As hospitals, clinics, and private practices expand, a graduate with an MBA in health care management can work in a range of medical specialties to help oversee workers and provide administrative services. Obtaining a health care MBA provides the foundation for those entering this field or who are looking to advance their careers in the industry.
Learn more about what is necessary to obtain an MBA in health care management or administration with this helpful guide.
What is an MBA in health care management degree?
A Master of Business Administration in health care management is a professional degree concentration for individuals looking to specialize their business knowledge and acumen in the health care industry. You may learn about business, finance, marketing, and management aspects that will be used in operations in hospitals, clinics, private doctors' offices, nursing homes, and other health care organizations.
Online MBA in health care management benefits
An MBA in health care management online program affords working professionals more flexibility in building their academic schedules. This can make it easier to balance your education with other family and career responsibilities.
Virtual degree programs are more accessible to a wider range of students and professors around the world. As a result, program participants can gain insights from a more diverse group of professionals in different roles, locations, and stages of their careers — yielding richer, more comprehensive educational experiences.
Similar to an on-campus MBA in health care management program, an online program can help business professionals build key skills for success in areas such as communication, teamwork, time management, and decision-making. Most important, an online program allows working students to advance their education without pausing their careers.
What is the difference between an MBA in health care management and an MBA?
An MBA provides general studies and training in business administration. This degree path can prepare you for a variety of jobs, which can include manager, administrator, human resources (HR) professional, or analyst. You also can pick from a range of industries, such as finance, banking, and manufacturing. An MBA in health care management, on the other hand, prepares you for these roles with a focus on the health care industry.
MBA in health care management vs. master’s in health care administration: What’s the difference?
When pursuing an advanced leadership career in the health care industry, you should compare an MBA in health care management vs. a master’s in health care administration — two common degree programs.
Health care management MBA
An MBA in health care management provides a deeper foundation of business knowledge and skills. This program includes courses in general business management, such as budgeting and HR management, along with courses devoted to health care management, such as health care information systems and health care systems operations.
Master's in health care management
A master’s in health care administration is a more intensive program that focuses on health care management. This program includes core courses, such as health care policy, health care ethics, and health care economics, and elective courses, such as accounting and marketing.
Both an MBA in health care management and a master’s in health care administration can prepare professionals to become administrative and executive health leaders. When choosing between programs, you should keep in mind that an MBA in health care management often appeals to students who take a business-first approach to their careers.
What type of knowledge is gained with an MBA in health care management?
When pursuing a health care MBA, you will gain expertise from an administrative standpoint. You will have a greater understanding of the concepts, products, services, finances, and issues that surround the health care industry
While an MBA in health care management will be based on the individual school’s program and specifics, the curricular base often includes a general understanding of industry best practices combined with the experienced guidance of seasoned faculty professionals. Areas of study may focus on the following topics:
Health care management
Human resource management
Health care information systems
Health care systems operations
A health care management MBA program may also provide advanced skills for those looking to specialize in a variety of disciplines and career focus areas.
Health informatics focuses on improving health care information management when storing, retrieving, and organizing data while following clinical guidelines, according to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Health care finance management
Health care finance management professionals help organizations manage their financial operations and risk management initiatives to reach business goals.
Health economics focuses on the issues and efficiencies regarding health services that institutions and organizations provide. These may include finances, supply and demand, investments, or determinants of health.
Typical concentrations and electives
Many health care administration and management MBA programs provide concentrations in which you can drill down into the elective studies that best fit your future career choices.
An MBA in health care administration may offer concentrations that include the following:
Accounting and finance
Laws and regulations
Economics and policies
Electives for MBA in health care management programs provide additional training and knowledge based on the concentration. Electives may include the following:
Elderly care management
Pharmaceutical and biotechnology management
Choose your coursework wisely — it should map to your career goal to help increase your starting salary and job opportunities.
What’s the industry outlook for health care MBA graduates?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health and medical services managers earned a median annual salary of $100,980 in 2019. This industry is estimated to see 32% growth from 2019 to 2029.
With a steady increase in demand for qualified health care professionals to help with an aging population, about 133,200 new employment openings for medical and health services managers will be added in this time period.
No one-size-fits-all model for a graduate education exists. Degree programs come in various forms, each with its own benefits. Therefore, considering your options — such as an MBA in health care management online vs. on campus, and an MBA in health care management vs. a master’s in health care administration — is important.
Here are some of the most common questions you should ask when researching your MBA in health care management program:
How long will earning my health care management degree take?
You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two years if you choose to study full time. Accelerated programs may also be available to help you finish more quickly.
Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.
The fine print on MBA accreditation
There are two types of accreditation — regional and specialized.
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that a college or university can receive. Regional accreditation confirms that the provider has met and adhered to a minimum set of academic standards.
Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.
Specialized accreditation is offered to schools and universities that have specific degree programs and areas of study. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is one of the top accreditation organizations for business schools and brings professional recognition for those entering the field.
If you’re looking to balance the business world with health care, accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) can signal a quality education in this area of study.
Why accreditation matters
You want to ensure that your chosen school and program will provide coursework that meets the highest standards. In addition, if you plan to switch schools and programs, the process of transferring credits should be effortless between institutions.
If you plan on obtaining federal student financing, government organizations require that schools be accredited to receive these funds. Accreditation is also important if you want to transfer your credits, as most schools will only accept transfer credits from accredited institutions
An MBA in health care management is usually accredited through one or more of the following:
AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)
ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs)
IACBE (International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education)
Check for both national and regional accreditation at your university of interest. You may also find that your degree program or academic department of interest has additional and specialized accreditations.
How much will a health care MBA cost?
Master’s degree tuition will vary between schools based on factors such as coursework, books, residencies, specialties, and other circumstances. Expenses will also vary based on whether you will be taking classes on campus, online, or via a hybrid program.
A standard MBA program can cost from $30,000 to $120,000. First-year tuitions can range from $27,000 to $65,000.
Return on investment
While you can become a health and medical service manager with a bachelor’s degree, employers typically prefer people who have a master’s degree. A higher degree will position you to negotiate for a higher salary.
You can expect any degree program to have additional costs. These costs cover field studies, technology, and the coursework you may need. Some costs are one-time expenses, such as travel for residencies.
What are the admission requirements?
Each university will set specific admission requirements based on its criteria. When researching universities, you may find that many of the requirements are universal.
You will need to provide the following documentation when applying:
Transcripts of previous degrees or coursework
Standardized test scores
Personal statement or essay
Resume or CV for relevant work experience
Some universities may waive a few of these requirements.
You have goals. We have a path.
Health care management is essential to our global economy. As the world’s learning company, we proudly partner with universities to offer a suite of online graduate degrees in this field. Whatever your career goals, we have a path for you.