Can You Get a Job in the Pharmaceutical Industry with a Master of Healthcare Administration?

Pharmaceutical IndustryIf you have a flair for business and enjoy science and medical research, you may want to look into getting a job in the pharmaceutical industry with a Master of Healthcare Administration. With this highly sought-after degree, you can work in any of a number of rewarding careers in the healthcare industry. As a pharmaceutical administrator, you can work in pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, government agencies, universities and research institutions. Depending on your personal career interests, you can focus on business administration or conducting scientific research into the effectiveness of medications. A Master of Healthcare Administration is similar to a Master of Business Administration, but with a focus on executive functions in the healthcare industry.


As the face of the healthcare industry undergoes complex changes, the role of pharmaceutical administrators becomes more demanding. These executives must coordinate interactions with many different groups, including insurance providers, clinic and hospital administrators, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare staff, doctors and patients. Therefore, a degree in healthcare administration with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry is recommended, though if your university doesn't offer such a specialization, you can simply enroll in as many relevant courses as possible. The MHA is partly a research-based degree, but it covers many credit hours of classroom lectures.

Jobs Available in Pharmaceutical Administration

The increasingly complex healthcare industry has a need for specialized executive administrators who understand the inner workings of the pharmaceutical industry and its relationship with hospitals, insurers and public and private agencies. If you choose to focus on research while earning your master's degree, you can instead work as a researcher in the important effort to improve patient medications. Some of the most recent strategies being used in this area have to do with how a patient's DNA affects his or her response to treatment. To conduct research in these areas, you need a strong background in natural sciences; majoring in biology, chemistry or pharmacy as an undergraduate is recommended.

With an MHA, your earning potential increases significantly, and you become eligible for a large number of executive and research jobs that are unavailable without a graduate degree. Some teaching and academic positions require a Ph.D, but most administrative and research jobs become available with an MHA. Pharmaceutical-related jobs are expected to increase much more quickly than average throughout the healthcare industry.

Pharmaceutical Administrator Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmaceutical executives can expect a 23-percent increase in job availability over the next 10 years. Depending on your career goals, you can expect to earn between $101,340 and $165,400, on average. Of course, these amounts represent the median salary of pharmaceutical executives; half of all workers earn less than the median, and the other half earn more.

Pharmaceutical research and administration requires a special blend of business savvy and fluency in science. It's a field that offers a chance to help people respond positively to medication and spend less time in the hospital. Part of pharmaceutical research requires complex technical problem solving using knowledge from many disciplines in the life sciences. An MHA doesn't necessarily cover pharmaceutical material, so it's up to the student to choose the best undergraduate courses and electives before enrolling in a master's program.

Related Resource: Degree Needed To Become a Pharmacist

While the challenges in pharmaceutical administration become more complex, the rewards and need for effective executives and researchers continues to grow. To find a job in the pharmaceutical industry with a Master of Healthcare Administration, you need to carefully plan your college and career path.

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