Best Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Programs of 2021

portrait of James Mielke
by James Mielke
Published on November 2, 2021

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

As the healthcare industry advances technologically and grows alongside the needs of an aging U.S. population, the demand for qualified healthcare professionals grows as well. Healthcare administrators serve a critical purpose in today's medical field by supporting physicians and providers, managing services and staffing, and enforcing policies.

Earning a doctorate in healthcare administration provides the skills and credentials you need to progress your career. This page offers an overview of online doctorate in healthcare administration programs, including a list of schools offering this program and common courses and concentrations.

Students who earn a doctorate in healthcare administration online can pursue careers in medical and health service management and administrative services management. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for medical and health service managers to grow by 32% from 2020-2030 — much faster than the average for all professions. Pursuing a doctorate in healthcare administration can provide a pathway to career advancement in this rapidly growing industry.

What Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Program?

Like most doctoral degrees, healthcare administration doctoral programs emphasize research and scholarship. The core curriculum generally features required courses in research methods and design, applied statistics, and research in healthcare. Students read, analyze, and evaluate qualitative and quantitative research in healthcare administration, and they often work on their own research projects.

Core courses generally cover healthcare policy and regulation, economics and finance, healthcare information, and community and global health. These programs intend to prepare graduates to take on advanced roles in healthcare administration and to contribute to scholarship and research in the field.

Generally, a bachelor's or master's degree in healthcare administration serves as the minimum educational requirement for positions in this field. However, earning a doctorate prepares students to pursue leadership positions, advance their careers, and potentially earn a higher salary. A doctorate in healthcare administration serves as a terminal degree in the field — no higher degree exists.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Program?

Research Methods and Design

This course provides an overview of the research and design methods most commonly used in the healthcare industry. Students explore quantitative and qualitative methods, read and analyze existing scholarship in the field, and design their own research studies in healthcare administration.

Applied Statistics

Students often take this course alongside a research methods course. Coursework examines the statistical methods most often utilized in quantitative research. Students gain a better understanding of how these methods function and apply that knowledge to evaluate research in the field.

Community and Global Health

This course explores studies in epidemiology, particularly in their relation to community and global health trends and issues. Students examine the use of epidemiologic studies on healthcare decision-making. The course often requires students to create their own strategies and plans for managing and addressing community health issues.

Healthcare Regulations and Policy

This course looks at existing healthcare policies at the local and federal levels and asks students to examine the impact of these policies on healthcare. Students explore the policy-making processes for healthcare organizations and often create their own proposals for new policies.

Economics and Finance in Healthcare

This course explores finance and resource management in the healthcare industry, as well as the various factors that impact economics in healthcare. Students often create their own financial plan for a healthcare organization and evaluate existing plans in place in major healthcare corporations.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Program?

Admission requirements for an online doctorate in healthcare administration programs vary based on individual institutions, making it important for prospective students to consider several different schools to find one that best matches their financial, academic, and professional needs.

While admission requirements change by program, the following section reviews some of the most common requirements for doctorate in healthcare administration programs.

Application

Every online doctorate in healthcare administration requires prospective degree-seekers to complete an online or paper application. At the doctorate level, no type of common application exists, so students will need to apply individually to each program. These typically ask for information such as name, address, and other relevant personal information.

Test Scores

Some schools may require learners to submit test scores, depending on their previous education. Students who already took the GRE or other college entrance exam for a master's degree can sometimes bypass this step; other schools no longer require these types of test scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Graduate programs typically ask applicants to provide multiple letters of recommendation. These typically come from people who can speak to a learner's preparedness for doctorate-level study, including previous colleagues, supervisors, professors, and mentors.

Resume and Work Experience

Most doctorate in healthcare administration programs expect applicants to possess some relevant work experience before applying, often between 2-8 years of experience. Executive programs may require a bit more professional experience. Make sure to provide an up-to-date resume and cover letter with your application packet.

Essays

Writing a standout essay or statement of purpose for a doctorate in healthcare administration can make the difference in whether a student gets selected for admission. Essays provide the opportunity for prospective degree-seekers to personalize their application and give admission officials concrete reasons why their application deserves a close look.

Official Transcripts

Every program requires applicants to supply official transcripts from any post-secondary institutions previously attended. This includes both undergraduate and graduate studies. In addition to ensuring prospective students meet GPA requirements, these documents also offer insight into whether the learner has taken all prerequisite courses.

What Can I Do With an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Degree?

Career Outlook

Individuals seeking a secure job with a bright future find that healthcare administration roles typically meet their needs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for medical and health services managers will grow by an impressive 32% between 2020-2030, far faster than the national average for all occupations. As a result, nearly 140,000 new positions are projected to be added by the end of the decade.

Median 2020 pay for these professionals reached $104,280, according to the BLS. Those in the top 10% of earners received more than $195,630, while those in the bottom 10% received less than $59,980.

Graduates often work in hospitals, outpatient care facilities, physicians' offices, and residential care facilities. They may also work in local, state, and federal government or fill teaching and research roles in academia.

Career Paths

Graduates of doctorate in healthcare administration programs can choose from several different career paths. We look at a few below.

Medical and Health Services Managers

These professionals serve in high-level roles at hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians' offices, and other healthcare settings to oversee administrative functions. They look for ways to improve healthcare delivery processes, manage staff and scheduling, oversee administrative budgets, and organize ongoing continuing education and training programs.

Median Annual Salary: $104,280

Healthcare Administration Professor

Healthcare administration professors focus on training the next generation of healthcare administration professionals. Professors select reading materials, lead lectures and discussions, set assignments and projects, and provide feedback on student work. They may also function as a dissertation supervisor, project overseer, or mentor.

Median Annual Salary: $80,560

Hospital Human Resource Manager

Human resources departments in hospitals and healthcare facilities help ensure that hospital staff receive adequate management and representation. Working in this role can involve overseeing training, creating benefits packages, handling the employee lifecycle from hiring onwards, and addressing complex regulatory issues.

Median Annual Salary: $121,220

Healthcare Administration Financial Manager

Financial managers in healthcare facilities make sure their organizations stay financially viable and follow all state, federal, and industry requirements. They create financial reports, seek ways of reducing costs and maximizing profit, consult on expansion opportunities from a financial perspective, and consult with C-level executives on significant business decisions.

Median Annual Salary: $134,180

Research Director

Some graduates decide they want to use their advanced education to better understand the health administration field. Working on the research side involves collecting and tabulating quantitative and qualitative data and drawing conclusions. These conclusions can then help shape the future of the field and make healthcare administrators more effective.

Median Annual Salary: $102,900

Healthcare Administration Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

A doctorate in healthcare administration serves as a terminal degree, meaning no higher degrees exist beyond it. While students could decide to complete an additional doctorate or even master's degree in a related subject to supplement their knowledge, they cannot pursue a degree higher than a doctorate.

That said, there are plenty of postgraduate certificates offered by universities, as well as professional certifications offered by various professional organizations. Postgraduate certificates often cover individual topics, including public health administration, medical records, or financial management. The Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals also provides continuing education opportunities.

How Do I Choose an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Program?

Cost

Understanding the true program cost of any doctorate in healthcare administration is critical for students on a budget. While public schools tend to cost less than private schools and studying as a resident is typically cheaper than attending as a non-resident, doctorate programs still cost a lot. That said, online learners typically avoid some campus-based costs such as commuting, housing, and facility fees.

Program Format

In addition to full-time and part-time learning opportunities, some schools also provide accelerated pathways for those who want to graduate more quickly. Students can also select from live (synchronous) or pre-recorded (asynchronous) learning to better fit their schedules.

Location

Some online doctorate in healthcare administration programs allow students to meet all requirements without ever visiting campus, while others mandate in-person residencies and learning intensives. With this in mind, students should consider location and whether they need a program within driving distance or can enroll in one further afield.

Accreditation

Finding an accredited institution is absolutely critical, as failing to take this step can result in problems finding jobs, earning licensure, and transferring credits. While the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education does not currently offer programmatic accreditation for doctorate programs, learners can look for programs offered by regionally accredited institutions.

Student Support

Student support plays a critical role, both for enrolled learners and program graduates. For current students, the best schools often provide opportunities for experiential learning, mental and physical health services, and library and research support. For graduates, they can provide mentorship opportunities, alumni connections, and networking events.

2021 Best Accredited Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

A T Still University of Health Sciences true View School Profile Kirksville, MO

Located in Kirksville, Missouri, and founded as the first osteopathic institution in the world, ATSU offers an online doctor of health administration. The program consists of 62 credits, including a 20-credit dissertation portion. Students may choose between presenting an applied or theoretical dissertation. The program provides training and instruction in areas such as healthcare law, health policy, and management science.

Candidates must possess a master's degree from an accredited university. Potential career paths for doctoral graduates include chief executive officer, director of patient safety, or program manager for a state or local government agency.

ATSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Doctor of Health Administration
School Status: Private
Tuition: $1,000 per credit
Credit Requirements: 62 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Central Michigan University true View School Profile Mount Pleasant, MI

Based in Mount Pleasant, CMU offers a doctor of health administration almost completely online. The didactic portion includes 15 online courses, six face-to-face seminars, and a comprehensive essay exam. The intensive, regionally located seminars take place over the course of 2.5 days and feature guest experts beyond the regular CMU faculty.

Courses include health economics, applied leadership, and qualitative analysis in healthcare. The program concludes with a 12-credit dissertation on a specific area of healthcare administration.

The program begins every fall, with an application deadline in April. Applicants must hold a master's degree in a related field of study or a professional medical degree. Applicants must also show a resume with at least three years of experience at the mid to senior level in a healthcare setting. CMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Doctor of Health Administration
School Status: Public
Tuition: $850 per credit
Credit Requirements: 63 credits
Program Length: 3-5 years
Format: Online, with six in-person seminars
Instruction Style: Mostly asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Franklin University true View School Profile Columbus, OH

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin offers an online doctor of healthcare administration. The program provides students with an extensive submersion in healthcare economics, policy, and governance.

The 58-credit program features courses such as advanced financial accounting, advanced healthcare analytics, and applied statistics. Optional focus areas provide additional learning in areas such as accounting and human resources. To complete their dissertation, students first identify an issue in the workplace. They then develop a solution and test their hypotheses in a real-world setting.

Applicants must hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Candidates may transfer up to 24 credits from another program toward their degree. Franklin is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Doctor of Healthcare Administration
School Status: Private
Tuition: $748 per credit
Credit Requirements: 58 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Northcentral University true View School Profile San Diego, CA

A private university located in San Diego, California, NCU offers an online doctor of health administration. The 60-credit, practice-based program teaches students how to use data to formulate strategies and develop ethical policies that promote accountability.

Students complete 14 core courses, two elective classes, and a final doctoral project that addresses a current issue in the field of health administration. Courses include the United States healthcare delivery system and healthcare financial management and economics.

Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution. Students should also possess at least three years of prior work-related experience in healthcare management. However, the school may grant conditional admission for applicants who don't meet the specified work requirements. The program offers weekly start dates, so students can begin the program whenever they feel ready.

NCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Doctor of Health Administration
School Status: Private
Tuition: $921 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 44 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

University of Mississippi true View School Profile University, MS

Located in the city of University, Ole Miss offers a mostly online doctor of health administration. The program features minimal face-to-face on-campus sessions. In their final year, candidates complete a doctoral research project covering an administrative area of personal interest. Courses cover topics like strategic change management, epidemiology, and foundations of health policy.

Applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited university in a healthcare-related field or demonstrate five or more years of professional experience in healthcare if they possess a degree in a different field.

Ole Miss is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Doctor of Health Administration
School Status: Public
Tuition: $560 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 3 years
Format: Online, with minimal in-person sessions
Instruction Style: Mostly asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: GRE required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Programs

How long does it take to get a doctorate in health administration? true

A student's enrollment status and individual degree requirements can impact a program's length. Many programs require 50-80 credits. Some online programs may offer accelerated formats that can shorten the overall program length.

Is there a Ph.D. in healthcare administration? true

Yes. A Ph.D. in healthcare administration generally places a stronger emphasis on research and scholarship and is better suited for students wishing to teach at a college or university.

What does D.H.Sc. stand for? true

D.H.Sc. stands for doctor of health science. This degree, like a Ph.D. in healthcare administration, places a stronger emphasis on research and scholarship, preparing students to pursue careers as professors and educators. Courses offered in this type of program examine global health issues, clinical trials in medicine, research methods in health science, and data analysis.

What can you do with a D.H.Sc. degree?

The D.H.Sc. degree prepares students for a variety of job roles, depending on the concentration or degree emphasis they pursue. Some available concentrations include clinical, education, global health, and nutrition. Each concentration teaches students the skills needed to pursue high-level careers in healthcare and general health science.

How much can you make with a doctorate in health administration?

A worker's salary and earning potential depend on a variety of factors. Experience and the amount of time spent working in the field often have the biggest impact on salary. However, an individual's education level and training also have an effect on their earnings. Geographic location and employer may also influence how much someone with a doctorate in healthcare administration can earn.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

We've ranked the top online doctorate in healthcare management programs. Compare schools by cost and convenience. Earn your doctorate degree online. Find a top online bachelor's in healthcare administration program. We've compared schools by cost and quality to help you earn your bachelor's in healthcare administration. Find the best online master's in healthcare administration programs of 2021 and learn more about career directions for graduates.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.