Best Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs

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Published on January 27, 2022 · Updated on April 25, 2022

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Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 32% job growth for medical and health services managers. That rate translates to 139,600 new positions during that period. Furthermore, these professionals rank eighth out of all occupations in terms of projected growth during that period.

Medical and health services managers must be strong leaders educated in the history, present, and future of healthcare. A doctorate in healthcare management prepares graduates for managerial, academic, and research roles in the field. A typical doctorate can take 3-7 years, but some online institutions offer accelerated degrees.

Read on to learn more about these programs, including common coursework, career paths for graduates, and admission requirements.

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

Requirements for online doctorate in healthcare management programs vary by school. Typically, this degree requires classroom work, a residency of some kind in the medical field, and a dissertation or capstone project.

These professionals need business and management aptitude, medical knowledge, and soft skills. These positions involve leading teams in a fast-growing industry, and medical and health services managers need to be able to innovate and adapt changes in the healthcare field.

Strong leadership and communications skills are a must. Managers must be as good at crunching numbers as they are at crusading for better and more affordable healthcare.

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

Healthcare Management

Most programs begin with an overview of advanced healthcare management, which provides foundational knowledge for more advanced coursework. This core course provides a high-level look at contemporary healthcare management and challenges and opportunities encountered in the field.

Healthcare Finance

Healthcare is a multibillion dollar industry in the United States, and someone needs to balance the books. Healthcare managers need to see the financial big picture, looking for ways to help their companies and healthcare facilities cut costs and run more efficiently. This course also covers hiring, retaining, and compensating healthcare employees.

Legal and Ethical Healthcare

Legal issues abound in the healthcare industry involving lawsuits, federal regulations, and research methods. The ethical side of healthcare extends beyond the Hippocratic oath to criminal issues and advancing medical processes.

Healthcare Data/Informatics

The future of healthcare lies in data. This course prepares future leaders to work with healthcare data and informatics. Students learn about the biggest uses for healthcare data and the biggest challenges facing the field.

Research Methods

Research is a key element of most doctoral programs. This class provides an overview of key research methods commonly used in healthcare fields.

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

Students need a certain pedigree to get into doctoral programs. Admission requirements often include a relevant master's degree. A growing trend in online learning is for programs to provide a personal admissions counselor to walk applicants through all requirements. Be sure to check if your prospective program offers this service.

Application

The application starts the process. Prospective students must provide basic personal information. Most applications are available online.

Test Scores

Some online doctorate in healthcare management programs require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores. However, test score requirements vary by school, and many schools no longer ask for them.

Letters of Recommendation

Prospective students should prepare to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. For doctoral programs, you can ask former professors or professional supervisors who saw you perform relevant work in healthcare or business.

Resume and Work Experience

Most students pursuing a doctorate in healthcare management already have significant professional experience. A resume reflects each applicant's education and professional experience.

Essays

Most doctorate in healthcare administration programs require an essay, which allows applicants to describe their professional journey and aspirations. Begin your essay as far in advance as possible and ask a person you trust to edit it.

Official Transcripts

All programs require students to submit official transcripts from all prior postsecondary education. These documents verify prospective students' credentials and help colleges determine how much transfer credit to award.

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

Career Outlook

Graduates with a doctorate in healthcare management lead teams of healthcare workers, conduct research in the healthcare industry, and help shape the future of the medical field. These professionals can work in a variety of settings, including the following:

In the following section, we discuss four common careers for doctoral degree-holders in healthcare management.

Career Paths

Hospital CEO

These professionals lead day-to-day operations at hospitals while strategically planning for the future. CEO's must be good at crisis management and high-level strategic thinking. A doctoral degree in healthcare management equips graduates with this skill set.

Average Annual Salary: $154,230 (Payscale, as of Dec. 2021)


Community Health Administrator

These professionals take responsibility for the health of entire communities. They work with different medical businesses, nonprofits, government leaders, and community members to keep community health systems functional.

Average Annual Salary: $62,510 (Payscale, as of Dec. 2021)


Nursing Home Administrator

Because of an aging baby boom generation, the demand for healthcare and nursing home accommodations is on the rise. These administrators oversee day-to-day operations of nursing homes caring for aging adults.

Average Annual Salary: $92,710 (Payscale, as of Dec. 2021)


Professor

Among the main reasons to earn a doctoral degree is to enter postsecondary teaching. These academics teach at colleges and universities in their area of specialty and perform their own research. These positions generally require a terminal degree.

Median Annual Salary: $80,560


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Continuing Education

A doctorate in healthcare management wraps up a long and productive formal education process.

Since a doctorate is a terminal degree, degree-holders generally do not complete additional education at universities. However, they can complete master's degrees or graduate certificates in adjacent fields to strengthen their credentials.

They can also pursue relevant professional certifications, such as the certified healthcare administrative professional designation offered by the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals.

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

Cost

The true cost of a doctoral degree should factor in fees like room and board and textbooks in addition to tuition. Online programs sometimes allow students to pay in-state or discounted tuition rates no matter where they live. Certain employers may also offer to cover some portion of their employees' tuition when they go back to school. You can usually find the most affordable rates at in-state, public universities as opposed to out-of-state, private schools.

Program Format

If you have significant professional or personal obligations, you may prefer asynchronous learning, which eliminates all scheduled course times. If you prefer the structure of a peer group, synchronous learning may be a better fit, as it involves scheduled class times and more frequent interaction with professors and fellow students.

Location

Many online programs include on-campus residency requirements for capstone projects or experiences. Furthermore, enrolling at a nearby school may offer connections in the local medical community and allow you to better navigate geographic-specific laws, procedures, and governance. You may also qualify for in-state tuition.

However, keep in mind that many online healthcare management programs do not include in-person requirements, so you can attend school wherever you like.

Accreditation

There are two types of accreditation you should look for: regional and programmatic. Regional accreditation takes the entire school into account. Do not enroll in an unaccredited school, as you will not be able to receive federal financial aid.

While programmatic accreditation can add extra weight to your degree, it is not as essential as regional accreditation. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education provides programmatic accreditation in the healthcare management field.

Student Support

Student support services can make the difference between an excellent online experience and a mediocre program. Your college may offer this type of support in the form of networking opportunities, tutoring, counseling, technical support, internship placement, and mentorships.

Best Accredited Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs

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Online Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs

  • Central Michigan University
    Location

    Mount Pleasant, MI

    Tuition

    $14372

    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
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $18684

    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
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $27432

    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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Doctorate in Healthcare Management Programs

Is a doctorate in healthcare management worth it?

Yes. This degree is invaluable for students who want to get into education or research, as many of these positions require an advanced degree. It's also worth it when students want to stand out above their peers in job interviews. Many candidates for medical and health services manager positions hold master's degrees, so a doctoral degree can provide an extra edge.

What can I do with a doctorate in healthcare management?

You can pursue nearly any business or administration-related position in the healthcare field if you hold a doctorate in healthcare management. Possible job titles include nursing home administrator, hospital CEO, and medical and health services manager. You can also pursue academic and research positions. Since a doctorate is a terminal degree, you can shape the next generation of healthcare managers by working as a professor at a university.

How long does it take to get a doctorate in healthcare management online?

Most programs require 3-7 years to complete. However, completion times can vary based on program requirements and whether you enroll full time or part time.

How much money can I make with a doctorate in healthcare management?

According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $104,280 as of May 2020. Keep in mind that salary potential depends on several factors, including location, experience, professional certifications, and your employer.

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a doctorate in healthcare management?

Medical and health services manager is likely the highest-paying job for graduates with a doctorate in healthcare management. According to the BLS, the top 10% of earners in this field made a median annual wage of more than $195,630 as of May 2020. Hospital CEOs also make high salaries. According to Payscale data, these professionals earned an average annual wage of $154,230 as of December 2021. However, there are likely much fewer hospital CEO positions available than medical and health services manager positions.

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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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