Online MBA Programs in Healthcare Administration
Healthcare administration is a fast-paced industry. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities need qualified workers who can competently oversee and manage behind-the-scenes operations and patient relations. Healthcare administrators are required to know the ins and outs of the healthcare industry and have a thorough understanding of the medical and administrative systems used most often in settings like hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
Prospective students who hope to enter the field of healthcare administration can apply to earn an online MBA1 in healthcare administration, which teaches students the fundamentals of business management while providing thorough training that prepares them for a variety of administrative healthcare careers.
What Is an Online MBA in Healthcare Administration?
Students who earn an MBA in healthcare administration online graduate with extensive knowledge of patient care procedures and common healthcare systems. They enter the workforce prepared for all aspects of healthcare administration thanks to a variety of courses on topics such as health policy, health economics, health information systems, and quality of care. Additionally, students are prepared to take on leadership roles in courses that teach advanced management skills, including accounting, human resources, ethics, and business law.
When enrolling in any online study program, it’s important for students to ensure that this method of learning fits their learning style. Online programs require a great deal of self-discipline and exceptional time management skills. Students who work better when adhering to a schedule should consider traditional learning.
Online MBA in Healthcare Administration Curriculum
The curriculum offered by accredited MBA programs in healthcare administration online includes a balance of courses that focus on business management and healthcare administration. On graduation, students are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to become competent healthcare workers who can competently provide solutions to problems frequently encountered in the industry.
While all programs differ in the exact courses and curriculum they offer, the list that follows provides prospective students with an example of what they can expect to learn while obtaining their online MBA in healthcare administration.
- Health Care Priority Setting: This course introduces students to the principles of setting priorities within the healthcare system. It teaches students to make decisions while considering both ethics and economics.
- Health Information Systems: Students get a thorough overview of health informatics. They learn how statistics, information technology, and organizational behavior contribute to decision-making in health care. Additionally, students study how information technology affects healthcare management.
- Planning and Evaluating Health Programs: Students are taught how to effectively plan and implement healthcare programs and how to evaluate their efficacy, making adjustments to improve patient care.
- Ethical Decision-Making: This course helps to prepare students for making major decisions that affect the lives of healthcare workers and patients. Students learn how to develop awareness so they can recognize ethical dilemmas and are provided with the tools they need to make the right decisions when faced with difficult problems.
Online MBA programs typically require students have a bachelor’s degree and work for a minimum of one year in a related field. Some schools also ask that students have high GMAT scores; however, many schools waive the GMAT requirement2 so they can appeal to a wider range of prospective students.
What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue With an MBA Specializing in Healthcare Administration
Those who have an accredited online MBA in healthcare administration have plenty of opportunities to fill high-level positions in the healthcare industry. Healthcare administrators work in all levels of health care, including medical clinics, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and long-term care facilities.
Hospital Administrator/Health Services Manager
Hospital administrators3 are in charge of planning, directing, and coordinating services. Depending on the size of the facility, they may be responsible for all activity within their organization or a single department. On a day-to-day basis, hospital administrators are accountable for making important decisions that are ethical and abide the law. Duties often include supervising practitioners, creating and monitoring budgets, managing patient benefits, and overseeing patient care.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics4, hospital administrators earned an average of $99,730 per year as of May 2018. This role is in high demand, and opportunities are expected to increase by 20% by the year 2026.
Healthcare Support Worker
Healthcare support workers5 typically occupy entry-level jobs in clinics, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. They’re responsible for providing assistance with administrative tasks and helping administrators to oversee patient care. Daily duties might include secretarial duties such as data input, greeting patients, processing benefits claims, and answering telephones. Healthcare support workers often have plenty of room for career advancement.
As of May 2018, healthcare support workers earned an average income of $28,710 per year. Skilled nursing facilities and dental offices employ the greatest number of these workers.
Healthcare consultants perform a similar role to management consultants 6 in that they’re responsible for recommending ways for an organization to increase efficiency, morale, and profit. The key difference between a management consultant and a healthcare consultant is simply the industry in which they work. Healthcare consultants are often required to travel to meet with their clients and tour their organizations.
The average consultant earned a wage of $83,610 per year as of May 2018. Opportunities for this role are expected to grow 14% by the year 2026, which is faster than average.
Pharmaceutical Brand Manager
Brand managers7, also referred to as promotional managers, work for pharmaceutical companies and are in charge of promoting specific prescription medications to physicians. They may be required to travel throughout the US and meet with doctors and healthcare administrators in a variety of settings. Brand managers usually oversee a team of pharmaceutical sales representatives.
According to the BLS, promotional managers earned an average of $117,130 per year as of May 2018. However, those with a specific niche and additional training, such as pharmaceutical brand managers, should expect to earn an above-average wage. Growth for this job is fast; opportunities are expected to increase 10% by the year 2026.
Healthcare HR Manager
Healthcare human resources managers8 oversee staffing for hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. They’re in charge of interviewing and hiring medical staff and maintaining positive morale in the workplace. HR managers in the healthcare industry are also responsible for ensuring that all staff is making ethical and accountable decisions. HR managers usually oversee a team that consists of benefits administrators and HR representatives. They often play a role in planning and implementing hospital or clinic directives.
As of May 2018, human resources managers earned an average wage of $113,300 per year. Demand for this position is expected to increase 9% by the year 2026, which is about average.
Although the job is an entry-level position that doesn’t require an advanced degree, medical assistants9 hold a valuable position in hospitals and clinics, and those who excel in the role have vast opportunities for advancement within the healthcare field. They’re responsible for performing basic administrative and clerical tasks and providing friendly, efficient services to patients.
Medical assistants earned an average of $38,640 per year as of May 2018, with those working in outpatient care centers making the highest wages. Demand for medical assistants is expected to increase 29% by the year 2026, which is much faster than average.
Should I Get an Online MBA in Healthcare Administration?
Students who are considering obtaining an online MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration should ensure that they’re making the right choice for their career goals. To help make this decision, prospective students can ask themselves some of the questions listed below.
Online MBA in Healthcare Administration vs. Master’s in Healthcare Administration
Many students may have a difficult time deciding between applying to an online MBA program in healthcare administration and a master’s degree program. For those trying to make this decision, it’s important to note the key difference between the two degrees. While both include high-level health administration courses, master’s degree programs don’t require students to enroll in business management courses. Those who want to advance to a management role during their career may find that their career goals are better suited to an online MBA program.
Are you comfortable making important decisions that may affect the lives of others?
Many healthcare administrators have positions that require them to make life or death decisions on a regular basis. It’s vital that healthcare administrators act ethically and responsibly when making decisions and be aware of laws, economics, and patient care at all times.
Are you okay with working overtime?
A lot of healthcare administrators, particularly those employed in a large hospital environment, are required to work additional hours outside of their regular 9-to-5 schedules. Hospitals are required to put patients first, and in many cases, this means working round-the-clock to ensure patients receive care in a timely and ethical manner.
Is a leadership role something you see in your future?
While healthcare administration may be your ultimate career goal, if you’re interested in obtaining an online MBA in the field, you should know that the program is designed to prepare you for high-level management jobs.
Do you have the time it takes to pursue an advanced degree online?
Obtaining an online MBA is a difficult task. It requires you to set aside several hours per week at minimum to focus on studying and completing your coursework. Students who choose to pursue an MBA online need to consider the amount of work involved and be sure that they have enough free time to devote to their studies.
Do you have prior education or work experience in healthcare?
Most online MBA programs make it a prerequisite for students to have work experience in healthcare as well as a bachelor’s degree. This requirement is in place to ensure student success. While some programs don’t have prerequisites, it’s still best for students to apply with some experience in healthcare to ensure that they don’t feel overwhelmed by the demands of the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I obtain an accredited online MBA in healthcare, will it increase my chances of getting promoted in my current job?
Many employers consider current employees over outside applicants when hiring new managers, and many organizations prefer to place those with advanced degrees, such as online MBAs, in those roles. Obtaining an online MBA can show your employer you’re a capable and competent management candidate.
Is it better to obtain an MBA in a traditional brick-and-mortar school?
Many students attest to the fact that online MBA programs and traditional MBA programs have similar curricula. Although some students may find they’re more successful learning in a classroom where they’re able to ask questions and congregate with peers, most students who take part in online degree programs easily complete their coursework within the allotted time frame
How long do online MBA programs take to complete?
While the amount of time that students are given to complete their programs may vary depending on the school, most programs allow students to work at their own pace provided they complete all coursework within two years. However, some part-time online MBA programs give students up to five years to complete, while accelerated programs provide students with a condensed version of the materials and take anywhere from six to eight weeks to finish.
Are all US-based online MBA programs in healthcare administration accredited?
Some online schools offer an unaccredited online MBA with a specialization in healthcare administration. It’s important for prospective students to conduct thorough research before they apply to any online degree programs to determine their accreditation status. Students can check the status of any institution’s online MBA programs online by searching the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited programs10.
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