A doctoral degree in healthcare management opens the door to a number of very well-paying management and administrative careers in the healthcare industry. When you have a career in healthcare management, you're responsible for managing the delivery of quality healthcare. This involves planning and coordinating everything from human resources to public relations, finances to research and evaluation. More than anything else, healthcare management is an excellent career for strong leaders who want to improve healthcare organizations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that healthcare occupations will grow 19% from 2014 to 2024, a rate much faster than average for all occupations.
Choosing a Program
WILL THIS PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
Yes. Earning a doctorate in healthcare management will make you stand out from most other prospective employees. Holding a relevant degree demonstrates to future employers that you have a thorough and nuanced understanding of healthcare management and the healthcare field more broadly. You'll be a more competitive job candidate and able to earn a higher salary when you graduate.
DO I NEED PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCE TO GET IN?
It depends on the program, but generally you do need significant related work experience to be accepted into an online doctorate in healthcare management program. It's not uncommon for programs to require a minimum of five years of professional experience in a healthcare management administration. Most doctorate in healthcare management programs are designed for working professionals.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT ONLINE PROGRAM FOR ME?
You can find the right online program by figuring out what program characteristics are most important to you. Issues to consider include cost, program length, faculty, course selection, how the dissertation process works, and if there are any in-person requirements. Every program is different, so you'll need to compare a few before choosing one.
CAN I WORK WHILE I COMPLETE MY ONLINE DOCTORATE IN HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT?
Yes. Most online doctorate in healthcare management programs are specifically designed for working professionals to be able to keep working while completing the degree. This is a major benefit of enrolling in an online program. You can keep your job and complete coursework and your dissertation on your own time, whenever that might be convenient.
BEST ONLINE DOCTORATE IN HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Central Michigan University
|Mount Pleasant, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 0%||
CMU is a public research institution established in 1892. With more than 27,000 students enrolled on campus and online, it is one of the largest universities in Michigan. The school offers a doctorate in healthcare management online that combines management training with practical knowledge and academic rigor in a cohort-learning environment. Through a hybrid format, students develop leadership, management, and organizational skills while mastering healthcare policies, human resource essentials, and decision-making concepts.
Doctoral students need at least 63 credits to graduate, including six face-to-face seminars, which take place in regionally located classrooms and last 2.5 days each. Learners choose between a three- or five-year sequence of courses. All students take classes in probability and statistics, research methods and practice, and organizational theory and behavior. Degree seekers must pass a comprehensive exam to advance to candidacy. The final year includes the design, implementation, and defense of the written dissertation.
Prospective students must hold a master's degree in healthcare management or a related field such as health administration, public administration, public health, business administration, or nursing management. Doctoral applications need to include official transcripts from all previous graduate work, a professional resume, a statement of career goals, a five-page research paper on an approved topic, and three letters of recommendation. Additionally, applicants participate in an admissions interview with faculty members. Admitted students must attend a student orientation on CMU's campus in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
|Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 1%||
Established in 1902 in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin is a public institution with over 25 locations in the U.S. and an extensive online school, which includes a doctorate in healthcare management online. Delivered in a synchronous format, this program's curriculum allows students to explore relevant economics, healthcare policies, and modern issues in the field through a research-intensive curriculum over the course of three years. Furthermore, it helps healthcare administration graduate students approach healthcare policy, administrative practices, and patient care in new and innovative ways.
Comprised of 58 semester hours, the curriculum features 16 hours of core research, 10 dissertation hours, and 12 hours of electives. The remaining 20 hours involve healthcare administration-specific classes, including organizations, community, and global health; healthcare policy, regulations, and reform; healthcare economics, resources, and finance; and healthcare quality, process, and involvement. Popular electives for learners in this field include advanced clinical workflow and advanced healthcare analytics. Incoming students may transfer up to 24 semester hours toward the doctorate.
Healthcare administration doctoral students receive a personal library assistant to help them take advantage of the school's extensive resources and save time while completing assignments. Additionally, Franklin provides a graduate adviser who ensures that learners stay on track and successfully register for required courses as needed. Distance learners also take advantage of academic support services, workshops on research techniques, and stress management counseling. Prospective students need a 3.0 GPA or higher and a master's degree from an accredited institution for consideration.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 1%||
A nonprofit school located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty school boasts 110,000 students on campus and online and is considered one of the largest universities in the United States. This private, evangelical Christian school offers an entirely online doctor of business administration in healthcare administration degree that trains students in human resource development, professional management, leadership skills, and quality control. The curriculum helps students understand and offer solutions for legal and ethical issues that face healthcare professionals today.
In this synchronous program, students acquire practical skills through real-world applications in online classes and a doctoral research project. Learners who pursue Liberty's doctorate in healthcare management online consider legal and ethical issues for health professionals; managing human capital in healthcare; and grant acquisition and management. Alums typically move on to careers as healthcare administrators, management consultants, and nonprofit organization directors. Distance learners must complete all requirements within five years of starting the program.
Applicants must possess a master's degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher from a regionally or nationally accredited program. Applications need to include official transcripts and the application fee. Incoming students may transfer up to 15 hours of doctoral program coursework provided the student earned the credit within the last five years. In total, learners need 60 credits for graduation. Additionally, all doctoral students write a traditional dissertation based on original research.
University of Mississippi
|University, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 0%||
Ole Miss is a public research university in Oxford, Mississippi, enrolling approximately 24,000 students. The school offers an online Ph.D. in healthcare management for distance learners. In this synchronous program, students complete nine semesters of part-time coursework, including some face-to-face on-campus sessions, in a cohort-learning format. Learners must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA or higher to remain in good standing. All degree seekers design, propose, write, and defend a traditional dissertation based on their own academic research.
Required courses for this program include leadership strategies in health entities; foundations of health policy; strategic change management; and current trends in accreditation and licensure. The doctorate in healthcare management online leads to careers in academia, healthcare practice, and healthcare administration. Ole Miss usually accepts 10-15 students per cohort.
Students may apply for financial aid -- including grants, scholarships, student employment, and loans -- through the financial aid office. Doctoral students do not automatically receive funding and should apply for both university and external awards. Applicants must possess a master's degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher from an accredited college or university. Applications need to include official transcripts, GRE scores, resume, and a personal essay documenting the applicant's work experience in healthcare. Distance learners may also take advantage of online resources including academic advising, career coaching, and library access.
What Else can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Program?
Doctoral programs in healthcare management teach students how to improve healthcare delivery through effective leadership. Students learn skills in leadership, research and evaluation, information technology management, and policy and legal analysis. Below you'll find a sample curriculum for an online doctorate in healthcare management program. Courses and curriculum may vary depending on the school and program that you choose.
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE DOCTORATE IN HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT
- Introduction to Health Policy: This course covers health policy and economic issues within the system of healthcare and explores a variety of perspectives, including legal, economic, social, and cultural. The course also examines the relationships between government, business, and non-profit groups in relation to healthcare delivery. This course prepares graduates to work as managers and administrators of healthcare organizations.
- Communications in Healthcare Organizations: This course explores communication issues, both internal and external, that may arise in health organizations. Topics covered include knowledge management, public relations, and mediation and negotiation. Students gain an understanding of the effect of communication issues in healthcare delivery and healthcare organizations. This course prepares graduates to work in healthcare management and administration working on communications issues.
- Principles of Epidemiology: This course examines epidemiological principles and tools as they relate to healthcare management and decision-making. Students learn about health behavior in different populations, preventive programs, and healthcare delivery systems. Current issues in epidemiology are discussed. This course prepares graduates to work as researchers or in healthcare management.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE DOCTORATE IN HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT?
Most online doctorate in healthcare management programs take about three years and 60 credit hours to complete. Program characteristics that affect the length of an online degree include course schedules/academic calendar, on-campus requirements, and internship requirements. Another factor that might affect how long it takes you to complete your degree is whether or not your program employs individually-paced or cohort learning.
Programs that use cohort learning require that a group of students take their courses together from start to finish using a predetermined schedule. You'll usually have less flexibility and freedom with this model of learning, but you'll gain a sense of community and camaraderie. Another factor to consider is how much help you'll have with your dissertation and how long it usually takes a student to complete it. Programs with more support during the dissertation process can usually be completed more quickly.
Accreditation for Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs
Attending an accredited school for your doctorate healthcare management degree is very important. Accreditation is a process that schools undergo to make sure they meet certain educational standards. If a school is not accredited, it means that they have not demonstrated that they meet quality educational standards. You might notice that schools can either be regionally or nationally accredited. Regional accreditation is more common and is almost always accepted as transfer credit by other schools. National accreditation is more common at for-profit schools and vocational and trade schools, and is often not accepted as transfer credit.
In general, it's recommended that you look for a regionally-accredited online school. Look for accreditation agencies like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. There are not any field-specific accrediting agencies for doctoral programs in healthcare management.
There are two main organizations that are involved in the accreditation process in the United States: the Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The ED is a federal department that creates educational policy throughout the country and organizes distribution of federal financial student aid, including student loans and grants. The CHEA is a group of colleges and universities that create standards for regulating accrediting agencies. To see the ED's database of all the accredited schools in the U.S. and to check if your school is accredited, go here.
Employment Outlook for Doctorate in Healthcare Management Graduates
More healthcare professionals are enrolling in online doctorate in healthcare management programs as the opportunities for graduates of these programs increases. The healthcare management field continues to rapidly expand, and professionals who hold a doctoral degree in healthcare management often secure well-paying positions at, for example, hospitals, universities, private medical practices, nursing homes, and research organizations, where their higher level of education makes them more competitive than those who possess only a bachelor's or master's degree. Graduates of healthcare management doctorate programs frequently discover that their degrees pay off financially, and they also tend to find their jobs rewarding on a personal level, as they work to improve the way that patients experience healthcare.
DOCTORATE IN HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT SALARY
Top Five Paying U.S. States for Medical and Health Services Managers
In addition to differences in individual workplaces, professional experience level, and the type of organization you work for, your geographic location impacts your annual earnings as a medical and health services manager. The following table features data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding expected salaries for medical and health services managers in the top five paying states in the U.S.
|State||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||$142,380|
DOCTORATE IN HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT CAREERS
An online doctorate in healthcare management opens up a variety of career paths in the healthcare industry. Graduates typically pursue managerial positions at healthcare facilities or higher education institutions. This field is ideal for anyone with strong leadership skills who is interested in improving the delivery of healthcare. Managers and administrators in healthcare need to have a broad range of knowledge, from human resources to finances and communication to information technology.
- Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health service managers plan and coordinate health services at health facilities, clinics, and medical practices. Their main objective is to improve quality in the delivery of healthcare services. They manage staff, develop goals, manage finances, create schedules, organize records, represent the facility, and communicate with staff. A candidate must hold at least a bachelor's or master's degree to be hired at this level, and a doctorate provides candidates with a significant edge.
Median Annual Salary: $96,540
Projected Growth Rate: 17%
- Top Executives
Top executives work in all industries and create strategies and policies to make sure that organizations meet their goals. They plan and coordinate the operational activities for their organization. They usually work long hours and travel frequently, have at least a bachelor's degree, and many years of experience. A doctoral degree makes a candidate stand out among their competitors.
Median Annual Salary: $103,950
Projected Growth Rate: 6%
- Human Resources Managers
Human resources managers work in all industries, where they're responsible for planning and carrying out the administrative functions of an organization. They usually recruit, interview, hire, and fire staff and serve as an intermediary between an organization's managers and its employees. Professionals in this position require at least a bachelor's degree, and a candidate with a related doctorate certainly stands out.
Median Annual Salary: $106,910
Projected Growth Rate: 9%
- Training and Development Managers
Training and development managers work in all industries and plan and coordinate training and professional development for the employees at their organization. They must hold a bachelor's degree and sometimes a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $105,830
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
- Postsecondary Teachers
Postsecondary teachers provide instruction in their subject area to students at the post-high school level. They also conduct research and publish their findings. Teachers at most colleges and universities require a doctorate.
Median Annual Salary: $75,430
Projected Growth Rate: 13%
Joining professional organizations in the field of healthcare management presents numerous opportunities for current students and recent graduates who have earned their doctorate in healthcare management. You'll be able to connect with other professionals in the field and learn about job opportunities, new innovations in the sector, annual conferences, and continuing education programs. Many professional organizations also provide career services and maintain job boards for their members.
Financing Your Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Program
Paying for your doctorate in healthcare management can seem daunting. Luckily there are numerous ways to fund your degree, including federal student loans, grants, work-study, and scholarships. The first step any student should take is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as soon as possible. By completing one form you'll be able to find out every type of federal student aid you are eligible for at once.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs of 2018
School Location Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI Franklin University Columbus, OH Liberty University Lynchburg, VA Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC University of Mississippi University, MS