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Online MBA in Healthcare Management: Weighing the Value

January 12, 2023

Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management requires a significant investment of time, energy and money. That investment—particularly the financial side—gives some prospective MBA candidates pause. 

However, the upfront cost of this credential is just one factor among many to consider. Prospective applicants should also spend time researching the prerequisites and admissions requirements, coursework delivery formats, curriculum, faculty backgrounds and rankings of the graduate programs that interest them. They must also look at the many benefits of earning a healthcare MBA in a top-tier program.

Assessing the value of a healthcare MBA degree, such as the online MBA in Healthcare Management program from Case Western Reserve University‘s Weatherhead School of Management, involves more than weighing tuition against future earnings. While healthcare MBA degree holders typically earn more than those with only bachelor’s degrees, prospective applicants should look carefully at how a given program will help them reach their personal and professional goals.

How much does a healthcare MBA typically cost?

Many prospective MBA students look at the average cost of a degree before choosing a program. However, tuition averages are not particularly illuminating. The lowest cost, accredited online MBA in healthcare programs cost about $25,000, while Fortune magazine reports that the most expensive MBA programs cost as much as $200,000. The online MBA in Healthcare Management program at Case Western Reserve University costs $1,561 per credit hour for the 2022-2023 academic year—or $74,928 for the 48-credit program. This figure will remain the same for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Ambitious professionals looking to study healthcare management online or on campus should evaluate what a school of business or program offers on a case-by-case basis before researching tuition and MBA funding. The best full- and part-time programs provide access to high-caliber faculty, engaging learning opportunities and residencies at prestigious organizations, and they often boast better student outcomes. 

For example, distance learners pursuing Case Western Reserve’s online MBA in Healthcare Management learn advanced financial management, operations management, human resources and leadership skills through a healthcare lens. They also enjoy the same, or better, opportunities to network with accomplished peers and faculty as on-campus students. The online course format enables networking opportunities on a global scale.

During two immersive residencies in prestigious healthcare settings, Case Western Reserve MBA candidates learn to lead in the cultures of different healthcare environments and take part in sessions with hospital leadership at these collaborating organizations. These hands-on experiences in complex medical settings solidify new skills and provide career-enhancing networking opportunities with thought leaders and executives.

Again, prospective applicants should not hesitate to ask about the cost of a healthcare MBA. However, questions about tuition and MBA funding options may be less important than the three questions that follow.

What skills will I learn in a top healthcare MBA program?

Healthcare management encompasses everything related to the business side of medicine. Managers who work in clinical care settings, medical research environments and fields adjacent to healthcare need a more comprehensive range of skills than managers in traditional business settings. 

Health and medical services managers work in dynamic environments governed by complex rules and subject to competing forces, and they’re equally beholden to patients seeking care, providers seeking resources and shareholders seeking profits. Managers in the healthcare industry must also contend with rising costs, shifting reimbursement models, changing patient expectations, staffing shortages and privacy concerns.

Leadership skills in healthcare management include traditional soft skills and technical business competencies, as well as evidence-based clinical management skills necessary to address these challenges unique to medical environments. Therefore, Weatherhead School of Management devotes approximately 40% of the core curriculum in the online MBA in Healthcare Management to dynamic issues specific to healthcare. Coursework presents the following topics through a healthcare-focused lens:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Organizational culture
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Economics and finance
  • Decision-making
  • Regulatory issues
  • Lean operations

Online healthcare MBA students at Case Western Reserve graduate with foundational business management skills, transferable technical skills and highly specialized skills, allowing them to stand out in the most competitive healthcare delivery and medical industry marketplaces.

How will an MBA in healthcare management advance my career?

Many healthcare-focused MBA program graduates become either hospital CEOs or healthcare consultants, but a broad spectrum of titles fall under the dual umbrellas of healthcare manager and healthcare administrator. MBA in healthcare management programs support career growth in numerous senior and VP-level healthcare roles in healthcare networks, surgical centers, medical research labs, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance firms, health services firms and public health agencies.

Aspiring healthcare managers with their eyes on the top jobs in health and medical services management need distinguished credentials and a deep understanding of how managerial decisions in medicine affect the cost of care, healthcare access and even patient outcomes. Landing more senior positions is often a matter of not just having a graduate business degree but having the right business degree for the job. 

Weatherhead School of Management’s MBA in Healthcare Management curriculum prioritizes dual-domain skills and prepares students for career paths at the director, vice president and executive levels. They graduate ready to head up specific administrative divisions in healthcare systems, drive strategy in functional areas related to organizational culture, operational efficiency, finance and patient satisfaction.

How much will I earn with a healthcare management MBA? 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which pulls data from numerous national surveys of employers and workers, healthcare professionals in management and leadership positions typically earn around $104,000 and may earn much more in senior-level or C-Suite roles.

Titles often play a role in how much healthcare MBA graduates earn. The BLS doesn’t break down its data by function, but salary aggregators do. Most clinical or medical practice managers earn about $116,000, while hospital CEOs and other executives may earn more than $200,000. Hospital CFOs earn about $136,000, and home healthcare CEOs earn about $195,000. A provider network director can earn about $157,000, and a vice president of clinical services can earn about $153,000

Of course, the benefits of stepping into senior healthcare administration and management jobs transcend salary. Graduating from a program such as Case Western Reserve’s online MBA in Healthcare Management, which maintains strong relationships with leading healthcare institutions and industry business leaders, empowers clinical and administrative healthcare professionals to change medicine for the better.

An MBA in Healthcare Management from Case Western Reserve is a long-term investment

According to Gregory Jonas, PhD, Senior Associate Dean at Weatherhead School of Management, “the healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy.” It already employs 11% of American workers and accounts for more than 17% of the United States economy, and administration is the fastest-growing subfield of medicine. Opportunity abounds in clinical settings, medical device and technology development, and research. However, healthcare is a sector unlike any other, and professionals need proper education to make decisions about strategy, staffing, budget creation and resource allocation that can profoundly impact the quality and cost of care and research outcomes.

Weatherhead School of Management’s online MBA in Healthcare Management is for patient care providers and businesspeople preparing for leadership roles in healthcare organizations, and these students can be confident that their degrees will position them for long-term career growth. The program speaks to healthcare leaders’ unique challenges, setting students up for success in areas such as healthcare finance in ways that an ordinary business program cannot.

Enrolling in the online healthcare MBA program at Case Western Reserve involves a financial outlay, but it delivers incredible value via its two-track curriculum and pays for itself over the long term. Students benefit from the university’s corporate collaborators, including University Hospitals, MetroHealth Systems and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. They also enjoy a low student-to-instructor ratio that encourages collaboration and networking. After graduation, they have access to an alumni network of over 20,000 accomplished Weatherhead graduates—and opportunities they might not have had without a Case Western Reserve degree.