Master of Public Administration in Health Programs
The Master of Public Administration in Health combines the study of various elements of the administrative side of public health with the more technical aspects of the medical industry. The program serves as preparation for students in management, accounting, epidemiology, finance, marketing, and strategic management specifically for a career in health care organizations. Master’s degrees in public administration typically take between one to two years to complete based on the amount of online courses the programs provide. For online degrees in public administration, classes are more flexible and may be taken at an accelerated pace.
Getting this level and type of degree can be a highly strategic move for students planning their careers since the health industry will always be somewhat stable given the demand never depletes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry for medical and health services managers (the primary occupation of those with a degree in public health administration) is expected to grow 22% in the next decade. This rate of growth is faster than average for all occupations, so the job prospects for candidates in this industry are positive. Having a master’s degree in this subject effectively lays the groundwork for a PhD in the field as well, since the curriculum covers the majority of topics usually included in the higher level degrees.
Completing an Online Masters in Public Health Administration
There are several institutions that provide entirely online master’s degree programs in public health and public health administration, and several others that offer partially-online degrees in that subject. Typically these programs focus primarily on various methods and principles useful for advancing the health of communities. Curriculum is almost always a combination of management, planning, law, and ethics. Because analytics and sound reasoning are an integral part of the careers of public health administration, a portion of the degree program will focus on this aspect as well – teaching students how to apply laws and ethics in their decision-making processes.
Online classes allow students more flexibility in their schedule as they can choose to study at times that are more convenient for them. This allows even busy working adults to pursue a master’s degree while juggling their jobs, families, and other interests. Generally online courses allow assignments to be submitted online and students can use the distance learning platforms to collaborate or participate with other students in group discussions. In most cases, online courses reflect the same exact curriculum and similar structure as traditional programs. Many of the same courses will be covered as well, including some of the core courses a student would expect to take on-campus:
- Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System
- Accounting for Healthcare Management
- Human Resources Management
- Health Law and Ethics
Depending on the exact program a student takes, additional specialized elements may be included in the course requirements. For public healthcare administration students this might be a health administration internship, which may be considered part of the course work. Additionally, students may be required to complete a health administration independent study and thesis. Individual studies are usually guided by experienced faculty members and are conducted in a supervised setting. Requirements for this master’s program generally include:
- Bachelor’s degree
- GRE or GMAT scores
- Proficiency in English as a foreign language (if applicable)
- Letters of recommendation
- Career statement and current resume
Career Opportunities for Public Health Administration Graduates
There are a variety of upper-level careers graduates can seek. Only a select number of positions require a master’s at minimum, but having this level of degree in the subject can account for years of experience that would otherwise be required of students. Considering the competition in the job market currently, having a master’s degree can be of great advantage to the students interested in pursuing careers in the field.
Health Management Analysts
- Average Salary: $87,980
- Employment Prospects: 22%
Management analysts are principally employed in the medical industry to manage the efficiency of an organization. They work directly with managers on increasing profit, reducing cost, and problem-solving. Although certain management analyst positions can be obtained with just a bachelor’s degree, many employers will only hire candidates with a master’s degree in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), who is also the source of the numbers above, 28% of management analysts held a master’s degree.
Medical or Health Services Manager
- Average Salary: $96,030
- Employment Prospects: 22%
Medical and health service managers are primarily responsible to plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. With a master’s in public health administration, candidates will be fully prepared to handle the demands of this position. The figures listed above for salary and employment prospects are provided by the BLS and are estimates.
Regional Medical Director
- Average Salary: $245,680
Considered one of the highest positions in the healthcare administrative industry, the regional medical director position requires candidates to manage several medical clinics within an organization. They act as a liaison between administration and providers and work to ensure the overall quality of medical care delivered in assigned clinics and regions. This position requires at least a master’s degree in public health administration or a closely related field, as well as a minimum number of years of experience. The average salary listed above was taken from Salary.com.
Additional Benefits of a Master of Public Health Administration
In addition to providing students with the opportunity to seek jobs that are only available to candidates with this level and type of degree, having a master of public health administration can be beneficial in two other ways. For one, a master’s degree of any kind can be a great advantage in a struggling job market; whether it be looking for work or strategizing towards a promotion, a master’s degree can set a candidate apart from the competition. In addition, a master’s degree lays a solid foundation for higher levels of studies. Students interested in taking their studies to the highest level, either for career purposes or just for self-improvement, a master’s in public health administration can be an invaluable way to prepare for a doctoral degree.