MPH vs MHA: Which to Choose?

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George Washington University
Milken Institute School of Public Health
Online Master of Public Health (MPH) program. GRE waivers available. Complete in as few as 12 months.
UNC
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Online MPH From #1 Public School of Public Health
Regis College
Online Master's in Public Health (MPH) Program
Baylor University
Master of Public Health Online: Specialize in Community Health | No GRE Required
Simmons
Online Master of Public Health program, MPH@Simmons
Benedictine University
CEPH Accredited Online MPH Program
Capella University
Online Master's in Public Health (MPH) and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

If you are trying to decide between a master’s in public health (MPH) and a master’s of health administration (MHA), below are some facts to help you make your choice. An MPH is designed to address the need for advocates in the community to help to develop healthy people and groups. They are focused on the concept of preventing disease and illness from occurring, rather than trying to treat disease and illness that already exists. Professionals with an MPH will help to prevent pandemics, bio-terrorism, epidemics, and also maintain the safety of our food and water.

The MPH is generally recognized as the top credential for people who work in public health. This degree is best suited for professionals who want to obtain high level positions in state, federal and international health organizations and in government.

The topics you will focus on in your MPH training include:

  • Environmental health sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Healthcare systems and financing
  • Social and behavioral aspect of health
  • Biostatistics
  • Program evaluation
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Law and ethical issues in public health

On the other hand, an MHA focuses on the administration and operation of health care facilities. This is the degree that would best prepare you for a top management position in a hospital or medical facility. The focus on the program is being an effective administrator in a health care setting, and not on the nuts and bolts of public health. You also will focus a great deal of time on learning how to handle the operations and finances of a large health care facilty.

In your MHA program, some of the courses and topics you can expect include:

  • Marketing and strategic planning
  • Quality management and performance
  • HR management
  • Accounting
  • Hospital or nursing home administration
  • Health care administration leadership
  • Health care financial management

In the end, the choice of whether to opt for an MPH Online or an MHA Online is a matter of your interests and how you want to spend your career. If you feel a passion for working closely on the issues that cause public health problems, and you want to work on solutions for them, you should choose an MPH. If administration of a health care facility or organization, and its general operations and finances, is your passion, then an MHA is probably a better fit.

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