Masters in Long-Term Care Administration Programs
Long-term care administration is designed to prepare students to manage services and facilities for elderly patients. Thanks to improved health care, life expectancy has increased, resulting in a need for highly qualified health care workers to meet the demands of an aging population. For this reason, a masters in long-term care administration could be an excellent choice for professionals interested in advancing their careers in health care or entering the field for the first time. Common topics for this program include health care law, ethics, organization, and management. In addition, topics in pathology, gerontology, chronic illness, and disabilities are also covered in many programs.
Since a number of MHA degree programs are offered online, students may continue working full or part time while pursuing higher education. When researching potential programs, you may find that long-term care administration is offered as a specialization rather than its own separate major. Either way, students will gain the knowledge and skills they need to pursue careers as administrative professionals at hospitals, home health care agencies, or nursing homes.
Completing an Online Masters Degree in Long-Term Care Administration
Those looking to earn their masters degree in long-term care administration online will find a number of options catered towards working adults. Since many programs feature an asynchronous format, students are free to access the virtual classroom on their own timetable. This means that they can complete assignments, review instructor feedback, participate in group discussion boards, or read course materials without the strictures of scheduled class times.
Students interested in pursuing a degree in long-term care administration should expect to take courses in both medical and business topics. On the medical side, these may include gerontology, chronic illness, disabilities, and health care practices. To prepare graduates for administrative and management tasks, classes in health care economics, ethics, law, finance, and business communication are common curriculum elements. Some specific course titles that may be required include:
- Perspectives on Aging
- Lifespan Development Psychology
- Health Care Organization
- Managed Health Care
In addition to the core curriculum, many master’s-level programs include a capstone research component. This will require students to conduct field work and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of concepts through a research paper and/or presentation. In some cases, an advanced research seminar may also accompany this type of project. In order to qualify for a master’s program in long-term care administration, most schools look for:
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school.
- Minimum GPA, as required by the school.
- Letters of Recommendation
- GRE scores (if required).
- Application form with personal statement.
- Application fee.
Career Opportunities for Long-Term Care Administration Graduates
Graduates specializing in long-term care administration will learn both the health care and business knowledge needed to work in hospitals, home health care agencies, nursing homes, and other related facilities. In addition, graduates may find jobs with government agencies or non-profit groups dedicated to working with elderly populations. It’s worth noting that job market estimates and starting salaries will vary based on location, so figures below might not line up with those in your area. Some potential occupations for those with training in long-term care administration include:
Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health services managers work to manage staff, evaluate and help to improve efficiency, create schedules, monitor finances, and generally oversee operations at a variety of health care facilities. These could be hospitals, nursing homes, or hospice facilities. Since demand for workers in this occupation is growing at a faster than average rate, job stability will be relatively good.
Social and Community Service Managers
Some graduates with a long-term care administration degree may also work as social and community service managers, promoting health care initiatives and programs that serve the elderly and their families. Specific tasks may include planning, implementing, and evaluating programs, managing staff members, and working with accounting and budgets.
Administrative Services Managers
It is also possible that graduates of this type of program will find jobs that focus more on administrative tasks than overall operations for health care facilities. Administrative services managers work to supervise scheduling, paper work, and legal documents. They may also oversee other staff members’ work on a daily basis.
Additional Benefits of a Long-Term Care Administration Degree
With the growing demand for highly skilled individuals to serve an aging population, long-term care administration graduates have strong job prospects. This can be an ideal field of study for both individuals already working in health care and those looking to change career paths. However, those who already have experience working in the industry will likely be able to advance more quickly, and may even be able to go through a company tuition reimbursement program, if the degree is considered relevant to their work. Please check with your human resources or benefits department to see if this is an option provided by your employer.