Deciding to pursue a master’s degree is a big decision. Most of those who enter a graduate degree program such as an online MHA program (Master of Healthcare Administration) are working professionals who already have busy schedules.

Trying to earn a master’s degree on top of existing obligations is difficult. However, it is a worthwhile investment especially for those who work in healthcare and want to move into decision-making roles on the business side. Completing an online MHA program can open the door to leadership positions in many different work environments.

Potential Jobs with An Online MHA 

Those who earn an online MHA have expertise in business strategy as it relates to the complex healthcare industry. They have the skills to lead a variety of medical facilities, including hospitals, a network of doctors’ clinics, long-term care facilities and community healthcare centers. In addition, they can also lead a large clinical department within a medical facility, such as surgery or physical therapy. Some may focus on managing business areas such as electronic healthcare records.

How does an online MHA program prepare graduates for taking on such jobs? The following looks at coursework and student outcomes in such a program, using the highly regarded program at Boston College as an example.

Online MHA Program Coursework 

The Boston College online MHA program uses a competency-based education model that was created in collaboration with healthcare employers. It is designed to ensure that graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to move into positions of responsibility in the industry.

The coursework in the program reflects the commitment to teaching students not only theory but also the practical application of that theory in the workplace. Courses include:

Introduction to Healthcare Systems and Organizations. Provides students with an overview of the healthcare industry in the United States, including its historical development within a unique social, economic and political environment.

Health Policy. How state and federal healthcare policies impact access to care as well as the quality, cost, and modes of healthcare delivery.

Management Theory and Organizational Behavior. How the application of management and organizational behavior theory impacts employee’ behavior, performance and job satisfaction.

Health Analytics. The study of how data-driven decisions can improve operational performance, as well as how to use analytic tools to evaluate an operation and make better-informed decisions.

Healthcare Financial Management. How to apply financial theory and principles to the unique financial landscape of the healthcare industry.

Strategic Planning and Marketing. Students learn how to create a strategic planning process and evaluate an operation’s performance and productivity, as well as methods for planning, branding, and positioning a healthcare service.

Students also learn how about healthcare law and ethics, among other issues related to the industry.

Advantage of Online MHA Programs 

Online coursework allows students more flexibility in how they approach their education. Again, using the Boston College online MHA program as an example, the advantages of online classes include:

Self-Paced and Faculty-Led Elements. Courses include self-paced elements you can work through on your own and real-time interactions and meetings with faculty instructors and classmates.

Interaction. The online system allows students to interact and collaborate on projects.

Executive coach. Each student has a coach who can help students create a personalized professional development plan and set career goals.

Eight-week format. Students often choose to take one course every eight weeks, allowing them to focus completely on one course and move through the program at an accelerated rate.

Entering an online MHA program is a smart step for ambitious healthcare professionals who have a bachelor’s degree and want to take the next step in their career. With the online option now available, there is no better time to get your MHA than now.