Becoming a nurse does not mean one is limited to the bedside care of patients. Many nurses are drawn to the systematic, organizational, and business side of healthcare. Some hope to promote and facilitate change from a higher level and from a business-minded standpoint. When nurses take on advanced-level roles in leadership positions, they bring a unique patient-centered focus to healthcare delivery that benefits patients as well as the organization. The Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA) is one such route that nurses can take.

Which Online MHA Program is Right for Me?

When nurses decide to return to school for a higher degree, they may be unsure where to start. Some have been out of academia for many years. The following are points that should be considered when selecting an MHA program:

Is the Program Accredited?

This is one of the most important considerations nurses should examine when selecting a school. The MHA program should be accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) or the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Not only does proper accreditation ensure that national education standards are met for the MHA program, it ensures the nurse will not face issues with licensure after graduation.

What Is the Program Format?

Nowadays, more and more master's degree programs are offered online as well as on-campus. In nursing, most nurses who return to school are already currently working. Having the option to enroll in an online program allows for flexibility for working nurses. On the other hand, some prefer the face-to-face instruction and peer support that comes with on-campus learning. Whichever format the nurse prefers, there are plenty of options available.

What Courses Will I Take?

Unlike a dual MSN/MHA program, nurses are not required to take the standard advanced-practice nursing courses such as advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and advanced health assessment. Rather, the focus is on mainly general leadership concepts, financial and executive management, and healthcare policy. Students are encouraged to take a look at a few schools to see if the curriculum in an MHA program will meet their educational goals.

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost to enroll in an MHA program depends on several factors. The location, reputation of the school, delivery format, and the residency of the student are all factors when it comes to expenses. Students should look at the school and program overall-not just which school is the least expensive. Additionally, students should plan on additional costs such as parking, supplies, and technology. Fortunately, most schools are very transparent when it comes to describing the cost of an MHA program of their websites. Again, students should research each school to find out which one meets not only their academic needs, but financial needs as well.

Online MHA Programs

Seasoned nurses may not have had the luxury of online learning when they attended nursing school. Fortunately, online courses are becoming more and more popular, especially with graduate-level programs. Colleges and universities recognize that grad students are likely needing to continue to work or may have families they need to take care of, which makes online learning more and more popular.

Other benefits of an online MHA program include:

Flexible Schedule

One of the main perks of online learning is the flexibility of the program. Nurses work all different shifts, so they may need to review content and work on assignments in their downtime- which may mean in the middle of the night, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Additionally, students learn at their own pace which results in a greater chance of success. Students can also choose to take one or as many classes as they can to set the pace of their program.

Affordability

While graduate programs are notoriously pricey, those opting for online graduate school may have a benefit over those opting for a traditional classroom-based program. One of the reasons for the lower overall cost is that there is no expense for parking or for the gas used to commute. Additionally, some schools don't charge out-of-state tuition for students enrolled in online programs.

Program Length

Enrolling in an online program means that students have the option to learn at their own pace. While some schools do set time limits for students to complete the program (i.e., six years), students can still spend more time on content and concepts that they need to master rather than being expected to master them at the same pace as the rest of the class. On the flip side, students can accelerate their pace by taking more classes and getting the work done faster.

Accessibility

The accessibility of online programs is another significant selling point when selecting an online MHA program. Students can log on whenever they can or need to. They can communicate with both instructors and peers at any time. This is extremely beneficial for busy, working nurses. Also, the content is always available anywhere and anytime.

Ever consider a Dual MSN/MHA program?

MHA Program Curriculum

Unlike other graduate programs nurses may choose, the MHA degree is not nursing-focused. Rather, it is more focused on healthcare systems and principles of leadership and management. While specific course topics may vary between schools, most MHA programs include courses in:

  • Leadership and management in healthcare
  • Informatics
  • Quality and Safety
  • Healthcare policy
  • Ethics and legal issues in healthcare
  • Financial management
  • Organizations and systems management

In addition to the above concepts, students must complete a capstone project as a graduation requirement. This ensures they can apply what they have learned in healthcare administration to tackle real-world issues in healthcare.

MHA Specializations

Within the Master's in Healthcare Administration program, students can choose a specialization depending on what they wish to focus on. Choosing a specialization within the program can help students acquire niche knowledge and skills to assist them in honing in on specific areas of care. The following are several popular MHA specializations available to students.

MHA – Gerontology

The Master's in Healthcare Administration – Gerontology specialization educates students in organizational structure, healthcare policy and analysis, and management within the gerontology field caring for aging adults. This program is well suited for students who wish to hold leadership roles within healthcare – particularly those who seek management roles within long-term care. Common coursework often includes:

  • Physiology and Psychology of Aging
  • Legal Aspects in Health
  • The Management of Senior Community Programs
  • Foundations of Careers in Long-Term Care

New York's Long Island University, for example, offers a 42-credit MHA – Gerontology program.

MHA – Leadership

Those pursuing director-level roles within healthcare may wish to pursue an MHA with a Leadership specialization (sometimes referred to as Leadership and Organizational Development). This broad concentration gives students the managerial skills to lead a wide variety of healthcare organizations. Those interested in coaching, team-leading, and professional development within the healthcare realm may find this an advantageous specialty within the MHA framework. Courses may include:

  • Strategic Healthcare Planning
  • Healthcare Operations Management
  • Marketing in Healthcare
  • Health Administration Change Leadership

Capella University is one school that offers an MHA Leadership concentration.

MHA – Population Health

The MHA with a specialization in Population Health, or Population Health Management, focuses on the complex healthcare needs of diverse populations. Factors such as culture, education, and employment can all affect population-based medicine. Understanding these factors can improve and enhance patient care. The MHA – Population Health degree can help administrators identify gaps in care and create more customized programs for the populations they serve. Coursework often includes:

  • Community Health
  • Managerial Epidemiology
  • Health Promotion

Duquesne University offers an online Master of Health Administration with a Population Health concentration.

MHA – Informatics

Those with an interest in secure and accurate healthcare data to ensure quality patient care may choose to enroll in an MHA with an Informatics specialization. This program teaches students to design and implement technology to support healthcare organizations. It emphasizes IT applications in the evaluation of administrative systems, to include financial and clinical healthcare systems. The curriculum may include courses in:

  • Computer-Based Patient Records
  • Health Information Management Systems
  • Leadership, Management, and Meaningful Use of Health Care Technology

Philadelphia-based Saint Joseph's University is home to an online MHA with an Informatics concentration.

MHA – Global Health

The MHA with a Global Health specialization is geared toward students interested in international healthcare delivery. The program's curriculum seeks to give students a broader understanding of global health issues and cross-cultural communication to inform local healthcare systems. This type of program often involves international travel to get a deeper sense of international healthcare in action. Aside from studying abroad, students will learn concepts in:

  • Global Health Management
  • Alternative Systems of Healthcare Delivery
  • European Health Systems

The University of Scranton, located in Pennsylvania, offers an online MHA with a Global Health specialization.

How Much Does an MHA Program Cost?

The cost to complete an MHA program depends on the school, program, and even location. When researching the cost of MHA program, it's imperative to include additional fees such as university fees, supplies, the cost to commute (if applicable), and technology needs. Most schools are transparent with costs and fees associated with the program, so thorough research and planning is essential. Additionally, most schools offer some type of financial aid or scholarships which help offset the cost.

As an example of cost, the University of Cincinnati's MHA online program is $732 per credit (for residents). The website also lists a complete breakdown of fees and estimates the total cost of the MHA program for residents as $7,309 per semester.

What Are Some Career Options for a Nurse With an MHA?

Nurses who hold a master's degree in healthcare administration have many career options, primarily in leadership and management. Examples of career options include:

Healthcare Administration Organizations & Helpful Resources

List of Colleges Offering Online MHA Programs

Browse through our state-by-state list of Online Master’s in Healthcare Administration programs below to find the perfect MHA program today!

Jump to Your State Listings

Arizona

5850 E. Still Circle
Mesa, AZ 85206
(480) 219-6000

399 South Malpais Lane
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 774-1934

3300 W Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85017
(602) 639-7500

8667 E Hartford Dr Ste 100
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
(866) 776-0331

Arkansas

220 North McIlroy Avenue #301
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 575-5949

5210 Grand Ave
Fort Smith, AR 72913-3649
(479) 788-7000

California

8620 Spectrum Center Blvd
San Diego, CA 92123
(866) 711-1700

925 N Spurgeon St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(888) 228-8648

25800 Carlos Bee Blvd
Hayward, CA 94542
(510) 885-3000

1530 Concordia West
Irvine, CA 92612-3203
(949) 854-8002

590 North Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(866) 508-2684

Colorado

1385 S Colorado Blvd., 5th Floor
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 300-8740

8787 West Alameda Avenue
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 963-3000

7800 E Orchard Rd #200
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(800) 920-6723

3333 Regis Blvd
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(303) 458-4126

Programs
501 20th St
Greeley, CO 80639
(970) 351-1890

Delaware

320 Dupont Hwy
New Castle, DE 19720
(877) 967-5464

Florida

671 Winyah Drive
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 303-7742

11300 NE 2nd Ave
Miami Shores, FL 33161
(305) 899-3000

801 N Magnolia Ave #301
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 804-1424

777 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991
(561) 297-3000

11200 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-2000

3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
(954) 262-7300

33701 State Road 52
Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
(352) 588-8200

11000 University Pkwy
Pensacola, FL 32514
(850) 474-2000

Georgia

1500 N Patterson St
Valdosta, GA 31698
(229) 333-5800

Illinois

5700 College Rd
Lisle, IL 60532-0900
(630) 829-6000

1032 W Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

Indiana

Programs
1 St Mary of Woods Coll
Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 47876-1099
(812) 535-5151

8600 University Blvd
Evansville, IN 47712
(812) 464-8600

Iowa

3303 Rebecca St
Sioux City, IA 51104
(712) 279-5321

3200 Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50312
(515) 271-1400

Kansas

3100 McCormick St
Wichita, KS 67213
(316) 942-4291

Programs
1845 N. Fairmount
Wichita, KS 67260-0124
(316) 978-3456

Kentucky

1906 College Heights Blvd
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1000
(270) 745-0111

Louisiana

1 University Pl
Shreveport, LA 71115
(318) 797-5000

Maine

278 Whites Bridge Rd
Standish, ME 04084-5236
(207) 892-6766

Maryland

3501 University Blvd East
Adelphi, MD 20783-8010
(301) 985-7000

Massachusetts

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 2467
(617) 552-3900

Programs
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115-5898
(617) 521-2000

Michigan

Programs
106 Warriner Hall
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
(989) 774-4000

1201 S State St
Big Rapids, MI 49307-2251
(231) 591-2000

106 E. Main St
Spring Arbor, MI 49283-9799
(517) 750-1200

1903 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5200
(269) 387-1000

Minnesota

100 S Washington Ave #900
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(866) 492-5336

Mississippi

1500 Peachtree St
Jackson, MS 39202
(601) 968-5940

Programs

University, MS 38677
(662) 915-7211

Missouri

Programs
800 W Jefferson
Kirksville, MO 63501
(660) 626-2121

1001 Rogers Street
Columbia, MO 65216
(800) 231-2391

Programs
650 Maryville University Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63141-7299
(800) 627-9855

Montana

1500 University Drive
Billings, MT 59101-0298
(406) 657-2011

1301 20th Street South
Great Falls, MT 59405
(800) 856-9544

Nebraska

S 42nd St & Emile St
Omaha, NE 68198
(402) 552-3100

720 North 87th Street
Omaha, NE 68114-2852
(402) 354-7000

Nevada

4505 S Maryland Pky
Las Vegas, NV 89154
(702) 895-3011

New Hampshire

98 Bridge St
Henniker, NH 3242
(603) 428-2211

420 South Main St
Nashua, NH 3060
(603) 888-1311

New Mexico

6610 North Lovington Hwy
Hobbs, NM 88240
(575) 392-6561

New York

70 Washington Sq South
New York, NY 10012-1091
(212) 998-1212

1 Lomb Memorial Dr
Rochester, NY 14623-5603
(585) 475-2411

65 1st Street
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 244-2000

1600 Burrstone Rd
Utica, NY 13502-4892
(315) 792-3111

North Carolina

1900 Selwyn Ave
Charlotte, NC 28274-0001
(704) 337-2200

North Dakota

4012 19th Ave S
Fargo, ND 58103
(800) 817-0009

7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504
(701) 255-7500

Ohio

201 S Grant Ave
Columbus, OH 43215-5399
(614) 797-4700

2221 Madison Avenue
Toledo, OH 43604-1132
(419) 251-1313

2624 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0063
(513) 556-6000

579 College Way
Urbana, OH 43078-2091
(937) 772-9200

Pennsylvania

3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 895-2000

600 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
(412) 396-6000

1325 Sumneytown Pike
Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437-0901
(215) 646-7300

1858 W Grandview Blvd
Erie, PA 16509
(814) 866-6641

1400 Montgomery Ave
Rosemont, PA 19010-1699
(610) 527-0200

South Carolina

1115 College Drive
Gaffney, SC 29340-3799
(864) 489-7151

Tennessee

601 College St
Clarksville, TN 37044
(931) 221-7011

Texas

11400 Concordia University Dr.
Austin, TX 78726
(512) 313-3000

2100 S Mobberly Ave
Longview, TX 75602
(903) 233-3000

3410 Taft Blvd
Wichita Falls, TX 76308-2099
(940) 397-4000

212 Adriance Lab Road
College Station, TX 77843-8371
(979) 436-9443

One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
(806) 743-1000

One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
(210) 999-7011

410 S. Avenue C
Denton, TX 76201
(940) 565-2488

Vermont

163 S Willard St
Burlington, VT 5401
(802) 860-2700

Virginia

101 Elm Avenue SE
Roanoke, VA 24013
(888) 985-8483

318 Prospect Street
Staunton, VA 24401
(540) 887-7000

Washington, DC

Milken Institute School of Public Health
950 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-1000

Wisconsin

2200 E Kenwood Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413
(414) 229-1122

Wyoming

1000 E University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
(307) 766-1121

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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