The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health is introducing an online Master of Healthcare Administration degree program in 2021, the first of its type to be offered by a University of California campus, the school announced Wednesday.

Applications will open in January 2021, and the first class is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2021.

The program is intended to meet the growing need for health care management specialists with skills in finance, strategic marketing, quantitative problem solving and analytics.

It will provide “a strong management foundation for professionals to excel in critical roles across the health care landscape, from hospitals to community clinics, and at biopharmaceutical companies, insurance firms and public agencies,” said Ron Brookmeyer, Fielding School dean. “We’re thrilled to add the MHA degree to our unique roster of opportunities for students who are dedicated to leading improvements in health care for both individual patients and communities as a whole.”

School officials cite research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that there were more than 422,300 jobs for medical and health services managers in 2019, and there will be more than 555,000 such positions by 2029 — more growth over the next decade than any other occupational group.

“As the large baby boom population ages and as advances in health care information technology change the ways that providers use data, there will be an increased demand for experts in health care administration and leadership,” said UCLA professor Leah Vriesman, the head of executive education programs at the Fielding School’s Department of Health Policy and Management.

“We developed this program specifically for the challenges of health care administration roles, offering both conceptual knowledge and hands-on experience,” added Vriesman, who will lead the new program and continue as co-director of the UCLA Center for Healthcare Management.

The MHA degree program will limit enrollment to 40 students per course. Financial aid will be available.

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