What are the Differences Between a Master’s in Public Health and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration?

Though the two fields are fairly similar, there are some key differences between a MPH and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Both programs are advanced degree programs open to those with an undergraduate degree, and both programs typically require that students apply to the program with an essay and several letters of recommendation. As not all degree programs let you transfer credits to another school, it’s important that you decide which program is right for you before beginning your graduate studies.

What is a MPH Degree?

The MPH is a Master’s is Public Health. This type of degree is suitable for those interested in working at community health centers and for organizations and groups that support the needs of the community at large. Many graduates work for the government, but a large number also work for nonprofit organizations. Those working in the field often spend more time in an office setting and less time with patients. They might handle scheduling and budgeting, or they might write grant proposals to get money for that organization.

What is a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Degree?

A Master’s in Healthcare Administration, also known as a MHA, is an alternative to a MBA program. Those working in healthcare administration fields often handle responsibilities associated with running the business side of a hospital or medical office. They essentially work as managers and handle everything from hiring new employees and ordering office supplies to creating schedules and ensuring that workers are happy. The main differences between a MPH and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration involve where you work after graduation.

Differences Between a MPH and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration

With a MPH degree, you have the choice between working in the public or private sector. The state, local and federal government hires workers for various organizations. Those workers can assist with planning a new program to reduce the outbreak or spread of a disease or illness, and they keep track of budgets and spending. Most students complete a MPH degree in two years or less, and the program often requires a high level of research and writing. With a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, you often work in the private sector. You might work for a large hospital, a rehabilitation clinic or a doctor’s office. Though similar to a MBA program, this type of program specifically focuses on the daily operations of running a medical business.

How to Choose the Right Program

According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, you need to look at the reputation, accreditation and program of various colleges before selecting the right program. Many MPH and Master’s in Healthcare Administration programs are now available online, but you must ensure that the program has accreditation from a national or regional body. You also want to look at the graduation rate and placement rate of each program to see how many students complete the program and how many find a job with the skills they learned in that program.

If you enjoy working behind the scenes and away from patients, both of these programs give you that option. The main differences between a MPH and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration typically relates to where graduates work after finishing the program and what they study.