Best Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Programs 2022

Learn what it takes to earn an online doctorate in healthcare administration and the types of jobs you can pursue after graduating.

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by James Mielke

Published on January 26, 2022 · Updated on June 2, 2022

Edited by Colin Weickmann
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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.

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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

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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.

Best Accredited Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Ranked the Best Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Programs

We are committed to helping students find the program that best fits their needs, and we know that is different for every student. To help students get started with their search, we feature the top online doctorate in Healthcare Administration programs in alphabetical order. To learn more about our different rankings, read our ranking methodology.

Online College in Missouri

A T Still University of Health Sciences

School Information
Location Kirksville, Missouri
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $1,032

Out of State | $1,032

Credits to Graduate

62

ATSU's online doctorate in healthcare administration combines advanced business education and healthcare management training. The program focuses on topics, such as healthcare law, organizational theory, and health policy. ATSU offers flexibility for online students, including the option to complete either a theoretical or applied dissertation.

Program applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited college with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Successful applicants usually have professional experience in the business or healthcare field.

Online College in Michigan

Central Michigan University

School Information
Location Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $778

Out of State | $778

Credits to Graduate

63

CMU's doctorate in healthcare administration focuses on research-based leadership strategies for healthcare organizations. The program operates primarily online, but students also complete six in-person seminars held on the CMU campus in Mount Pleasant.

Applicants need a master's or professional degree in business, healthcare administration, or public health for admission. CMU may consider applicants from other backgrounds by petition. Candidates should also hold at least three years of mid- to senior-level management experience in management or healthcare administration.

Online College in Ohio

Franklin University

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Graduation Rate 28%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $748

Out of State | $748

Credits to Graduate

58

Franklin offers an online doctorate in healthcare administration that highlights healthcare leadership, economics, and governance. The program also prepares graduates to teach at the college level. Candidates can choose from nine optional focus areas, including accounting, marketing, and human resources.

Applicants must hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates with a lower GPA must submit an essay outlining their preparation for doctoral study. The program requires candidates to hold at least 30 graduate credits in a healthcare-related field.

Online College in California

Northcentral University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $921

Out of State | $921

Credits to Graduate

60

A private college in San Diego, NCU offers an online doctorate in healthcare administration that focuses on strategic planning and healthcare management theory. The program curriculum aligns with competencies recommended by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership.

Applicants should hold a master's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. NCU also requires applicants to hold at least three years of healthcare work experience in mid-level management. Applicants without professional experience can apply for conditional admission.

Online College in Mississippi

University of Mississippi

School Information
Location University, Mississippi
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 66%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $560.40

Out of State | $560.40

Credits to Graduate

60

Ole Miss offers a hybrid doctorate in healthcare administration that focuses on leadership strategies, applied research, and health economics. The program includes both online courses and occasional campus sessions.

Applicants should hold a master's or professional degree with a 3.0 GPA. Candidates who hold a degree in a field other than healthcare should have at least five years of professional healthcare experience. The program also requires applicants to submit GRE scores and an essay documenting relevant professional healthcare experience.

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.

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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.

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