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.

2020 Best Accredited Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs

School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle

Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Central Michigan University provides flexible academic programs through its Global Campus. Degree options include a mostly online doctor of health administration that prepares candidates to occupy leadership and research positions. This 63-credit program requires students to take six face-to-face seminars.

The curriculum covers topics like population health, fiscal responsibility and accountability, and organizational theory and behavior. Candidates also delve into health informatics and learn to manage information as a corporate asset and decision-making tool. They round out degree work with a dissertation defense and a comprehensive essay exam.

This program offers a fall start date. To enroll in this online health administration program, applicants need at least three years of relevant professional experience. They must also submit a current resume and career goals statement.

Franklin University

Columbus, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin University enrolls about 5,000 students every year. Distance learners may pursue an online doctor of healthcare administration. With flexible course scheduling and the ability to transfer in up to 24 credits toward degree completion, candidates may graduate in three years.

The 58-credit curriculum includes classes like organizations, community, and public health; healthcare regulations, policy, and reform; and advanced health information governance. Students complete rigorous research training that prepares them to write and defend their dissertation. They can personalize the degree plan with three advanced electives, choosing from options like data analytics and clinical workflow/applications.

This program provides fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Applicants should have a regionally accredited master's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Individuals who do not meet this criteria can still enroll, but they must take a graduate entrance exam.

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Liberty University maintains its flagship campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, serving about 80,000 students annually. The institution offers an online doctor of business administration in healthcare management that is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. By completing this 60-credit program, graduates are equipped to work as management consultants, healthcare administrators, and nonprofit directors.

Core classes include marketing for competitive advantage and strategic allocation of financial resources. Students also develop the communication and leadership skills needed to manage human capital. With eight-week classes and the ability to bring in up to 15 transfer credits, candidates can earn their doctorate in healthcare management in under three years.

Applicants need master's credentials in a business-related field and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Liberty provides a variety of financial aid, including tuition discounts for first responders and internal scholarships.

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

JOB PLACEMENT

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
New York $135,640
Connecticut $129,710
California $122,800
Alaska $121,530

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%

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

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.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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 STUDENTS

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

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.