Due to dramatic medical and pharmaceutical advancements and an increasing awareness of public health and well-being over the past decade, the American workforce is seeing a greater demand for qualified healthcare professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 out of the 20 most rapidly growing occupations today are in healthcare, and over the next seven years, the healthcare industry will generate more jobs than any other industry.* In an economic climate where there is a dearth of jobs in most sectors, more people are realizing the benefits of securing employment within the healthcare industry and pursuing the degrees that will enable them to do so.
There are many educational degrees that can qualify you for healthcare jobs, but which degree could lead to the most satisfying career for you? The most common choice is between a Master’s in Public Health degree and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree. To decide between them, you first need to evaluate your long-term career plans. While there are a few components common to both degrees, they each have a separate focus and goal.
A Master’s in Public Health (MPH) degree is geared towards providing students with an in-depth understanding of the core areas of public health, giving them the ability to address and prevent public health concerns and problems at the micro and macro level. A Master’s in Public Health program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach toward healthcare education, covering environmental issues, epidemiology, disease prevention, nutrition, sociology, healthcare communication skills, health program evaluation, healthcare management, research methods, and more. With the Master’s in Public Health degree under your belt, you can qualify for an extensive range of jobs, including health and medical education, program management, health policy making, promoting and advocating, research associates, and public health informatics in sectors such as government, pharmaceutics, non-profit organizations, private organizations, etc. If you have the desire to contribute to public health and the drive to take on the challenges of public health promotion and disease prevention, the Master’s in Public Health degree could be right for you.
A Master’s in Healthcare Administration has an entirely different focus: it approaches healthcare as a business, and aims toward teaching students how to increase organizational efficiency by evaluating policies and strategies and formulating new ones, becoming adept at the supervision and administration of healthcare organizations, coping with and staying on top of a competitive market, and more. The coursework covers subjects such as economics, finance, organizational behaviors, employee and resource management, information systems, marketing, and conflict resolution within healthcare services. With a Master’s in Health Administration degree, you could find positions in a wide variety of settings, from hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and mental health institutions, to pharmaceutical companies, insurance firms, and nonprofit organizations, in various capacities. If this is where you see yourself professionally in the future, the Master’s in Healthcare Administration could be the right degree for you.
*U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Healthcare.” Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition. bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs035.htm