Sep 25, 2017
4
0
Hello,

I’m currently an undergraduate pursuing degrees in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. Going into my undergrad, I thought that I wanted to work in city management. However, I’ve discovered a strong interest in health policy and now I could see myself working in the health administrative field. This is such a foreign field to me, so I have a few questions.

I have zero professionally trained medical background. Am I even the right person for this type of job? I’ve looked at some MHA programs and I see there is no prior medical experience needed, but my lack of background still worries me. I’ve heard that getting that *first* healthcare admin job can be very difficult, and as a person with no background in health, that scares me. With my educational background I can hope to work in a nonprofit hospice or hospital, but I’m still very confused about my prospects.

Do most people who get MHAs have a background/education in the medical field? Can anyone describe to me an example of someone who didn’t start in the medical field, got an MHA, and was able to break into that field? Any information would help. As you can see, I’m totally in the dark here. Thanks so much!
 

AbeWoodhull

2+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2017
108
154
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Hello,

I’m currently an undergraduate pursuing degrees in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. Going into my undergrad, I thought that I wanted to work in city management. However, I’ve discovered a strong interest in health policy and now I could see myself working in the health administrative field. This is such a foreign field to me, so I have a few questions.

I have zero professionally trained medical background. Am I even the right person for this type of job? I’ve looked at some MHA programs and I see there is no prior medical experience needed, but my lack of background still worries me. I’ve heard that getting that *first* healthcare admin job can be very difficult, and as a person with no background in health, that scares me. With my educational background I can hope to work in a nonprofit hospice or hospital, but I’m still very confused about my prospects.

Do most people who get MHAs have a background/education in the medical field? Can anyone describe to me an example of someone who didn’t start in the medical field, got an MHA, and was able to break into that field? Any information would help. As you can see, I’m totally in the dark here. Thanks so much!
Prior medical experience isn't expected or required for an MHA though obviously it would help. Most good MHA program have internship or residency requirements that will give you experience prior to going into the job market.

I learned alot by researching programs I liked and then reaching out to alumni on LinkedIn and asking about their backgrounds, career path etc
 
OP
A
Sep 25, 2017
4
0
Prior medical experience isn't expected or required for an MHA though obviously it would help. Most good MHA program have internship or residency requirements that will give you experience prior to going into the job market.

I learned alot by researching programs I liked and then reaching out to alumni on LinkedIn and asking about their backgrounds, career path etc
This is very helpful. Thanks so much!
 
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Blizzard1mage

5+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2012
403
66
purposeredeemed.com
You can probably get into an MHA program and do fairly well without knowledge of or experience in healthcare. Just understand that you'll have a steeper learning curve than someone who already works in healthcare. Also don't expect that you'll be an administrator of some facility straight out of school (same goes for most people even with healthcare experience but good to set proper expectations).
 

Sports Addict

2+ Year Member
Feb 11, 2017
36
34
Just to put my two cents in. I was applying to the DPT program at the University of St. Augustine. When I didn’t get accepted after my interview I received a phone call asking would I like to apply to their MHA program. As you can suspect all of my experience is geared toward the physical therapy field. After conversing with the recruiter and reaserching the field I am actually excited about applying. To make it simple if you are interested in a leadership role and being over a facility in the health care industry then this is the field to get into.

The PT clinic I use to work at there was a MHA who was over the doctors clinic and he basically was the liaison between the physical therapists and the doctors who owned the clinic.
 

Blizzard1mage

5+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2012
403
66
purposeredeemed.com
Many people get their MHA and go into healthcare admin without a clinical background. Just know it may preclude you from advancing in positions / departments that typically require a clinical background (e.g., quality). Also know that some organizations prefer their top leaders to be physicians or nurses (e.g., Kaiser). But that aside you should be fine.
 
Nov 22, 2017
17
14
Status
Other Health Professions Student
A clinical medical background is not necessary at all to apply for an MHA! If you want to gain more experience, I would look for entry level positions in health policy, hospital systems, local health clinics, and/or insurance companies. These will give you a lot more knowledge and reduce your learning curve quite a bit before starting your MHA. You'd be surprised on how much you can gain with just a year's experience!
 
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