Master's in Health Administration online

MPH vs. MHA: What is the Difference?

Wanting to advance your health services career, and make an even greater impact for the people you serve, is admirable and important for success. The community needs driven health professionals who don’t want to watch from the sidelines, but instead, who are not afraid to put in the work and become a leader on the field. That’s where an advanced health services degree comes in to play.

While there are many master’s programs offered for those wanting to advance their careers, two of the most common degrees are a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and a Master’s in Health Administration (MHA). While both of these degree paths offer the education and training necessary for advanced positions, they are quite unique. So what is the difference between an MPH vs. MHA? Let’s find out!

MPH vs. MHA: What are these degree programs?

When deciding between MPH vs. MHA, it’s important to first understand what types of degrees these are. First, a Master’s in Health Administration is a degree that prepares students to manage and take on more responsibility within a healthcare setting. Graduates may take on supervisory and administrative roles within hospitals, clinics, private practices, and long-term care facilities. This degree program prepares students to manage people, whole departments, and entire organizations that focus on providing healthcare to individuals.

Similar to an MHA, a Master’s in Public Health prepares students to manage and lead. However, where an MPH differs is in the environments it prepares graduates for. An MPH program focuses on preparing students for advanced roles within a non-clinical setting, where they might address public health issues like obesity, air pollution, and disease outbreaks. MPH students learn problem solving and critical thinking skills to help prevent, manage, and address today’s public health concerns. They turn challenges into positive outcomes for communities.

MPH vs. MHA: How does the curriculums differ?

A Master’s in Health Administration curriculum is tailored towards healthcare directors and managers. MHA coursework may focus on topics such as healthcare policy, finance, marketing, research, leadership, communication, and strategic planning within a healthcare environment. An MHA curriculum is designed to arm students with the knowledge, tools, and resources needed to lead other healthcare professionals in providing the best possible quality of care.

An MPH curriculum, on the other hand, is designed to build skills and competencies within the field of public health. MPH coursework focuses on epidemiology, biostatistics, resource management, social and behavioral sciences, public health policy and applying these skills and insights to community health programs. An MPH curriculum goes beyond the foundations of public health and prepares students to develop strong critical thinking skills needed in the competitive field of public health.

MPH vs. MHA: What job outcomes can one expect with these degrees?

Graduates of either an MPH or MHA program will walk away with the skills and insights needed to advance within their current roles, or obtain roles with greater responsibility within the greater health field. MHA graduates can expect to land management roles within hospitals, clinics, or long term care facilities. These roles can involve managing a team, department, or entire unit within these settings.

MPH graduates can expect to land in advanced roles relating to epidemiology, biostatistics, health education, health promotion and advocacy, as well as public health directors. These professionals can find themselves working in a variety of settings including government facilities (like the FDA), colleges and universities, research labs, hospitals, and even less-privileged communities or countries around the world.

While there are many differences between an MPH and MHA degree, either can help you take that next step in your career, depending on where your interests lie. Goodwin University offers a Master’s in Public Health degree and a Master’s in Nursing degree. While the MPH program can lead you into advanced public health roles, the MSN degree is designed for nurses looking to become leaders and administrators within a clinical setting. If you would like more information about either of these programs, please contact Goodwin University by calling 800-889-3282 or visiting us online.