One of our nation’s biggest industries is that of health care. In fact, it is one of the biggest industries in the world. Because the baby boom generation is reaching retirement age, and because the population is aging and requiring more health services, the industry is also growing tremendously. Added to that is the fact that the health care industry has committed itself to improving the educational standards of its staff. As a result, a Masters in Healthcare degree is now a very popular degree, and those who hold the degree are in very high demand in the workforce.
But what qualifications and requirements do you have to meet in order to enroll in this program?
What Is a Masters in Healthcare?
There are many different types of master’s or MBA degrees in health care, including the Master in Health Administration, the Master in Public Health and the Master in Business Administration with a health concentration. These programs are two to three years in length, and they offer a combination of classroom learning and practical experiences. Admission to these types of programs is very competitive.
Qualifications and Requirements for Masters in Healthcare
Different schools will have their own particular admission requirements. However, a number of things are seen commonly across the board. As such, it is likely that you will have to meet the following:
- Holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The subject of this degree varies, but is usually either a health related degree such as nursing, or a business related degree such as business, finance, or accounting.
- A number of years of professional experience. Depending on the chosen degree program, this can be anything from one to ten years. This is demonstrated by submitting a resume or CV.
- Prerequisite courses, usually in areas such as management, statistics, and languages
- State licensure if applicable
- Completing of an internship to meet the practical requirements of the degree
Each university will have an admissions committee who will review applications on an individual basis. As standard, they will want to see a strong academic record, as well as a personal statement or essay. These two things put together enable the admissions committee to see just how committed an individual is towards the profession.
The table below highlights a number of other things that you may have to submit in order to be admitted to a master’s in healthcare program.
|GMAT/GRE scores||Most schools will require applicants to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test). Results must be less than five years old, regardless of their professional or academic background. The accepted GMAT/GRE scores vary significantly depending on the school.|
|English Language Proficiency Tests||International students and students whose first language is not English will have to pass an English language proficiency test. Most schools will accept results from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The scores expected on these tests vary depending on the school, but is usually around 600 for the TOEFL paper-based version, 100 for the TOEFL iBT version, and 7 for the IELTS. It is very important that candidates complete the test before they apply for enrollment, so it is recommended students do this ahead of time.|
|Academic Records||Schools will need to see transcripts of all past studies, whether these have been completed here or abroad. Online transcript services exist for degree programs completed within this country. If they have been completed abroad, however, they will have to be submitted to an external credit evaluation agency. Most schools will have a list of accepted agencies, to which transcripts must be submitted with a request for course by course evaluation. Some of the most commonly accepted agencies include AACRAO International Education Services, FIS, and WES. If the degree was obtained in Canada, most schools will accept transcripts directly.Similarly, if students were enrolled in a school in this country but completed a number of credits abroad, these should be demonstrated on the school’s domestic transcripts and will not need to be evaluated. The exception is if the courses were longer than one semester, in which case they will usually not appear on the transcript.Domestic transcripts should be sent to the school to which you apply in a sealed envelope. Most schools will state that you are not allowed to open the envelope before it is sent to the Admissions Service. As a result, it is recommended that the transcripts are sent directly to the school, rather than to the home address of the applicant.|
|Student Visas||International applicants have to demonstrate that they hold either J-1 or F-1 status, unless they already possess an immigration status that allows them to study in this country. Schools will generally contact international students directly to explain which documents have to be submitted and how.|
The Masters in Healthcare Degree
Because there are so many different graduate degree programs with a healthcare emphasis, the curriculum varies greatly as well. However, you will usually have to cover topics such as:
- Security practices
- Healthcare in the United States
- Cost management
- Leadership in healthcare
- Healthcare law
- Information technology
What You Can Do with a Master’s in Healthcare Degree
The application process for a Master’s in Healthcare may seem very stringent, but this is also because the career opportunities that are out there are for positions with high levels of responsibility. You can get to work in places such as mental health organizations, hospices, consulting firms, nursing care facilities, hospitals, and various other clinics and health care settings. You will be responsible for making sure these facilities run in an efficient manner, and that the quality of care that patients receive is of the highest possible standard.
Some of the most common healthcare careers for people graduated from this degree include:
- Healthcare administrator
- Health services manager
- Healthcare executive
Certifications and Continuing Education
When someone completes a master’s degree, and particularly one in a health care related field, it is expected that they are also fully committed to their continuous professional education. Some professionals will also complete further credentials and certifications, and it is usually required that they show proof of continuous education credits in order to maintain that certification. The most popular credential is the Registered Health Information Administrator, which is offered through the American Health Information Management Association. While this certification is not a requirement, it is recommended. Those who work in nursing care must be licensed by law in their state. Most states also require additional licenses for those working in assisted living facilities.
Many students who have completed their master’s degree go on to study for doctorate degree level, which is the highest possible standard of education. At this level, students can specialize in specific areas such as long term care facility management or quality improvement for healthcare facilities. These programs can help students to further advance their career, or to become academics and educate the next generation of health care facilities. Admission requirements to these programs are often even more stringent than for the MBA or master’s degree program, although there are now some schools that have accelerated programs, enabling students with a bachelor’s degree to study towards their doctorate immediately, obtaining their master’s during the course of their study.
Resources and References:
- ETS – TOEFL – Information on the TOEFL Test. (Educational Testing Service)
IELTS – Information on the International English Language Testing System. (IELTS.org)
AACRAO International Education Services – Information on the International Education Services of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. (AACRAO.org)