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Assisted Living Administrator - A Day in the Life

January 21, 2022

Assisted living administrators are responsible for a wide scope of responsibilities that vary from facility to facility, but the ultimate goal is to provide a secure and empowering environment for the elderly population they serve.

The Best Graduate Healthcare Degrees (2022)

January 11, 2022

Healthcare is currently the country’s largest employer, and jobs in healthcare are projected to be among the fastest-growing over the next decade. As the industry grows, so does the opportunity for a new career path.

Top Blogs for Healthcare Managers & Administrators (2022)

January 10, 2022

Blogs are a crucial resource for all healthcare managers and administrators. For early-career managers and administrators, they’re a way to access the wisdom of industry veterans; for those at the mid-career stage, they’re a catalyst for organizational innovation; and for veterans, they’re a way to share resources and connect with other thought leaders in the space.

Online Master's Degrees in Healthcare Administration

Although many MHA programs require applicants to have at least two years of qualifying professional experience in the field, this is not always the case. Some schools have waived the professional work experience requirement for MHA students.

Many online MHA programs require between two and four years of previous work experience at the middle to senior management level. Here are five online MHA programs which require candidates to have some professional experience.

The healthcare industry needs businesspeople to manage financial and business operations, and human resources. A master of business administration (MBA) with a healthcare focus can prepare graduates for a wide range of leadership roles in the field.

There’s a growing demand for healthcare law interpretation, implementation, and advocacy by professionals educated in law and policy. Professors at some of the world’s best universities are educating legal specialists to meet that demand, online.

These ten master’s in patient safety and healthcare quality degree programs are offered online, with seven provided entirely online and two programs requiring brief campus visits. The list includes one specialized MBA program and one program designed for nurses.

A graduate-level education in gerontology or aging services management can put degree-holders in a strong position to find employment at one of the more than 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S.

Online Master's Degrees in Clinical Research Administration

Clinical research scientists or administrators play an instrumental role in improving public health. Clinical researcher administrators help run clinical trials and work closely with researchers and participants over an extended period.

The goal of regulations is to keep people safe. Pharmaceutical, medical device, and other health-related businesses share that same goal. A master’s in regulatory affairs empowers graduates to help companies and government regulators work together towards this objective.

An online master's in biotechnology marries bioscience and pharmaceutical innovation with the scientific method, while a master's in bioenterprise links advanced biological science to the world of strategic business to help prepare market-minded leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. By illustration, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) predicted that the healthcare sector would see 16 percent job growth between 2020 and 2030. To put that into perspective, all occupations across the country have a projected 8 percent job growth over the same decade.

One way that educational institutions are preparing to meet the swelling demand for highly skilled healthcare professionals in management is increasing distance-learning options. U.S. universities have risen to the challenge. According to the latest report from the Babson Survey Research Group, nearly one-third of all higher education enrollments in the fall of 2016 were online, with one-sixth of enrollments by students who were exclusively enrolled in distance learning courses.

MHA graduates have gone into varied leadership roles in healthcare, including positions such as clinic director, healthcare administrator, hospice plan administrator, hospital director, medical and health information manager, mental health program manager, nursing home manager, occupational therapy director, public health administrator, respiratory therapy director, and wellness manager, among others.

Learn more about healthcare administration programs designed to help meet the growing demand for healthcare administrators and clinical research managers in our FAQ.

Can I Earn an Online Master's in Hospital Administration?

As online education races to meet a growing real-world demand for leaders in healthcare, earning an online master's in hospital administration (e.g., an MHA or an MBA with a healthcare concentration) has never been more accessible and the programs have never been better.

How to Become a Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Regulatory affairs specialists play a vital role in the well-being of the global population by monitoring the development and distribution of safe, healthy foods and technological advancements in medicine.

What is a Mental Health Case Manager and What Do They Do?

Mental health case managers can be thought of as a safety net that helps to catch people who are in trouble. The purpose of the mental health case manager is to assist clients in connecting to resources that can considerably improve the quality of their lives. These psychiatric professionals utilize cutting-edge psychological research and inquiry to best aid their patients in reintegrating into society comfortably and with an increasing emphasis on healthy self-reliance. Mental health case managers prioritize the biopsychosocial needs of the patient at all times, typically with a focus on minimizing the monetary cost to the patient.

Are there One-Year Online MHA Programs? 15-18 Month Programs?

The online MHA degree and certificate programs featured here are in most cases open to individuals with no prior experience in the healthcare industry and can be completed in 12 to 18 months (nine to 18 months for the graduate certificates). Many universities are offering MHA degree programs in response to the rapidly growing need for educated and experienced administrative healthcare professionals.

How Do You Become a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC)?

Working under the direction of the principal investigator (PI), the clinical research coordinator (CRC) supports, facilitates and organizes daily clinical trial activities. The CRC also manages the day-to-day clinical operations activities, overseeing and executing delegated tasks to appropriate parties.

General Considerations for Choosing an Online Master’s Program

As online offerings become more available, students considering distance-based enrollment should keep the following three considerations in mind: scheduling flexibility, delivery format, and state authorization.

Scheduling Flexibility: Asynchronous vs. Synchronous

Online programs are often designed with non-traditional scheduling needs in mind, but can vary in terms of how much flexibility is offered. Students seeking full flexibility may want to consider programs with asynchronous instruction. In an asynchronous course, students have deadlines for watching pre-recorded lectures and completing assignments or exams, but they’re not required to login at a specific time. Students who thrive in programs that prioritize interpersonal interactions, by contrast, may want to consider programs with synchronous courses. In synchronous courses, lectures, meetings, exams, discussions, and other program essentials occur in real-time, with students and lecturers logging in simultaneously from different locations. These meetings often happen on evenings or weekends, designed to meet the needs of students who may have full-time jobs or other commitments. Note that it is common for programs to offer a mix of synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and not exclusively one or the other. Primarily (but not totally) asynchronous programs are not uncommon, for example.

Delivery Format: Online Vs. Hybrid

In addition to considering the level of flexibility, prospective online MHA students should keep their program’s delivery format in mind. Some degree programs can be earned 100 percent online, while others are delivered in a hybrid or blended format. Fully online programs allow students to complete all of their coursework remotely, without ever having to visit a physical campus. Hybrid programs offer the possibility to take some or most courses online, but also require a student to visit a physical campus for labs, exams, orientations, immersions, or other degree requirements.

State Authorization

Finally, state authorization status is important for students applying to online MHA programs based in other states. Applicants should ensure that the institution being considered offers degree programs in their state of residence through the school’s website (e.g., Southern New Hampshire University) or by reaching out to admissions officers. Please note that many U.S. states and their distance-based universities participate in the National Council for State Reciprocity Authorization (NC-SARA), which allows students from compact states to pursue an online degree in another region.

Who Should Pursue an Online Master’s Degree in Health Administration?

Whether offered online or on-campus, a master’s degree in health administration or a related subject can prepare graduates to tackle the challenges of the healthcare industry from a systemic perspective. It teaches professionals to manage local, state, or federal hospitals and medical practices in alignment with changing laws, regulations, and technological advances. Earning a master of healthcare administration (MHA), for example, can help current clinicians apply years of insight from practice to non-clinical applications, and can provide a competitive advantage in applying for leadership positions. Students interested in this degree should be curious about human resources, care delivery systems, medical finance, strategy formulation and implementation, marketing, governance and leadership, information systems, and various other systems-focused topics as they relate specifically to healthcare.

Online programs are often designed specifically for busy professionals, people in remote regions of the country, or those with other commitments preventing them from relocating to a college town. Additionally, online programs are often best suited to those with the organization and time-management skills to make learning a day-to-day priority.

Admission Requirements for Online MHA Programs

While specific admissions procedures vary between programs, the following requirements are common among online MHA programs:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts demonstrating a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Letters of reference or recommendations
  • Resume or CV
  • Statement of purpose or letter of intent
  • Application fee
  • International students: TOEFL or IELTS scores
  • Proof of practical experience or certifications in healthcare (some programs)
  • GRE or GMAT scores (some programs)
  • In-person or remote interview (some programs)

What to Expect from an Online Master of Healthcare Administration

Online MHA Curriculum

Because health administration is such a broad field, both the type of master’s degree chosen (e.g., MBA, MS, MA, MLS, etc.) and the specialization within that degree determine what coursework, knowledge, and skills are required of students for program completion. Regardless the discipline, some programs have a generalized course of study for all students to complete, while others require students to complete a set of core courses followed by specialized classes in a student’s chosen focus. Finally, most master’s programs require a culmination course (i.e., a capstone or thesis), where students are expected to demonstrate the synthesis and integration of their knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program.

Common core courses for online MHA programs include:

  • Statistics for business/healthcare
  • Leadership and decision making in organizations
  • Healthcare finance
  • Health systems management and improvement
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Managing people and human resources
  • Ethics and patient safety

Below are examples of specialized coursework in master’s degree programs related to health administration:

  • Master’s of business administration (MBA) – Government impact on business
  • Master’s of legal studies (MLS) – Representing healthcare providers
  • Master’s of science (MS) in healthcare quality – Evaluating and designing quality improvement models
  • MS in bioenterprise – The business of biotechnology: commercialization pathways
  • MS in clinical research – The history of misconduct in biomedical research
  • MS in regulatory affairs – Regulatory strategy in the development of drugs and biologics
  • MS in gerontology – Financial and economic aspects of aging

Time to Completion

Master’s degrees in health administration can require students to complete anywhere from 32 to 60 credit-hours. Full-time students enrolled in most health administration programs can expect to complete requirements within 12 to 24 months. With dual-degree programs or certain specializations, students can expect degree completion to take three to four years. Students enrolled part-time have more time to complete coursework, but most programs limit the amount of time students have to complete the program (e.g., within five years). Finally, some programs enable students to complete programs quickly through accelerated formats or by allowing students to qualify out of certain requirements through work history, transfer credits, or test scores.


Accreditation is the process by which a third-party agency ensures that an educational program or an institution adheres to high standards of quality for facilities, curricula, student outcomes, and other metrics. Students seeking assurance that their online master of health administration program adheres to high quality standards can look for programs accredited by the Commision on Accreditation for Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) or another body recognized by the Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). While graduation from a CAHME-accredited program is not required in order to work in the healthcare field, enrolling in accredited program may help qualify a student for financial aid and ultimately make a graduate more competitive in the job market.

Career Outlook & Salary

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) projected that openings for medical and health services managers (including healthcare administrators and executives) would grow 32 percent between 2020 and 2030, adding 139,600 new jobs nationally. This is substantially more robust than the 8 percent growth anticipated across all U.S. occupations during the same time period. Furthermore, the BLS predicted that medical and health services management would grow faster than any other reported management role.


The compensation for medical and health services managers varies depending on industry and location. According to the BLS (May 2020), the mean annual salary for all medical and health services managers was $118,800. The top 90 percent of earners made $195,630 or more annually, while the bottom 10 percent of earners made $59,980 or less.

Mean Annual Salary by Industry (Top-Employing)

  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals (126,410 employed): $127,330 average
  • Offices of Physicians (49,480 employed): $112,700
  • Outpatient Care Centers (29,520 employed): $117,200
  • Nursing Care Facilities (25,380 employed): $100,160
  • Home Health Care Services (20,540 employed): $100,880

Mean Annual Salary by Industry (Top-Paying)

  • Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing (unknown number employed): $205,470 average
  • Scientific Research and Development Services (5,640 employed): $167,910
  • Insurance Carriers (6,950 employed): $161,030
  • Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing (110 employed): $158,670
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services (190 employed): $157,480

Mean Salary by State (Top-Paying)

  • District of Columbia (1,590 employed): $157,590
  • New York (24,360 employed): $156,140
  • Hawaii (1,650 employed): $139,650
  • California (42,200 employed): $138,030
  • Massachusetts (16,310 employed): $136,930

Professional Associations and Resources for Professionals in Health Administration

With the exception of nursing home administration, licensure or certification is not required to work as a health or medical manager in the United States. MHA graduates may choose to sit for certification exams to demonstrate a commitment to professional growth and to attest to one’s knowledge and skills. Earning certifications can make an applicant more appealing to some employers and can lead to higher salary prospects. Additionally, MHA degree-holders may choose to join a professional association to expand their networks and to gain access to cutting-edge research in the field.

Professional associations for health administration professionals include:

  • AUPHA: Association of University Programs in Health Administration

    AUPHA seeks to develop innovative leaders through excellence in healthcare administration education and scholarship.

  • PAHCOM: Professional Association of Health Care Office Management

    PAHCOM connects and encourages the success of healthcare managers working at small group or solo physician practices.

  • ACHE: American College of Healthcare Executives

    ACHE is dedicated to the advancement of healthcare managers and to improving management excellence.

Professional associations for specific careers within healthcare administration include:

  • NAB: National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards

    Designed for those looking for nursing home administration, NAB supports board and certifying agencies for long term care by developing standards and sharing resources and tools. All 50 states and DC are members of NAB.

  • ACHCA: American College of Health Care Administrators

    ACHCA is a community providing professional development opportunities for administrators working in post-acute and aging services.

  • AAHAM: American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

    For medical administrators whose focus is in finance, AAHAM is a professional organization focused on the revenue cycle.

  • AHIMA: American Health Information Management Association

    Medical administrators focusing on health information management have the opportunity to prove competency through AHIMA’s certification for health informatics and information professionals.