That’s how much the Health Services Management field is projected to grow by 2024.
It’s an expanding and lucrative field, and healthcare management professionals are in high demand.
If you’re interested in moving into a healthcare management position, you may find yourself considering your education choices. Healthcare administration typically requires a Master’s Degree, usually an MHA or MBA.
Moving in that direction, you may be torn between the two. They are both valuable degrees with promising career outlooks. And for a career in healthcare, the MHA may seem like an obvious choice.
But the reality is a little more complicated.
The MHA and MBA are both valuable degrees, with their own sets of benefits. Is there a way to know which is right for you, or does it matter at all? Could you just flip a coin?
We’re going to take a look at these two degrees and help you make the final MHA vs MBA decision.
Health Care Administration: A Growing Field
Health care is changing rapidly. As insurance companies grow in scope and power, they’ve been changing the landscape of healthcare and how it is delivered.
Technology is playing a larger role than ever. Laws regarding insurance and healthcare are a hot political topic, lending a sense of unease to the entire industry. And as health care costs continue to climb, healthcare is treated more like a consumer good than a daily necessity.
So health care administrators have to be prepared and able to rise to the task of overseeing an industry in constant flux.
To meet this task, the expertise of a Masters degree is vital.
Health Care Administrators come from all over. Some are recent graduates, following the traditional path from Bachelors to Masters degree, then to the workforce. Others may be receptionists in doctors offices who want to move into management. Others have no background in medical business at all but have decided later in life to pursue it as a career.
Which degree is best for you really depends on where you fall on this spectrum. Let’s take a closer look at the degrees themselves.
MHA stands for Masters of Healthcare Administration. It’s a highly specialized degree focusing on the business of medicine. A lot falls under this scope, from laws governing insurance, public health policy, and the economics of healthcare. MHA programs often like for their candidates to have at least some background in healthcare, be it a former job in a medical office or a BA in healthcare administration.
That said, this can also be an ideal program for those with business experience that doesn’t directly relate to medical care. MHA programs are very specialized, which means that the entire course load may be healthcare related. For students without a healthcare background, this can bring them up to speed quickly.
Conversely, it may be difficult to go from a purely business background to a strictly medical one, and without former healthcare experience, some may find the learning curve to be a bit steep.
An MBA, or Masters of Business Administration, is a more broad choice than the MHA. An MBA is focused on business administration in general, from accounting to entrepreneurship to marketing.Because the degree is so broad, it can be a good degree for someone who already holds a degree in healthcare administration. If you already have a healthcare background and degree, you may only need the business courses to give you a good career outlook.
Some colleges also offer an MBA with a concentration in health administration, which can offer students the best of both worlds, giving a broad overview of the business world while also providing the necessary healthcare administration courses.
MHA vs MBA: Which is the Right Choice?
The choice is far from obvious and depends on many factors.
First is where you have come from. Students without a healthcare background can benefit greatly from the health care intensive environment an MHA offers. Students with a degree in health administration may find that they benefit from a more business-intensive route.
The second consideration is where you are headed. For those who know they want to make a career in healthcare administration, the MHA is the best choice, regardless of background. The specialized course offerings will give students a level of expertise in healthcare that they simply wouldn’t receive in a less specialized degree.
If, however, you aren’t sure you want to remain in healthcare for your entire career, an MBA may be the better decision. This is especially true for those who may have to relocate frequently, such as military spouses or others with spouses who migrate often.
The MBA offers a great deal more flexibility than the MHA and is applicable to far more fields than medicine. So if you need that kind of flexibility in your career, you may want to go toward the MBA.
Taking the Next Step
Getting a Masters degree is a substantial investment, in both money and time. So much so that some may wonder if it is even worth the time. Maybe you’re ok with where you are.
But if you have ever wondered if you had more to give, if you hadn’t exhausted your potential, it may be time to take a look at an MBA or MHA. Either degree can rocket your career forward, increasing your earning potential and making you a more marketable candidate.
If you’re looking for an online degree that you can fit with your busy schedule, check out our degree listing. We can help you find the perfect program for you, help you with that pesky MHA vs MBA problem, and get you ready to pursue your dreams in healthcare administration. Get started today!