Master’s in Healthcare Administration Programs

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by Heather Mullinix

Updated July 13, 2022

Edited by Kristina Beek
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Students can prepare to take on a leadership position in healthcare by earning a master's degree in healthcare administration (MHA). Professionals in this field are in high demand in the U.S. due to an aging population and a growing emphasis on preventative care.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 32% growth in employment for medical and health services managers from 2020-30 — about four times faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. With an MHA degree, you can drive change and make a difference for those seeking treatment at a hospital or other facility.

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Ready to start your journey?

Accredited online MHA programs are often a great fit for people with previous clinical, business, or technology experience. These programs focus on leadership and business management skills. Graduates prepare to manage complex healthcare operations. Most programs take about two years to complete.

What Is an Online Master's in Healthcare Administration (MHA) Degree?

Healthcare administrators manage the daily operations of a healthcare facility. An online MHA teaches business management skills to prepare students for this role. Courses may cover organizational leadership, strategic planning, accounting, human resources, and marketing. Students also explore legal and ethical components of healthcare leadership.

Students can pursue a general degree or focus on a specialization, such as health informatics or health policy. Participants can tailor their program to meet specific career goals through concentrations, special projects, or elective courses.

What Programs Are Similar to Healthcare Administration?

Best Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs

Our Top Pick

The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Why It's #1: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill boasts a 91% graduation rate from its master's in healthcare administration program. UNC offers accredited residential and executive pathways. Admission into the school can be quite competitive, with an overall admission rate of 23%. However, students enjoy a low 13-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. As a public university, out-of-state students pay higher tuition, and 65% of students receive financial aid assistance.

Read Our Rankings Methodology

#1

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Information
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Admission Rate 23%
Graduation Rate 91%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Designed for students who work full time, UNC at Chapel Hill's executive master of health administration program emphasizes leadership skills and career advancement. Students can  complete their degrees in two years through evening online courses and three on-campus sessions per year. The program culminates with a capstone course.

Admission criteria include three years of managerial experience in healthcare or a related field, plus a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $586
Out of State | $1,602

Credits to Graduate
49

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education

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#2

Northcentral University

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

Students can complete NCU's master of health administration program in 29 months. Graduates can pursue early- to mid-career healthcare leadership roles. A one-to-one learning model pairs each remote learner with a faculty member who advises them individually. 

The curriculum focuses on innovative management and strategic action plans for healthcare organizations, concluding with a capstone course.

To apply, candidates must have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA or a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited institution.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $610
Out of State | $610

Credits to Graduate
42

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

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#3

Colorado State University-Global Campus

School Information
Location Aurora, Colorado
Admission Rate 99%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

CSU Global offers an online master's in healthcare administration program designed for healthcare managers who want more advanced leadership roles. 

Specializations include organizational leadership and change management, project management, strategic innovation and change management, human resources management, finance, and organizational learning and performance.

Competitive applicants hold bachelor's degrees from a regionally accredited school with 3.0 GPAs. Conditional and provisional admission may be offered after case-by-case review.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $500
Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

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#4

George Washington University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 41%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

GW's business and medical schools joined forces to design a healthcare master of business administration for professionals interested in the business and leadership aspects of healthcare. 

Enrollees can add one of seven graduate certificates to their program, in areas such as healthcare quality, integrative medicine, and regulatory affairs.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and three years of work experience. GMAT scores may be waived for qualified applicants.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,215
Out of State | $2,215

Credits to Graduate
46.5

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

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#5

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

School Information
Location Lubbock, Texas
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Texas Tech's accelerated master of science in healthcare administration program prepares healthcare administrators to advance their skills and careers. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a 2.7 GPA, along with professional healthcare experience.

Learners can opt to pursue an additional graduate certificate in health informatics and data analytics, health systems policy and management, healthcare finance and economics, health systems engineering and management, or long-term care administration. The program also offers these topics as courses and culminates with a capstone. 

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $265
Out of State | $579

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

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#6

American University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 79%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

American University offers a multidisciplinary, project-based online master's in healthcare management. The curriculum consists of core, elective, and field/professional courses, followed by a capstone project working with a client and faculty advisor. Students graduate with skills in strategic decision-making, data analysis, and communication and presentation. 

Admission requires a bachelor's degree but does not mandate test scores or healthcare experience; however, the program is geared for students with professional experience.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,345
Out of State | $1,345

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

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#7

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

FIU distance learners can earn an MBA in healthcare online in 18 months. Students conclude their studies with a health policy analysis for a real-life healthcare institution. 

Online, asynchronous coursework combines with synchronous remote program residencies. These residencies include industry certifications and cover topics in health economics, oral communication, and leadership.

Admission requires two years of professional work experience, a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, and a 3.0 GPA. GMAT/GRE scores are not required, but may be requested. 

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,426
Out of State | $1,426

Credits to Graduate
42

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education

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#8

The University of West Florida

School Information
Location Pensacola, Florida
Admission Rate 31%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

UWF's master of healthcare administration online curriculum focuses on essential healthcare career qualities, including ethical conduct, professionalism, team-based learning, along with practical administrative and operational skills. Students complete an internship or a capstone project to conclude the program. 

UWF offers admission on a rolling basis. Candidates submit transcripts showing a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA and GMAT or GRE scores. The program is designed for health administrators ready to advance their careers.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $384.60
Out of State | $1,044.24 ($478.83 with out-of-state tuition waiver)

Credits to Graduate
42

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

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#9

Trinity University

School Information
Location San Antonio, Texas
Admission Rate 29%
Graduation Rate 76%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 1% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Trinity's master's in healthcare administration includes a part-time executive track for healthcare professionals that emphasizes leadership development. Enrollees begin the program with their cohort and can finish in 23 months. The curriculum blends academic research with real-world experience.

Admission criteria include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, current employment in healthcare with prior supervisory experience, and the ability to attend three-day on-campus intensives each semester.

Hybrid | In-person and Online Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost (Total Tuition)
In State | $73,000
Out of State | $73,000

Credits to Graduate
41

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

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#10

Saint Joseph's University

School Information
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 81%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Remote learners can pursue a master of health administration at SJU tailored for healthcare professionals wanting to move into management roles. 

Core coursework includes health policy, legal principles, operations and information systems, and population and status assessment. Students can choose between concentrations in health informatics or organization development and leadership.

At least two years of work experience is recommended for applicants. Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and official transcripts.

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $923
Out of State | $923

Credits to Graduate
36-42

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

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How We Rank Schools

In order to create the Best Online Master's in Healthcare Administration ranking, the BestColleges Rankings Team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

We identified 211 schools that qualify for our ranking list, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (50%), affordability (25%), and the availability and popularity of online programs (25%).

Popular Online Healthcare Administration Programs

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

MHA Curriculum

A master's degree in healthcare administration may require anywhere from 30-60 credits. Students should come into the program with a basic understanding of statistical analysis, though programs welcome applicants from various academic and professional backgrounds.

Graduate-level coursework can be rigorous. Full-time students should prepare to dedicate adequate time each week to reading, completing assignments, and participating in lectures or discussions. Coursework often focuses on specific challenges in healthcare. Students may analyze case studies or healthcare policy statements as part of their assignments.

Before graduating, students typically bring what they've learned together in a capstone project to address a real-world problem. Requirements vary by program, but students may complete a healthcare marketing plan, analyze policies and procedures at a hospital, or develop a training program for healthcare administrators.

Courses

  • Healthcare information systems
  • Healthcare financial management
  • Healthcare law and compliance
  • Leadership in healthcare administration
  • Healthcare ethics and decision-making
  • Healthcare strategies in competitive markets
  • Epidemiology and health planning

Specializations

In addition to core coursework, MHA students may also be able to pursue a specialization or concentration to further develop their skills in a particular focus area. Common options include:

Health Policy

Health policy covers issues related to healthcare access, medical insurance, and safety regulations. Students pursuing this concentration gain an understanding of the complex healthcare system within the United States. They use their knowledge to evaluate and analyze current health policy debates.

Health Informatics

This concentration combines the study of data science, information security, and business as they apply within healthcare organizations. Workers may deal with electronic medical records, telemedicine delivery, or strategic data analysis.

Healthcare Marketing

A robust marketing plan is essential for successful business ventures, but medical organizations must carefully consider how they market their brands and services. Healthcare marketers often need to follow stringent regulations.

Project Management

This concentration focuses on the principles of project management. It may also prepare learners to pursue professional project management credentials. Students learn about processes and tools that can help them define a project's scope, develop budgets, track task completion, and ensure quality control.

How Do I Pay for an MHA Degree?

Admission Requirements

Admission policies for MHA programs vary from school to school. However, general requirements include a bachelor's degree in a related field and a minimum GPA of 2.5-3.0. Some programs may also require professional work experience. Associated fields include business administration and health sciences. Online MHA programs also require access to a stable internet connection.

Some schools may require applicants to take the GRE. However, many schools do not require exam scores or offer waivers for applicants with relevant professional work experience.

Application packets typically include college transcripts, a professional resume, a personal statement regarding your professional and educational goals, and letters of recommendation from former professors or supervisors.

The admissions officers for MHA online programs look for students with demonstrated academic or professional talent who can tackle graduate-level study.

Online vs. On-Campus MHA Programs

Online MHA Program On-Campus MHA Program
  • Flexible class schedules
  • Students can find the right program and concentration, regardless of geographic location
  • May require occasional on-campus sessions or residencies
  • Accelerated academic calendar can speed up degree completion; some online programs can be completed in 1-1.5 years
  • Out-of-state distance learners at public schools may qualify for out-of-state tuition waivers
  • Set class meeting times
  • Opportunity to network with students and employers in your area
  • More personal interaction with instructors and peers
  • Academic calendar often follows the traditional 15-week semester format. Students often take 6-9 credits per semester and graduate in two years.
  • Students may need to pay additional costs, such as for parking and transportation

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

MHA Accreditation

Aspiring MHA students should look for online programs at accredited colleges and universities. Attending a school with institutional accreditation ensures employers and other colleges will recognize your degree/credits. It also gives you the opportunity to participate in federal financial aid programs. Accreditation provides an independent review of a school's curriculum, student success, and instructor quality. You can verify a school's accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

In addition to institutional accreditation, some schools choose to seek programmatic accreditation for their master's in healthcare administration degree programs. The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) evaluates these graduate programs to ensure a rigorous and relevant curriculum that prepares students for the demands of the industry. CHAME reports that 90% of graduates of accredited programs find a healthcare management position within three months.

MHA Certifications

Some MHA students choose to pursue a certification in addition to their master's degree. A certification demonstrates proficiency in an area of focus. These credentials can set recipients apart from the competition when seeking a job in the healthcare field. Common certifications related to healthcare administration include:

  • Certified Medical Manager (CMM)
  • Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE)
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM)
  • Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional (cHAP)
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE)
  • Certified Revenue Cycle Professional (CRCP)
  • Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP)
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)
  • Certified Healthcare Access Manager (CHAM)
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)

Is an MHA Degree Worth It?

The growing demand for medical and health services managers benefits online MHA graduates once they hit the job market. An online MHA degree prepares individuals with clinical expertise to take on leadership positions and bring their skills and experience to the board room. Technology continues to advance the field of medicine in a variety of settings, and the BLS estimates that an average of 51,800 medical and health services manager job openings will be available each year from 2020-2030.

Individuals with this degree can pursue a variety of potential career paths. In addition to working for a healthcare provider, graduates can find positions with insurance or pharmaceutical companies, nonprofit agencies focused on healthcare policy, or government agencies involved in healthcare regulation.

Essential skills gained through an online MHA program prepare graduates for many opportunities. These skills include:

Job Outlook and Salary

The BLS reports that the median salary for medical and health services managers was $101,340 in May 2021, with the highest 10% of earners making more than $205,620 annually. General hospitals employ the largest number of these managers, with workers making an average salary of $129,410 (BLS). Pharmaceutical manufacturers pay health services managers an average of $204,380 a year, which is one of the highest rates in the field. Wages also vary by location.

Top-Paying Places for Medical and Health Services Managers
State Annual Mean Salary (2021)
New York $155,430
District of Columbia $151,370
Massachusetts $140,270
Washington $138,580
New Jersey $136,580

Source: BLS

What Can I Do With an MHA Degree?

Graduates of an online MHA program can pursue numerous job opportunities as medical or health services managers. Typical job titles include healthcare administrator, nursing home administrator, and hospital administrator. Individuals may also find similar roles in physicians' offices, outpatient care centers, and assisted living facilities. However, the managerial skills gained in an MHA program can take you beyond a healthcare facility.

While an online MHA degree prepares you for management positions, individuals interested in policymaking or research related to healthcare administration may want to consider earning a doctorate in healthcare administration.

Career Paths

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators supervise the day-to-day operations of a healthcare facility or organization. They manage budgets, ensure that the organization meets financial goals, update technology, and organize health and business records. They may also manage human capital by hiring and training workers and giving performance reviews.

Nursing Home Administrator

Working at long-term care facilities, these administrators manage hiring and training processes, design budgets, monitor payroll, and coordinate patient care. They also ensure that their facility meets all state and federal regulatory standards and set policies and procedures that keep facilities safe for patients.

Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators act as liaisons for governing boards and medical staff, coordinate medical services, recruit and hire doctors and nurses, and develop quality assurance procedures. They may also participate in hospital fundraising and community health planning.

Hospital CEO

Hospital CEOs plan, direct, and coordinate daily hospital operations with the help of administrators and assistant executives. These professionals manage the day-to-day operations of hospital activities while also developing and implementing strategic initiatives to improve hospital efficiency and maximize profit.

Health Services Manager

Health services managers coordinate and supervise the healthcare services of a given facility or department. These professionals ensure the quality of patient care by managing personnel, developing infrastructure, handling public relations, and communicating internally.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online MHA Programs

What is the difference between an MHA and MBA in healthcare administration?

Both MHA and MBA degrees can prepare students for leadership positions. Many MBA programs offer concentrations in healthcare administration, in addition to a general business curriculum. However, an MHA degree allows students to focus exclusively on the healthcare industry and learn about the unique challenges of managing a medical or healthcare organization.

Many students may find value in an MBA degree if they plan to work in other fields beyond healthcare. An MBA offers a great deal of career flexibility. However, students committed to a career in healthcare might benefit the most from an MHA degree because of the industry-specific courses, instruction, and projects.

What degree is best for healthcare administration?

Schools offer a variety of degree options for management professions. Students interested in healthcare administration can choose between a master's in healthcare administration or an MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration. Depending on your interests, you may also consider a master's in public health or a master's in public administration.

The best degree depends on your academic background, professional experience, and career goals. For example, students who've already completed a business-focused degree at the undergraduate level may find little added value in a generic MBA program. Instead, an online MHA can provide ample healthcare-specific coursework and prepare graduates to lead healthcare organizations effectively. Someone from a clinical background may benefit from focusing more on their business skills, but they can still accelerate their career by earning an online MHA degree.

Which accreditation is best for an MHA program?

You should ensure your school holds institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. However, many programs have chosen to enhance their master's of healthcare administration programs by seeking programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

CAHME reports that 131 programs have earned accreditation. This process involves rigorous curriculum reviews, student interviews, and on-site visits. Programs not only meet standards for academic quality but must commit to ongoing quality improvements to ensure graduates leave the program prepared for management responsibilities. CAHME accredits both MHA and MBA programs.

Can you earn an MHA online?

Yes, you can earn an online master's in healthcare administration. Many schools offer online programs that provide working professionals the flexibility to complete their degrees while continuing to work. However, because online programs still require much focus and determination, students should talk to their employers about their educational goals to ensure their support.

Online MHA programs often feature asynchronous courses that include independent study, recorded lectures, and writing assignments. Some online programs may include occasional on-campus requirements for clinical or experiential learning experiences. Students may also be able to access year-round courses and accelerated classes, which can speed their progress toward graduation.

What do MHA graduates do?

Online MHA graduates can take leadership positions in a healthcare organization, from department managers to hospital CEOs. MHA online programs prepare students to provide strategic management in a variety of healthcare settings and to specialize in specific healthcare administration functions, like marketing or human resources.

Healthcare remains a highly regulated industry. A master's in healthcare administration provides a curriculum tailored to the specific challenges of the healthcare business, while also providing students with a well-rounded understanding of the healthcare industry. This knowledge allows healthcare leaders to communicate better with service providers, other managers, policymakers, and the public.

Feature Image: Image Credit: Thomas Barwick / Stone / Getty Images

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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