Health Care Leadership Credentials: Why get an MBA rather than MPA or MHA?

Hospital staff overlooking a procedure.

The health care industry has begun to see an increase in the demand for medical services. As baby boomers near retirement age, the demand for qualified doctors, nurses, and other medical staff has risen greatly. As demand for medical staff grows, so does the demand for qualified leadership in the health care industry.

The job outlook for health care managers is particularly bright. Demand for health care leadership is expected to grow dramatically in the years to come, with Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates indicating that job growth for health service managers will increase 17 percent by the year 2024. [1]

What Health Care Managers Do

Health care managers provide a vital service in today’s medical field. Health service managers help to plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services at institutions ranging from small nursing homes to large hospitals.

Their duties are far reaching. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of their typical day-to-day duties can include:

  • Working to improve efficiency and quality in health care services
  • Developing goals and objectives for each individual hospital department
  • Ensuring that their facility is compliant with new laws and regulations
  • Managing the recruitment, training, and supervision of staff
  • Creating and managing work schedules
  • Managing the finances of the facilities they are responsible for
  • Representing hospital staff at board meetings
  • Communicating with and managing department heads
  • Keeping an organized record of the facility’s services [2]

Health care managers work closely with physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff to ensure that patients are receiving quality health care, while also making sure that the hospital is fiscally sound and running smoothly.

Work Environment and Compensation

Health care managers can work in a variety of medical environments, ranging from smaller private practices, to nursing homes, to large medical institutions. Those who earn advanced degrees in health care management can also find lucrative job opportunities outside of the clinical setting, working in pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, insurance companies, or consulting firms.

Most work full time, but may have to put in hours on weekends, or when medical emergencies arise, depending on their chosen work environment. [3]

Compensation for health care managers is competitive, with a median annual salary of $94,500, based on 2015 BLS estimates. Those who work in hospitals, government facilities, typically earned more per year, while those who work in caregiving and nursing home settings made slightly less. [4] Salaries will also vary depending on the state you choose to work.

How Do You Become a Health Care Manager?

Health care management requires a number of specific skills, which can include:

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • The ability to effectively present reports and important information
  • The capacity and desire to work closely with others
  • A strong sense of ethics and honesty
  • Exceptional leadership skills

There are multiple educational pathways for becoming a leader in the health care field. Although each will prepare you to perform the tasks required to succeed in health care management, each Master’s program will vary in curriculum and material taught, and provide students with different sets of skills.

In a majority of cases, managers in the health care field are required to possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for the job. However, master’s degrees in business administration (MBA), health care administration (MHA), and public health (MPH), and are common and often preferred by employers. [5] The diverse array of paths into health care leadership can lead to confusion, leaving many students to wonder which pathway is the correct pathway for them to take.

The Difference Between an MBA, MHA, and MPH

Though the completion of any of these three Masters programs will adequately prepare students for a career in health care management, there are major differences in the scope of material covered when you compare an MBA in Health Care Administration to an MPH or an MHA Degree.

Each will ensure that graduates will be taught to understand the intricate language, financial structure, and the complexities of government regulations and policies as they pertain to the field of medicine.

An MBA in Health Care Management differs from an MPH and an MHA degree, in that completing an MBA ensures that students are especially well versed in in the business side of the health care sector.

Students not only graduate with real-world knowledge about new trends and challenges that affect health care industry, but also have a foundational understanding of more traditional business related disciplines, including accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, and economics, and the ways in which those intersect with medicine. Extensive knowledge of each of those topics is a must-have requirement in a rapidly changing health care environment.

Additionally, earning a health Care MBA provides students with flexibility in their career, as MBA graduates are desired in nearly every industry.

Why Should You Choose to Pursue an MBA From Marylhurst University

Health Care MBAs who earn their degree from Marylhurst University Online graduate with knowledge that makes them competitive in today’s job market. While gaining a fundamental understanding of business practices as they pertain to health care, students also delve into courses pertaining to ethical health care management, fundamentals of leadership, and courses which outline the complex realities of the system in which they will be working in.

Marylhurst University Online’s Health Care Management Degree offers elective work in three core areas of interest: leadership and general management, hospital administration, and health care law. These diverse offerings ensure that graduates receive a well rounded education, centered around patient care, general management, hospital operations, ethics, law, and leadership. Additionally, Marylhurst University’s courses are designed to provide students with skills that they can apply to their careers in real time.

In an industry that changes as rapidly as health care, MBA graduates will need to have a thorough and developed understanding of how to navigate the intricacies in the health care field. Graduates from Marylhurst University’s MBA in Health Care Management program leave with the skills necessary to expertly handle the complexities that come with operating a hospital.