Online Master's Programs in Health Services

Pursuing a master's in health services online appeals to individuals who want to take on high-level, lucrative administrative and supervisory roles in a variety of healthcare settings. These programs also appeal to those looking for career stability. After all, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that roles for health services managers will grow by 18% between 2018 and 2028.

These programs typically serve those who already possess a related bachelor's degree and work in the field. Online master's of health services work particularly well for these learners since they can balance personal, professional, and academic responsibilities. Read on to learn about common courses, projects, specializations, careers, and funding options.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Health Services Program?

Master's in health services online degrees instill in graduates skills and competencies that serve them in different healthcare settings. Students learn about the specifics of the healthcare industry, placing emphasis on regulations, legal requirements, and insurance payments. They also learn to lead diverse staff and maintain efficiency in ethical ways. Finally, students in these programs discover the significance of critical thinking and adaptability, the latter of which comes into play as administrators look to meet the needs of different stakeholders.

What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Health Services Program?

Introduction to Health Services Administration

Typically taken in the first semester, this course provides learners with an overview of how healthcare delivery and administration work in American healthcare settings. Special emphasis is placed on evolving trends, current issues, best practices, and emerging methodologies of management.

Healthcare Leadership

Students who take this class learn about leadership styles in this industry. They consider questions surrounding human resources in healthcare settings, including professional regulation compliance around licensure and certification.

Health Informatics Management

Designed to introduce degree-seekers to technologies and software that manage patient records, this course helps learners understand how to integrate disparate data around patient history, finances, staffing, and regulations — all within one easy-to-navigate system.

Strategic Planning in Healthcare Management

Given the evolving nature of the healthcare industry, this course teaches students how to respond to change and growth while also creating thoughtful and researched strategic plans that help move their company forward while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

Policy Development

Students in this class learn to design effective internal policies for their organizations and investigate how public policies around healthcare in the U.S. can affect their hospital or clinic. Special emphasis is placed on building skills around problem-solving and adaptability.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

After completing required coursework in a master's in health services online degree, learners will either submit a culminating capstone project or research and write a thesis. Individuals looking to work professionally typically select the capstone, while those interested in positions focused on research and/or academia select the thesis route. Both assignments require degree-seekers to engage in independent, primary research that seeks to answer a question or address a problem within the modern health services industry.

What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Health Services Program?

Since health services master's programs cover a spectrum of topics, many departments allow degree-seekers to specialize their knowledge. Check with prospective schools to learn about available specializations.

Healthcare Informatics Management

Selecting this specialization ensures you gain skills in areas of health information management, data analytics, patient outcome tracking, strategic planning, and transfer of records to digital platforms.

Healthcare Financial Management

Learners taking courses in this specialization explore healthcare economics, financial forecasting, budgeting, development of outside ventures, and investments.

Healthcare Law and Policy

This specialization appeals to those who want to work with local, state, and federal governments to address regulatory and policy needs. Learners also discover how to respond to changes in healthcare law.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Health Services Degree?

Given the versatility of a master's in health services online degree, graduates can select from a long list of potential careers. While some may prefer the responsibilities of a health services manager, others may want to focus on a particular topic, such as health informatics, finance, or human resources.

Health Services Manager

Also known as healthcare administrators, these professionals work to ensure that all administrative components of a healthcare facility or clinic run smoothly. They liaise directly with physicians, nurses, and other administrators.

Chief Healthcare Officer

As a C-Level executive, these professionals manage other administrative managers in areas of human resources, finances, marketing, administration, and operations. They set long-term strategic goals and financial forecasts.

Hospital Purchasing Manager

Working in tandem with healthcare administrators, purchasing managers ensure their hospitals and clinics possess the products and supplies needed to run efficiently. They liaise with vendors, seek out bulk purchasing discounts, and manage inventories.

Financial Manager

Financial managers oversee the monetary health of their organizations. They work with other executives to set departmental budgets, create strategic spending and saving goals, consider outside investments, and look for new streams of revenue.

Human Resources Manager

HR managers plan and direct all activities related to staff. They create job postings, perform interviews, hire new employees, develop training programs, oversee benefits and compensation packages, and handle any staff disputes.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Health Services?

After finishing your health services master's degree, you stand to earn salaries far above the national average for all occupations. While no degree can guarantee a specific salary, those highlighted in this section exist as the national median average for popular roles.

Career Median Annual Salary Job Growth (2018-2028)
Health Services Manager $99,730 18%
Chief Healthcare Officer $104,980 6%
Purchasing Manager $67,600 -6%
Financial Manager $127,990 16%
Human Resources Manager $113,300 7%

Online Master's in Health Services Program Accreditation

Finding a properly accredited master's in health services online represents an important step in the process of selecting your perfect program. Accreditation can affect your ability to transfer credits, seek licensure/certification, and compete against other job applicants who attended accredited schools.

In the world of health services, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) serves as the name to know. Students interested in learning more about health services accreditation should read why CAHME matters to students. They can also search for accredited health services master's programs by state using the CAHME database.

How to Pay for a Master's in Health Services Degree

The cost of a master's in health services online degree is not cheap, leading many students to seek out ways to lessen their financial burden and stay away from exorbitant student loan debt. The following sections look at innovative ways of covering costs without breaking the bank.

Techniques for Financing a Master's in Health Services

Institutional Scholarship

Many health services departments provide scholarships specifically for this population, as evidenced by the Dawn Gideon Scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh. Check with prospective schools to learn about availability.

Association Grant

Professional health services associations such as the Association of University Programs in Health Administration frequently offer awards to learners who meet academic and financial need requirements.

Student Assistantship

In exchange for acting as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate health services course or helping a faculty member with research, assistantships commonly cover tuition costs and offer a small stipend. The University of Maryland offers one such example.

Scholarships for Master's in Health Services Students

Leaders in Healthcare Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award exists for second-year health services master's students who possess at least a 3.0 GPA, can demonstrate financial need, and show a commitment to community service.

Amount: $1,000

See Scholarship
Foster G. McGaw Graduate Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award is given to graduate healthcare management students enrolled full-time in their final year of studies who can demonstrate financial need.

Amount: $5,000

See Scholarship
Richard L. Davis Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree focused on medical practice management on at least a part-time basis can apply to receive this award.

Amount: $2,500

See Scholarship
Corris Boyd Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students attending an AUPHA-member graduate program in health services can apply for this award if they enroll full time, identify as a member of a minority population, and possess a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Amount: $40,000

See Scholarship

Professional Organizations and Resources

Joining a professional health services organization allows you to meet others in the industry, gain relevant qualifications, participate in important discussions about relevant topics, and take advantage of member discounts.

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

  • Members of AAHAM can take advantage of certification programs, an information hub, an annual national institution, a legislative day, and regional meetings throughout the country.

American Society for Health Care Risk Management

  • ASHRM provides members access to continuing education programs and specialty seminars, certification, clinical practice compliance conferences, discussion boards, a member directory, and policy resources.

Health Care Compliance Association

  • Whether you hope to take advantage of in-house publications, become certified, attend the annual national conference, or take part in a compliance academy, HCCA offers all these services and more.

National Association of Healthcare Access Management

  • NAHAM members participate in certification programs, attend educational events, join local chapters, review relevant publications, and take advantage of access management toolkits.

Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development

  • Services available to SHSMD members include studies, planning insights, blogs, credentialing, a podcast, virtual and in-person conferences, a career center, and an online member community.

American College of Healthcare Executives

  • ACHE serves its members by providing an interactive learning center, a career resource center and jobs board, access to a membership directory, and a regularly updated blog.

American Health Information Management Association

  • As one of the leading professional associations for health services professionals, AHIMA provides certification, continuing education, conferences, local and national events, student support, and a career center.

Health Care Administrators Association

  • HCAA provides networking opportunities for members by offering connection meetings and summits, an executive forum, seminars, webinars, and opportunities for sponsorship.

Healthcare Financial Management Association

  • Designed for those who oversee the finances of healthcare facilities, HFMA offers members access to certification programs, industry initiatives, career development services, online and in-person communities, and events.