If you are interested in a graduate degree in the healthcare field you may be wondering what is the difference between an Master's in Healthcare Administration in Public Administration and an Master's in Healthcare Administration in Public Health. The answer is that the degrees seek to provide competent professional in two different arenas: healthcare facility administration and administration of public health programs including direct service and education.

What Careers Does the MHA in Public Administration Prepare Students to Follow?

This is the degree to choose if you want to become a hospital or nursing home administrator or achieve a leadership position in a healthcare or insurance corporation. Choosing this path, you will study marketing and strategic planning, management and performance, human resource development and leadership, accounting, hospital or nursing home administration, leadership in healthcare administration and healthcare finances. A MHA in Public Administration is often paired with an MBA in a dual degree. Really, this is a business-oriented career seen through the lens of the healthcare industry. Although people do enter the healthcare administration profession with MBAs, the MHA in Public Administration focuses on the differences in the healthcare industry from general corporate management. In addition, people may build specializations into their degrees such as cultural factors if they intend to work in an area with a high proportion of a specific population.

Where Does the MHA in Public Health Lead?

This degree is for the person who wants to work with non-profits or governmental agencies. These professionals often act as advisors for national, state or local public health agencies and become program designers and administrators. The focus is on keeping populations healthy and on addressing public health needs such as treatment availability and wellness education. Courses in this degree program include environmental health sciences, epidemiology, healthcare systems and financing, social and behavioral issues of healthcare, bio-statistics, research methodology, evaluation of programs and the ethics of healthcare. People who earn this degree can expect some time in direct service, such as administering vaccination programs, as well as some general managerial duties such as human resource administration and budget issues. There is also a focus on grants and governmental funding that entails knowing regulations and program requirements.

Related Resource: Long-term Health Administration

Do the Programs Duplicate One Another?

There is some overlap in courses and in program directions. There is also an overlap with degrees involving community planning and sociology. Both of these degrees are managerial and administrative positions that require some business acumen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics quotes median salaries for both as $88,500, but that is determined by whether you work for healthcare corporations such as the insurance industry which pays significantly higher salaries or for a governmental entity. It also depends upon the level of your career. Healthcare program advisors command higher salaries as well.
The healthcare industry is burgeoning in the US and worldwide. Not only is there a demand for practitioners, but pharmaceutical companies, healthcare facilities and insurance providers find themselves in need of competent administrators. The globalization of our culture creates demand for administrators of public healthcare programs in the US and in other countries worldwide. The difference between these two ambitions is the difference between an Master's in Healthcare Administration in Public Administration and an Master's in Healthcare Administration in Public Health.