How to Choose a Masters in Healthcare Quality + Online Option

This article gives an overview of the masters in healthcare quality degree program, some of the subjects and courses that the degree covers, and why earning a masters in healthcare quality could help with career advancement. It also presents a high-quality masters in healthcare quality program that is available online.

What Is a Masters in Healthcare Quality?

The masters in healthcare quality degree program is usually offered as a master of science and most schools offer it online. In fact, it is a common concentration in the master of science in nursing (MSN) program, although this is not always the case. The degree is geared towards those who are already in employment, enabling them to complete it around their professional responsibilities. Jump to 30+ Online Nurse Practitioner Programs.

Schools have different admission requirements for this degree program, although a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, certain GMAT/GRE scores, and letters of recommendation are commonly requested. During the degree program, students learn about research methods and how research can be applied to improving the health care industry as a whole. Furthermore, a practicum experience or internship is often required, enabling students to gain valuable real-world experience.

During the master’s in healthcare quality degree program, students are prepared to take on positions of leadership and management in the health care community. The focus is often on management skills, HR, facilities management, resource management, and more. That said, schools can set their own curriculum as they see fit as well, so the core curriculum will vary greatly depending on the school. Commonly, they cover areas such as:

  • Leadership and management: administration of health care systems, best practice techniques, decision making skills, and leadership skills.
  • Nursing research: performance of studies of existing nursing systems and how these can be improved.
  • Health care system management strategies: the health care system as a business. This includes areas, such as operational methods, organizational structures, finances, and more.

Why Earn a Masters in Healthcare Quality?

It is common for people who wish to manage a nursing home or some other type of health care facility to need a license to practice. In many cases, these certifications require the completion of a relevant graduate degree, such as the masters in healthcare quality. Obtaining a master’s degree also enables people to obtain voluntary certifications offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that medical and health services managers had a median salary of $96,540 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those who have a graduate degree or above are more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $172,240 per year or more. The BLS has also estimated that there will be a 17% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the national average and will translate into some 56,300 new jobs.

Online Option for Masters in Healthcare Quality

George Washington University

Should you be interested in a masters in healthcare quality, then you may want to consider the Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Health Care Quality offered online by the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at George Washington University, and was created in partnership with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This degree was developed to ensure that safety and quality managers would be able to advance their careers, while at the same time driving forward the quality-based, patient-centered care agenda. The program is practice-based and interdisciplinary, providing the graduates the capability to develop high quality health care from a leadership perspective. The focus is on health policy development, measurement, and implementation, navigating the environmental changes that impact the health care systems, performing risk assessments to increase patient safety, safe practices and collaboration within health care teams, and organizational change theories, principles, and leadership in health care.

The program is highly popular because of the extensive networking opportunities it offers, particularly in Washington, DC, which is the heart of national policy development. The faculty are practitioner-led, having experience in virtually all fields of health care. Indeed, industry practitioners have developed the curriculum, making it evidence-based and meeting national and global patient quality and safety goals. The curriculum is very rigorous, emphasizes patient safety and quality.

Graduates of the MSHS in Health Care Quality are in high demand for their extensive practical skills and knowledge that can be applied to drive forward organizational change, stimulate changes for patient safety improvement, apply risk assessments, and so on. They are known to be able to drive high-quality safety improvements, develop cultures that are quality-driven and patient-centered, ensure that national expectations for quality are implemented and know how to measure them, and conduct operational and clinical research to support decision-making.

The program also offers two options for completion. The first is the full master’s degree, and the second is the graduate certificate program. The latter takes 18 credit hours to complete, and these credit hours can be transferred into the master’s program. This means that all students complete the certificate program first. The ultimate goal of the program, however, is to develop a national network of quality leaders in health care. Because the university itself is based in Washington, DC, it offers unparalleled opportunities for students to be right in the heart of where policy is made, networking and conferring with leaders in the field. Graduates become change agents, driving forward the patient safety and quality care agenda. In so doing, they essentially improve health care as a whole.

The ultimate goal of the program, however, is to improve global health. To achieve this, they are provided with a very broad set of skills in analysis and management, organizational leadership, clinical research, and more. They take on positions such as:

  • Director of quality management
  • Clinical director, quality services
  • Healthcare quality analyst
  • Healthcare administration manager
  • Quality assurance consultant
  • Quality and safety specialist


As you can see, earning a masters in healthcare quality is a great way to significantly advance your career in health care. Not just that, but it also gives you the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in how health care is delivered and the outcomes for patients. This is something to take a great deal of professional and personal pride in.

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