What Can You Do With a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)?

Healthcare administration is one of the most in-demand fields in the healthcare industry due to the rise in the construction of medical facilities and the aging Baby Boomer population. The American Hospital Association (AHA) reported that there are 6,093 registered hospitals in the United States, which includes up to 920,531 staffed beds. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) indicated that openings for managers or healthcare executives within medical services are expected to increase 28 percent from 2021 to 2031—an addition of 136,200 jobs.

A master of healthcare administration (MHA) prepares graduates to lead and direct various medical services either as generalists or specialists. Generalists may manage an entire health and medical facility, while specialists address the needs of specific healthcare departments. Healthcare administrators are essential to medical facilities and practices to help implement social and public policies, educate staff, and maintain the efficiency of their facility due to persistent technological innovations and changing healthcare laws and regulations,

Healthcare administrators take up challenging leadership roles within our dynamic healthcare system. MHA programs generally prepare students to become executives at the forefront of the shifting healthcare paradigm. Healthcare administration candidates gain valuable skills to answer public demands and maintain the vision and mission of their department and/or medical practice. Administrators’ responsibilities vary but generally include fostering a medical community and monitoring the flow of professionalism within the organization.

Typically, MHAs are two-year programs, during which an internship or residency is usually required as well. Some healthcare administration programs might include coursework in managing healthcare organizations, risk and insurance, problems and ethical issues in healthcare, operations improvement, and health information systems. Residencies allow MHA candidates to apply the theories they learn in the classroom while gaining valuable hands-on knowledge of the global healthcare system and addressing operational issues within a healthcare facility.

Some online MHA programs may also include a supervised residency requirement in students’ home communities, which allows space for further collaboration within leadership specializations and strategic planning.

Some specializations within a master of healthcare administration degree include:

  • Operations management
  • Policy and systems analysis and marketing
  • Financial administration
  • Health information technology
  • Quality of care and patient advocacy

Depending on the academic institution, postgraduate administrative fellowships may be offered, in addition to immediately entering a more specialized role. Read on for more information about healthcare administration careers.

Places of Employment for MHA Program Graduates

According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), the healthcare administration field includes the ability to manage the healthcare system’s technical aspects and the public policy and social facets related to access of care. Administrators working as general managers or specialists collaborate with healthcare staff to ensure their facility or practice is in compliance with laws and health codes.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) latest report indicates that the lowest 10 percent of healthcare managers earned less than $60,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $205,620.

Read on for some examples of places of employment that an administrator may enter after completing a master of healthcare administration (MHA).

Employer Key Responsibilities Mean annual salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2021)
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Train and educate staff regarding healthcare policies and procedures
  • Manage medical records, daily supply needs, and update and carry out procedures for specific departments
  • Evaluate staff, review and develop reports and facility/department budgets
Residential Care Groups/Nursing Care Facilities
  • Manage and train staff, oversee daily operations for facility or department
  • Coordinate and supervise the delivery of medical care, manage financial resources/budget
  • Recommend procedural and policy changes, create staff schedules, and adhere to governing laws
Offices of Physicians
  • Establish staff and facility goals, write administration user manuals, implement new policies/procedures
  • Manage records, insurance billing, and write procedures for the department
  • Manage the facility with assistance from staff
  • Ensure patient and staff satisfaction
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals
  • Follow guidelines outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and education staff to also adhere to updates within practices/policies
  • Analyze data using statistical and epidemiologic principles for large-scale planning and operations management
  • Focus on quality improvement and accessibility to treatment and rehabilitation services
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturings
  • Oversee new drug development including scheduling clinical trials
  • Set and manage timelines and budgets for departments and team members
  • Develop comprehensive reports to inform senior staff of project status

Careers for MHA Program Graduates

Health care administrators who have earned an MHA can work in several fields. Here are some career options:

Become a Sleep Lab Director

The sleep lab director oversees all aspects of the sleep disorder diagnostic process. They must be familiar with the relevant medical terminology and have knowledge of the common comorbid conditions that can occur in the testing population. Additionally, they must be able to understand and interpret financial data to ensure the lab is profitable. They must also be familiar with the insurance coverage rules and regulations to optimize service billing. Finally, they must have management experience to effectively oversee staff working overnight shifts.

Become a Hospital CEO

A hospital CEO has a variety of responsibilities, including developing and maintaining hospital policy, managing finances, leadership training and recruitment, and diplomacy. To carry out these duties effectively, CEOs must have a deep understanding of business management practices and the ability to foster an environment where top talent wants to work. They also serve as a critical link between the hospital’s executive team and its board of directors, balancing one’s technical knowledge against the other’s objective governance.

Furthermore, hospital CEOs must be able to build consensus between departments and draw in outside partnerships that have research, funding, and service implications. By having a keen understanding of these various aspects of the CEO role, hospital leaders can set their institution up for success both now and in the future.

Become a Compliance Director

A compliance director is a professional who ensures an organization operates ethically and efficiently by interpreting and implementing government regulations. While they work in various industries, healthcare is one of the most common sectors. Their daily responsibilities vary depending on their specialization but typically include educating staff, running audits, and liaising with regulatory bodies.

Become a Hospice Administrator

Hospital administrators have a wide range of responsibilities, which can be grouped into four main areas: operations, finances, outreach, and development. They are responsible for staff recruitment, hiring, and evaluation; designing and implementing a budget; acting as a liaison between different groups within the hospital; and staying up to date on innovations in the medical field.

They must be able to juggle various tasks and adapt to the ever-changing needs of the hospital. Above all, their primary job is ensuring that the hospital runs smoothly and efficiently while providing quality patient care.

Become a Dermatology Clinic Manager

Dermatology clinics are growing in popularity as the demographics of the US continue to age. To manage patient flow and help dermatologists focus on providing the best care they can, dermatology clinics employ dermatology clinic managers.

Their main responsibility is ensuring a clinic provides efficient, profitable, and compliant medical care. To do so, they are responsible for hiring and supervising staff, responding to patient and staff needs, developing and adhering to a budget, performing on-going evaluations to ensure highest level of patient care, and identifying opportunities to enhance the clinic’s strategic plan.

Become a Nurse Administrator

A nurse administrator is a manager who coordinates a care facility’s nursing staff. They come from a nursing background, hold advanced degrees, have work experience, and have state licensure. Nurse administrators need to be masters of two worlds: organizational management and nursing practice. They typically have a lot of responsibility, including scheduling, budgeting, implementing policy, and managing staff. A nurse administrator may also coordinate all of the nursing staff at a long-term care facility or nursing home.

Certifications Within Healthcare Administration

There are various certifications that health administrators can pursue to validate their expertise to employers. Certifications vary based on specialization and whether state or federal authorities require certification and licensure.

For example, nursing homes that receive federal funding require administrators to be licensed nursing home administrators. The main organization which offers NHA certification is the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB).

To qualify, candidates must pass an exam with at least 75 percent correct on a 150-question exam covering resident-centered care and quality of life, human resources, leadership and management, and environment.
Furthermore, states have differing requirements for licensure and may require additional exams and continuing education to maintain credentialing. The NAB has a comprehensive list of state-specific requirements.

Other certifying entities and their certifications include:

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson

With a unique knack for simplifying complex health concepts, Kimmy Gustafson has become a trusted voice in the healthcare realm, especially on MHAOnline.com, where she has contributed insightful and informative content for prospective and current MHA students since 2019. She frequently interviews experts to provide insights on topics such as collaborative skills for healthcare administrators and sexism and gender-related prejudice in healthcare.

Kimmy has been a freelance writer for more than a decade, writing hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics such as startups, nonprofits, healthcare, kiteboarding, the outdoors, and higher education. She is passionate about seeing the world and has traveled to over 27 countries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. When not working, she can be found outdoors, parenting, kiteboarding, or cooking.