January 29, 2023

What is the Difference between an MS in Public Health and an MS in Healthcare Management?

Two of many master’s degrees offered in the healthcare field are an MS in Healthcare Management or an MS in Public Health. What is the difference in these two degrees?

Public Health Degrees are Directly Related to Practice

In this track, you will be studying for one of several careers in actual delivery of services, or in the coordination of those services. Within the degree there are at least two paths.

• Community health education specializes in developing, implementing and evaluating public health programs. These professionals use principles of human behavior, knowledge of marketing, communication and other skills to “sell” educational programs to the public, promoting the general health and well-being of individuals or populations.
• Health policy and administration involves leadership which promotes public health through policy-making and management techniques. These professionals focus on organization of healthcare services and public health policy.
There are several common, or “core” areas of study required by all public health master degree programs because the schools have the same accreditation requirements. In the Harvard Master of Public Health program, for instance, students learn about public health policies, biostatistics and epidemiology. They take courses in behavioral sciences and in public health in the occupational arena and the environment. To be admitted to a master’s program in public health, applicants must hold an MD, DO, DMD, JD or have a prior master’s degree in another field and at least a year of experience in the healthcare field. Graduates must also complete some practicum in public health.

What Career Options are there with an MS in Public Health?

People with these degrees can work in public health clinics, overseeing delivery of services. They also work in education, and at local, state and national levels in policy-making and advisory capacities.

Healthcare Management Degree Programs are Business Degrees with Specialization in the Healthcare Industry.

This degree prepares individuals to become leaders in the healthcare business. Higher degrees are not required for admission to the programs, but some schools require at least a year of experience working in healthcare.

Coursework in a master’s degree program in healthcare management, as in public health, has common core areas of study. “About. Com” gives these areas as: business ethics, healthcare management, innovation, leadership skills and management strategies. Other classes teach product and customer relation management. Skills required for a career in healthcare management, but which cannot be taught, are strong decision-making capabilities and the ability to stay abreast of local, state and national issues which affect the healthcare industry.

Where Do people with an MS in Healthcare Management Work?

These people work in hospital administration, in medical supply corporations and any healthcare-related business environment.
Both these degrees involve the healthcare system. An MS in Public Health deals with delivery of services at a patient level, whether that is policy-making, patient contact or in education. An MS in Healthcare Management is for someone who wants to work in the finances of healthcare providers.

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