Top 6 Master’s Degrees in Healthcare

Top 6 Master’s Degrees in Healthcare

After earning your bachelor’s or entry level professional degree in the healthcare-related area of study, you might be wondering: what now? Or what if you are in your mid-career and are looking to advance your career? One option is to continue your higher education and apply for a master’s degree. One important thing to note is that, although some professions will hire those with a bachelor’s degree, many of roles today require a master’s degree. If you are looking to open the door to a wider variety of career opportunities and larger salaries, pursuing a healthcare master’s degree is the way to go. Also, it is important to note that many of these master’s degrees offer in-person and online programs, so there is an added degree of flexibility. Below is a list of the top 6 types of master’s degrees in healthcare:

1. Master’s in Health Services Administration (MSHSA)

One of the best types of master’s degrees in healthcare is the MSHSA because it is a perfect blend for someone interested in both business and healthcare.

Educational Requirements

On average, it takes around two years at an accredited university to complete this healthcare graduate program. As a full time student, you will be learning the necessary skills to launch you into a senior managerial position in the healthcare industry. Students will learn how to manage the finances within a healthcare facility, how to analyze data, and how to run a facility in order to produce the most efficient results. Strong organizational skills are a must! If you are looking to get even more specific with your studies, there are specialty tracks. Just to name a few:

  • Healthcare Financing
  • Health Economics & Outcomes
  • Geriatric Care Systems

Career Paths

After the completion of this healthcare graduate program, there are many career opportunities with lucrative salaries, such as:

  • Hospital Chief Executive Officer
  • Hospital Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Clinical Director
  • Hospital Administrator

The average annual salary for those with an MSHSA is around $79,000, but this number can exceed well above the six-figure range, depending on the job title and the number of years of experience you have and if you have a healthcare professional degree such as pharmacy, nursing, or medicine.

Future Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers after completing this healthcare graduate program are expected to grow at 32% between 2019 to 2029, which is much higher than the average for other occupations.

2. Master of Science: Health Education (MSHE)

With this healthcare-related master’s degree, you will be equipped to make a real difference in a person’s health. You will be able to conduct research and studies to educate others on topics regarding healthcare.

Educational Requirements

Depending on the specific college you attend, the number of years required to complete this medical master’s degree can vary. At most schools, an MSHE will take a student between two and three years to earn. These extra years of education in this healthcare graduate program will help strengthen the development of your leadership, teamwork, and communication skills so that you can be a strong pioneer in the healthcare field.

Career Paths

This particular healthcare-related master’s degree prepares you for many different job titles upon graduation. Here are just a few:

  • Diabetes Educator
  • Integrative Health Practitioner
  • Environmental Health Educator
  • Health Counselor
  • Community Health Educator

The average annual salary with an MSHE is between $63,000 and $69,000.

Future Job Outlook

Health education specialists are in luck! The BLS estimates that jobs in this career field will grow 13% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

3. Master of Health Informatics and Health Information Management (MHIHIM)

An MHIHIM is a more technology-focused degree of study. In order to provide high-quality care to patients, these healthcare professionals need to use reliable information systems to keep track of patient history, information, and billing data. An advanced professional in this master’s program will know how to ensure a seamless user-experience in healthcare settings.

Educational Requirements

This healthcare graduate program takes around two years. You’ll be trained in analyzing and protecting digital medical data in order to protect patients’ files and to provide excellent care. In addition, you will learn about computer coding, program design, and technology management.

Career Paths

For those of you geared towards computers, technology, and healthcare, this is certainly the medical master’s degree for you. Some potential career titles include:

  • Computer Program Developer
  • IT Manager
  • Business Intelligence Analyst

With an MHIHIM, the average salary is $68,000 per year, but this number can exceed well above the six-figure range, depending on the job title and the number of years of experience you have.

Future Job Outlook

Similar to the MSHSA job outlook, the BLS projects that a career in this health-related graduate degree will grow 32% between 2019 to 2029.

4. Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA)

A highly rewarding career in a health administration or executive position can be yours for the taking with a Master’s in Healthcare Administration! With this medical master’s degree, you will be managing an entire facility and addressing each department’s specific needs. Another thing to note is that although an MSHSA and an MHA sound very similar, they are still two separate, distinct degrees. Some MHA programs require students to complete a thesis or capstone project. However, this can depend on your specific university’s requirements.

Educational Requirements

Most individuals take around two years to complete MHA programs. You will also need to complete an internship or residency during that time. This medical master’s degree will provide you with resources on how to be an effective leader in the ever-changing healthcare industry. Some of your goals include being able to communicate with different faculty members, foster a strong and united community, and maintain smooth operations/activities within the facility.

Career Paths

After completing this healthcare graduate program, you could be working at any type of healthcare location. You could be working in clinics, on a college campus, at a physical therapy office, a laboratory, or a physician’s office, just to name a few. Some candidates for job titles and their respective salaries include:

  • Executive Director
  • Director of Operations
  • Healthcare Consultant
  • Health Services Manager
  • Hospital Administrator

The average annual salary with an MHA is $100,000.

Future Job Outlook

The BLS estimates that careers in this field will increase by 32% between 2019-2029, which is much faster than average.

5. Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)

While both MHA and MBA degree programs will prepare students for those upper-level management roles, there are some key differences. An MBA is a more general degree, while on the other hand, an MHA is a more specialized health-related graduate degree.

Educational Requirements

An MBA typically takes two years to complete. Your time spent pursuing this degree program will be focused on a curriculum regarding marketing, management, accounting, leadership, economics, IT, and finance. There are many different disciplines and areas of study, but learning about all of them will provide you with a solid foundation to be an exceptional business leader.

Career Paths

With an MBA, there are many possible career paths to choose from:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Financial Manager
  • Business Operations Manager
  • Health Center Manager
  • Logistics Manager

With an MBA the average annual salary is $88,000.

Future Job Outlook

The career outlook is looking good for those with an MBA. For example, a career as a financial manager is expected to increase at 15% between 2019-2029.

6. Master’s in Public Health (MPH)

The MPH degree provides a very hands-on learning experience. It will prepare students to educate their surrounding communities on ways to improve their health, nutrition, and safety. You could be working at a government or non-profit organization, focusing on educating others on violence prevention, infectious diseases, and illnesses in order to improve upon the community’s health and wellness.

Educational Requirements

An MPH typically takes between two to three years to complete. During this time, you will learn more about epidemiology, environmental health, biostatistics, health administration, and social/behavioral sciences.

Career Paths

With an MPH, there are lots of different positions available:

  • Epidemiologist
  • Dietician, Nutritionist
  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor

The average annual salary with a degree in MPH is $74,000.

Future Job Outlook

The BLS estimates a 15% increase in jobs in the healthcare occupations between 2019-2029.

Selecting The Right Degree For You

It can certainly be overwhelming to pick a master’s degree, especially since there are so many to choose from. When deciding, you should consider the following criteria, and evaluate each one:

  • Identify your personal interests, goals, and aspirations
  • Look at each degree’s specialized area of focus (is it in business, technology, public health, etc?) and evaluate if it aligns with your personal interests
  • The number of years required to earn the degree
  • The earnings potential/salary
  • The future career outlook (are jobs in this field increasing or decreasing?)

2 Years, An Endless Amount of Opportunities

As you can see, there are many types of master’s degrees in healthcare, and we have barely scratched the surface. Most master’s degree programs typically take around two years to complete, and of course, it also costs money. However, after earning your undergraduate degree, if you choose to pursue a healthcare master’s degree, the opportunities increase significantly. Not only will you qualify for those higher-level management positions, but your salary will also increase. So now you must make a pivotal decision: should you limit your professional options and risk being in a stagnant job, or should you choose to further your education and pursue your professional aspirations? It seems as though the answer is quite clear.

How to Master Healthcare Job Interview Questions

Interviewing for a new position or move up in a company can be scary and nerve-wracking, especially in a competitive industry like healthcare. That’s why preparing for your next interview is essential. For jobseekers to perform their best and more effectively answer trickier questions, they need to take the time to research the company, the position, who the hiring manager is, and the people giving the interview. During the interview, you can also certainly point to your resume, cover letter, and CV to highlight your specific qualifications for the job. It is also important to not compromise your boundaries or sense of self in the interview. The best candidates are honest about their needs and provide genuine answers that outshine ones that are calculated and forced. If you respond in a way that you think they want to hear – you may be hired and dissatisfied as you did not provide your honest response. To help you better prepare here are some common healthcare interview questions, as well as some tips for how best to answer them: 

Basic Healthcare Interview Questions 

No two job interviews are ever the same, especially in the healthcare industry. However, there are a few fundamental questions that you can expect to be asked. Here are 7 common healthcare interview questions and the best way to answer them: 

1. Tell Us About Yourself 

This question is a common first question during any healthcare job interview, so be prepared to go into your meeting with a great answer. The interviewer is trying to get a better understanding of who you are, your experience, and if you would fit comfortably into their organization. When answering this question try to focus on your education, training, certificates, your professional experience, and previous jobs, and your passion for healthcare. Do not be afraid to reference your resume and cover letter. In addition, if you feel comfortableprovide some personal items – just keep clear of controversial areas such as politics.  

2. Why Did you Choose to Work in Healthcare?  

The healthcare industry is all about patient care, heck it’s even in the name “healthCARE”. Usually, when a healthcare professional asks this question, they are looking for an answer that reaffirms that you will have the best interest of a patient in mind. The best answers to this question usually include some sort of emotional story. Don’t be afraid of tugging on the heartstrings of whoever is interviewing you. If you did your homework and know the mission/vision of the company and you share similar values, then highlight this as well.
 

3. Why Are You Interested in This Position?  

This is a fairly common question during any healthcare job interview. Before your interview make sure you take the time to better get to know the people and organization you want to work for. Research the company, practice, or hospital system you are applying to, so you can try to understand and speak to their culture. Get to know their history, their core values, and their mission statement. These can all be great sources of information when figuring out what your interviewers will be looking for in their ideal candidate. Then be sure to weave all this information into your answer and also just be honest about what really made you interested in the job.
 

4. What is Your Greatest Strength? 

Here the employer is trying to gleam what would make you an asset to their team. Be sure to thoroughly examine the job description and see if there are any particular skills they are looking for. Do not ever lie, but you can tailor your answer to your strengths that you think would be useful for the position. Here are usually some amazing strengths to highlight in the field of medicine: 

  • Your bedside manner  patient-centered approach  
  • Quick thinking 
  • Critical decision making 
  • Ability to collaborate in a team environment/team player. 
  • Leadership 
  • If your role does not include direct patient care – how do you see your ability (strength) impacting this in the role. 
     

5. What is Your Biggest Weakness? 

We are all humans with flawsthere’s no use hiding it. The key here is to be honest without being too honest about your flaws. Also, try to avoid cliches like “I care too much”; they will just lead to eye rolls. Instead, focus on what you want to improve professionally this year and then talk about your plan for executing that goal. Think of this question in a slightly different way – what are your opportunities, your areas for improvement. 
 

6. What Are Your Long-Term Career Goals? 

This question is testing how ambitious you are. Most interviewers during a healthcare job interview are also wanting to make sure that you are not going to jump ship and instead stick around for a while. Talk about where you see yourself in 5,10,20 years and what you like to do to improve your professional development. Most interviewers are interested in the here and now – 5 years at max.  Also, be sure to touch on how you think you can grow into more meaningful positions with the place you’re interviewing at.  

 

7. What Do You See as the Future of Healthcare? 

The world of healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. It is important to stay on top of new procedures and technologies so you can ensure patients receive the best possible care. Before your next interview spend some time reading up on what’s new in your specific field. This will give you some useful resources to reference when answering this question. 
 

Healthcare Management Interview Questions 

When you are interviewing for a leadership position, the questions can become even more challenging. They will be looking for reasons to believe that you can lead a team and improve their overall performance. Here are five of the most common healthcare management interview questions:  

 1. What Qualifies You For a Management Position?  

The best way to answer this question is usually to reference your education and experience. If you have earned a Master’s degree, such as a Masters’s in Health Services Administration talk about what you learned during your program. Help the hiring manager to understand how what you learned in a classroom environment is going to improve their performance. Also, do not forget to talk about your earlier professional experiences and what you learned from them. Make sure you have a few notable examples of how you effectively lead a team. If you can provide metrics from the example the great – lead a team that provided input to change our scheduling process to better meet the needs of our patients. 
 

2. Tell Me About a Time You Coached or Mentored Someone 

Great leaders don’t just tell people what to do; they motivate and inspire others. Hiring managers want to know that you will be able to not only work with others but also improve the people you are responsible for. The best answer to this healthcare management interview question is to tell a story about problems someone was experiencing and then illustrate how you helped them to improve. Another example can be if you mentored someone on developing a professional development that then saw them move up in the company. 
 

3. How Would You Ensure The Organization is Up to Date on Safety and Current Medical Practices?  

This is really a two-part question. The first part deals with how you would learn about these updates yourself. Try to talk about industry journals and publications you may read or medical conferences that you think are relevant. The second part of your answer should then deal with the best way to distribute that information to your team.  

 

4. How Would You Handle a Difficult Employee?  

Again, this is another great opportunity to tell a story if you can. Talk about what made the employee difficult and then discuss how you address the situation. 
 

5. How Would You Evaluate Staff Performance?  

For this healthcare interview question begin by talking about what you think makes for a good employee. Think about some performance indicators that you could use for all employees. Next, discuss how you would go about communicating that to an employee and work to fix any areas that need improvement.  A key here is understanding that evaluation should be based on an agreed-upon expectation
 

Performance Based Interview (PBI) Questions 

Performance-based healthcare interview questions (PBI) can sometimes be the toughest part of any interview to tackle. With these questions, the interviewer is trying to gain a better understanding of how you would handle stressful and demanding situations. Here are a few common performance-based healthcare interview questions:   

  1. Can You Tell Me About a Time You Had to Handle Conflict Between Peers? 
  1. Can You Tell Me About a Stressful Situation You’ve Recently Been In?  
  1. Can You Provide an Example of How You’ve Handled a Recent Difficult Decision? 
  1. Tell Me About a Time You’ve Worked with a Difficult Patient. 
  1. Tell Me About a Time You Failed. 

 

Now the best way to answer questions like this is to tell a specific story. Avoid generalizations and focus on a specific situation. Next, give some background information and describe the problem. Next focus on the actions you took to resolve the situation. Lastly, don’t forget to talk about what happened after you took those actions.  

 

Top 7 Best Practices in Healthcare Management

Becoming a leader in the healthcare industry takes effective communication, continued education, decision-making, workforce organization, networking, anticipating challenges, and using technology and technological advancements to your advantage. It takes truly productive and adaptable leadership if you are going to climb the ranks.   There is a direct connection between quality and quantifiable healthcare practices and effective leadership. Your approach in making an impact on your staff, individual patients, and your relationships with other healthcare professionals, is so important in leading your organization and others to success. Some examples of effective leadership would be providing opportunities and resources to improve your organization’s safety, innovation in medical research, building key relationships with other fields like those in pharmacy or a family physician, removing barriers, and you could offer leadership development seminars. What makes an effective leader in each sector of healthcare will differ based on your specialty, however, there are certain best practices in healthcare management that all great leaders exemplify. Below we will outline the top 7 traits for effective leadership in healthcare   

1. BE CURIOUS 

Just because something has always been done a certain way, it does not mean that is the most effective way to carry out a task. Be curious and try to be innovative and more efficient with your tools, your people, and their skill sets. Being inquisitive, as a leader, opens up for great participation and unique ideas from your team members that are on the frontlines of what you are trying to implement. One of the most important roles of an effective healthcare executive is the ability to ask those tough questions of all parties involved and avoid making assumptions. Asking questions can also encourage team members to participate and share ideas. 

2. DATA IS KING 

One of the most effective ways to change assumptions and measure performance is to measure and track everything. Data is your friend and one of the most cost-effective ways of growing and nurturing your team and patient care. Many healthcare organizations already qualify and quantify vast amounts of data sets. Use that information to analyze performance and measure outcomes. You may find that what you thought of as a problem is merely a symptom of a bigger issue and that improvements have to start in another area. Measuring performance also makes it possible to identify people with high performance so they can be recognized; similarly, you will be able to spot people who may be struggling so they can receive more training. 

3. SET EXPECTATIONS 

Leadership in healthcare often means being specific about their challenges, desired solutions, decision-making processes, expectations, improvements to strategies and processes, and understanding the vision of business development. Specific expectations like how much time should be set aside for patient interaction and counseling or making sure that each intake file has the required documents in it before the patient can be seen are precise, measurable actions. This makes for often seamless implementation and healthy work culture. 

4. LEAD BY EXAMPLE 

In order to be more effective, healthcare managers should always base their actions on their words. Just like in parenting, your employees and competitors are watching you and learning from you. You are the driving force for the company, providing sound direction and motivation to get the job done.   The healthcare environment itself is constantly changing and more involved than most other industries, and that fact presents a challenge for healthcare leaders today. Many organizations are expecting more to be done with technology and fewer humans and keeping up is a struggle. However, not with the right healthcare manager and employee team. More effective healthcare leadership can help any department flourish even during challenging times. 

5. DEDICATION TO SELF IMPROVEMENT 

The only constant in healthcare is change. You need to make sure that you are staying on top of the current trends and innovations in your medical fieldso, you can ensure your patients receive the best care possible or your employees understand the importance of self-improvement which impacts the patient care they provide. Leadership in healthcare means continually learning about new medical procedures and ways to improve your staff and organization’s efficiency. Effective healthcare managers work to further their education and provide opportunities for their employees to do the same. Leadership development courses, seminars, conferences, and online classes are all great opportunities for effective healthcare leaders and their staff to improve themselves. Plus, they are amazing professional networking opportunities for everyone from your nursing staff to your physicians to share information and learn from their colleagues. By establishing these different opportunities, you instill trust and loyalty is not only your employees but also your patients. Self-leadership is just as important as the leadership of others – taking this into consideration, leaders who understand this process can lead by example each and every day. 

6. BE ADAPTABLE 

As we have learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to lead has to adapt to the circumstances at hand. Even prior to the pandemic, those who have been in healthcare have to adapt to the digital age of healthcare. From charting to telehealth, you, as a healthcare leader are in an environment that is rapidly changing. You have to be able to provide sound decision-making and evolve in every scenario and recognize that there are multiple (right) ways of doing things. Patient-centered care demands adaptability. 

7. COMMUNICATE 

No matter the relationship, communication is key in order to be effective as a healthcare manager. Strong leadership in healthcare means you have to be able to communicate with a variety of personalities and in different modes of communication. For example, you need to be able to present information in a way others can grasp the informationwrite effective emails to your entire staff, donors, investors, partners..etc..While being responsive in a timely manner. As we have learned this year, we have to be able to adapt and be able to host compelling Zoom conferences or appointments with patients. You also have to communicate efficiently with your patients and their family members. Learning how to specifically communicate with each branch of healthcare will take a lot of patience and practice. 

UW School of Pharmacy Selects Business Manager/Educator to Lead MSHSA Degree Program

Elliott SogolA former corporate manager and pharmacy business leader has been selected as director of the University of Wyoming’s School of Pharmacy Master of Science in Health Services Administration (MSHSA) program.

Elliott Sogol, the current director of postgraduate education for the pharmacy school in the UW College of Health Sciences, brings a balanced mix of experience in both business management and graduate-level education instruction.

Sogol’s previous roles included serving as the senior vice president of strategy for Pharmacy Quality Solutions and group manager in the health care professional service group for the Target Corp. He also served as manager of one of the corporation’s pharmacies, and he has held leadership positions in the corporate, and research and development divisions within GlaxoSmithKline.

Sogol also held positions in academia at Campbell University School of Pharmacy and the University of Illinois-Chicago. He received his professional and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy. He currently holds adjunct faculty appointments at Campbell University, the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina.

UW’s MSHSA program is a fully accredited online program intended for new or mid-career health professionals, including pharmacists, nurses, physical therapists, first responders, and other non-healthcare professionals looking to advance their careers in the pharmaceutical and health care fields.

Students can complete the program at a pace that suits their personal circumstances, by either a full-time, two-year track or taking as much as six years as part-time students.

“One of our main strengths is our students,” Sogol says. “They come from diverse backgrounds all across the country and bring many different perspectives to our discussions.”

In addition to postgraduate students, current graduate-level, as well as non-degree-seeking students, are invited to enroll in the MSHSA program as a way to enhance managerial and planning skills for entering the health care business sector.

Four key career directive tracks are offered through the MSHSA program: biopharmaceutical regulatory compliance; health economics and outcomes; health institution leadership; and health quality and improvement. Each can be tailored to focus more directly on the career development needs of each student.

“Our program is student-centered,” Sogol says. “Our faculty includes experts from throughout the pharmacy health care industry whose experience will prove valuable when applying their teachings to our students’ career paths. These experts work closely with our students, either in an advising capacity or providing mentorship, depending on the students’ circumstances and program track.”

The mission of the department is to provide excellent instruction to educate future leaders in the health care field, he adds.

The application deadline for admission to the fall semester is Aug. 1.

For specific information about the MSHSA program, and to submit an application, visit the website at www.uwyohealthadminms.org/.

Graduate Spotlight: Dr. Rashid Kazerooni, Botulinum Toxin Type A Overdoses

Dr. Rashid Kazerooni, PharmD, MS, BCPS, is a Medical Science Liaison at Merz North America. Dr. Kazerooni is among the first graduates of the University of Wyoming’s 2016-2018 MSHSA program and we couldn’t more proud of his independent project, Botulinum Toxin Type A Overdoses: Analysis of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System Database, being published. Continue reading