A Master of Health Administration online prepares health professionals for management roles. Learn how to organise and lead the delivery of services to patients and clients.
For health professionals seeking more responsibility, create career opportunities with a Master of Health Administration. Degree options include a Master of Health Services Management, Master of Nursing, and MBA (Health Management).
Health administrators plan and coordinate healthcare operations, working in settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities. You can train in this field with a specialist master's degree. Accelerated 100% online courses enable you to study part-time as a full-time working professional.
Health administrators plan, direct, coordinate and supervise the delivery of health and related services. They're employed in hospital and community healthcare centres, aged care facilities, health departments, government and community organisations, and in primary care and general practice.
Administrators may be clinical specialists in charge of a niche department or service. They might also be generalists who manage projects, multi-purpose facilities or health systems. Complex tasks may include: integrating health care delivery systems, introducing technological innovations, reorganising work structures, and ensuring regulatory compliance.
A good postgraduate course improves your career prospects by giving you essential management knowledge and skills. The program develops you as a leader, imparting skills in strategic planning, managing service quality and safety, and making policy decisions. You'll come away equipped and qualified to work as a manager in different healthcare settings.
A popular, contemporary version of a Master of Health Administration degree is the Master of Health Services Management. With a health service management course, you study health admin with an emphasis on the consumer experience. Service quality and patient safety are prominent issues.
UTS Online Master of Health Services Management
The Master of Health Services Management from UTS Online prepares healthcare leaders to drive improvement and deliver safe, high-value and accessible healthcare services. The course emphasises quality and safety. Students learn to plan and evaluate health and social care services, with a goal to innovate and enhance systems. You also learn how to harness and interpret data as a tool to achieve excellent service results. Tailor your program to align with your career priorities by going for a major in quality and safety or sub-major in digital health, planning or leadership. Created for healthcare professionals, the program is available part-time and 100% online. Gain job-ready skills that you can immediately apply in your workplace.
For nurses, you can enroll in a nursing masters and major in administration, management or leadership. Master of Nursing programs allow for specialisation. Instead of studying nursing practice only, you can do a management stream that prepares you for leadership roles.
JCU Master of Nursing (Leadership and Management)
As a registered nurse or midwife, the Master of Nursing from James Cook University could be the ideal program for the next stage of your career. A major in Leadership and Management is open to professionals targeting supervisory and administration roles. Subjects include leading and managing in health, ethics and health management, business and finance for the health manager, and conflict and dispute resolution in healthcare. The accelerated 12-subject program is 100% online and has graduate certificate and graduate diploma exit options. Double majors are also available.
An alternative to a health admin masters is the world's most recognised graduate degree: a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Some MBA programs have specialisations in Healthcare Management and similar. A business degree is not required for entry.
An MBA is a general management program. You can major in healthcare by selecting relevant electives.
While MBA and MHA qualifications are both in demand, an MBA can be a safer investment. A MBA brings career advantages no matter where you may be employed in the future... READ MORE
Students are typically required to complete 12 subjects, covering topics such as organisational leadership and management, financial management, clinical accountability, and research for managers. You'll gain general, transferable skills and knowledge that you can carry into any health administrator role.
You can test any given master's program by enrolling in an embedded health management graduate certificate. The four subjects you complete for the graduate certificate will count towards your degree if you continue studying.
To give you an idea of what you'll study, here are sample course structures. Further core subjects and electives are available for each program.
- Foundations of the Australian Healthcare System
- Using Health Care Data for Decision Making
- Organisational Management in Health Care
- Managing Quality, Risk and Cost in Health Care
- Policy, Power and Politics in Health Care
- Fundamentals of Epidemiology
- Effective Clinical Governance
- Persuasive Communication
- Leading and Managing in Health
- Ethics and Health Management
- Business and Finance for the Health Manager
- Conflict and Dispute Resolution in Healthcare
Students gain a broad set of knowledge and skills for leading in a healthcare setting. Graduates often come away with greater confidence in their capacity to manage and lead because of the strategic knowledge they've built up. Learning outcomes include:
- a stronger understanding of healthcare systems and regulations in Australia
- improved awareness of what you have to do to be an effective leader and manager
- greater verbal fluency when discussing management issues
- an enhanced ability to link research to practice
- a well-rounded grasp of efficiency, quality, safety and equity goals in clinical management.
By earning a master's degree, you create opportunities for supervisory, team leadership and management roles in health delivery and services organisations. The degree develops your admin competencies while demonstrating to employers your skills and commitment to be a good manager.
In Australia, employment of Health and Welfare Services Managers is projected to expand by 26.5% over the next 5 years to more than 45,000 jobs. Examples of job titles include: nurse unit manager, director of nursing, clinic manager, health practice manager, medical practice manager, health services manager, and health policy advisor.
The entry requirements reflect that this is a broad discipline open to people from diverse professional backgrounds. You're generally able to study for a master's degree provided you have a bachelor degree or comparable professional experience.
To be admitted into the health service management masters, you need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification OR evidence of general and professional qualifications showing ability to do postgraduate education.
For academic qualification, the bachelor’s degree should be in the disciplines of health or human services.
Students not meeting entry requirements may, if admitted to the corresponding graduate certificate course, use successful completion of that as an admissions pathway.
Tuition fees are $3,288 per subject (for 2023). FEE-HELP Australian Government loans are available to cover course fees.
Fully online courses are unsuitable for international students.
Key dates: Start dates are in Jan, Mar, July, May, Sept, Oct.
To be eligible for the online Master of Nursing, applicants must have an AQF Level 7 Bachelor of Nursing or equivalent AND be a Registered Nurse (Division 1) or Registered Midwife AND have at least one year of clinical experience.
Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet English language proficiency requirements. Fully online courses are unsuitable for travel to Australia on an international student visa.
Tuition fees are $2,905 per subject in 2023. FEE-HELP is available.
Start dates: Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sept, Oct.
Healthcare is studied at a postgraduate level. Students come from all sorts of backgrounds. Classes may contains nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, pharmacists and other allied health professionals, as well as counsellors, social workers and psychologists.
The three main types of degrees are a health administration masters, a specialised management degree such as a nursing masters, and an MBA with a health management specialisation. The best degree has the right level of specificity for you.
- To stay in a particular niche, choose a sector-specific health management program.
- To develop your management skills broadly, do a health admin or management degree.
- For a business management education, which is suitable for almost any kind of executive role, an MBA is the way to go.
We suggest having a close look at the course curriculum of any program you're interested in to see if the content will be useful to you. Any of the three types of master's degree will look good on your CV or resume. So you may as well focus on achieving learning outcomes that best support your career goals.
Master’s degrees are common in health care and may be preferred by employers for various professional positions.
The MBA must be considered a business degree that develops business skills, albeit with a health specialization. In contrast, an MHA or Masters in Health Services Management is an immersive healthcare management degree.
Let's explore the differences and commonalities between the degrees. Comments are provided by Capella University faculty members Ben Spedding and Laura Sankovich.
A growing overlap
There has grown to be significant overlap between the programs. Healthcare has changed and is continuing to change due to an increased role of technology, changes in reimbursement, the rise in consumerism, and the diversified ways health care is delivered today. The different trends affect the health industry and, thus, health administration.
The way employers hire people has also shifted according to Ben Spedding, faculty chair of the MHA program at Capella University. "It used to be that healthcare CEOs promoted or recruited from within the industry. Now they’re recruiting from outside to fill specific roles. So the MHA is evolving to fill more of those core business needs and can have more similarities with the MBA than it used to.”
But he still maintains that there are differences between the programs.
Master of Health Administration
“The MHA is healthcare intensive,” says Spedding. “It’s designed as a program for someone coming from a health care or practitioner background.”
The MHA provides a deeper dive into healthcare management and leadership. Its curriculum involves core business classes. But, unlike the MBA, the core classes are focused on the health care market. That means that the MHA graduate will be heavily rooted in the business side of healthcare and prepared for a career focused on health industry leadership.
Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management
An MBA in Healthcare Management has more of an overall business focus, with its core business courses covering skills transferrable to any industry.
“The MBA has big buckets of core business operations, such as analytics, leadership, accounting, and finance” says Laura Sankovich, faculty chair of Capella University's MBA program. “All the core MBA courses will have faculty practitioners in various business fields, including, but not limited to, health. The healthcare specialization courses more mirror and overlap the MHA, but the MBA is more deeply focused on business itself.”
How to Choose?
So how should prospective students interested in health care choose the master’s degree program that suits them best?
“The question for those students is, ‘Where have you been, where are you going?’” says Spedding. “If you’re coming from a health background, or you know for sure you want to be in health administration going forward, the MHA is more health intensive. So that’s going to be the direction to take.”
Sankovich agrees and notes, “The MBA program has value regardless of industry. If someone is potentially interested in the health sector but isn’t sure that’s where they want to end up, they should at least start with the MBA. The degree will position them to move into different industries. With the healthcare management specialization, it’s also a good transition degree for someone who doesn’t have a health care background, but would like to transition into it.”
Spedding and Sankovich agree that the two degree programs are both valuable.
Master of Health Administration (MHA) programs resemble Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs but generally contain greater health-specific content.
Whereas 100% of MHA subjects may be connected to the health sector, this percentage drops to around 33% for an MBA. That's assuming an MBA with a health major contains 8 core MBA subjects and 4 electives to do with healthcare.
An MHA better serves professionals with a target career path that remains close to health service delivery. Those type of students will be advantaged by studying topics such as Australia's health system, health law, public health, and improving safety in healthcare rather than, say, finance for managers and digital marketing.
By contrast, an MBA (Healthcare) is better for managers and executives who expect to be significantly removed from clinical administration. Such people have greater need for general business administration skills than health industry knowledge.