What is a master’s in health administration degree?

A master’s in health administration degree or MHA is similar to an MBA or masters of business administration degree. The main difference is that a master’s in health administration degree is specific to Preparing students to work in positions inside Health Services organizations.  these kinds of organizations can include hospitals, care facilities, and other complex medical professional organizations.

Pursuing an MHA shows that students are ready to tackle the complexities of business administration with the added layer of Health Administration complexities. This degree prepares students for the specific problems and situations found within health service organizations. Earning an online MHA is a great way for those interested in healthcare leadership to hone their potential and gain the knowledge and skills necessary to help advance the rapidly growing field of healthcare, and in doing so advance professionally.

The kinds of students MHA programs often admit are students looking to pursue a career in healthcare administration or another area of the healthcare industry. You will also find students who are already in the workforce and want to add to their education and change or escalate their career trajectory. The rapidly changing landscape of healthcare administration and the technology employed means that people who have been in the industry for decades may find themselves needing more education and training. A master’s in health administration can meet those needs.

Why Choose an online MHA?

Pursuing an online MHA degree means having the flexibility to pursue a lucrative industry and one that isn’t going away. There is an expected job growth of 17% for healthcare sector jobs. Additionally, the industry has seen a 17.8% salary growth since 2006. With a rapidly approaching age bubble of people who will need access to Quality Healthcare options, the need for healthcare administration professionals will be great. As the industry evolves and adapts to the higher number of people, job applicants who can help companies find ways to adopt more quickly will be in high demand.

An online style MHA degree will be easier to adapt to a  full schedule. Online classes and professors who understand their students are living full lives and attending classes means you have a network supporting you and rooting for you. While there are some in-person components over the course of the degree, you will largely be able to complete your work as you are able and make the schedule work for you.

Pursuing an online program means you don’t have to give up your day job or never see your family again. Online learning has improved exponentially over the last decade and will continue to improve, evolve, and create advantageous learning opportunities for students. An online MHA degree will give you the opportunity to work in the field while simultaneously improving your skills. If you are already working in the healthcare sector this means you can demonstrate your value at work and begin looking for the job you want post-graduation.

Another benefit that isn’t talked about nearly enough is the ability for students to choose a specialization within their degree. A traditional MHA degree doesn’t always allow for a student to achieve a concentration or specialization within the normal time frame. With an online MHA degree you can achieve a specialization within your degree without adding multiple years to your schooling.

Is an online MHA accredited?

The short answer is yes an online MHA is accredited. The long answer is that you will need to do your homework and be sure the schools you are considering have an accredited program. There are three types of accreditation. They are regional, national, and programmatic. Each type involves a third-party review and audit of curriculum content in addition to other factors like School spending, student services, and faculty qualifications.

When looking for an online MHA program, look for ones that are regionally accredited or have received a programmatic accreditation. You may find that a regionally accredited school will not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools.  regionally accredited is often considered more reputable and is overseen by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. 

Programmatic accreditation applies to specific programs with an institution based on industry-specific educational standards. This means that industry professionals are evaluating and awarding this accreditation to programs and apartments that are successfully preparing students for that industry.

What are the requirements for admission into an online MHA program?

The requirements for admission into an online MHA program varies from institution to institution. There are a few however you can expect to see across the board. These are standard requirements for most master-level programs. In addition to those listed below, there may be other requirements to address in your admissions application. Depending on your student status requirements will also vary. 

  • Bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency or an internationally recognized institution.
  • Your official bachelor’s transcripts, minimum grade point average of 2.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Three letters of recommendation indicating that the applicant possesses the aptitude and ambition to complete a course of study for the M.H.A. degree. Preferably, letters should be from current or previous employers and/or from the last school attended.
  • Statement of goals and career interests.
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé.

Other things to know about this list

  • Required grade point averages vary from institution to institution and it can change depending on your student status
  • Application fees can range from anywhere from free to upwards of $100. The fees cover transcripts requests, transcript evaluation, and administrative costs. They are almost always non-refundable.
  • Not all institutions will require letters of recommendation at the beginning of the admissions process. You may find that the letters are required later in the process. Be sure to line those up if you are considering an online MHA program

What is the typical curriculum for an online MHA program?

An MHA curriculum looks a lot like an MBA curriculum with the added focus on health care administration. The healthcare administration curriculum is in addition to basic business administration depending on how the program is structured. You may find that the focus on health care administration is interwoven into business administration classes.


You can expect to find coursework in financial skills, team leadership, or organizational awareness, and information technology management. On average, you can expect to complete 36 to 42 credits to graduate. 


In a healthcare administration curriculum, you will find courses on clinical systems management, organizational behavior, and health economics in addition to other coursework specific to healthcare. An online MHA program will cover topics including:

  • Health Care Delivery Models 
  • Legal and Ethical Principles in Health 
  • Health Policies and Economics 
  • Research Methods 
  • Analysis and Utilization 
  • Original Structures Including Business Analysis, Human Resource Management, Marketing and Development

What kind of specializations are there for an online MHA?

If you want to take your online Master’s health administration degree a step further, you can look into degree specializations. Specializations are applicable when a student wants to take a specific learning trajectory or career path. Students to elect a specialization within the MHA degree well have added courses to accommodate their choice. Here are a few of the MHA specializations you can find at different institutions

  • Data Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Health Systems Management
  • Healthcare Strategies
  • Human Resources
  • Informatics
  • Health Policy and Administration
  • Nursing Home Administration
  • Population Management

Choosing a specialization could mean adding additional time to a standard online MHA program. Especially if you decide after your initial enrollment to change specialties or add a specialization. Talking with your admissions rep or trusted advisor can help you make the decision before enrolling. 

How long does it take to earn an online MHA?

It can take anywhere from two to four years to earn an online MHA depending on the program you choose. Many have program lengths listed anywhere from 30-40 months and up to 4 years.  The institution will have the planned program length listed on the program information. If it’s not listed be sure to ask before applying. 

Are there scholarships available for an online MHA program?

There are many scholarships available for online MHA programs. Many are specific to the universities and colleges where the program is taught. Be sure to check with your specific institution to see if they have scholarships available. Here are a few scholarships not attached to specific institutions

  • Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship
  • The Bachrach Family Scholarship for Excellence in Healthcare Administration
  • The Elliott C. Roberts Scholarship
  • Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship
  • Harry J. Harwick Scholarship

Depending on where you claim residency there may be scholarships available to you based on your location. As access to healthcare changes, especially in rural areas and less densely populated areas, organizations are working to incentivize professionals to stay local. This often comes in the form of scholarships and grants where one of the requirements is that you have to be within a certain geographical area.

There are many scholarships available for minority students and students who are coming from impoverished circumstances. be sure to explore all options and avenues before you determine an MHA program is out of reach. Your admissions rep should be able to direct you towards the financial aid office which will have more information and help you determine what you qualify for.