The number of years it takes to earn a Masters of Healthcare Administration varies based on a number of factors, such as the admissions process, whether you are a working professional or a full-time student, and availability of courses. Because the MHA program is designed to prepare students for senior level managerial positions in healthcare services and systems, and prepares students to deal with not only issues in healthcare, but in finance, economics, policy, technology and management, the standard number of years to complete the program is 2-4 years.
Prerequisites for Masters of Healthcare Administration Programs
Most MHA programs require that you hold a bachelor’s degree. What many students don’t realize, however, is that the degree doesn’t have to be in a healthcare related field. In fact, other disciplines – business, science, arts – are encouraged, as healthcare services are intertwined with all industries. If anything, having a specialized degree will help you choose your area of expertise. A MHA student with a background in finance has a headstart in becoming a hospital CFO, those who are responsible for running the fiscal operations of hospitals and medical facilities.
The MHA admissions process usually takes half a year. MHA prospective students are evaluated on academic records and test scores, which are submitted in the physical application.
A sample application could require:
- A completed application (on-line or paper)
- Personal statement (s)
- 3 Recommendation letters
- GRE or GMAT scores
Applicants who make it to the telephone or in-person interviews are also judged on communication, leadership and interpersonal skills. Tip: many of the top competitive MHA programs have rolling admissions, which means that schools review applications and fill program seats in the order they receive them. Since MHA programs are generally competitive, make sure you prepare your application and recommendations in advance, and submit as soon as the application window opens.
Average Time to earn a MHA is 2 Years
The top MHA programs vary from 2-4 years. The majority of programs can be taken online, but all CAHME accredited programs require some on campus hours. The time it takes to complete a MHA program will vary from student to student, based on when they start the program, how many credits they take each semester, working commitments and whether or not you take fall, spring, winter or summer courses. Depending on the program, there are a maximum number of years after your date of acceptance in which you can complete degree requirements. Most universities require 60-70 course credits for completion of the MHA program.
Accelerated or Part Time MHA Programs Available
Accelerated, or fast track, MHA programs allow you to earn your degree in a shorter timeframe, and with fewer units. Fast track options are available to students that have proven academic excellence, healthcare leadership potential and high business acumen. The accelerated option requires more intensity of studies and full time devotion to the program, but students have often reported that the intensity creates a more engaged learning process, and helps them to earn better grades.
There are also part time and online MHA programs that accommodate the students that are working. Top MHA programs offer online courses that save time, money and allow full time employees to pursue an MHA for career development.