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What is an MBA in healthcare management?

Should you pursue a healthcare management MBA? Take a look at the information on this page to see if it's the right step for you.
maura-deering
Written by Maura Deering on
Reviewed by Alexandra Tapia, MBA
Abstract illustration of healthcare data.
SOMKID THONGDEE / Shutterstock

A healthcare management MBA concentrates on preparing graduates to become healthcare leaders in administration, financial management, and project management. 

This guide can help you decide if earning a healthcare management master of business administration is the right choice for you. It contains insights into program formats, coursework, costs of earning your degree, and skills you'll learn. 

You'll also find a checklist of what to look for in a healthcare management MBA and return-on-investment figures.

What is a healthcare management MBA?

When asking "What MBA should I get?" it helps to research different MBA concentrations. An MBA emphasizes general management knowledge, but MBA concentrations focus on careers in particular industries. 

Healthcare management MBAs can lead to positions as hospital administrators, health information managers, medical practice managers, and project management specialists.

Healthcare management MBAs are offered as in-person and online programs. Online study offers scheduling flexibility. Interaction with classmates and instructions is virtual rather than face-to-face.


Who is a good fit for a healthcare management MBA program?

It depends on the program structure and course delivery method.

Many MBA programs suggest students have two years of prior work experience. Others just require a bachelor's degree.

Online and on-campus weekend/evening programs enable enrollees to continue working. Part-time study can add time to a degree. Still, it might be a good fit if you have work or life responsibilities to maintain while studying.

Some specialty MBA programs, such as healthcare management, can be completed in as little as 12 months. Those may suit you if you can study full-time and want to enter the workforce soon.

Online instruction may take place synchronously, requiring students to log on at set times, asynchronously on their own schedules, or via a hybrid format. On-campus two- to three-day residencies are not uncommon, even for asynchronous programs. 

How much money and time does it take to complete a healthcare management MBA?

Health management MBA programs typically take two years to complete. Per-credit tuition rates range from $430 to $1,700 for both online and on-campus programs. Annual tuition totals $7,800-$66,500. 

Full-time options are offered on campus and online. Part-time options happen online or in person during the evenings or weekend hours. 

Employers may assist you with all or partial tuition costs if earning the degree will benefit your job performance or advancement.   

Electives in a healthcare management MBA program

Degree plans usually start with a year of core MBA courses like accounting, ethics and law, finance, marketing, and business strategy and leadership. You may also study information technology, human resources, management, and innovation. 

The second year provides opportunities to participate in internships or independent study, complete capstone projects, and choose electives.

Electives may include:

  • E-health business models
  • Eldercare management
  • Global health and the private sector
  • Healthcare entrepreneurship
  • Medical device management and strategy
  • Financial management and performance evaluation in healthcare organizations

Hard skills you'll learn

  • Billing and budgeting
  • Patient care and customer service
  • Project management
  • Quality assurance and control
  • Staff management and supervision

People skills you'll learn

  • Change management 
  • Communication 
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Professional and ethical integrity
  • Workplace diversity awareness

Why get a healthcare management MBA?

The growth of healthcare organizations and an aging population mean opportunities for MBA healthcare management concentration graduates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 32% job growth increase for 2019-2029.


READ THIS: Is an MBA worth it?


Advantages to pursuing a healthcare management MBA include:

  • Flexibility: The two-year on-campus MBA is becoming less common in favor of online, evening, and weekend options. 
  • Skills: MBAs teach key business skills with lectures, projects, and hands-on internships.
  • Return on investment: The average tuition costs for a two-year MBA total $72,200 in-state and $98,400 out-of-state. The BLS, however, lists a median annual salary for healthcare managers at $104,280.
  • Opportunities: MBA healthcare management graduates may become clinical managers, consultants, health information managers, hospital executives, and nursing home administrators.

See also

    What should I expect in a healthcare management MBA program?

    Health management MBAs are demanding but achievable for motivated, organized, and focused students. 

    Challenges include returning to the classroom from the workforce, handling increased reading loads, and keeping up with assignments and projects. Working students may find it particularly challenging.

    Strategies for success involve time management, discipline, self-motivation, and keeping an eye on the finish line. Setting aside study time, creating a calendar of deadlines, participating in class discussions, and making time for relaxation and self-care can go a long way toward staying organized and engaged.

    Building relationships with classmates, scheduling one-on-ones with your instructors, and taking advantage of networking opportunities through internships can help you now and when it's time to apply for a promotion or new job.

    What to look for when choosing a healthcare management MBA program

    When researching and selecting an MBA healthcare management program, pay attention to accreditation, location, costs, and student resources. These factors will help you narrow down your list. 

    Accreditation

    Accreditation signifies that an MBA healthcare management program undergoes regular and rigorous review of its curriculum. 

    Online business school accreditation is just as important as it is for on-campus programs. 

    Location

    Location can determine the tuition rate, internship opportunities, and commuting costs. Consider online MBA programs' locations, too, especially if on-campus intensives require weekend or summer attendance.  

    University resources

    MBA students can benefit from campus resources like internship placement, professional conference access, an alumni network, mentorship, and career services. 

    Remote learners should look for online library and advising resources. 

    Program length

    The typical MBA curriculum spans two years. However, spending two years of full-time, on-campus study is giving way to more flexible options. Colleges offer online and hybrid study, weekend or evening classes, and self-paced or accelerated learning.

    Cost

    Tuition costs can vary by geographic location, public or private institutional status, and in-state or out-of-state residency. Housing, transportation, and course materials add costs. 

    An online program, state university, or rural college may offer savings. Make sure to apply to MBA scholarships, too.

    In conclusion

    Armed with information, you may be ready to start researching MBA programs. 

    With so many learning formats, school environments, and flexible class scheduling options, you are sure to find one that fits your academic and professional goals. 

    This article was reviewed by Alexandra Tapia, MBA

    Alexandria Tapia, a blonde woman, smiles at the camera

    Alexandra is a driven, high-spirited, unapologetically energetic, and optimistic person. She prides herself on her devotion to becoming a better business leader and human. She has an insatiable hunger for knowledge, asks a million questions, and thrives on making change.

    She has reached many populations throughout her career. She's studied recidivism, helped prior criminal offenders reintegrate into society, and built trusting relationships while working at a homeless shelter. 

    Her passion for education also shines through in her work. She taught younger children for many years, but has since turned her focus to higher education. She loves collaborating with others to be a disruptor in the education industry, creating and delivering programs that are unlike others — all while building a better future for her clients and students. 

    Tapia is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network. 

    Unless otherwise noted, job growth and salary data were drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of June 27, 2022.

    Last reviewed April 26, 2022.

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