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Online Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management

Healthcare management is a field devoted to the management of hospitals, other healthcare organizations, and complex healthcare systems. Healthcare managers work in the business side of healthcare, handling matters relating to healthcare finance and budgeting, policy, strategic planning, operations, staffing, and quality improvement, rather than direct patient care. A masters degree in healthcare management is quickly becoming the standard for such positions, although a bachelor’s degree and experience may suffice in some instances. Current healthcare professionals who would like expand their opportunities for advancement within healthcare administration are a good fit for a master’s program in healthcare management.

Since those seeking this degree are often working healthcare professionals, today’s universities have seen fit to create accredited online masters degree programs in healthcare management to help students conveniently further their education while working. An online masters degree in healthcare management typically takes a minimum of two years of full-time work to complete, though accelerated programs could reduce this time. Program length for an online masters degree program in healthcare management ultimately depends on how many credit hours are required, if a student attends full or part time, and if the student is able to transfer in any applicable graduate credits toward the program’s required credit hours.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Healthcare Management

Healthcare management courses are designed to build a student’s overall knowledge of how healthcare organizations and systems work, remain profitable, and set goals for improvement in patient care. Modern healthcare technology is emphasized, and the courses cultivate a student’s ability to conduct and analyze healthcare research. Students may also have the opportunity to concentrate their courses in a specific area, such as leadership, pharmaceutical management, or healthcare informatics. While required courses can differ greatly from program to program, a sampling of courses commonly seen includes:

  • Healthcare Finance Systems
  • Strategic Planning in Healthcare Organizations
  • Healthcare Law and Regulation
  • Clinical Systems Management
  • Performance Improvement in Healthcare

Because healthcare management is focused on the practical application of leadership skills, an online masters degree in healthcare management often concludes with an applied project rather than a master’s thesis. These projects, often called capstone projects, require students to identify a real-world problem in healthcare management and draw from what they have learned throughout their curriculum to address that problem. The independent project requires students to collect and analyze data concerning the issue and develop an in-depth solution to address that problem, detailing their work in a comprehensive paper and/or presentation.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Healthcare Management

A sampling of careers you can pursue with a master degree in healthcare management include: hospital administrator, health analytics director, managed care manager, director of marketing for a healthcare organization, patient services manager, home health manager, and more. Other job titles for medical and health services managers include health information managers, clinical managers, or assistant administrators, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These professionals can expect 22% job growth between 2010 and 2020 because of the aging Baby Boomer generation, which is expected to put a greater demand on healthcare services in the next decade, creating a need for qualified healthcare leadership. Medical and health services manager positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but master’s degrees are common in the field, and may set you apart from the competition when applying for top-level jobs.

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