth for all professionals throughout the United States is 11 percent. The growth currently seen in healthcare sector jobs is significantly higher, with some healthcare jobs predicted to rise 30 to 40 percent over the next ten years. One of the health sector employment areas seeing some of the most tremendous growth is Healthcare Management and Administration. This area of the market is made up of highly skilled professionals who manage the business side of the healthcare industry. This can be in a hospital, a healthcare facility, private practices, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and many others. In order to pursue a career in this field, a healthcare manager, administrator or executive must earn a degree in this field. This list highlights the top 30 degree options for those individuals who have an interest in pursuing a career in healthcare management. Data was compiled from several sources including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US News and World Report, Forbes and the American College of Healthcare Executives. Also included is the average time to complete the degree program, the career outlook, possible areas of employment and potential growth. Those with an interest in pursuing a career in healthcare management industry can use this information to find the degree that is right for them.

Doctor of Health Informatics

Sample Programs:

University of Pittsburgh
University of Washington

The goal of a doctoral program in health informatics is to train the coming generation of researchers in this field, so they will be qualified to further the science of Biomedical and Health Informatics. Students pursuing a doctoral degree in this area will learn from academic programs that emphasize the science of Health Informatics, rather than simply the day-to-day computer implementations or technology management. Doctoral candidates will learn to create important research questions about biomedical data and knowledge, how to properly store and retrieve that information and how to properly use information and technology. Upon graduation, these highly skilled technicians will be experts in the medical technology field with the qualifications to manage the implementation of the new systems and how to train staff to effectively manage those system. Once employed, graduates holding a Doctor of Health Informatics are responsible for a number of duties including:

  • Designing, testing and implementing new system for doctors and medical staff
  • Investigating problems and challenges with medical information system raised by doctors and other medical staff
  • Create processes that streamline reporting of such problems
  • Regularly reviewing new technology available for healthcare systems and recommending updates and changes as needed
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Protect patients’ health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 5-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $105,158
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, healthcare facilities, physicians office, nursing or residential care or government positions
Potential Growth: 24%

Doctor of Healthcare Administration

Sample Programs:

Medical University of South Carolina
A.T. Still University

While most individuals working as healthcare managers and administrators will possess their master’s degree in this field, a select group of individuals will rise to the top of the field by earning the esteemed Doctor of Healthcare Administration. Students enrolling in these advanced training programs will learn how they can become pioneering leaders and problem solvers within the ever-changing healthcare sector. Students will learn about both theoretical and practical aspects of the field and how to work amidst constant change and evolution. Doctoral candidates will learn to combine complex business skills with the details of the healthcare field so they may use advanced business strategies to innovate in the healthcare sector. Some of the potential academic focus areas include:

  • Healthcare law
  • The economics of medical care
  • Organizational theory and its effect in the health industry
  • Health policy
  • The financing of healthcare
  • Effectiveness/cost-benefit analysis in the healthcare industry
  • Health information systems
  • Quantitative methods
  • Management science

By earning a doctoral degree in this growing area of the employment sector, graduates will have the flexibility to work in many different areas of healthcare delivery.

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 5-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $110,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing facilities, outpatient centers, colleges or universities, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, government agencies and research facilities.
Potential Growth: 23%

Doctor of Healthcare Management

Sample Programs:

University of Pennsylvania
Tulane University

The Doctor of Healthcare Management is another advanced degree option for students who want to be innovators in the growing and changing field of healthcare management. Students learn the basics of where business and medicine intersect, with training that will advance individuals to higher-level management and business skills. Tulane University offers one of the leading programs in this area. The School of Public Health, who confers this degree, has set forth a number of important learning objectives that are important to this and many other Doctor of Healthcare Management Degree programs. These include:

Domain 1: General Knowledge

  1. Acquire knowledge of theories and supporting concepts pertinent to applied, multi-disciplinary, public health research in the US and internationally.
  2. Outline and articulate the key elements of the research process from identifying the research question, selecting a theoretical framework, developing a study design, using appropriate methodologies, conducting the analysis, and interpreting the results.

Domain 2: Research Questions, Theoretical Models and Hypotheses Generation

  1. Summarize and synthesize the state of knowledge in a problem area, articulate key concepts, assess relevant findings, identify significant gaps, and compare the advantages and disadvantages of different study designs and methodologies used to date.
  2. Formulate priority research questions relating to a specific area of global health knowledge based on existing gaps in the literature.

Domain 3: Research Design

  1. Compare advantages and disadvantages of different formal study designs and approaches. Provide feasible alternative standard research designs for given research questions
  2. Develop and write an original research protocol or prospectus that includes identifying the research question, selecting a theoretical framework, developing a study design, using appropriate methodologies, conducting the analysis, and interpreting the results.

Domain 4: Research Conduct

  1. Develop and use instruments for primary and secondary data collection and perform data analysis using correct and appropriate research methods.
  2. Apply for and receive IRB approval for a specific research project using approved and ethical research protocols.

Domain 5: Dissemination of Knowledge

  1. Disseminate and discuss research knowledge and findings to appropriate audiences
  2. Demonstrate ability to educate others and assess retention.

Schools offering the Doctor of Healthcare Management degree will work to address these important domains as well as a number of potential others, as the industry continues to grow and change.

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 5-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $178,400
Possible Areas of Employment: Healthcare settings, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, consulting firms, biomedical device companies, biomedical firms
Potential Growth: 22%

Doctor of Management

Sample Programs:

Colorado Technical Institute
University of Maryland

The Doctor of Management (DM or DMgt) is a doctoral level degree offered to students who have completed advanced study and research in the field of management. Case Western Reserve University first introduced the DM in 1995, and since the programs inception several universities have developed similar programs successfully. The fundamentals of these programs are similar to a PhD in management, with a strong emphasis on the development of management and fundamental business skills. In order to be admitted to a DM program, candidates must possess a master’s degree in a related field, have managerial experience, and successfully complete a comprehensive exam. A DM program consists of a combination of the following:

  • Core coursework, including leadership and strategy classes as well as training in research methodology
  • Independent research must be carried out under supervision of a doctoral advisor
  • Thesis defense

Several DM programs offer a variety of areas for concentrations or specializations, including Healthcare Management. One example of such a program is the Colorado Technical University Doctor of Management (DM) degree program with an optional concentration in Healthcare Management and Leadership. This concentration is designed for doctoral candidates who have a strong interest in pursuing positions as academic or administrative leaders in the healthcare industry. Other potential candidates are best suited to find jobs where they can become innovators in the field and lead the field in the face of a growing amount of change in the healthcare field.

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 4-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: Average of $103,680, with a range of $55,890 – $161,150
Possible Areas of Employment: Healthcare settings, hospitals, colleges or universities, research facilities, consulting firms
Potential Growth: 23%

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Sample Programs:

University of Minnesota
University of Alabama

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is a practice-based doctorate degree for nurses, representing the highest level of academic training in the field of nursing practice. The changing face of healthcare has led to significant transformations in nursing practice. Many of these ongoing changes have led to an expanding need for more highly trained and highly skilled nurses. In addition to advance nursing skills, an important group of nurses will need to gain the leadership and management skills that will be increasingly important as changes continue to occur. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), graduating Advance Practice Registered Nursing Programs from the graduate level to the doctoral level is a “…response to changes in health care delivery and emerging health care needs, additional knowledge or content areas have been identified by practicing nurses. In addition, the knowledge required to provide leadership in the discipline of nursing is so complex and rapidly changing that additional or doctoral level education is needed.” The AACN has also outlined the benefits of this advancement, which includes:

  • The development of needed advanced competencies for increasingly complex clinical, faculty and leadership roles
  • Enhanced knowledge to improve nursing practice and patient outcomes
  • Enhanced leadership skills to strengthen practice and health care delivery
  • Better match of program requirements and credits and time with the credential earned
  • Provision of an advanced educational credential for those who require advanced practice knowledge but do not need or want a strong research focus (e.g. clinical faculty)
  • Parity with other health professions, most of which have a doctorate as the credential required for practice
  • Enhanced ability to attract individuals to nursing from non-nursing backgrounds
  • Increased supply of faculty for clinical instruction and the improved image of nursing

It is also important to note that when looking into advanced nursing degrees for nurse practitioner positions, there is a definitive difference between DNP and PhD programs. Generally speaking, the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a clinical practice degree while a PhD in nursing is a more research-focused degree.

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 5-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $96,807
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, healthcare settings, outpatient care facilities, academia
Potential Growth: 31%

Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Informatics

Sample Programs:

Rutgers University
Columbia University

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biomedical Informatics degree program is designed for highly motivated students who want to develop, implement and evaluate health informatics algorithms and technologies for the advancement of health care delivery and management. Graduates of the many prestigious programs offering these degrees lead to highly valued careers in positions such as chief information officers (CIOs), scientists and directors of research, managers of hospital and laboratory information systems, and faculty members in various health sciences educational institutions. The PhD degree program traditionally takes 3-5 years to complete. Within the greater area of Biomedical Informatics, there are also optional areas of specialization, such as:

  • Nanomedicine and Clinical Informatics
  • Consumer/Patient Care Informatics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Hospital/Healthcare Management Informatics

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 3-5 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: Median salary $72,720 with top 10 percent earning $110,850
Possible Areas of Employment: Academia, government agencies, healthcare settings, insurance companies, research facilities, public health agencies
Potential Growth: 22%

Doctor of Philosophy in Biostatistics

Sample Programs:

University of Pittsburg
Tulane University

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biostatistics degree is an advanced academic degree program offered to driven students with a background in mathematics and an interest in biology and public health. These programs focus on statistical philosophy and methods so students are properly trained to be effective in the interdisciplinary field of biostatistics. The PhD program offered at the University of Pittsburg offers this degree program with the following program goals:

  • Quantitatively address a novel or complex health problem by developing an innovative statistical methodology or adapting existing methods to a new problem
  • Demonstrate mastery of advanced statistical theory and applications
  • Understand and implement innovative statistical approaches emerging in the literature to biomedical and public health issues
  • Communicate the results of biostatistical analyses to individuals with varying degrees of statistical knowledge
  • Recognize strengths and weaknesses of proposed approaches, including alternative designs, data sources, and analytic methods
  • Determine the data best suited to address public health issues, program planning, and program evaluation
  • Contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of biostatistics by submitting an article for publication in peer-reviewed journal, or preparing a book chapter or book for publication

The PhD program in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Tulane is designed to train advanced students in the theory and application of biostatistical/bioinformatics methods. Graduates from the PhD program in Biostatistics have traditionally pursued careers as academic researchers and teachers, in industries such as the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields. Upon graduation from the program at Tulane, graduates pursue roles such as teaching, collaborative research, and independent research in statistics, biostatistics, bioinformatics methods, design and data analysis.

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 5-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: Range of $39,090 – $119,100 with an average of $72,830
Possible Areas of Employment: Federal government, insurance company, educational services, state/local government, healthcare facilities, hospital
Potential Growth: 27%

Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology

Sample Programs:

Ohio State University
The University of Illinois

The field of Epidemiology is a science that measures relationships between disease exposure and the later development of disease in humans. The goal of this science is to offer ways of minimizing or eliminating this risk through various interventions. Epidemiologic research can offer information regarding significant public health issues, such as tobacco use, spread of infectious diseases and many others. There are many schools that offer undergraduate and master’s level degrees in this field, but those programs offering a doctoral degree in this fascinating area are less prevalent. The program at Ohio State University allows students an excellent opportunity to learn at a top rated national university and have the backing and support of a large research university. Students at Ohio State have the opportunity to become involved in observational studies, specifically investigations into causes to identify causes of disease. There are courses in a number of areas, including epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, epidemiology of injury, epidemiology of tuberculosis, molecular epidemiology, reproductive and perinatal epidemiology, epidemiology of obesity and nutritional epidemiology. The school has active research into areas such as:

  • Cancer epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • Reproductive and perinatal epidemiology
  • Infectious disease epidemiology
  • Injury epidemiology
  • Tobacco control

A similar program at the University of Illinois allows students to gain important academic and research skills in this growing and evolving field. The school has outlined that students completing the doctoral degree in epidemiology from this program must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Critically appraise epidemiologic literature
  • Summarize the current state of knowledge and develop hypotheses that may lead to new discoveries in a particular area of epidemiology
  • Identify approaches to developing and evaluating theories about the determinants of health and disease patterns in populations
  • Generate original ideas, data, and analyses of a quality that will influence public health practice or epidemiological science
  • Choose among the various study design alternatives used in the evaluation of causal theories or public health programs in epidemiology
  • Choose among various data analysis methods in epidemiology
  • Design a study and write a scientific proposal
  • Communicate original ideas and findings orally and in writing at a level effective for diverse audiences including attendees at professional meetings, readers of research journals and laypersons
  • Define the central role of causation in Epidemiologic study, including knowledge of various definitions and concepts of causation

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 4-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $43,000 – $108,000
Possible Areas of Employment: State or local government agencies, hospitals, colleges or universities
Potential Growth: 11%

Doctor of Philosophy in Health Policy

Sample Programs:

Harvard University
Yale University

The doctoral degree programs in Health Policy are generally designed with the goal of training future leader in the field who will be able to apply theoretical constructs from various social sciences (economics, political science, organizational theory and management, sociology) to address relevant health policy research questions. The doctoral program offered at Yale University was designed to be interdisciplinary in order to train doctoral candidates for research careers in academics as well as in public and private sector agencies and organizations. Students in this nationally recognized program complete courses in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Health policy and Management
  • Biostatistics
  • Econometrics
  • A selected area of depth – Some of these include economic theory and application, political and policy analysis, and organizational theory and management

Students in the department of Health Policy and Management must take qualifying examinations in three areas:

  1. Health policy and management
  2. Biostatistics
  3. Their chosen area of depth

Graduates of this program have a wide range of employment areas to pursue. Some students will take jobs as college level instructors who may also be involved in active research. Others will secure positions in various levels of government to help impact health policy nationally or on a more local level.

Estimated Cost: $123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 4-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $90,000 – $150,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Health department, government agency, healthcare setting, research facility
Potential Growth: 23%

Doctor of Public Health or Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health

Sample Programs:

University of Pittsburg
Tulane University
Temple University

Doctoral level Public Health professionals are qualified to pursue careers as health educators and community health workers who work in a wide range of potential settings, including hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, and colleges. Some of the potential positions include:

  • Public health management analyst
  • Director of programs and services
  • Health communications specialist
  • Research scientist
  • Environmental health intelligence analyst
  • Manager, health initiatives

Students earning a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree will enter into careers where they will use their understanding of public health trends to impact positive change for the community. This advanced degree leads to careers in high-level administration, teaching, or practice, where advanced analytical and conceptual capabilities are required. An increasing number of universities are offering Doctor of Public Health degrees. One such program is offered by Tulane University. Students completing this program are required to:

  • Incorporate knowledge of the Public Health core areas of epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health systems management, and the biological, social, and cultural aspects of health and disease in addressing and solving problems.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of evidence-based public health, and how to conduct systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
  • Demonstrate the conduct and interpretation of formative research to develop public health interventions in diverse contexts.
  • Develop the professional leadership and management skills to coordinate global health interventions in diverse settings.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of evaluation theory, and be capable of implementing monitoring and evaluation systems
  • Demonstrate capacity to understand the role of gender, culture, social, economic, and historical contexts in demonstrating and implementing global public health programs.
  • Recognize the interdisciplinary nature of public health.

Estimated Cost: $$123,500 – $181,500
Average Length for Completion : 5-6 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $76,700
Possible Areas of Employment: Government agencies, research facilities, college or universities, healthcare settings, consulting firms
Potential Growth: 21%

Executive Master of Business Administration

Sample Programs:

Northwestern University
University of California – Berkeley

A recent article published on the US News and World Report Education website outlined the strengths and weaknesses of the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA). The article outlines the major differences between a traditional MBA and an executive MBA, including job status and program structure. Many EMBA students are motivated and qualified students who have the potential to become leaders in their organizations. Most potential EMBA students will have five years of post-baccalaureate experience. While enrolled in an EMBA program, students will work toward their degree while still receiving full pay, and in many cases the employer will cover all or some of the tuition. According to a 2009 Global Management Education Graduate Survey (conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council), business school graduates rate the EMBA the highest among all MBA programs. The survey also rated EMBA graduates as the most satisfied with their education. Those students who earn an EMBA with a specialization in Healthcare or a healthcare related topic are properly trained with the high level business and management skills they will need to work as a senior manager or healthcare executive. Many hospital CEO’s are EMBA graduates and they are among the highest paid medical and health services managers.

Estimated Cost: $51,799
Average Length for Completion : 2 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $155,848
Possible Areas of Employment: Higher level healthcare management or administration positions
Potential Growth: 23%

Healthcare MBA

Sample Programs:

George Washington University
Northeastern University
Marist University

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in healthcare is becoming a standard degree for those looking to pursue a career in healthcare management or administration. An MBA is a business degree that provides students with the information and skills to find success as a business manager. There are a number of options for how and where you can earn an MBA. These degrees can be earned full or part time, online or on-campus, on a regular weekday schedule or a weekend or evening format. The time it takes to complete your Healthcare MBA will vary depending upon your format.

Full-Time MBA: Two Years – This is the standard MBA program and typically requires four semesters of full-time coursework to complete.

Part-Time MBA: Three or More Years – Working professionals often enroll in part-time programs. Students take their classes either at night or on the weekends, and their course load depends on what they believe they’re able to handle per semester. These courses are often taken online.

Accelerated MBA: Eighteen Months or Fewer – These programs differ in length by school. Students do not adhere to the standard university schedule.

Executive MBA: Two Years
This program is similar to the full-time MBA program, though it is meant for working professionals who’ve been involved in their profession for many years, often ten or more.

Dual MBA: One Year or More

As healthcare managers tackle problems specific to the healthcare sector, Healthcare MBA programs must provide students with a curriculum that both provides them with standard business and management skills as well as the tools needed to function successfully in a healthcare setting.

Estimated Cost: $10,000 – $100,000 with an average of $102,355 for a top 20 business school
Average Length for Completion : 18 months – 3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: Top Executives earning $101,650
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, medical clinics, outpatient healthcare facility, nursing care facility, pharmaceutical company, insurance company
Potential Growth: 23%

MBA – Pharmaceutical Industry Specific

Sample Programs:

Rutgers University
Columbia University

The healthcare sector, including pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms and medical device makers, is becoming increasingly complex and competitive as technology advances. These advancements are creating a need for highly skilled managers who are knowledgeable, problem-solvers and possess the skills to adapt to changes quickly. One of the rapidly growing specializations being offered alongside the traditional MBA is in the pharmaceutical industry. There are a growing number of colleges and universities offering these very specialized degree programs. The Pharmaceutical MBA at Rutgers University is one of the first and most successful programs of its kind. The curriculum used in this program is extensive, concentrating on the various elements of the pharmaceutical business, including legal, regulatory and ethical issues, characteristics of the health care system and real-world marketing challenges faced by the industry. Students enrolled in the Rutgers MBA Pharmaceutical Management Program, and similar programs, are earning a spot among the top winners in national case competitions that display their knowledge of different facets of the healthcare business. In 2012, Rutgers Business School began hosting its own biopharmaceutical case competition to help showcase the program.

Estimated Cost: $10,000 – $100,000 with the average of $102,355 for a top 20 business school
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $92,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies
Potential Growth: 15.9%

MBA/MSN

Sample Programs:

Loyola University – Chicago
University of California – Los Angeles

The dual Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing Program (MBA/MSN) is geared towards students with an interest in the management of nursing. Some of the positions that a graduate of a MBA/MSN program can pursue include:

  • Nurse Consultant
  • Research Nurse
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Advanced Nurse Practitioner

An excellent example of this program is the three-year concurrent degree program jointly sponsored by The UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA School of Nursing. Upon completion of the program students are awarded the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Graduates can enter management careers in healthcare or work as consultants. This graduate nursing and business program is a great representation of the interdisciplinary interest of employers, faculty, and students who understand the challenges of managing in the healthcare delivery context. The dual degree MSN/MBA program at Loyola University provides concurrent study in the MBA program and the MSN, Advanced Practice Nursing: Health Systems Management major. This program allows students to earn both degrees simultaneously in a shorter period of time than pursuing each independently. The overall objective of the dual degree program is to “provide nurse leaders with a broad preparation in business administration and nursing administration”.

Estimated Cost: $10,000 – $100,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-4 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary:
Nurse Consultant – $125,000
Research Nurse – $90,000
Nurse Educator – $77,000
Nurse Administrator – $60,000 to $200,000
Advanced Nurse Practitioner – $60,000 to $72,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, healthcare settings, physicians practices, colleges or universities, research settings
Potential Growth:
Nurse Consultant – 26% growth
Research Nurse – 26% growth
Nurse Educator – 26% growth
Nurse Administrator – 26% growth
Advanced Nurse Practitioner – 26% growth

Master of Arts or Master of Science in Epidemiology

Sample Programs:

University of Pittsburg
Ohio State University

A master’s degree in epidemiology is the minimum degree requirement for most positions in this field. Epidemiologists are highly trained public health professionals who study patterns and etiology of disease and injury in communities. They are professionals who work to decrease the risk and incidence of adverse health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy. Those professionals who work as research epidemiologists spend the bulk of their time studying data and reports in an office setting. Lab work and the fieldwork are often delegated to specialized scientists and other technical staff. Epidemiologists who work in state and local government public health departments are often more active in the community and often travel regularly to support community education efforts or to administer studies and surveys.

Estimated Cost: $55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $42,620 – $108,320 with an average of $65,270
Possible Areas of Employment: Health department, state or local government agency, hospital, academia
Potential Growth: 10%

Master of Health Administration

Sample Programs:

University of Mississippi
University of Florida

The Master of Healthcare Administration degree is a great way for students to work towards a career in health care leadership. Most programs are designed to offer students the opportunity to prepare for upper-level managerial and leadership roles within the health care delivery system. Healthcare administrators are an increasingly important part of health care delivery. They are responsible for overseeing and coordinating services, making important budgetary decisions, approving or changing programs and controlling how to best spend healthcare dollars within a facility or system. The MHA program offered at the University of Florida is designed to “engage early health care careerists to use evidence-based strategies to improve healthcare quality, affordability, and access”. This program, and many like it offer students the necessary knowledge in the field using a full-time, campus based, cohort model that allows for experiential learning and scientifically proven problem solving skills. Students in all MHA programs must become proficient in the detection, analysis, management and response to relevant administrative and management issues in both provider and non-provider healthcare organizations.

Estimated Cost: $55,000 – $85,000 with the average of $58,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $70,000 – $130,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospital, care facility, non-profit agency, consulting firm, corporation, government agency
Potential Growth: 23%

Master of Health Information Management

Sample Programs:

College of Saint Scholastica
Kaplan University

The Master of Health Information Management is considered the minimum educational level to enter this exciting and expanding field. There is a difference between Health informatics and Health Information Management. Health Informatics is the science of information management using the application of computers and computer technologies. The area where Informatics and Information Management overlaps most greatly is in the application of information technology to the tasks and activities in the health information system. Health Informatics professionals focus on the design of computer information systems, analysis of health information, and applied research. Health information management is a clinical profession that involves skills and capabilities in areas such as collecting, analyzing, managing, and utilizing health information to enhance the delivery of direct healthcare. While these two fields are similar in some ways they are two distinct fields of study and practice. Health Information Management professionals can pursue employment in a range of healthcare settings, including acute care, ambulatory care, public health, vendor organizations, academic, and research. HIM professionals are highly skilled in the most cutting edge information management technology applications and they must understand the workflow in their particular healthcare provider organization. Health information management can be considered a “bridge role”, connecting clinical, operational, and administrative areas within a singular healthcare organization. Their efforts affect the quality of patient information and direct patient care throughout the healthcare delivery cycle. By pursuing this degree option graduates gain the skills, knowledge and understanding to help make the healthcare system run smoother and more efficiently.

Estimated Cost: $$55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 18 month – 3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $50,000 – $75,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Healthcare setting, public health agency, insurance company, academia, research setting
Potential Growth: 22%

Master of Health Services Administration

Sample Programs:

Armstrong State University
Xavier University

The Master of Health Administration or Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) is a master’s-level professional degree, awarded to graduates who complete a course of study comprised of the knowledge, method and skills required for careers in health administration. The curriculum found in a traditional MHA program will include management of hospitals and other health services organizations, as well as public health infrastructure and consulting. These programs often differ depending upon the setting, however most programs use a practitioner-teacher model that is also found in colleges of medicine, health professions, or allied health, with some classroom-based programs found at colleges of business or public health. Most accredited MHA programs will require students to complete experiential learning opportunities in addition to their course work in areas such as population health, healthcare economics, health policy, organizational behavior, management of healthcare organizations, healthcare marketing and communications, human resource management, information systems management and assessment, operations assessment and improvement, governance, leadership, statistical analysis and application, financial analysis and management, and strategy formulation and implementation. These programs are designed to provide graduates of health disciplines a more comprehensive understanding of management issues in preparation for senior management roles.

Estimated Cost: $ $55,000 – $85,000 with the average of $58,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: Varies Depending upon industry
Practice Manager – $43,172 – $84,353
Healthcare Administrator – $44,219 – $81,389
Hospital Administrator – $73,698 – $218,733
Executive Director – $72,715 – $132,257
Possible Areas of Employment: Healthcare facility, hospital, outpatient facility, nursing care facility
Potential Growth: 23%

Master of Healthcare Delivery Science

Sample Programs:

Dartmouth University

The Master of Healthcare Delivery Science (MHCDS) degree program is currently offered only at Dartmouth University. The MHCDA program is designed for busy working professionals. During their enrollment, there are four residential periods, spaced throughout the 18-month program. The first and final residencies are two weeks in length and the second and third residencies are five days each. There is also a Distance Learning element that students complete, requiring an average of 15 hours per week. The program was designed to address the fact that most problems facing health care systems throughout the world are generally not based in medical knowledge, instead they are problems of effective management and implementation. The MHCDS offers specialized training to a diverse, global group of students who will become the health care leaders of the future. The program is supported in combination by the Tuck School of Business and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI). The combination of advanced research expertise found through the faculty in these two departments leads to excellent outcomes with the Tuck School’s established success in teaching leadership and teamwork, finance, and operations. The program is grounded in the commitment to “the value-based improvement of health care delivery—achieving better outcomes for the same or lower costs—that is scientifically, ethically, and managerially sound”. The degree program is designed to meet the needs of people currently advancing the delivery of healthcare.

Estimated Cost: $99,565
Average Length for Completion : 18 months
Career Outlook/Average Salary: New Degree Option
Possible Areas of Employment: Various healthcare settings
Potential Growth: 23%

Master of Healthcare Management

Sample Programs:

Harvard University
Penn State University World Campus

The Master of Healthcare Management degree program is an excellent option for those people with a desire to advance to positions of leadership or management in the healthcare sector. With changes to healthcare, an aging population and constantly changing regulations and mandates, more and more health organizations are seeing the need for highly skilled healthcare managers. Healthcare professionals in management positions are given the task of balancing financial responsibilities, handling employee management issues, addressing human resource needs and properly managing sensitive medical information in order to enhance the health delivery system. Master in Healthcare Management (MHM) programs provide motivated students with hands on experiences and important knowledge and skill training to function successfully in a results oriented workplace. One such program is offered by Harvard University. Students in Harvard’s MHM program gain practical management skills to supplement their existing talent as physicians or direct care providers. The program is designed to allow students to continue working full-time while earning their degree. The program uses Harvard’s “case based teaching method” in combination with widespread peer collaboration. The degree program helps clinical executives stay abreast of trends, issues and competitive strategies that are pertinent to the US health care system.

Estimated Cost: $ $55,000 – $85,000 with the average of $58,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $40,110 – $110,000 with average of $87,800
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospital, physician group practice, nursing home, home health agency
Potential Growth: 22%

Master of Management

Sample Programs:

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Vanderbilt University

The Master of Management (MM or MMgt) is a post-graduate master’s degree conferred to students who would generally complete a one or two year graduate program in business management. These programs are commonly designed for students with an interest in pursuing leadership positions within healthcare organizations. The MM program structure is similar to programs such as a Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management degrees. There are several universities now offering Master of Management degrees to professionals working in the healthcare sector. Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers a unique and innovative Master of Science in Management with a Healthcare Systems Concentration. Another, example is the Master of Management in Health Care offered by Vanderbilt University. This is a 30-credit-hour graduate program designed to help maturing managers in health care organizations collect important business skills and theories and apply them immediately to their current position. The one-year program consists of core business courses one night a week, rigorous health care industry-specific courses one weekend per month and team collaboration on a health care strategy project throughout the program. Clinical professionals enrolled in the Vanderbilt MMgt in Health Care program earn important business knowledge and management skills necessary to effectively manage a health care organization. Core courses include the following:

  • Economics
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Leading Teams in Organizations

Estimated Cost: $$55,00 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary:
Director of Operations – $97,211 – $137,798
Executive Director – $63,871 – $132,257
Marketing Director – $87,429 – $152,459
Operations Manager – $46,000 – $79,750
Possible Areas of Employment: Healthcare settings, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies
Potential Growth: 23%

Master of Public Administration

Sample Programs:

University of North Dakota
Grand Canyon University

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a professional post-graduate degree in public administration. An MPA is the public sector’s degree equivalent to the private sector’s Master of Business Administration. The MPA program is designed for public sector professionals and it prepares students to work as managers in the executive branch of local, state/provincial, and federal/national government, as well as in nongovernmental organization (NGO) and nonprofit sectors. The curriculum in these programs focuses on the methodical investigation of executive organization and management. Students are trained in areas including the roles, development, and principles of public administration, public policy management and implementation. Grand Canyon University offers a degree option for students who are interested in the benefits that an MPA degree has to offer healthcare professionals. Coursework in this MPA program teaches students to apply organizational skills in the areas of leadership, human capital development, policy and governance within a public sector health care environment. Students in this program will develop a thorough understanding of modern health care models from financial, economic, quality, access and disparity perspectives. The broad perspective underlying the program helps students define their roles and perspective as administrators within the health care system.

Estimated Cost: $ $55,000 – $85,000 with the average of $58,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $61,227 – $180,083
Possible Areas of Employment: Non profit organizations, government agencies
Potential Growth: 23%

Master of Public Health

Sample Programs:

Ohio State University
Grand Canyon University

The Master of Public Health (MPH) in a graduate level degree program offering training in the science of preventing disease, enhancing lives and promoting health through understand of the patterns and habits within a community. Students pursuing an MPH will generally choose a specific area of concentration. Some of these include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Environment Health Science
  • Social and Behavioral Science
  • Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness
  • International Public Health Management
  • Public Health Policy
  • Public Health Education

Health educators and community health workers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, and colleges. Some of the potential job titles for graduates of an MPH program include:

  • Public health management analyst
  • Director of programs and services
  • Health communications specialist
  • Research scientist
  • Environmental health intelligence analyst
  • Manager, health initiatives

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) estimates that an additional 250,000 public health workers will be needed by 2020 in order to address the rising need for community based health programs.  The public health workforce is declining with 50,000 fewer public health workers in 2000 than in 1980. Despite the decline in trained Public Health Professionals, the need for more MPH holders rises each year. This means that those students who graduate with an MPH degree will have a wide variety of options for their career. Public health remains to be a rising field filled with rewarding challenges that deal with complex public health problems. Public health is a dynamic and diverse field that includes teachers, researchers, administrators, environmentalists, demographers, laboratory scientists, attorneys and journalists. The field of public health exists to serve the greater population. Those with an MPH degree will be able to serve their communities at the local, national, and international level.

Estimated Cost: $$55,000 – $85,000 with the average of $58,000
Average Length for Completion : 18 months – 3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $41,200 – $102,000 with an average of $68,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, and colleges
Potential Growth: 21%

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Sample Programs:

Michigan Technical University
College of Saint Scholastica

One of the new regulations that is challenging the healthcare sector is the federal government’s drive to mandate and standardize electronic health records (EHRs) throughout all healthcare facilities in the country. This is creating a greater need for skilled professionals who can help bridge the gap between direct patient care and the management of sensitive health information. Those earning a degree in Health Informatics work closely with the direct implementation of technology in a healthcare setting. These professionals are responsible for training staff, creating educational documents for systems and procedures, as well as troubleshooting and assisting staff when problems arise. One of the most difficult aspects of work as a health informatics specialist is staying current on the latest compliance and regulatory standards. The field of medical informatics sits at the crossroads of information science, computer science, and health care. Professionals in this field must deal with the resources, devices, and methods needed to improve the gathering, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Master’s level programs in this area covers the multidisciplinary field of informatics, including issues such as decision support systems, telemedicine, ethics, consumer health informatics, international healthcare systems, global health informatics, translational research informatics, and home care. Programs such as those offered by the College of Saint Scholastica and Michigan Technical University are designed to:

  • Deepen understanding and knowledge of medical informatics and computer/information security
  • Provide research opportunities within the field of medical informatics
  • Provide a flexible curriculum to allow for both traditional and nontraditional graduate students

Graduates of these programs are qualified to work in settings such as hospital and healthcare systems, health informatics firms, research laboratories, computer/information security firms, medical technology firms, public health organizations, medical software companies, insurance companies, and government organizations.

Estimated Cost: $55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $35,449 – $91,618 with an average of $61,050
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, public health agencies, governmental agencies, non-profit agencies
Potential Growth: 22%

Master of Science in Health Systems, Nursing Leadership and Effectiveness

Sample Programs:

University of Michigan
Grand Canyon University

There are several programs offering graduate level training in the general area of Nursing Leadership. These programs are designed to train graduates for leadership positions in multifaceted healthcare organizations and to improve health outcomes for direct care providers. The University of Michigan offers a Master of Science in Health Systems, Nursing Leadership and Effectiveness. This program allows students to choose one of two focus areas, either in informatics or leadership. The goal of the program is to provide students with the skills to tackle the complex challenges facing health systems in a global society. Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills to lead interprofessional teams effectively in uncertain and complex environments
  • Assess the impact of health information and communication technology on health and society.
  • Appraise contemporary challenges and create solutions to improve the quality and safety of health services delivery.
  • Analyze and apply evidence to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of systems and organizations.

Grand Canyon University offers an MSN with an optional Emphasis in Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems. This program is designed to train nurse administrators who will be responsible for “providing leadership to a team of nurses and at the same time, they must employ their business skills to ensure they are providing the best patient care”. Students in this program are trained to handle a large number of daily tasks, including:

  • Oversee nursing staff
  • Create budgets, approve spending and manage overall finances
  • Ensure services meet regulatory requirements
  • Serve as a leader and motivate nursing staff
  • Supervise assistant administrators
  • Maintain records on facility services and resources used
  • Direct, supervise and review work activities of staff
  • Undertake tasks to ensure efficiency and cost savings

Estimated Cost: $55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 18 months -3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $76,503 – $99,720
Possible Areas of Employment: Outpatient facilities, hospitals, home health agencies, physician group practices, nursing facilities
Potential Growth: 23%

Master of Science in Nursing Administration

Sample Programs:

University of Texas Arlington
University of Iowa

A Master of Science in Nursing Administration (MSNA) degree program is designed to train nursing professionals for work as a chief nursing officer, program director, nursing executive or director of nursing. A nurse administrator may be employed in a hospital, nursing home, private doctor’s office, home health care organization, or urgent care facility. The University of Texas at Arlington offers an MSNA degree to train nursing administrators for employment in this fast paced, constantly changing field. Students in this program will complete a wide range of courses to cover the array of topics that will be a part of their career. Some of these include:

  • Nursing Management in the Health Care Environment focuses on the study of health care organizations in relation to the complex systems in today’s society
  • Nursing and Health Care Policy outlines the many health policy issues are presented and discussed in
  • Financial Management covers topics such as economics and financial management
  • Management of Nursing Operations concentrates on strategies for organizational planning and performance.
  • Management Seminar and Practice emphasizes the study of leadership and organizational behavior in the health care arena

Estimated Cost: $$55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 18 months -3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary:
Clinical Nurse Managers earned $52,894 to $100,291
Nursing Directors earned $55,920 to $117,998
Chief Nursing Officers earned $77,798 to $179,428
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, nursing homes, private doctor’s offices, home health care organizations, or urgent care facilities
Potential Growth: 23%

Master of Science in Nursing Informatics

Sample Programs:

New York University
University of Utah

A Master of Science in Nursing Informatics prepares nursing professionals for positions where they can bridge the gap between the clinical aspects of healthcare and the management of information technology. Informatics nurses are responsible for evaluating a healthcare facility to determine what clinical IT applications might increase the organizations overall effectiveness. They are also responsible for training staff on new or changing systems in order to ensure that all care providers and managers are trained on the latest technology. Informatics nurses often expedite necessary communication between IT professionals, vendors, and the staff regarding clinical IT applications. As technology advances it is the Nursing Informatics professional who can help keep all of the members of a healthcare team updated on how to effectively and safely use technology. In addition to the MS in Nursing Informatics, there is a certification for informatics nurses from the American Nurses Credentialing Center that may help graduates earn a position in healthcare informatics.

Estimated Cost: $55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 3-5 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $51,353 – $89,022 with an average of $66,552
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, nursing care facility, home health agency
Potential Growth: 22%

Master of Arts or Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

Sample Programs:

University of Maryland
Saint Joseph’s University

The Master of Arts or Science in Health Care Administration (MSHCA) degree is an advanced degree designed for mid-career professionals who are looking for specialized and focused graduate training in the field of health care administration. Each year the list of accredited master’s degree programs in this area increases to meet the growing need. The University of Maryland’s MSHCA program is designed to help students increase their knowledge base in the administration of health care services through a range of courses in general management and health care administration. The Saint Joseph’s University MS in Health Administration is designed for current health care professionals with ample experience in the health delivery system that also possess an interest in the management and administrative aspects of health organizations and the health system. The program offers a core curriculum focusing on “population and status assessment, health policy, organization development, operations and information systems, legal principles, leadership and more”.

Estimated Cost: $$55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 18 months – 3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $40,000 – $110,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, physicians offices, nursing facilities, home health organizations, outpatient facilities
Potential Growth: 22%

Master of Arts or Master of Science in Healthcare Management

Sample Programs:

University of Texas
University of Saint Thomas

A Master of Arts or Master of Science in Healthcare Management is designed to prepare future industry leaders by providing them with a firm framework in important business principles. The University of Texas in Dallas offers a degree program that is supported by nationally recognized business faculty, and trains a select group of experienced healthcare industry executives to assume progressively responsible management and leadership roles. Graduates are prepared to work in a wide range of healthcare settings, including health and hospital systems, service provider organizations, insurers and managed care companies, consulting firms, pharmaceutical companies, public health organizations, and medical device and biotechnology firms.

Estimated Cost: $55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 2-3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $55,000 – $147,890 with an average of $96,030
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, physicians offices, nursing facilities, home health organizations, outpatient facilities
Potential Growth: 22%

Master of Arts or Master of Science in Public Health

Sample Programs:

Ohio State University
University of Alabama

A Master of Arts or Master of Science in Public Health is similar to the Master of Public Health. Health educators and community health workers are employed in a range of settings, including hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, and colleges. Some potential job titles for those graduating with a degree in Public Health include:

Public health management analyst

Director of programs and services

Health communications specialist

Research scientist

Environmental health intelligence analyst

Manager, health initiatives

The Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) is an interdisciplinary professional degrees awarded for graduate studies in areas related to public health. The MS degree in Public Health focuses public health practice, as well as research and teaching. Master of Arts and Science degrees in Public Health programs are available throughout the world in Programs in Public Health, Medical Schools, Schools of Public Health, and Schools of Public Affairs.

Estimated Cost: $55,000 – $85,000
Average Length for Completion : 18 months – 3 years
Career Outlook/Average Salary: $68,000
Possible Areas of Employment: Hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government, doctors’ offices, private businesses, and colleges
Potential Growth: 21%

Opportunities for Healthcare Management Degrees

Pursuing a career as a healthcare manager, administrator or executive is an excellent way to help others. While these highly trained individuals will not provide direct care, their role is critically important in the process of providing care. By managing the finances, information technology, day-to-day operations, scheduling and many other aspects of the healthcare process, healthcare managers are a necessary part of this complex industry. As the healthcare industry continues to grow and thrive, these managers will continue to see job growth, salary increases and increased opportunities for additional responsibility. In order to fill this important role it is necessary to receive the proper training to understand the complexities of the field. While graduates can pursue employment with a bachelor’s degree in the field, it is often preferred that candidates possess a master’s degree or higher. With so many different degree options, each student can choose the healthcare management degree that will work with their career aspirations.

Resources:

Chron.com: Healthcare Manager Salary

Forbes: Is Grad School Worth The Money

Guide To Online Schools: College Education Costs

Kiplinger: Are Advanced Degrees Worth the Debt?

Monster.com: Health Informatics

MPH Program List: Salary Outlook for MPH Grads

National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator

Nurse Journal.org

Study.com: Cost of a Doctoral Degree

Study.com: How Long Does An MBA Degree Take to Complete

Study.com: How Long to Earn a PhD

Study.com: Salary and Career Infor for a Doctor of Health Administration

US News and World Report: What Makes An Executive MBA Different

Washington Post: Is Graduate School Worth the Cost

About the Author

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Kristen began writing in college and still enjoys her work as a writer, editor, professor and mother.