MHA vs MPH vs MBA in Healthcare Administration – Which Is Right for You?

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Healthcare administration is a great field to consider if you want to work in the medical field but aren’t interested in being a doctor or nurse. Healthcare administrators still affect patient care, but this is a field that is more concerned with the business of healthcare than direct patient care. You can get started working as a healthcare administrator with just a bachelor’s degree, but to qualify for top positions in this field and more easily find a job, you should consider a master’s degree in healthcare administration.

But which degree should you earn? If you’ve started looking at your options, you might already be confused – there are so many master’s degree options in the healthcare field! Let’s talk a look at the three most common for healthcare administrators so you can decide which one is right for you.

Master of Healthcare Administration

The most common degree for students who are interested in this field is the Master of Healthcare Administration, or MHA. This degree focuses solely on healthcare administration and is perfect for people who are interested in working as a healthcare administrator after working in administration in other industries. With MHA programs, you can expect to attend classes with other students interested in healthcare, and while you may have a few general administrative courses, most will be specific to the healthcare field.

It typically takes about two years to earn an MHA, though this depends on your program of choice and whether you go to school full time or part time. MHA programs are readily available online and at typical campus colleges. While this type of degree is great for all healthcare administration student, it is an especially good choice if you have an administrative background already and want to make the switch to work in the healthcare industry.

Master of Public Health in Healthcare Administration

There’s a lot of overlap between MHA and Master of Public Health (MPH) in health administration programs. the main difference is that MPH programs are specific to health administration. While you will take a number of administrative classes, especially if your college offers health administration as a track, MPH programs may also include classes on biostatistics, biology, law, and other related topics. Public health is a field that is concerned with disease and injury prevention and the overall health of a population, so it is perfect for students who want to work as administrators at laboratories, research centers, government health departments, and non-profits. In this field, you could also work creating and implementing policy in the healthcare field.

MPH programs work well for students who already have a degree in administration or who already work in the healthcare field. You can also go into this industry from fields like law, business, and psychology. Like MHA degree programs, MPH programs typically take about two years to complete, depending on the program you attend, and you can find programs both online and offline.

Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration

If you’re more interested in the business side of the healthcare industry, a Master of business Administration, or MBA, is a great choice. Many MBA programs offer a healthcare administration track, so while your entire education won’t be specific to the healthcare field, a good chunk of your classes will be geared toward healthcare administration students. This is a great options for those who already work in healthcare as a nurse, doctor, or lower-level healthcare administration worker and who want advanced business training.

The main advantage to the MBA is that it prepares you for business in a way that MHA and MPH programs do not. You’ll take classes in finance, accounting, marketing and public relations, human resources, and more with this type of degree. Although all three of these master’s degrees area on par with one another in terms of difficulty and workload, MBAs are often seen by employers as more prestigious degrees. As an additional advantage, if you graduate with an MBA, you can transition to other industries more easier, so you aren’t confined to working in healthcare forever.

Which Program to Choose

Still confused? Here’s a summary of what each program has to offer:

  • MHA: This program is great for students who want a program focused on healthcare administration, especially those already working in administration in another industry.
  • MPH: This program is great for students who want to work in public policy or in the non-profit sector.
  • MBA: This program is great for student who want an advanced business education, especially those already working in the healthcare field.

There’s tons of overlap with these three types of programs, though, so check out lots of different colleges to find the program that is right for you.

Featured Schools with Online MHA and Other Health Programs (Sponsored)

Directory of Health Administration Master's Degree Programs

The following masters degrees in health administration are available to earn online:

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