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13 Pros and Cons of a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Program


Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN

A master’s in healthcare administration is a degree that may not be right for everyone. Sure, it will definitely be a career advancement for some people, but is it really all it is chalked up to be? Deciding whether or not to pursue this degree will make you wonder what are the pros and cons of a master's in healthcare administration program? Just like everything in life, you will need to weigh your options. Below you will find the top 13 pros and cons of a master's in healthcare administration program. These pros and cons will help guide you to make a decision that is best for you and your life.


What Is The Goal Of A Master’s in Healthcare Administration Program?


A master’s in healthcare administration aims to prepare you for a leadership role within the healthcare environment. As an MHA graduate, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to address many healthcare challenges that face us today. After completing a master's in healthcare administration, you will be responsible for directing and coordinating the healthcare services within a facility, clinic, specific departments in an institution, or physician groups. You will oversee the daily operation of your organization and ensure that the organization complies with healthcare laws and is keeping up with technological advances.


TOP CONS OF A MASTER'S IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM

(The following are the top 13 disadvantages of an MHA program.)

1. I hope you don’t think you are going to just breeze through this.

So, if you think that you will just be able to earn a master’s in healthcare administration in a blink of an eye, you are going to have a reality check. In order to even apply to a Master’s in healthcare administration degree, you must first successfully complete your bachelor's degree. Earning your bachelor's degree will take you about 4 years to complete. After that, you can apply to a program to earn your Master’s in healthcare administration, which will take you about 2-3 years to complete. You must take into consideration the time it will take you to earn this degree when weighing the pros and cons of a master's in healthcare administration program because at some point you are going to need to get out there and earn a living.

2. You may find yourself trying to keep your head above water.

Unfortunately for you, a master's in healthcare administration is not going to be free. If you do not have money saved up for such an endeavor, this may mean that you will have to take out loans that will land you in debt. Also, keep in mind your loans will need to be paid back with interest even further compounding your newly acquired debt.

3. Who knew how fast you could wrack up a bill.

I know we already talked about how you may end up in debt due to the cost of a master's in healthcare administration program but let’s put this into perspective for you. For example, the University of Cincinnati will run you around $769.00 a credit, and the program length is approximately 40 credits. So, that is a total cost of $30,760. This price tag does not include your cost of living and any other incidentals that may occur. Earning this degree can be rather pricy making the cost one of the top disadvantages of a master's in healthcare administration program.

4. Do you think you will make the cut?

Like other graduate degree programs, the Master's in healthcare administration program has set standards when it comes to specific criteria that you need to meet to even be considered for entry into a program. The first thing you must do is to successfully graduate from an accredited bachelor's program. The second thing you will need is a competitive GPA. Most programs require that you have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to be considered for their program. On top of all of this, some programs will require a GRE test score as well.

5. Will you be able to continue to work?

Some people may find that earning their masters in healthcare administration while holding down a full-time job is nearly next to impossible. Your workday may end, but then right after your school day may start. Some people will find that in order to complete their Master's program, time off is necessary. If you do not have paid time off available to you or you need to take an unpaid leave of absence, you will just be compounding your debt. Whether or not you will be able to continue working is something that you must consider when you are assessing the pros and cons of a master's in healthcare administration program.

6. You maybe will always be tied to your phone and email.

In an ideal world, you would be able to work from 9-5. A dream would be to turn off your computer at 5 PM on a Friday and be done for the weekend. Although some people may be able to land a gig like this, not all will. If you happen to be one of those people who have a managerial position in a hospital, for example, you may find your phone ringing and getting emails with problems during the night and the weekends. It would be nice to say that these off-schedule phone calls and emails are not your problems, but I’m sorry to say that yes, they are your problems.

7. Hope you are a responsible person

After earning your Master's in healthcare administration, you will be all set to take on a job of a higher caliber. Wait, wait, wait, first, let me ask you how you do with juggling a lot of responsibility because it is about to become your reality. A career in healthcare administration will require you to manage multiple things at once, such as budgeting and disaster situations to name a few. You will need to be on your toes at all times. So, if this is sounding like you bit off more than you can chew, then this is not the right degree for you to pursue.

8. I hope you have the stamina.

Earning your Master's degree in healthcare administration means that you will most likely be working in a healthcare environment. Sounds great, right? Well, hold on a sec; did you forget healthcare is 24/7. It is not uncommon for those who work in healthcare to be pulling 10-12 hour days 5 days a week. The work has to get done no matter how long it takes.

9. I hope you were not expecting overtime for those long hours you worked.

When you earn your Master's in healthcare administration, you will be able to assume a managerial position. A managerial position is not a position that comes with hourly work, such as a bedside nurse. What this means for you is that you are working on salary. Salary-type jobs rarely have any overtime pay attached to them making this one of the biggest disadvantages of a master's in healthcare administration program. You are being paid for a job regardless of how long it takes you to complete it.

10. There goes your free time out the window.

Sure, earning a graduate degree sounds really logical until you really start to think about it. Regardless of which route you choose in terms of a 1-year program, a traditional or an online, the coursework that you must successfully complete will take up any free time that you may have. These programs are rigorous and demanding.

11. How well do you manage stress?

Any time that you take on additional responsibility, additional stress will accompany it. Earning a degree in health care administration at the graduate level is no different. Juggling all your responsibilities may become stressful, your coursework will demand a lot of you and will be one of the disadvantages of an MHA program.

12. You will always be responsible to stay up to date with the most current regulations and policies.

Earning a Master's degree in healthcare administration will allow you the ability to work as a manager or higher in healthcare. Along with this also comes the task of keeping up to date with healthcare's ever-changing regulations and policies. You will be responsible for ensuring these are implemented.

13. You must always play nice in the sandbox.

In life, you will not always get along with everyone you meet. Unfortunately, the world of healthcare administration means that you need to be able to schmooze everybody. If you find that you cannot play nice with everyone in the work environment, then pursuing a master's in healthcare administration may not be the right fit for you.


TOP PROS OF A MASTER'S IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM

(The following are the top 13 advantages of an MHA program.)

1. How do you feel about always having a job?

Job security is a beautiful thing to have in this day and age. It will definitely make you sleep better at night. If you choose to pursue a Master’s in healthcare administration, your field is expected to grow 32% by the year 2029. This means you will always have a job which makes this one of the advantages of an MHA program, you are pursuing a career with great job growth.

2. You could finish your coursework anywhere!

When it comes to completing the Master's in healthcare administration degree, you will have options as to where your learning will take place. What I mean by this is, you will be able to complete your degree online if you wish to. This will give you the flexibility you may be searching for. Who knows, you could even do your schoolwork from sitting on the beach or maybe up in the mountains somewhere.

3. You could be leading a more luxurious life.

When weighing the pros and cons of a master's in healthcare administration program, your salary is a particularly important point to consider. How does a six-figure salary sound to you? A master’s in healthcare administration will have you earning somewhere around $115,160 a year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is not too shabby. A six-figured salary can afford you many luxuries in life.

4. You will be sharpening your skills.

Earning a Master’s degree in health care administration will help you enhance your skills in areas such as policies, facilities, technological innovations, and how to improve healthcare. These newly sharpened educational skills will make you more of an asset to any institution you work for.

5. You will have a plethora of employment options.

Earning your Master's in healthcare administration means that you can work in a variety of different settings. Having so much variety in your career is one of the top pros of a master's in healthcare administration program. Although working in hospitals is always an option for you, you will be capable of performing administrative functions in other healthcare facilities such as ambulatory care centers, community clinics, and skilled nursing facilities, to name a few. Healthcare delivery is now an open door in terms of career options for you. You can work in areas such as regulatory government agencies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and social agencies.

6. You could be done in 1 year.

Although most Master's in healthcare administration degrees take about 2-3 years to complete, there are programs out there that will allow you to complete this degree in 1 year. These programs will be much more intensive than the traditional route, but they are completed much faster meaning getting out there and using your degree faster.

7. You could have your choice pick of specialty.

Earning a master's in healthcare administration is a very broad term, just as broad as the word pasta. There are many different types of pasta out there, and there are many different paths you can take in regards to the Master's in healthcare administration. Having a choice in where you want to concentrate your education is one of the pros of an MHA program. Each concentration is slightly different, but regardless, it offers you more choice in your work environment. You could choose a specialty such as financial management or work in program management, just to name a few.

8. Your work schedule could fit perfectly into your social calendar.

So, we discussed in the earlier section how you may find yourself working 10-12 hours a day, five days a week, but you may get lucky. What I mean by getting lucky is that you may land a job that is 9-5, Monday thru Friday, and you would not have to work weekends or holidays making this one of the pros of a master's in healthcare administration program. There is hope out there if you really want to pursue this degree in terms of your work hours.

9. You will have the opportunity to become certified.

After earning your Master's in healthcare administration, you may want to go on to pursue a certification in your field. Certification will establish you as an expert in your field. This certification will demonstrate to an institution that you have acquired vital skills and proficiency that are needed to succeed in the healthcare environment. Not every profession offers certification.

10. You will Increase your job prospects.

Earning your Master's in healthcare administration will open up numerous job opportunities for you. Earning this degree will help you climb the career ladder. This may be within the institution you already work for, or it may be a different one. Having the capability to advance your career is one of the biggest advantages of a master's in healthcare administration program.

11. You are Born to lead!

Earning a master's in health care administration will land you a job in leadership. If you feel that you are a natural-born leader or you feel that you are being called to lead, then this is a degree you would definitely look into.

12. You will earn a sense of pride.

Earning a master's degree in healthcare administration is something to be pretty proud of and is one of the advantages of a master's in healthcare administration program. Not everyone can successfully complete this degree. It is challenging on many levels, so give yourself a pat on the back if you can manage all this.

13. You will be able to leave the bedside

If you are currently working in healthcare at the bedside but feel like this type of job has run its course for you, one of the advantages of an MHA is that it will enable you to still remain in healthcare but from a different view. This will be a much different career path than the bedside but remember, sometimes change is welcomed.


The Bottom Line


So, what are the pros and cons of a master's in healthcare administration program? As you have seen, there are pros and cons to pursuing a Master’s in healthcare administration. You will need to determine if the pros outweigh the cons for you. The top 13 pros and cons of a master's in healthcare administration program that I have just presented to you, will help make your decision easier when deciding if pursuing this degree is right for you. It is a big decision and one that will alter the course of your life, so the bottom line is only you can truly make this decision.


Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.