3 Reasons to Pursue a Health Care MBA

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Health care jobs are on the rise, and earning your health care MBA can set you apart from the competition. You could earn more money, strengthen your resume, and become a decision-maker in this important industry with a health care master’s degree.

[Feature Image] An MBA candidate with a focus on health care stands in front of a window smiling at the camera.

A health care master of business administration (MBA) is a master's degree that combines business management and health care studies to help you advance your career in the health care industry or switch to a career in the field.

It’s like earning an MBA with a specialization in health care. 

There are two potential health care MBAs that you can earn, one specializes in health care management, while the other specializes in health care administration. In general, the two degrees are quite similar and could even be interchangeable, depending on your school and elective courses. 

The key difference is that health care administrators typically focus on the day-to-day operations of a clinic, hospital, or hospital department, while a health care manager might handle broader actions, like financing a health care facility or eventual expansion.  

For both degrees, you'll take courses in areas like:

  • Business administration

  • Public health

  • Accounting

  • Hospital systems

  • Health care law

  • Patient privacy rights

  • Hospital management

  • Finance

  • Data analysis

  • Marketing

  • Health care strategic planning

  • Health economics

An MBA with a health care concentration may be a good fit if you:  

  • Already work in health care management

  • Already have an undergraduate degree in health care and would like to advance your career

  • Work on the clinical side of health care, such as nursing, but want a new role with more responsibilities or proficiency in the industry

  • Are interested in business management and want to enter the health care industry

  • Have a passion for the health care industry but do not want to pursue clinical work

If any of these fit your career goals, or you have additional reasons to seek a health care MBA, take a look at these three reasons why this could be a great choice for you:  

1. Strengthen your resume and add flexibility to your career choices.

The health care industry is a rapidly-growing, yet competitive, field. The stronger your resume, the better your chances of getting the job you want, and a health care MBA can help with that. 

Having a master's degree could improve your chances of landing a great job. According to Career Builder, about a third of employers have raised their education standards since 2016 and are satisfied with the outcome [1]. Employees are now more productive and produce higher-quality work—a trend that may continue indefinitely.

A health care MBA is also a very versatile degree. While it provides you with health care-specific knowledge, it also equips you with a strong business background. If you decide to change industries during your career, your resume will remain relevant and significant. Even when the job market is unstable, you may find that employers want to hire someone who can cover multiple roles. Become that candidate with this health care degree.

You'll also find opportunities outside management careers in clinical settings. You could work for insurance companies, consulting firms, digital health operations, home health agencies, and more.

As a bonus, you could build a much larger network as you earn your degree. This will happen as you interact with other students, professors, alumni, and professionals in your career. You’ll build relationships with them that could last a lifetime or potentially lead to new and exciting career opportunities.

2. Increase your earning potential and benefits.

Earning your health care MBA may also mean a salary increase. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), medical and health service managers earned median pay of $104,280 per year or $50.13 per hour in 2020 [2]. 

Some of the highest-paid workers in the field made an average pay of around $116,380 per year and worked in government jobs. Those who worked in hospitals made a median salary of $112,870, while those who worked in outpatient care facilities made a median salary of $100,690 per year. Those who worked in doctors' offices and nursing or residential care facilities made the least, with a median pay of $94,240 and $89,880 respectively [1].

The top 10 percent of workers in this industry earned more than $195,630 a year.

3. Become a decision-maker in the health care industry.

The benefits of earning a health care MBA reach far beyond your personal career goals. If you want a job that will help you make a difference in an important industry, this could be a great choice.

As a health care manager, you'll make decisions about hospital operations, the insurance industry, and other aspects of the vocation that can impact the lives of thousands of patients. You may find yourself making improvements or implementing changes that save lives, make health care more affordable for those in need, and improve inpatient care.  

Equip yourself with the right skill sets to work in your preferred hospital or medical care setting to start making a difference. Earn your health care MBA to step up to managerial positions that require your expertise as well as your compassion and empathy. 

Health care MBA eligibility requirements 

If a health care MBA sounds like the right degree for you, find out if you're eligible for a college or university program. All schools and programs will have unique requirements, but in most cases, you’ll have to provide:

Some programs may also require an interview to get a better idea of why you’d be a good candidate for the program.

Possible career pathways

One of the greatest aspects of earning a health care MBA is that you could have job security and flexibility. You could also choose from several possible career pathways in health care such as:

  • Hospital administrator 

  • Pharmaceutical project manager

  • Medical practice manager

  • Medical research and development business manager

  • Health care consultant 

  • Health care information manager 

  • Health services manager

  • Pharmaceutical brand manager

  • Health care administrator

  • Clinician leader

  • Medical entrepreneur

  • Corporate development associate 

  • Policy analyst or researcher  

Next steps

Explore whether earning your MBA with a concentration in health care could be a good fit for your interests and career goals with The Business of Health Care Specialization from the University of Pennsylvania. When you’re ready to take the next step toward your MBA, learn more about what it’s like to earn a business degree from a top university on Coursera.

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Article sources

1. Career Builder. “Not enough educated workers—why this matters to you, https://www.careerbuilder.com/advice/employers-looking-for-more-educated-workers.” Accessed March 24, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm.” Accessed March 24, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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