Executive Masters in Health Administration

Choosing a master’s program in the healthcare field requires careful consideration. There are often subtle differences between various master’s programs, and it’s important to assess which graduate program will be the best option for you. Some programs, such as an Executive Master of Health Administration (EMHA), cater to working professionals, while others, such as a Master of Health Administration (MHA), are a better fit for prospective students who are seeking a full-time, on-campus educational experience. Here’s a closer look at the specific differences between these two graduate programs.


MPH@Simmons MPH@Simmons, the online Master of Public Health from Simmons College, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global level.
MPH@GW An innovative online Master of Public Health program offered by the top-ranked Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.
MHA@GW Offered by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, this online Executive Master of Health Administration program is designed for healthcare professionals who aspire to become leaders in their field.

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Career Goals

The career goals for those who seek a MHA or EMHA are often similar. Individuals who earn one of these degrees may find work within similar healthcare organizations and specialize in the following areas:

  • Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Human resources management
  • Health law
  • Strategic planning and management
  • Managerial epidemiology
  • Quality improvement

The courses that are required to complete an MHA and EMHA are often the same, and both paths provide equally rigorous curricula. Those who choose the Executive Master of Health Administration, however, are typically already working in the healthcare field and wish to advance while they continue working full time.

Work Experience

EMHA programs typically require individuals to have between three and five years of professional work experience in the healthcare field, depending on the chosen educational institution. Many individuals who enter this type of program are already working and can’t afford to take time out of their careers, and the Executive Master of Health Administration offers the advantage of flexible scheduling. The EMHA is the ideal alternative to a full-time, on-campus program to help working professionals advance in the healthcare administration field.

Distance Online Learning

One of the greatest differences between the traditional Master of Health Administration and the EMHA is the way in which students complete the coursework. Instead of committing to classes on campus, many students who are enrolled in an executive program complete their coursework through online classes. Not all prospective students live in locations near major universities that offer healthcare administration degrees, but through EMHA programs, they have the chance to complete the coursework with little or no disruption to their careers. However, some institutions require physical attendance on certain occasions. In addition, some EMHA programs allow students to customize the number of credits they take each semester to keep the coursework more manageable.

Greater Flexibility

Online learning offers greater flexibility in scheduling to give individuals the chance to keep working while they complete required courses. For this reason, the Executive Master of Health Administration can be an asset to those who are already established in their careers and are looking for the ideal work/family balance. Individuals who pursue a traditional Master of Health Administration will need to spend many hours in the classroom, leaving little time for other obligations. The EMHA allows students to more effectively manage their time.

Application in the Workplace

While some individuals pursue a Master of Health Administration immediately upon earning an undergraduate degree, others prefer to obtain some work experience before pursuing an advanced degree. When taking EMHA courses, students can draw from the knowledge and experiences they have gained and immediately apply it to their current profession. This allows current students to expand their knowledge base and advance their careers right away.

A Fast-Growing Opportunity

The healthcare field is one of the fastest growing fields in the country. Pursing an Executive Master’s in Health Administration opens many doors for jobs in all areas of healthcare. This includes hospitals, medical centers, physician’s offices and even municipalities in both rural and urban settings.

If you are having difficulty choosing between a traditional advanced degree or an executive program, understanding the primary differences can make this decision easier. The EMHA offers working professionals the opportunity to advance in their careers without putting their life on hold. Instead, they can complete the required coursework through online learning platforms, giving them a competitive edge with their employers and the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference in the healthcare field.