Earning a Master’s in Healthcare Administration opens up a wide array of exciting career opportunities. Like most people, however, you probably have a full-time job and other responsibilities. Pursuing your degree online is a viable option, but it’s not necessarily going to be smooth sailing. You’ll encounter bumps in the road, but as long as you’re aware of the most common challenges, you should be able to overcome them.
Five of the top challenges of earning a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration include:
1. Finding a Degree Program that Meets Your State’s Requirements
Depending on your line of work and other variables, you’ll have to be especially careful about choosing the right Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree program. With a traditional, face-to-face program, this isn’t as much of an issue, as instruction is typically provided in the same state where you live. Online programs are offered by schools from around the country, and there’s always the risk that your degree won’t be recognized professionally in your state.
Resource: Top 10 Best Online MHA Programs 2015
2. Ending Up in a Program That is Too Broadly Focused
Like most candidates for Master’s degrees in Healthcare Administration, you probably have very specific objectives in mind for earning your degree. For example, you may have a specific position in mind that you’d like to attain. Unfortunately, many online Master’s degree programs lack the degree of specialization that is needed by many students. Oftentimes, they are essentially blanket programs that skim across a variety of topics. Keep your long-term objectives in mind while investigating these programs to ensure that you enroll in one that will get you where you’d like to be.
3. Striking a Balance Between Work, School and Other Responsibilities
Before starting on online Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree program, organize your life as much as possible. If you work full-time, carve out time in your schedule for focusing on your studies. If you have children and other family obligations, enlist the help of relatives to ensure that you don’t let things fall by the wayside. Also, look for a program that includes elements of real-time instruction, such as virtual meetings. Programs that divide students into groups that progress through together help a lot in this regard too.
4. Assessing the Quality of Online Degree Programs
One of the toughest things about pursuing a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration is finding a program that has the desired level of quality. Don’t just take these programs’ word for it. Insist on proof of accreditation. Ask local employers in your field which online Master’s degree programs they hire from the most. Ask the administration of the program that you’re considering how long graduates remain in the field after earning their degrees. If they tend to leave quickly, something is probably amiss.
5. Becoming Too Isolated
The main drawback to any online degree program or online schooling in general is a lack of camaraderie. The togetherness that’s inherent in brick-and-mortar programs is often missing entirely, and it can make it that much harder to stay on task, motivated and focused. Many programs offer virtual meeting rooms or forums where students can communicate with one another regarding their progress. Try getting to know others from your program, and consider starting your own private Facebook group or other space where you can virtually get together to motivate and cheer one another on.
As busy as you undoubtedly are, pursuing a Master’s in Healthcare Administration online is the easiest and most convenient way to go. Just be aware of the potential pitfalls to ensure that you get through your program with flying colors.