Online Masters vs MBA in Healthcare Management Which is Best?

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - May 10, 2018
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The healthcare field is growing rapidly, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics expecting growth in healthcare jobs to increase by 19% in the next several years. For that reason, it is a wise investment in your career to consider a master’s degree in healthcare management. The question is, should you get a master’s in healthcare management or an MBA in healthcare management? According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, both degrees can greatly increase your career options, so which you choose should come down to your long term goals.

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)

Hopefully, this article will help you to understand the differences and which could be best for you. We also highlight several potential master’s and MBA in healthcare programs that are worthy of consideration.

MS in Healthcare Management vs MBA

For an example, American University offers a Master of Science in Healthcare Management as well as an MBA with a concentration in healthcare management. The MS program is a 30 credit hour program that prepares you for a leadership career in the healthcare industry.

The website states that people who want to enter senior healthcare management roles, independent healthcare consulting or healthcare policy analyst positions may consider this type of degree. It is heavily focused from the start on healthcare management, with less focus on business theory and more about healthcare practice and skill sets.

Oth the other hand, the MBA in healthcare management is primarily a business degree first with the goal of producing a well rounded business professional first and foremost. There is some overlap between the two programs, but there are more general business classes in the MBA program. To get a better grip on the difference in focus, let us take a look at the courses that each program requires:

MS in Healthcare Management

  • Emerging Technology Trends
  • Intercultural Communications for Professionals
  • Standards and Systems in US Healthcare
  • Principles of Health Information Technology and Innovation
  • Managing Information Risk in Healthcare
  • Evaluating New Models of Care Delivery and Payment
  • Evaluations Sciences
  • Client Communications and Professional Consulting

MBA in Healthcare Management

  • Financial Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Manager in the International Economy
  • Applied Managerial Statistics
  • Information and Technology
  • Business at the Private and Public Intersection
  • Management of Organizations and Human Capital
  • Healthcare Strategy
  • Innovations in Global Health Policy Delivery
  • Public Health in Developing Countries

There is more of a healthcare focused curriculum for the MS degree with a deeper dive into healthcare management and leadership. Also, the core courses are focused on the healthcare field. The MBA has large portions of the curriculum focused on core business areas that can be applied to any industry with a limited set of healthcare focused courses. If you want more of a well rounded business background, you may be better off with the MBA. But if you want to get more up close and technical about the healthcare industry, you may want to get the healthcare management degree.

Now that you know more about the MBA and master’s in healthcare management degree, take a look at some attractive online degree options for both types:

Master’s in Healthcare Management Options

#1 Southern New Hampshire University

The master in healthcare management degree program at SNHU offers an excellent fusion of important business principles with a strong concentration in healthcare management. Some of the key business principles you will explore are business communication, project management, organizational culture and brand, leadership, strategic planning, as well as talent support and development.

Common courses required in this master’s program includes:

  • Corporate Communications
  • Human Behavior in Organizations
  • Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Business Research
  • Project Management
  • Health Policy and Law
  • Healthcare Reimbursement Systems and Finance
  • Healthcare Quality
  • Healthcare Information Management

SNHU is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

#2 Stevenson University

The online healthcare management master’s program at Stevenson University allows students to pursue their education online in two years and to benefit from the program’s highly knowledgeable and respected faculty.

All courses in this program are taught by current, practicing healthcare managers and executives, and they combine the latest theory with applied skills and expertise in their specialty area. The university uses the case study method and other integrative methodologies that emphasize real world problem solving. You will have an opportunity to work in many interdisciplinary, healthcare team based activities.

Students in this two year, 100% online program can choose from these concentrations:

  • Quality management and patient safety
  • Project management in healthcare

You will take courses in project and resource management, managerial epidemiology and statistics, healthcare management and administration, healthcare policy, law and ethics and HR development in healthcare.

Students who graduated from this program in the past several years have moved on to work in managerial and executive positions in hospitals, long term care facilities, physician practices and insurance companies.

#3 Liberty University

Liberty University offers a master of science in healthcare administration, which is closely related to healthcare management. This program will equip you with a good grasp of healthcare informatics, public health and nursing. You will learn how to add value to the healthcare organization in which you work, and how to make good healthcare decisions in the area of strategic planning, and also will learn business management techniques and the latest financial models and principles.

One of the advantages of this program is you can customize your MHA degree in the areas that relate best to your career goals. Some of the concentrations you can select include accounting, finance, HR, leadership, project management, PR and strategic management.

Core courses in the general concentration are Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals, Strategic Management and Marketing for Health Professionals, Healthcare Informatics, Healthcare Administration, Managing Human Capital in Healthcare, Healthcare Administration Capstone and Grant Acquisition and Management.

#4 Texas Woman’s University

In as few as 24 months, you can earn a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Texas Woman’s University and get ready for the future of your healthcare management career. You will develop the real world experience and theoretical knowledge that you need in the modern healthcare administration field. This program also is available with a focus on business analytics if you have a career interest in data analysis.

Required courses include:

  • Foundations of Health Sciences
  • Concepts of Health and Disease for Administrators
  • Financial Accounting in Healthcare Administration
  • Health Law
  • Managerial Communications
  • Strategic Planning in Healthcare
  • Ethical Analysis in Health Services
  • Health Information Management

This fully online degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education or CAHME. If you have at least three years of management experience, you may be able to waive the GRE and GMAT requirement.

MBA in Healthcare Management Options

#1 Colorado Technical University

The online MBA in healthcare management from Colorado Technical University will give you the opportunity to gain specialized healthcare and business knowledge that is growing very quickly. The curriculum has been made to take a vital set of business administration principles and teach you how to apply them to the healthcare field. The two year program online has been structured to promote creative and critical thinking when working to bring change to various types of healthcare systems.

Your required coursework includes the following:

  • Applied Managerial Accounting
  • Applied Managerial Economics
  • Applied Managerial Decision Making
  • Managing the Healthcare Organization
  • Systems in Healthcare
  • Strategic Human Capital Management
  • Applied Healthcare Managerial Finance

This online MBA program has been accredited by the ACBSP, which is one of the best known business education accreditation agencies in the world.

#2 Capella University

Capella University offers an online MBA in healthcare management that will teach you how to use strategic thinking and planning to analyze the mission, vision and goals of all kinds of healthcare organizations. Students also will be able to understand the many strategic options for healthcare operations funding and decision making, while evaluating current healthcare industry issues and policies.

Students also will learn how to demonstrate legal and ethical principles and a good understanding of the societal and organizational implications of behaving ethically in healthcare systems. This MBA stresses strategy, financial management, and ethics. You also will study clinical research methodologies, medical science products and much more.

Required courses are:

  • MBA Leadership
  • Business Strategy
  • Applied Business Analytics
  • Accounting Methods for Leaders
  • Marketing Management
  • Applied Managerial Finance
  • Decision Making in the Healthcare System
  • Analyzing the Healthcare Environment
  • Driving Healthcare Results

#3 George Washington University

George Washington University offers a two year, online healthcare management MBA that is ideal for professionals who want to develop strong business skills with a healthcare industry focus. The objective is to help you to develop highly specialized expertise so you are qualified for healthcare business leadership roles, such as health services manager, hospital administrator or executive.

Core courses in this accredited MBA program are:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Operations Management
  • Global Perspectives
  • Marketing
  • Business Ethics and Public Policy
  • Strategic Management
  • Health Information, Quality and Outcomes
  • Clinical Research Industry
  • Foundational Management Topics in Healthcare

This program offers a GMAT waiver for professionals who have at least five years of relevant, full time work experience.

#4 University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas Tyler Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management is fully online and accredited by the AACSB. It allows you to earn in approximately two years a degree that will help you to advance to senior leadership roles in the healthcare industry.

Students will develop a strong knowledge of the healthcare system in America with a strong focus on the business of healthcare, including managing cost while maintaining patient care. Also, students gain an excellent understanding of the major aspects of healthcare business operations, such as HR, finance, and operations management with a special focus on healthcare adminstration.

Your required courses are:

  • Strategic Leadership Processes
  • Accounting for Management Control
  • Advanced Financial Management
  • Decision Making in Operations Management
  • Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Advancing Marketing Fundamentals
  • Special Topics in Healthcare Management
  • Introduction to the American Healthcare System

Students with significant business management experience can qualify for a GMAT waiver to be considered for admission.

Now that you have a better idea about an MBA in healthcare management vs. a healthcare management master’s degree, you should have a good idea of the best option for you. Either way, you will be moving into a very much in demand, high paying field, so you will have plenty of exciting career options.

Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

"It doesn't matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once." - Mark Cuban