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Introduction to Master’s in Health Care Programs
Within the healthcare field, there are several different specialties in which you can earn a master’s degree, including health administration, healthcare management, health education, health informatics, and more. You can even combine an MBA with a healthcare specialization to get a well-rounded, business-oriented healthcare degree.
A Master of Healthcare will help you advance in your career and attain a profession in the establishment or organization of your choice. You can use your Master of Healthcare to have a huge impact on people, saving lives and making influential decisions.
Master of Health Administration
|Walden University — The Walden online MHA degree emphasizes an understanding of the critical day-to-day issues associated with health administration and clinical support services. Career opportunities available upon graduation include health care providers, health care suppliers, health insurance organizations, and healthcare policy organizations.
MS in Health Communication
|Boston University — The MS in health communication program from Boston University is composed of 18 credit hours and can be earned in as few as 18 months with no GRE or campus visits required. Students of this program will learn how to tackle all healthcare issues related to communication and will be able to provide information to the media and public.
MS in Health Informatics
MS in Patient Safety
|University of Illinois at Chicago — As one of the oldest colleges that offers online degree programs in healthcare (UIC was founded initially in 1858), the University of Illinois, Chicago is a leader in health education, offering master's degree programs in health informatics and patient safety leadership.
MS in Healthcare Mgmt
|Kaplan University — For those looking to achieve management roles within the healthcare industry, whether it be in a doctor's office, hospital, outpatient center, or something similar, Kaplan University offers a master's degree program that encompasses many of the business teaching of its MBA program along with a specialized knowledge of healthcare business in its MS in Healthcare Management degree program.
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Definition of Master of Healthcare:
The healthcare industry is huge, with about 595,800 establishments, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. These establishments vary greatly in terms of size, staffing patterns, and organizational structures. About 76% of healthcare establishments are offices of physicians, dentists, or other health practitioners, and although hospitals constitute only 1% of all healthcare establishments, they employ 35 percent of all workers. The healthcare industry uses medical technology and the human touch to diagnose and treat illness and injury around the clock, responding to the needs of millions of people, from newborns to the terminally ill.
Types of Master’s Degrees in Healthcare
The healthcare industry is one of the nation’s largest fields, with hundreds of specializations and positions needed to keep operations going. The following list is just some of the master’s degrees in healthcare available:
- Masters / MHA in Health Informatics
- Masters / MHA in Health Science
- Masters / MHA in Health Education
- Masters / MHA in Gerontology
- Masters / MS in Health Communication
- Masters / MS in Healthcare Administration
- Masters / MS in Gerontology
- Masters / MS in Patient Safety Leadership
- Masters / MS in Clinical Research Administration
- MPH / Masters in Public Health
- MPH in Development (Masters in Public Health)
- MPH in Health Education (Masters in Public Health)
MBA and Management Degrees
- Masters / MBA in Healthcare Management
- Master of Management – Health Care Administration
- Master of Science in Management (MSM) – Health Care Administration
MSN – Administrative Degrees
MA – Administrative Degrees
Master of Healthcare Industries
There are quite a few different industries that a Master of Healthcare graduate can work in. The following is a list of a few industry and career options:
- Physician’s offices: Physicians and surgeons practice privately or in groups of practitioners who have the same or different specialties. Around 36% of healthcare establishments fall into the physician segment of the industry. If you’re interested in working within a physician office, it’s good to know that these systems provide you a salaried job with a group of medical practices, clinics, or integrate health system.
- Nursing and residential care facilities: These include inpatient nursing, alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers, group homes, assisted-living facilities, halfway houses, and health-related personal care to those who need continuous nursing care, but do not require hospital services, such as the elderly or cancer patients. Usually Master of Healthcare students provide direct care in this position. Other facilities, such as convalescent homes, help patients who need less assistance.
- Home healthcare services: Graduates of Master of Healthcare programs are sometimes needed in the home of a resident, usually the elderly but sometimes cancer patients or other terminal diseases. This is one of the fastest growing healthcare services due to the development of in-home medical technologies, substantial cost savings, and patients’ preference for care in the home.
- Dental offices: About 20% of healthcare establishments are dentists’ offices. Working in a dental office is a good career to consider for a Master of Healthcare student. Most dentists’ offices employ only a few workers who provide preventative, cosmetic, or emergency care. Some offices specialize in a single field of dentistry, such as orthodontics or periodontics.
- Ambulatory healthcare services: Outpatient care centers and medical and diagnostic laboratories are some ambulatory healthcare services. These establishments are diverse including kidney dialysis centers, outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers, blood and organ banks, and medical labs that analyze blood, do diagnostic imaging, and perform other clinical tests.
- Offices of other healthcare practitioners: This industry includes the offices of chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists, occupational and physical therapists, psychologists, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, dietitians, and other health practitioners. Sometimes hospitals and nursing facilities contract out for these services. This segment also includes the offices of practitioners of alternative medicine, such as acupuncturists, homeopaths, hypnotherapists, and naturopaths. These services usually require patients to pay out of pocket or directly through insurance. There is a wide range of careers for Master of Healthcare graduates in the offices of these professions.
Financial Aid for Master of Healthcare Programs
Obtaining a Master of Healthcare is a great investment for your future but there’s no denying that it can be expensive. Fortunately there are options for financial aid, scholarships, and grants for Master of Healthcare students. The best way to receive financial assistance is to go through scholarships, which basically consist of free money that you can use towards your education and that you don’t have to pay back after you graduate.
A few resources that will be helpful in your scholarship search are:
Financial aid offices at your school: The school you’re applying to can often help you find scholarships that are tailored to your school’s program and that can help support your education. Your school also will have specific scholarships you may be eligible for.
Online scholarship searches: The internet is full of many resources that can be helpful for helping fund your education. College Board and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can point you toward a few scholarships worth applying for.
Your local library: Libraries are wonderful resources that often go overlooked. In addition to books and internet access, local library staff members are often knowledgeable about resources and place to find scholarships.
Groups and organizations: There are many scholarships right under your nose in your community. These scholarships are usually offered to local students who would benefit specific groups and organizations within the community. Specific scholarships from groups and organizations that may be applicable to you include:
- Tylenol Scholarship: Tylenol offers $250,000 in scholarships to health care students with excellent leadership and academic performance.
- Health Professions Scholarship Program: This scholarship through the U.S. army offers qualifying students full tuition at any accredited medical, dental, veterinary, psychology or optometry program, plus a generous monthly stipend of more than $2,000.
- The IHS scholarship: This scholarship is available for American Indians and Alaska natives in health, provided they serve in the Indian Health Service for at least two years. The mission of IHS is to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.
- The National Health Service Corps: The NHSC Scholarship Program (SP) awards scholarships each year to students pursuing careers in primary care. In return, students commit to serving for two to four years, upon graduation and completion of training.
Employment Outlook for Master of Healthcare Grads
As mentioned before, the healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, and is proposed to generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many job openings should arise in all healthcare employment settings as a result of employment growth and the need to replace workers who retire or leave their jobs for other reasons.
Wage and salary are also expected to rise 22% through 2018 in the healthcare industry. Employment growth is also expected to account for about 22 percent of all wage and salary jobs added to the economy and projected rates of employment growth for the various segments of the industry range from 10 percent in hospitals to 46 percent in the much smaller home healthcare services.
Occupations concentrated outside the inpatient hospital sector are expected to grow even more rapidly. These occupations, such as pharmacy technicians and personal and home care aides, will rise because of cost pressures and cross-training professionals in positions. For example, many facilities have cut the number of middle managers, while simultaneously creating new managerial positions as the facilities diversify. Registered nurses are also expected to have many job openings in the next 10 years. The median age of an RN is increasing, and there aren’t enough younger workers to replace them. Therefore, if you’re considering a Master of Healthcare, considering a nursing degree is not a bad option.
Potential Salaries for Master of Healthcare Grads
Industry earnings vary depending on the industry, job title, and location of where you work. In general, the average earnings of nonsupervisory workers in most healthcare segments are higher than the average for all private industry, with hospital workers earning considerably more than the average and those employed in nursing and residential care facilities, and home healthcare services earning less. Hospitals usually have higher average earnings because there are more jobs requiring higher levels of education and training. Managers and professionals with master’s degrees typically earn more than other workers within the healthcare industry. Wages are affected by duties, level of education and training, specialization, and amount of responsibility required with the job. There are also perks such as tuition reimbursement, paid training, child day care services, and flexible work hours, although overtime and weekend work, holidays, late shifts, and time spent on call is required of most healthcare professions.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wages of the largest occupations in healthcare are:
- General Healthcare: $20.38
- Hospitals, public and private: $23.99
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories: $23.21
- Offices of dentists: $22.36
- Offices of Physicians: $22.0
- Offices of other health practitioners: $19.35
- Home healthcare services: $16.17
- Other ambulatory healthcare services: $15.76
- Nursing and residential care facilities: $13.70
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