Exploring a Master of Health Administration Degree and Its Concentrations

Health Administrator with Medical Team

If you’ve got a passion for healthcare and were born to lead, consider earning a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree. At the top tiers of management in hospitals, government health agencies, and large rehabilitation and specialty care facilities (to name but a few), you’ll find seasoned healthcare leaders leveraging this advanced degree.

Healthcare administration requires attention to both detail and the big picture, and confident decision-making grounded in expertise acquired through education and experience. MHAs work at all levels of healthcare, from C-suite hospital positions to educators and consultants. As an MHA graduate, you may find yourself in any of more than 50 job titles.

An MHA synthesizes expertise in medicine, technology, and business with a wide range of possible placements and robust demand.

MHA Degree Concentrations

Healthcare administration is a broad label encompassing many sectors, so choosing a discipline within the MHA umbrella allows you to sharpen your expertise around a point of emphasis to better prepare you for a position of authority in a particular field or environment. At West Coast University, there are three core tracks within the Master of Health Administration program:

This track is a good choice for aspiring hospital CEOs and CFOs, among other executive titles. If you’re hoping to take the helm of a large hospital or organization, an MHA concentrated in organizational leadership can help you become an exceptional communicator, adept at coordinating cross-functional teams, and fluent in the essentials of healthcare administration, from budgets and regulations to technology and macro strategy.

MHA candidates specializing in project management have the opportunity to graduate into an indispensable administrative role that facilitates teams and projects to accomplish initiatives. A competent project manager is an exceptional communicator who choreographs resources with timelines. PMs are the connective tissue between top-level organizational mandates and the many teams that must coordinate to execute them. Coupled with all the expertise learned through an MHA education, health administrators in project management are leaders in realizing critical healthcare outcomes.

The Master of Healthcare Administration – Public Health track includes the advanced skills of an MHA degree enhanced with knowledge and practical skill-building in maintaining and improving population wellness. Environmental and occupational health are included in this course of study so that graduates can provide administrative leadership in public health for a variety of populations and needs. MHAs direct initiatives on local, regional, governmental, and global scales.

How to Become a Health Administrator

An MHA is an advanced degree, so you’ll need to have a bachelor-level education or above to apply to a master’s program in health administration. You can usually complete this degree in about two years, and many programs are available online.

At WCU, our online MHA program allows students to complete their degree in as little as 8 months at the Accelerated Plus pace. You can also choose to complete your program in as little as 12 months at the Accelerated pace or 20 months at the Working Professional pace.

Steps to achieving an MHA include:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree (preferably in a related field)
  • Research reputable and accredited programs that fit your needs
  • Complete your MHA application (you can begin the WCU application here)
  • After acceptance, enroll in your chosen program
  • Complete coursework and requirements (sample curriculum here)
  • Opt to earn any of a long list of elective certifications to demonstrate specific competencies and commitment to continued education (certification is at-will and can be taken at any time during your career):
    • Compliance (CHC)
    • Risk Management (CPHRM)
    • Finance (CFHP)
    • Revenue (CRCE)
    • Informatics (RHIT)
    • Information and Management (CPHIMS)
    • Medical Management (CMM)
    • Quality Assurance (CPHQ)
    • Healthcare Access (CHAM)
  • Secure employment in your specialization of choice

Earning an MHA degree requires hard work and passion, and the drive to take on a high-stakes, demanding, and rewarding position in healthcare leadership. Exceptional MHAs command the respect of the organizations they help run, and they enjoy the satisfaction of ensuring optimal outcomes for facilities, populations, and individuals.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.