Healthcare professionals who are eager to position themselves for possible advancement into management positions may choose to earn a master’s degree in health administration, also known as an MSHA. But is a master’s in healthcare administration worth it? By earning your Master of Science in Health Administration, you will have opportunities to build on your foundational knowledge and work toward developing the necessary leadership skills to enhance your professional qualifications.
When considering the question, Is health administration a good major? it’s important to reflect upon your intended career outcomes, as well as where your academic and professional interests lie. Here, you can explore some possible jobs you may be eligible for with a healthcare administration master’s degree, as well as how to get a master’s degree in healthcare administration.
In This Article:
- Is an MSHA Worth It? 7 Benefits To Consider
- Understanding Healthcare Administration Degrees
- Jobs With a Healthcare Administration Master’s Degree
- How To Get a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration
Is an MSHA Worth It? 7 Benefits To Consider
So, is health administration a good major? Earning a master’s degree requires diligence, self-discipline and a desire to learn, as well as time devoted to homework.
However, students in a health administration degree program receive instruction from faculty who are practitioners in the field and explore topics from ethics in healthcare to resource management. Coursework is designed to develop students as leaders while promoting greater knowledge of the healthcare field. Here are a few benefits of earning your Master of Science in Health Administration:
1. Increase healthcare administrator career qualifications: Graduates of this program may pursue careers as middle- and upper-level healthcare managers or administrators.1 The rigors of an MSHA program may reveal a candidate’s dedication to continuous improvement and excellence.
2. Partake in healthcare industry growth: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth rate for medical and health services managers is expected to be 28% from 2022 through 2032, much faster than average, indicating the addition of 144,700 jobs in the field.2 With a health administration degree, graduates may be equipped to fill the growing need for qualified personnel to serve in these roles.
3. Industry skills: A master’s in health administration is more than a qualification for management roles — it is a professional development path. Throughout the program, students are taught industry-standard skills, such as management skills and methods of analyzing, evaluating and implementing healthcare models.
4. Nurture one’s leadership style: A well-rounded MSHA program typically includes an examination of leadership styles and how to develop them. Learners can analyze different approaches to leadership, such as the servant leadership approach, and be taught how to put leadership skills into practice in the field.
5. Examine “big picture” issues: A master’s in healthcare administration will usually focus on big picture items that healthcare leaders must address. The degree program allows you to take a deep dive into the daily operations of a healthcare organization and how to align those operations with its overall mission and vision.
6. Boost your professional network: The value of having a robust professional network cannot be overstated. Although students have opportunities to develop the beginnings of a professional network as undergraduates, at the graduate level, these opportunities are typically enhanced. This is because you’ll be attending classes — whether online or in-person — with other professionals who already have work experience in the field.
7. Refine your soft skills: Earning a master’s in healthcare administration may be worth it if you are seeking opportunities to polish your soft skills. These include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, adaptability and creative problem-solving.
Understanding Healthcare Administration Degrees
Learn more about what you can do with an MSHA degree, and the university terminology surrounding this degree.
MHA vs. MSHA
Different universities may use different terms for health administration degrees. Two popular classifications include the MHA and the MSHA. Both are master’s degrees involving health administration courses.
However, the MHA is a general category for master’s-level health administration degrees, whereas the MSHA is specific to a Master of Science in Health Administration. The differences between MHA and MSHA degree programs depend largely on each university and its curriculum, though both programs teach concepts related to management and health administration.
Master’s in Healthcare Administration vs. Health Administration
Another phrase that may vary by institution is “health administration,” sometimes replaced by “healthcare administration.” While there may be slight distinctions based on institutional preferences, these phrases are largely equivalent.
Jobs With a Healthcare Administration Master’s Degree
According to the BLS, the median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $104,830 in May 2022.3 While hospitals and clinics are popular choices for employment, graduates can also consider positions in government health agencies, outpatient care centers, nursing homes and other residential care facilities.4
Relevant health administration job titles may include:5,6
- Healthcare manager: This title may be used for a variety of roles in healthcare. Possible settings extend to ambulatory health facilities, assisted living facilities, government agencies and beyond.
- Hospital administrator: Hospital administrators direct hospital operations to ensure that they run smoothly, and they also supervise the facility’s finances. These professionals oversee staff, manage daily operations, set budget goals, direct departments toward reaching objectives and set costs for services. A hospital administrator will also work with people and organizations outside of the hospital, such as the press, scientists, regulatory bodies and the local community.
- Nursing home administrator: A nursing home administrator’s primary role is to manage the residents in the nursing home. Besides supervising the development and implementation of the facility’s system of management, these professionals also oversee and coordinate the work of each department. Additionally, nursing home administrators manage the ordering and distribution of services and products, ensure that the facility’s services comply with legal requirements and maintain relationships with the facility’s patients and their families.
- Healthcare program director: MSHA graduates can be equipped to become healthcare program directors at organizations and colleges. This role includes developing and overseeing health programs that support health education. Healthcare program directors provide administrative support to enhance the quality of learning.
- Clinic manager: The healthcare professionals who manage clinics are often referred to as clinic directors, supervisors or administrators. These roles entail a variety of administrative and supervisory tasks, from training new hires to financial operations and staff development. A clinic administrator’s tasks can vary depending on the type of facility; they may be responsible for overseeing billing, implementing policies and developing marketing campaigns.
- Hospital executive: With a master’s degree and sufficient experience, hospital executive jobs may be within reach for exceptionally driven individuals. These positions may include CEO, president, vice president and other high-level roles in healthcare administration. Each of these positions entails different responsibilities.
- Healthcare information specialist/manager: This position is frequently found within hospitals, doctor’s offices and assisted living facilities. These professionals are charged with overseeing all medical technologies and equipment, including electronic health records (EHRs).
How To Get a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration
Many individuals pursuing a master’s degree in health administration are already employed or wish to return to the workforce. Online health administration degree programs can support a balanced lifestyle while advancing your education. An MSHA degree can also be completed by taking evening courses on campus. Learn more about admission to a graduate program and discover how soon you can start your educational path toward vocational achievement.
Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is committed to preparing students to fill evolving roles in healthcare. To learn about GCU’s Master of Science in Health Administration degree program and other healthcare degrees, fill out the form on this page.
1 Indeed. (2023, March 10). Top 11 jobs for a master’s degree in health care administration. Retrieved Nov. 21, 2023.
2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Service Managers, retrieved on Feb. 9, 2024.
3 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Medical and Health Service Managers as of May 2022, retrieved on Feb, 9 2024. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Medical and Health Service Managers, nor does it reflect the earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc. against a pool of candidates.
4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). Medical and health services managers: work environments. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 21, 2023
5 Healthcare Management Degree Guide. (n.d.). Top 20 jobs for health care managers. Retrieved Nov. 21, 2023.
6 Indeed. (2023, March 3). 25 jobs you can do with an MHA. Retrieved Nov. 21, 2023.
Approved by the associate dean of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions on Jan. 29, 2024.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.