Healthcare administrators impact the lives of many people by providing health-planning services, organizational structure, policy formation and analysis and asset management. Careers in this field require professionalism, leadership skills and an understanding of the complexities of healthcare delivery with its specialized language, financial structure and politics.
Career opportunities can be found in hospitals, clinics and other settings, such as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, care-management organizations, health information technology firms, supply chain companies, government/policy organizations, health insurers and consulting.
Most programs are seeking an academically diverse class and they have few prerequisite courses. To prepare for success in a program, students should consider courses such as accounting, micro-and macroeconomics, statistics, ethics, social sciences — especially courses on diversity and medical sociology — communications, political science, public policy and psychology, both introductory and health psychology. Solid oral and written communication skills are necessary.
A number of program types are available that lead to careers in healthcare management. A master’s degree is required for most positions in healthcare management. These programs differ in name and in the curricula that they emphasize.
Master of Public Health (MPH) with a specialization in health management is one possibility. The central focus of an MPH is on the description of patterns of disease and on the development, operation, financing and evaluation of population-based programs and the links between community and health.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) is another possibility. An MBA develops students’ business management knowledge with an emphasis on accounting, corporate finance and international business. Many programs only have a few courses available on health-care topics.
A Master of Health Administration (MHA) combines the best of an MPH and an MBA by focusing on the business and policy needs specific to healthcare settings. Some programs offer a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA), which is very similar to the MHA.
Finally a Master of Public Administration (MPA) may also be used.
Some programs do offere combined degrees including MPH/MBA, MHA/JD law degree or MD/MBA.
Aptitude Test and Application
Links and Additional Healthcare Management Information
- Assoc. of University Programs in Health Administration
- American College of Healthcare Administrators
- American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
- ACHE’s Healthcare Management Careers