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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Health Administration

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Health Administration

Value

The University of North Carolina wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for value. PayScale.com reports that the University of North Carolina has a 9.3% return on investment without financial aid, and a 12% return on investment with financial aid. The University of North Carolina also provides financial aid and scholarship and grant opportunities for online students.

Flexibility

Ashford University wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for flexibility. CollegeProwler.com gives Ashford University a grade of “A+” for flexibility. Ashford University’s online courses are asynchronous, and are supplemented by online discussion forums, digital course materials, and online assignment submission.

Career Support

Southern New Hampshire University wins best online health administration master’s degree program for career support. Southern New Hampshire University’s healthcare administration department provides several career resources for online master’s degree students, including career guides, statistics, and professional associations. Online students also have access to Southern New Hampshire University’s Career Development Center, which offers resume development, networking opportunities, cover letter tutorials, and interviewing information.

Financial Support

Southern New Hampshire University’s financial aid staff are dedicated to helping students explore financial aid options, including scholarships and Federal Stafford loans. SNHU provides a net price calculator and Stafford and alternative loans information on its financial aid website. Southern New Hampshire University wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for financial support.

Technology Support

Penn State University wins best online health administration master’s degree program for technology support. Penn State Online offers course compatibility for Apple, PC, Unix, and Linux users. Course lectures are delivered through both live streaming and recorded audio and video, and utilize simulations, online labs, and bulletin boards. Penn State also has online communities available through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. Technical requirements may be found on the Penn State website.

Student Engagement/Activities

Penn State University wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for student engagement. Penn State provides discussion forums, Skype, and other tools for peer collaboration, as well as student events, online clubs, and philanthropic events for both traditional and online students to attend. World Campus students are also invited to join the Penn State Blue & White Society — the Penn State Alumni Association student membership — where students have access to several networking opportunities.

Disability Support

Penn State University wins best online health administration master’s degree program for disability support. Penn State provides disability accommodations for the students who apply and are eligible to receive services. Accommodations include learning support, speech and hearing accommodations such as captioning, multimedia tools, and library services. Prospective students may find disability services information at the Penn State Office for Disability Services website..

Library Support

The University of Missouri wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for library support. The University of Missouri Library System provides articles, journals, and books accessible online. Online students also have access to research tools like citation and writing guides, and MU dissertations catalogued since 1995.

Learning Support

Penn State University wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for learning support. Penn State World Campus provides live tutoring, discussion boards for student interaction, and mentoring and workshops to aid its online students. According to its website, Penn State’s online courses are taught by experienced faculty who have taught in an online environment, and offer new student orientation, academic advising, and a help desk.

Faculty Credentials

Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for faculty credentials. Walden University requires online instruction training to teach, which is financed by the school, according to U.S. News & World Report. The majority of instructors in the college of health sciences at Walden University hold doctoral degrees in their field, and 87% of the instructors have at least two years of online teaching experience.

Faculty Accessibility and Involvement

Penn State University wins best online health administration master’s degree for faculty accessibility. Penn State University World Campus instructors respond to student e-mails within 24 hours, and are accessible over Skype, Elluminate Live, and online discussion forums.

Alumni Engagement

Penn State University has the largest alumni association in the world with more than 164,000 members. The Penn State Alumni Association offers its first year of membership free after graduation, allowing new graduates to access LionLink and connect with fellow alumni for volunteer or career opportunities. Penn State wins best alumni engagement for an online health administration master’s degree program.

Prior Learning Options

The University of Maryland University College wins best online master’s degree program in health administration for prior learning options. The University of Maryland University College may grant credit for military service, transfer graduate study, prior learning experiences, and credit by examination. Students may receive an official evaluation of transfer credits by applying to UMUC and contacting an advisor. Students may also attend Transfer Day Events to learn more about what credits will transfer to UMUC.

New Student Orientation

Southern New Hampshire University wins best new student orientation in an online health administration master’s degree program. Southern New Hampshire University’s online orientation course provides tutorials on support, online learning, and academic policy for online learning preparation. Southern New Hampshire University also provides FAQs, course demonstrations, and Blackboard familiarization tutorials.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Health Administration

Health administration is a professional area of study that covers the processes and procedures involved in the management of health service organizations. Earning a master’s degree in health administration may be right for those with experience working in the healthcare industry and a desire to advance to a senior management role. Graduate health administration programs can be found in colleges of medicine, allied health, business, or public health. Some programs give students the option to specialize in a particular area such as healthcare finance, health information technology, health policy, quality of care, or healthcare operations. In general, health administration degree programs require students to complete 36-49 credit hours, which can take two to three years to complete. However, the amount of time it takes to complete a health administrative program may vary based on factors such as individual program, previously earned credits, enrollment status, and more.

Class Curriculum

Combining the study of business and healthcare, students take courses in areas like organizational behavior, marketing and communications, human resource management, population health, health policy, information systems management, and more. Depending on area of specialization, students may also have the option to take courses in physician practice management, urban health policy, financial management of health services, health information systems, and quality of care concepts. Core courses likely to be a part of a graduate health administration program include:

  • Health Care Operations Management. In this class, students are introduced to concepts of operations management and learn about important management techniques. Analysis in health services is also discussed.
  • Financing Health Care. Explores the importance of financial management in healthcare organizations. Topics include the analysis of financial flows, reimbursement practices, and third party payment programs.
  • Healthcare Marketing. Students learn about the principles and practices of marketing and how they are applied in healthcare organizations and networks. This includes theory, concepts, processes, and skills.

Along with academic study, students will likely have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through hands-on assignments, including projects, papers, and presentations. Before they can graduate, many programs require students to participate in an administrative residency where they will gain practical experience that will prepare them for leadership positions. This typically requires them to work 1,000 or more hours in a professional healthcare environment.

Building a Career

A master’s degree in health administration can equip you with the skills and abilities necessary to serve in administrative, management, or executive roles in healthcare organizations. These types of positions are commonly available in hospitals and health systems, health clinics, outpatient care centers, medical group practices, home health care agencies, public health agencies, or insurance companies. Possible titles include healthcare administrator, healthcare manager, healthcare executive, health services director, health services manager, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers are responsible for the planning, directing, and coordinating of medical health services. This can include managing an entire facility, just a department, or even a specific clinical area.

The BLS reported that in May 2010 that the median annual salary of these types of managers was $84,270, with the highest 10% earning more than $144,880 and the lowest 10% less than $51,280. Employment projections are also positive for those interested in entering this field. The employment of medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 22% from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average growth for all occupations. While career outlook looks positive in healthcare management, those interested in pursuing master’s degrees in health administration should understand that these projections are not guarantees of employment or salary. Remember that job availability and salary can vary depending on factors such as location, work experience, education level, economic conditions, and more.

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