MHA vs MPH What is the Difference?

MHA vs MPH, what’s the difference between a Master of Health Administration (MHA) and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree? Many students know they have an interest in healthcare administration. Still, they’re perplexed regarding whether a Master of Health Administration (MHA) or a Master of Public Health (MPH) is the best degree for them.

The two degrees are different, but both are advanced-level programs that allow students to move their careers forward in healthcare. It can be confusing when considering job options and which degree type leads to each career path. Keep reading to discover the difference between the two and what each can offer.

What Is an MHA?

MHA stands for Master of Health Administration, which is an advanced degree for professionals in the health care industry. The MHA is a popular program. It provide students with the administrative and leadership skills necessary to successfully manage a health care organization.

Students of varied backgrounds may be interested in such a program. It focuses only on healthcare administration. It works well for those with an administration background who would like to transition their current knowledge into the health arena.

Healthcare administration involves managing everything that goes into medical services for an organization or facility. This includes developing, planning, delivering and overseeing such services. The MHA will prepare students for these duties.

What Do you Learn in an MHA Degree Program?

A Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree program typically focuses on business and management aspects of healthcare. Graduates are prepared for careers in health care management, including positions such as hospital administrator, health care consultant, and health care executive.

Course topics in a health administration program may include finance, health care policy, health economics, information systems, strategic planning, organizational behavior, marketing, health law, and human resources. In addition to coursework, students may gain hands-on experience through internships or field projects.

What are Some MHA Careers?

MHA programs prepare students for leadership roles in healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, nursing homes, insurance companies, and other healthcare-related organizations.

  • Health Care Administrator
  • Health Care Consultant
  • Medical and Health Services Manager
  • Hospital Manager / Hospital Administrator
  • Physician Practice Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Health Care Policy Analyst
  • Research Analyst
  • Healthcare Information Manager
  • Administrative Services Manager in Healthcare
  • Recruiting Managers in Healthcare
  • Training and Development Manager
  • General and Operations Manager
  • Healthcare Informatics Director
  • Health Information Manager in Hospitals
  • Marketing Manager in Healthcare
  • Quality Improvement Manager
  • Clinical Operations Manager
  • Outpatient Care Manager
  • Nursing Home Administrator

What Is the Job Outlook with an MHA?

The job outlook for those with an MHA is very positive. Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 18 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to an increased emphasis on preventive care, the growth of the aging population, and the expansion of healthcare industries.

How Much Can you Earn with an MHA?

The salary range for individuals with an MHA depends on experience and job title. According to PayScale, a healthcare administrator with an MHA degree can earn an average salary of $77,000 to $121,000 annually. Below are some of the top-paying career options with an MHA.

MHA CareersAnnual Median Salary
Chief Executive Officer in Healthcare$154,650 (BLS)
Healthcare Marketing Manager$133,380 (BLS)
Human Resources Manager$126,230 (BLS)
Medical and Health Services Managers$101,340 (BLS)
What Is an MHA?

What Is an MPH?

A Master of Public Health (MPH) is a professional degree program designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of public health and health administration. MPH programs cover a wide range of topics including epidemiology, biostatistics, health behavior, health policy and management, environmental health, and health services administration. The degree can be earned in a variety of settings, including universities, public health departments, and hospitals.

Graduates of MPH programs work in public health departments, health services organizations, hospitals, and other settings part of the healthcare system. An MHP program prepares students for careers leading research facilities, nonprofits, laboratories, and governmental departments. These public health professionals might also work in healthcare policy development or manage community health programs. The degree would be perfect for those already working in healthcare administration or medical fields who may wish to specialize in policy, education, and outreach careers.

What Do you Learn in an MPH Degree Program?

An MPH program typically covers coursework in public health sciences, epidemiology, biostatistics, and healthcare services administration. Health policy and management, environmental health, and social and behavioral sciences are also covered in a public health degree.

Additionally, students learn about public health research methods, data analysis, and the ethical and legal considerations of working in the public health field. In addition, many MPH programs offer fieldwork placements and internships. These health education experiences provide hands-on learning.

What are Some MPH Careers?

There are numerous public health positions for MPH graduates.

  • Public Health Administrator
  • Medical and Health Services Manager
  • Public Health Policy Analyst
  • Health Educator
  • Health and Safety Engineer
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health Services Manager
  • Program Evaluator
  • Biostatistician
  • Health Communications Specialist
  • Emergency Management Director
  • Health Care Consultant
  • Political Scientist
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist and Technician
  • Health Services Researcher

What Is the Job Outlook with an MPH?

The job outlook with an MPH is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health educators and community health workers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Many employers seek individuals with an MPH to fill critical public health, healthcare, and nonprofit sector positions. Additionally, the demand for healthcare leaders and healthcare administrators is increasing, and those with an MPH are well-positioned for many of these positions.

How Much Can you Earn with an MPH?

The amount of money you can earn with an MPH depends on various factors, such as the type of role you pursue, the industry, your employer, and your experience and qualifications. Generally, those with an MPH can earn anywhere from $50,000 to more than $100,000 per year.

Below are some of the top-paying career options with an MPH.

MPH CareersAnnual Median Salary
Chief Executive Officer in Healthcare$154,650 (BLS)
Political Scientist$122,510 (BLS)
Medical and Health Services Managers$101,340 (BLS)
Healthcare Facilities Manager$99,290 (BLS)
Health and Safety Engineer$99,040 (BLS)
Epidemiologists$78,830 (BLS)
What Is an MPH?

What Is the Difference Between an MPH and an MHA?

Now, we’ll move on to further explore the difference between the Master of Health Administration to the Master of Public Health. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the primary difference between an MPH Public Health program and a master’s degree in Health Administration is the focus of the degree program.

An MPH program focuses on the public health aspects of health care and is typically geared towards those who wish to pursue public health careers in public or private health organizations. An MHA is a more specialized degree that focuses on the business and management aspects of the healthcare industry, such as finance, budgeting, human resources, and information technology.

There are differences between the two degrees. Neither is better than the other. What matters most is an individual’s interests, passions, aptitudes, and career goals. Current job and life experience may also affect one’s decision. For example, an MHA will likely transition more readily for someone with a background in business or finance.

Which Degree to Choose

There is a bit of overlap between the two types of programs. Students should examine their career goals, personalities, and aptitudes to determine which is best for them. The MHA tends to be pursued by those looking to become executives within the healthcare sector or interested in business matters. Its programs center on teaching management, marketing, financial and supervisory skills.

MPH programs prepare students to become knowledgeable about disease and health issues. They work to promote awareness and education among community members and to shape policy within the healthcare field. The business end isn’t as much a focus for MPH students. Policy making, analytics, assessment, program development, and cultural sensitivity take center stage for those seeking an MPH.

 this program might be right for you.

Focusimproving health outcomesmanaging healthcare facilities
Studyscience and data coursesbusiness and leadership courses
Concentrationsepidemiology, environmental healthhealth policy, senior care
Careerepidemiologist and policy analysthospital administrator and operations director
Advanced degreeDoctor of Public Health
PhD in Epidemiology
Doctor of Health Administration
PhD in Health Services

Getting Your MPH or MHA Online

Several options exist if you want to get your MPH or MHA online. Many universities offer online MPH and MHA programs, and you can also find programs offered by specialized schools and institutions that focus solely on public health and healthcare administration. Online programs are often more flexible than traditional on-campus degree programs, as you can work at your own pace and complete coursework when convenient. Additionally, online programs can save you time and money, as there is usually no need to travel to attend classes.


Finding Your Path

The best degree option for you depends on your career goals and interests. MPH programs prepare students to become public health professionals and focus on epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, environmental health, and health services administration. MHA programs are for students who want to pursue a career in healthcare administration and focus on topics such as health economics, healthcare finance, healthcare law and ethics, healthcare information systems, and healthcare policy. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on the direction you want to take with your career.

Someone who wants to educate and serve the public would probably instead consider the MPH. Regardless, a Master of Health Administration and a Master of Public Health are worthwhile degrees in healthcare administration. However, both MHA and MPH graduates find rewarding careers!