A Master's in Healthcare Administration can help you find work as a manager or administrator in a medical facility, but you may wonder if you need to gain any work experience while enrolled in one of these programs. Though the programs are available both online and offline, attending an online program lets you keep working at your current job or go to work in a healthcare position while still in school. One surprising thing that you may learn is that many online programs do not require that you do any professional experiences.
General Degree Requirements
You should take a look at the general degree requirements before enrolling in an MHA program. These are generally two-year programs that require you take two or more courses each year to graduate on time. Part-time students can take just one class every semester. Each class covers a different aspect of managing a healthcare facility, including healthcare laws and financing for healthcare organizations. You'll also learn how to advertise for new employees, interview potential job candidates, schedule employees and work within the facility's budget.
Do You Need to Go to Work?
As online MHA programs focus on teaching you skills in each of the classes you take, most programs ask that you spend time on your studies instead of working. Very few programs require that you do any type of work experience while working on your degree. Those that do will encourage you to work in the human resources department in a hospital or in the administrative office for a local doctor. While you can go out and seek jobs on your own, the college may help you find positions within your area. Many online colleges will give you some credit for that work.
Gaining Some Experience
When choosing a school to earn your Master's in Healthcare Administration, ask if you can get course credit for independent study projects and internships. The school may award you three to six credits for that work and let you use those credits towards the requirements needed for graduation. Any work that you do while in graduate school adds experience to your resume and can help you land a full-time job when you finish your degree. In addition to working full-time or part-time in healthcare facilities, you might consider doing some volunteer work for a medical organization too.
Salary and Outlook for MHA Degree Holders
With an MHA degree, you qualify to work as a healthcare manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health services and medical managers make a median salary of $94,500 a year. While most employers will pay you a set salary, you may find temporary or part-time work and make more than $40 an hour in those positions. The BLS also predicts that this field will grow at a faster than average rate, which means that you'll see more than 50,000 new manager jobs become available by 2014. The need for qualified managers will keep growing as hospitals and medical facilities grow.
Most online MHA degree programs want you to focus on your studies and in doing your best in all of your classes, which is why many do not require that you do any fieldwork. Some Master's in Healthcare Administration programs will let you do fieldwork, an independent study project or an internship to gain valuable work experience and course credit.