What Undergraduate Degree Should I Get Before Getting a Master of Health Administration?

Although undergraduate degrees in health administration are available, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives, they are not necessary or even the best option for people interested in pursuing a Master of Health Administration degree. Recipients of this master’s degree come from varied undergraduate backgrounds and go on to pursue equally varied career and educational opportunities. Thus, if you plan to apply for a Master of Health Administration degree program, first determine which undergraduate degree is most likely to help you meet your future career and education goals.

Consider Your Career and Education Goals

Master’s programs in health administration draw students with diverse interests and goals and may allow specializations in areas that enable them to meet these goals. However, programs themselves differ across organizations of higher learning. Furthermore, students within each program are interested in different types of careers or plan to use the master’s degree as a springboard for additional study. Therefore, your undergraduate studies may be an ideal opportunity to complete coursework that relates to your future career or that is a good fit for your future programs of study.

Develop Relevant Skills

If you know you need to improve a particular skill set before enrolling in a master’s program and eventually pursuing a career, then your undergraduate career is an excellent time to do so. The American College of Healthcare Executives explains that those with a specialized undergraduate concentration, such as business, are well served by a generic Master of Health Administration degree, without needing to consider an M.B.A. instead. In contrast, a liberal arts major may need to seek a more specialized graduate concentration. If you are unsure of your future plans, a liberal arts degree helps students develop transferable critical thinking, communication and writing skills that are useful in any field.

Research Master’s Program Prerequisites

In addition to considering your long-term plans, you should research master’s programs that may interest you. Once you find programs that meet your goals at institutions you would like to attend, find out what prerequisites they require and choose a bachelor’s degree program that will allow you to fulfill those requirements. Catering your undergraduate studies to the master program you hope to attend and then excelling in those studies should improve your likelihood of being accepted into your master program of choice.

Final Thoughts

As a future health administrator, you have flexibility and many options in selecting an undergraduate major, depending on your career goals and education plans beyond the master’s level. Choose a major that matches your interests, that will allow you to excel, that helps you develop skills you will need during your studies and in your career and that meets prerequisites for master’s programs you are considering. Most important, if you already know to which graduate programs you will apply or have a career goal in mind, then selecting a major that meets the prerequisites for those programs or that aligns with the requirements for jobs in your anticipated field will be most beneficial.