MBAs in Healthcare Management

James M. Tobin
Updated November 15, 2023
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MBAs in healthcare management differ from general MBA degrees. Healthcare-focused MBA programs specifically prepare students to meet the unique challenges associated with managing hospital and healthcare service networks.

Learners considering their education options often compare MBAs in healthcare management with master of health administration (MHA) programs. MBA and MHA degree programs both cover healthcare administration. However, MHA programs exclusively focus on that subject, while MBA programs also cover finance, accounting, leadership, and other core aspects of organizational management.

This guide profiles MBA concentrations in healthcare management, covering the admissions process, typical costs, and curricula. It also explores details of top-ranked programs and answers common questions about the degree and its professional applications.

Popular Online Healthcare Management Programs

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Why Get an MBA in Healthcare Management?

  • Access to New Professional Opportunities: MBAs in healthcare management often appeal to learners with professional backgrounds in the healthcare industry. They allow students to apply their experience and insights in new ways. A healthcare-focused business degree also appeals to healthcare professionals seeking to transition out of frontline, patient-facing roles while remaining in the industry.
  • Transferable Skills: Many professionals with MBAs in healthcare management work in hospital networks and other clinical settings. However, the degree also transfers to many other fields. Examples include the government and the health insurance, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and home-care industries.
  • Strong Job Outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects very strong near-term prospects for professionals with advanced healthcare management training. BLS projects labor market demand for medical and health services managers to soar by 28% from 2022-2032.

What to Expect From a Healthcare Management MBA Program

MBA programs in healthcare management equip students with versatile yet specialized business management knowledge. The skills and strategies learners acquire in these programs fuse executive decision-making essentials with enriched perspectives specific to the healthcare industry.

Many general MBA programs consist of 30-36 credits. Some MBA programs in healthcare management cover a similar number. However, others feature more rigorous structures, covering 65 credits or more. The more credits a program contains, the longer it will usually take to complete. Full-time students typically complete these programs in 18-36 months.

At the same time, programs with elevated credit requirements also provide deeper coverage of the subject matter. This may result in graduates entering the workforce better equipped to deal with the complex challenges they will face.

Admissions Process

Admissions processes vary among schools. However, many common admission requirements apply to MBA programs in healthcare management, including:

  • A bachelor’s degree (preferably but not necessarily in a related field)
  • A personal essay or statement of purpose
  • A resume or CV

Institutions often prefer or mandate that students have existing professional experience in healthcare, business management, or both. Schools that still accept or require standardized test scores usually focus on the GMAT or GRE examinations.

As a rough estimate, expect GMAT score cutoffs to begin around 430 and rise as admissions become more competitive. Many MBA programs prefer to admit students with GMAT scores above 660. Top MBA programs may require scores above 700.

However, business schools have generally been moving toward more holistic evaluations of applicants. As such, many place less emphasis on standardized test scores than they did in the past.

Popular Healthcare Management MBA Courses

MBAs in healthcare management cover both business management and healthcare-focused topics in deep detail across core and elective courses. Some programs culminate in capstone projects designed to synthesize student learning.

As with admissions standards, curricula vary among MBA programs in healthcare management. Commonly offered courses include the following examples:

  • minusBusiness Microeconomics: This required foundational course roots microeconomics concepts in the context of business environments. It explores the microeconomic factors that shape business management decisions and covers their impacts on analytical decision-making processes. The course provides a broad introduction to topics including market structures and competition, the relationships between costs and profits, and pricing-and-output decisions.
  • minusCorporate Finance: Initial, general required courses in corporate finance lay the foundations for more intensive, healthcare-focused finance coursework at later program stages. This introductory course covers financial analysis and decision-making, valuation, investment management, capital budgeting, risk management, and models used in capital asset pricing, among other topics.
  • minusPolicy and Finance for Healthcare Institutions: Building on finance fundamentals, this concentration-specific course examines relationships between corporate finance and healthcare institution policy. It guides students to an advanced understanding of how finance interacts with service delivery and how carefully configured institutional policies help healthcare organizations maximize the public health impacts of their financial resources.
  • minusPopulation Health Informatics: Another concentration-specific course, public health informatics introduces students to information technology systems used in healthcare institutions. It covers public health data research and its impacts on organizational management at an individualized level. Students develop advanced research skills and valuable insights into information structures, the social contexts of public health trends, and related regulatory and ethical issues.

How Much Do MBA in Healthcare Management Programs Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), graduate school cost an average of $19,749 per year in 2020-2021. The NCES analysis included tuition and required fees and included both public and private institutions.

Further breakdowns indicate a more variable range of potential costs. Graduate students at public institutions paid an average of $12,394, according to NCES, while those studying at private schools paid $26,621.

Many business schools maintain separate, higher fee schedules for their MBA programs. This makes it useful for students to consider prevailing trends at the higher end of reported graduate school ranges. Graduate students in public institutions faced annual costs of $14,298 at the 75th percentile. Their 75th-percentile peers at private institutions paid an average of $42,910.

MBAs in healthcare management can cost more or less than these averages suggest. Actual costs depend on many factors, including:

  • A school’s prestige and reputation among employers
  • Available learning formats (Online programs may cost less.)
  • In-state or out-of-state status (at public institutions)

MBA students often need help meeting their educational costs. First, consider funding sources such as scholarships, fellowships, and grants. These forms of aid do not require repayment and will not create a debt burden. Then, consider federal or private loans to meet any remaining financial needs.

Should You Get Your Degree Online?

Online education has become increasingly popular, in particular since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. MBAs in healthcare management translate well to virtual learning environments. Course content does not generally depend on dynamic, real-time interactions between students and instructors. Online learning technologies also give students many ways to review challenging concepts and slow down or accelerate their learning pace as needed.

At the same time, online education demands high levels of student independence and self-motivation. Carefully consider your own learning style, needs, and preferences as you weigh the relative merits of online, on-campus, and hybrid options.

MBA in Healthcare Management Programs

We have compiled a list of institutions that offer this degree program. Use the table below to compare student population size and graduation rate.

MBA in Healthcare Management Programs
SchoolStudent Population SizeGraduation Rate
Johns Hopkins University64,09893%
Florida International University113,32867%
Purdue University50,88482%
University of North Carolina Wilmington17,84372%
University of Delaware18,88381%
Source: NCES

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University‘s MBA in healthcare organizational leadership offers a unique learning opportunity to students planning careers as frontline care providers. The program is structured as a dual degree that also leads to a master of science in nursing (MSN). The combined appeal of these advanced degrees represents a major asset to nursing students seeking an entry route to upper-level and executive roles in healthcare administration.

The program’s MBA requirements cover a comprehensive business core that includes requirements in accounting, analytics, finance, organizational management, and other key areas. Learners supplement these requirements with six business electives while also engaging with a rigorous MSN curriculum covering advanced topics in nursing care.

Florida International University

Students in Florida International University‘s healthcare MBA program benefit from an accelerated program structure that can lead to graduation in just 18 months. The program blends online and campus-based learning and was designed specifically for learners with existing professional backgrounds in healthcare.

The program features a dynamic and innovative blend of business and healthcare education and holds prestigious accreditations from both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.

Learners also benefit from the school’s strong commitment to relationship-building and career development. Students engage with an enriched set of opportunities to network with both alumni and potential employers. All healthcare MBA degree-seekers also qualify for direct opportunities to secure up to $10,000 in scholarship funding, potentially reducing total program costs by nearly 20%.

University of Delaware

The University of Delaware offers a respected MBA in healthcare management through its Lerner College of Business and Economics. Students have the unique option of selecting a rigorous 15-credit MBA major in healthcare management or a 9-credit healthcare concentration. The major option delivers a greater depth of focus on healthcare-specific topics, while the concentration option more fully develops versatile business proficiencies with cross-industry transferability.

Learners engaged with both options benefit from direct engagement with a dedicated MBA advisor, who can help you plan a customized learning journey. Students can choose from fully campus-based or online learning formats, or blend the two according to their own preferences.

Common Questions About MBAs in Healthcare Management

Which MBA is best for healthcare?

Specialized MBAs in healthcare management may appeal to graduate business students specifically planning for careers in health administration. They deliver deeper and more targeted subject-specific learning than general MBA programs.

What is an MBA in healthcare management?

An MBA in healthcare management applies deep examinations of business management concepts specifically to healthcare organizational administration. Program curricula primarily emphasize core business management topics. However, they are supplemented with focused coursework in areas directly related to healthcare organization management and care delivery.

What is the average salary for MBAs in healthcare management in the US?

According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earned a median of $104,830 per year in May 2022. Notably, the BLS also projects that the demand for these professionals will grow 28% from 2022-2032, a much higher growth rate than the average across all occupations (3%).

Is an MBA in healthcare management worth it?

MBAs in healthcare management offer a direct route to upper-level careers in healthcare organization management. They often appeal to healthcare professionals seeking to transition into managerial or executive roles while remaining in the industry. Given the field’s high pay rates and strong growth projections, the degree can also pay long-term dividends.

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