Top 25 Online Doctorates in Healthcare Administration

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The healthcare administration field encompasses healthcare organizational leadership and healthcare administration research, policy, and education. Healthcare managers and healthcare administration researchers work to improve healthcare services, systems, and profitability.

Pursuing a doctorate in healthcare administration (DHA) can help healthcare professionals earn higher pay, move into administrative roles, or transition to academic or research careers. To qualify for doctoral programs, candidates usually need master’s degrees or significant professional experience in healthcare administration.

To excel in an online doctorate in healthcare administration, students must demonstrate persistence, self-efficacy, and strong analytical abilities. Successful healthcare administrators or professors also possess advanced communication and management skills. To compete for top healthcare management positions, candidates usually need prior administrative experience in roles such as medical executive assistant, medical office administrator, healthcare human resources manager, or health informatics officer.

This page offers an overview of online doctorates in healthcare administration. Prospective students can explore program rankings, curricula, and accreditation standards. This page also details healthcare administration careers and duties, salary data, professional certifications, and funding opportunities.

Top 10 Online Doctorates in Healthcare Administration

RankSchoolLocation
1University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill
2Arizona State UniversityTempe, AZ
3University of South FloridaTampa, FL
4University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham, AL
5Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick, NJ
6Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
7Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond, VA
8George Washington UniversityWashington, DC
9MCPHS UniversityBoston, MA
10Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA

FAQ

QuestionAnswer
Do I need a doctorate to become a healthcare administrator?

Entry-level medical and health services managers need at least a bachelor’s degree plus relevant experience. However, a graduate-level degree proves helpful in competing for top administrative positions.

Do you need a master’s degree before pursuing a doctorate in healthcare administration?Not all healthcare administration doctoral programs require candidates to hold master’s degrees, but master’s degree-holders usually finish doctoral programs sooner.
Is a doctorate in healthcare administration a Ph.D.?No, the DHA focuses more on applying research to solve practical problems in the field. A Ph.D. typically serves aspiring academics, while the professional doctorate in healthcare administration often prepares candidates for administrative jobs.
How long does a doctorate in healthcare administration take to earn?Program length depends on enrollment pace and prior graduate work completed. Graduation timelines vary from 3-7 years.

How Much Do Healthcare Administrators Make?

Healthcare administration salaries vary considerably based on position, industry, employer, and credentials, although most professionals make substantial annual salaries. Healthcare administration doctoral graduates who work as postsecondary teachers earn a median annual salary of $79,540, while postsecondary education administrators earn about $95,410 yearly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

BLS salary data indicates that medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $100,980 in 2019. According to the BLS, government employees earn the highest median annual salary of $111,520, and hospital-employed professionals land not far behind. Nursing and residential care managers earned a median salary of $86,820 in 2019. Social and community service managers, who typically work for nonprofits, earned a median annual salary of $67,150.

Given the robust and rapidly growing nature of the healthcare industry, healthcare administrators usually enjoy promising job prospects. The BLS projects higher-than-average job growth for the above-mentioned careers between 2019 and 2029. According to the BLS, jobs for medical and health services managers are projected to grow 32% between 2019 and 2029.

Doctoral degrees in healthcare administration typically meet or exceed education requirements for any healthcare administration career path. However, candidates may need to earn additional certifications and acquire substantial work experience to compete for high-level positions. See below for information about healthcare administration licensure and certification.

Lowest 10%Median Annual SalaryHighest 10%
Less than $58,820$100,980More than $189,000

Source: BLS


Licensure and Certifications for Healthcare Administration

Licensure

Only nursing home administrators typically need state licensure, although some states require licensure for assisted-living facility administrators. Nursing home administrators must meet their state board’s education and experience requirements.

State boards often require accredited bachelor’s degrees, coursework credits related to healthcare management and gerontology, a passing licensure examination, and sometimes completion of administrator training programs. The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards nursing home administrator exam includes management, human resources, resident care, and finance topics.

Some hospitals require that candidates demonstrate licensure for previous roles, such as registered nurse. Some employers seek candidates with one or more of the healthcare administration certifications described below.

Certification

Obtaining professional certifications can help professionals qualify for high-level positions. The certifications below typically require specific amounts of relevant experience and education, plus passing certification exam results. Popular certifications not listed below include certified medical manager, certified professional in healthcare risk management, certified professional in healthcare information and management systems, and certified healthcare financial professional.

  • Certified Medical Practice Executive: Awarded by the Medical Group Management Association, the CMPE certification requires at least 50 continuing education experience hours, two years of professional experience in healthcare management, and successful performance on two examinations. This certification supports candidates for executive positions at medical provider organizations.

  • Certified Healthcare Administrative Professional: Offered by the Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals, cHAP certification requires at least one year of relevant experience, a 75% or higher score on the certification exam, and familiarity with healthcare regulation and governance. Certificate-holders often pursue administration careers in healthcare organizations.

  • Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives: FACHE certification requirements include a master’s degree, three years as an ACHE member or associate and five years of healthcare management experience, successful exam performance, and a current executive healthcare management position. Candidates also need 36 hours of continuing education experience, two references, and evidence of four volunteer activities during the past three years. Certificate-earners often pursue executive careers related to management, finance, or IT.

Accreditation for Online Doctorates in Healthcare Administration

Regionally accredited schools meet rigorous academic standards set by agencies accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Check for regional accreditation status when considering prospective programs, since only degrees and credits from regionally accredited schools usually transfer to other regionally accredited schools.

Only students at regionally accredited institutions can receive federal financial aid. Degrees from regionally accredited schools also prove more attractive to prospective employers than degrees from nationally accredited schools.

Some online schools earn their institutional accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, a nonprofit that has evaluated distance education institutions since 1926. Search this Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to various schools’ and programs’ accreditation.

Financial Aid for Healthcare Administration Students

Doctoral programs can prove costly, but many schools provide financial aid in the form of scholarships, research grants, assistantships, or fellowships. These forms of aid do not usually require repayment. Sometimes, assistantship and fellowship recipients work as research or teaching assistants in exchange for substantial tuition remission and a living stipend.

Other funders, such as professional organizations and government agencies, also offer fellowships or scholarships. Read below for potential scholarships and fellowships for healthcare administration graduate students. Working professionals may qualify for tuition assistance through their employer.

The federal government also frequently provides qualifying candidates with financial aid, including grants and loans. Grants do not require repayment, while borrowers must repay federal loans and private loans. Some federal loans carry low interest rates and allow payment deferral until after graduation.

Students should begin the financial aid process by completing the FAFSA. Many scholarship and fellowship applications require a FAFSA. Applying for financial aid early can improve candidates’ chances of receiving aid.

Scholarships for Healthcare Administration Students

Many merit-based, need-based, and identity-based scholarships can help degree-seekers reduce education expenses. See below for some potential opportunities for qualifying healthcare administration doctoral students.

Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice
Who Can Apply: These fellowships support health services researchers in qualifying countries to visit the United States for one year to conduct original research and collaborate with U.S. policy experts. Applicants must submit a research proposal.
Amount: $130,000

Kenhub Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Kenhub awards scholarships to two full-time applicants studying health science-related subjects. Applicants must be Kenhub premium account holders.
Amount: $1,250 plus one year free access to Kenhub

National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (PELRA) Foundation Graduate Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Graduate students studying public administration-related fields and demonstrating interest in public sector work. Eligible candidates hold U.S. citizenship. National PELRA prefers government-employed candidates and encourages National PELRA members to apply.
Amount: $3,000

AHIMA Merit Scholarships
Who Can Apply: AHIMA members with a 3.5 minimum GPA taking six or more credits and pursuing health information management-related degrees at accredited schools may apply. Applicants submit essays, recommendations, and transcripts.
Amount: $2,500 for doctoral students

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness (PE) Fellowship
Who Can Apply: Doctoral students studying public health and health economics, approaching graduation, and seeking postdoctoral fellowships may apply. PE fellows move to Atlanta, undergo training, and work for the CDC.
Amount: A GS 12 Step 3 salary (currently $66,904)


Courses in Healthcare Administration Doctorates

Healthcare administration doctoral programs differ in curricular focus and requirements, but many programs offer core courses in healthcare economics, law, marketing, and risk management. Some programs include optional concentrations and related coursework in areas such as healthcare improvement, analytics, epidemiology, or public health. All healthcare administration programs cultivate skills in leadership, research, and analysis, and most require students to spend at least one year conducting doctoral research. See below for common courses in many healthcare administration doctoral programs.

Healthcare Economics

This core course provides an overview of American healthcare markets and how they shape national and global economies. Analyzing the healthcare system’s structure and assessing healthcare quality and accessibility, enrollees compare free-market and government-funded healthcare systems. Preparing for careers as researchers or administrative decision-makers, students cultivate skills in supply and demand modeling and cost-benefit analysis.

Healthcare Policy, Law, and Ethics

A version of this core course appears in most healthcare administration doctoral programs. Enrollees delve into healthcare law, including policy development, regulation, and reform. This course prepares aspiring healthcare administrators to confront various ethical and legal issues, including unionization, malpractice, and sexual harassment.

Population Health

This course explores population health principles, surveys various outcomes and causes, and discusses primary and secondary preventive interventions. Students practice applying epidemiological principles, collecting data, and performing health assessments. Aspiring healthcare researchers and administrators learn how to conduct and analyze population health research and use it to make practical recommendations.

Healthcare Marketing

This course outlines common marketing and promotion practices, exploring how these factors influence healthcare organizations’ market value and budget. Students also examine stakeholder perspectives and responses to various marketing methods. This course proves particularly relevant to aspiring healthcare marketing and promotions managers.

Healthcare Risk Management

Healthcare’s top executives, managers, and risk managers must understand the issues involved in risk assessment and management. Students learn to analyze administrative decision-making in terms of healthcare institutions’ financial stability, assets, and resource management. This course often focuses on ways of assessing and reducing financial risk in this industry.

What Do Healthcare Administrators Do?

Sometimes called healthcare managers, executives, or administrators, these professionals oversee services at healthcare facilities, departments, or practices. According to the BLS, about one third of medical and health services managers work at hospitals, 11% work in physicians’ offices, and 10% work in nursing and residential care. Meanwhile, the government and outpatient care centers employ 8% and 7% of medical and health services managers, respectively.

Most healthcare administrators work full time in offices at healthcare-related organizations. Some facilities require managers to work evening and weekend shifts or remain on-call outside of regular business hours. These professionals often meet regularly with administrative staff and medical personnel. Some managers also communicate with insurance agents or patients. Most healthcare administrators need strong skills in leadership, communication, organization, and problem-solving.

These managers hire, train, supervise, and schedule personnel. They also ensure legal and regulatory compliance and manage organizational finances. At least once per year, healthcare administrators also conduct strategic planning, budgeting, and reporting to boards.

More specific responsibilities and tasks may depend on work context, position, and specialization. Nursing home administrators often oversee admission and care of patients, for example. Clinical managers spend more time establishing and overseeing implementation of policies and procedures in specific departments such as physical therapy or surgery.

Health information managers spend much of their time researching and updating technology and databases and ensuring proper patient data security. Other possible specialization areas in health administration include epidemiology, healthcare analytics, and public health. Some professionals work as government researchers and administrators focused on these expertise areas.

Top 25 Online Doctorates in Healthcare Administration

The following rankings highlight the top online doctorates in healthcare administration. Including only high-quality, accredited programs, these rankings save prospective students time in sorting through the many online education options available today. Rankings allow readers to quickly identify and compare key program features, such as curricula, prices, degree timelines, and attendance formats.

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pioneered public higher education as the first public college to admit students in 1789. In its more than two century history, UNC Chapel Hill has been North Carolina’s foremost public research university; In addition to standing as a Public Ivy – a public university with the esteem of the Ivy League – UNC offers some of the nation’s leading healthcare programs and one of the highest-ranked academic medical systems in the world (UNC Health). UNC is a leader in public health, establishing the Gillings School of Global Public Health as the first public health school founded in a public university. Further, the Gillings School has been the gold standard for online public health for many years, and ranks as U.S. News & World Report’s top public PH school.

UNC’s online Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership program offers a specialized Doctor of Public Health degree from the Gillings School. Designed specifically for mid-level and senior managers in healthcare, public health, and related fields, the Executive Doctoral Program provides the skills and credentials needed for the executive levels of health management. This three-year program uses fully online coursework that allows students to complete their degree entirely on their own time, without leaving their busy and important current jobs. Students will visit campus three times each of the first two years, then complete their dissertation in the following 1-3 years. Coming from the nation’s top public Public Health School, the Executive Doctoral Program is the right choice.

Degree: DrPH in Health Leadership

2. Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ

For most of its history, Arizona State University was a fairly ordinary regional public university, starting in 1885 as the teacher training school for the newly-formed Arizona Territory. Through the 20th century, the school grew into a teacher’s college, then a state university, taking a familiar trajectory as many public universities. Then, in the 21st century, ASU took a left turn, declaring itself the model of the New American University and then going forward to actually prove it. By embracing diverse admissions, expanding campuses, and foregrounding online education, ASU grew rapidly into the largest student body in America, earning ranking as the most innovative university in the nation and finding the perfect balance between accessibility and excellence. Today, ASU is one of the leading online educators and a top-tier public research university – simply in a class all its own.

ASU’s online Doctor of Behavioral Health degree, with a concentration in Health Management, is a unique and innovative approach to health management – just as we would expect of Arizona State. This fully online degree program is designed for working professionals who want to take on leadership positions in integrated care, focused entirely on management in a behavioral health clinical setting. That specificity makes it a great choice for professionals in behavioral health; the convenience of live chats, streaming lectures, and online coursework makes it ideal for working adults. In addition to coursework, students complete 240 internship hours and a capstone project to bring their learning into real-world applications. ASU has been rejuvenating education for more than a decade, and their online doctorate in healthcare management degrees are just one example.

Degree: Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH), Management Concentration

3. University of South Florida – Tampa, FL

The University of South Florida is one of Florida’s younger state universities, founded in 1956 when the area around Tampa was growing into a metropolis without a public higher education option. Uniquely, USF was the first public research university started from scratch in the 20th century, a testament to its necessity, and to its impact on the region. USF has become especially central to healthcare and medical education in southern Florida, providing both USF Health – one of the most impressive academic health centers in the South – and the USF College of Public Health, the first public health school started at a public Florida college.

USF has also become a well-known leader in online education, as the online USF DrPH in Advanced Practice Leadership makes clear. Intended for working professionals in clinical settings, the Advanced Practice Leadership DrPH prepares students for administrative and executive positions in health department, international public health organizations, and other practice-based agencies. All coursework is available online (though on-campus classes are available for students in and around Tampa); students need only attend three on-campus Public Health Institutes during their program. USF’s reputation in Florida and beyond make the online doctor of health administration a solid choice for health professionals.

Degree: DrPH in Advanced Practice Leadership

4. University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama at Birmingham originated in a UA extension campus in 1936, but as the city of Birmingham has grown and established itself as a metropolis, so has UAB grown to stand alongside its parent institution as a major R1 research university. The main reason for UAB’s growth – currently the largest single employer in the state of Alabama, making a nearly $5 billion economic impact – is the UAB Health System, which is Alabama’s foremost medical system and one of the largest academic health complexes in the nation. UAB’s schools of medicine, nursing, public health, and health professions are Alabama’s premiere health programs, crucial to health in Alabama and the Deep South.

UAB’s online Executive Doctor of Science in Administration-Health Services is a specialized degree program created for experienced, high-ranking leaders in the healthcare industry. For those who are ready to move into executive positions, the Executive DSc provides a thorough understanding of the most important issues that face contemporary healthcare, along with the leadership skills necessary to carry hospitals and other healthcare facilities through any storm. With fully online coursework, requiring only three 8-day on-campus intensives, working professionals can earn their online doctorate in health management in just three years without leaving their current jobs.

Degree: Executive DSc in Administration-Health Services

5. Rutgers University – New Brunswick, NJ

New Jersey’s flagship public research institution, Rutgers University has been a part of New Jersey nearly as long as there has been a New Jersey. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is one of the nine colleges founded before the American Revolution, so the school once known as Queens College has stood through all of the changes of Jersey since the colonial era. That has made Rutgers central to nearly every aspect of life in New Jersey, from agriculture to law to medicine. The Rutgers School of Health Professions – the largest school of its kind in the US, spread across four campuses throughout the state – is a crucial part of New Jersey’s healthcare system, educating a large proportion of the state’s health administrators, technicians, and clinicians.

Rutgers has also made online education a priority in the 21st century, including the Rutgers PhD in Health Sciences degree program. Led by the School of Health Professions, the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, and other partners within the university, the online doctorate in healthcare administration provides students with a fully rounded, in-depth understanding of leadership in the modern healthcare industry. The 60 credit program is designed for ultimate adaptability, allowing experienced healthcare professionals to tailor their program to meet their current and future career goals. Coursework can be completed online, and an in-person dissertation defense can be used to satisfy residency requirements, making Rutgers’ online PhD a convenient option for working professionals.

Degree: PhD in Health Sciences

6. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University is named for the philanthropist and business magnate whose gift – the largest in history to that point – funded the founding of the university and Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1876. JHU has been a pioneer in many ways; not only was JHU the first modern research university in the US, combining active scientific research with education, but Johns Hopkins faculty have made some of the most important advances in medicine in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. JHU also established the first dedicated public health school in the world, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, setting the standard for research and learning in the field since 1916.

The Johns Hopkins’ DrPH in Health Policy and Management is a primarily online, part-time degree program intended for working healthcare professionals. There are three tracks, but the Health Policy and Management concentration will be the most useful for professionals who are working to move into higher executive positions. While most coursework is online, students will be required to come to a one-week intensive session in June, and a 5-day session in January. Through the part-time DrPH, students learn leadership, communication, and analytical skills they will need to take on executive roles in their current company, or to move on to a new career path. With a convenient structure and the Johns Hopkins name, the online doctorate in healthcare administration is more than a career boost.

Degree: DrPH, Health Policy and Management concentration

7. Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond, VA

Virginia Commonwealth University is a top-tier, R1 public research institution with deep roots in Virginia. Founded in 1968 by the merger of the Medical College of Virginia (founded in 1838) and the Richmond Professional Institute (1917), in some form or another VCU has been shaping higher learning in Richmond for just shy of 200 years. That time has seen Virginia’s capital grow into a major metropolis, and the institutions that make up VCU have been critical. VCU is crucial to healthcare in Richmond and the surrounding region, with its schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and other health sciences represented at VCU’s Medical College of Virginia campus.

VCU’s healthcare administration programs have been ranked among the best in the nation, and the VCU online PhD in Health Services Organization and Research program is a prime example of why. Designed for working professionals (preferably already holding a master’s degree), the HSOR PhD prepares students for high-level leadership, research, and academic positions, depending on their career path. Coursework can be completed in just two years, though more flexible part-time options are available. With 100% job placement for graduates, the VCU doctor of health administration program is as good as a sure thing for healthcare professionals.

Degree: PhD in Health Services Organization and Research

8. George Washington University – Washington, DC

One of the most prestigious and politically-connected colleges in the nation, George Washington University was founded in 1821 to fulfill one of the first President’s deepest ambitions – to found a national college in the new nation’s capital. Today, GWU is a premiere private research university regularly ranked as one of the top national universities. GWU is not only highly influential in Beltway fields like economics, political science, and international affairs; it is also a national and international leader in healthcare, with one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, and one of the highest ranked nursing schools in the US – not to mention significant links to the healthcare industry and government health agencies.

All of the School of Nursing’s strengths come together in the GWU online DNP in Executive Leadership degree program. The doctor of nursing practice degree, focused on giving expert clinicians the leadership and managerial skills to take on advanced roles, is developed by the nursing school along with the School of Business. Designed with the needs of working nursing professionals in mind, the DNP in Executive Leadership is available in a fully online format, with some synchronous online meetings to develop community and connection. A solid grounding in both clinical practice and entrepreneurial management gives future nurse executives the keys to success in their career with an online doctorate in healthcare administration.

Degree: DNP in Executive Leadership

9. MCPHS University – Boston, MA

Long known as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, MCPHS University (founded in 1823) was the second pharmacy school opened in the US, and a pioneer in the field. It was MCPHS, for example, that published the first pharmaceutical dictionary, explaining the use and side effects of medications. Today, MCPHS is the single largest pharmacy school in the nation, and its location in Boston, MA, places it in the center of the nation’s foremost city for higher education. MCPHS has extended its reach considerably in recent years with both extensive international programs, and a growing slate of online degree programs.

The MCPHS online Doctor of Health Science Health Systems Administration concentration prepares working professionals in healthcare for work as advanced researchers, practitioners, and leaders. For healthcare professionals who want to become high-level scholar-practitioners, the online DHS provides a convenient, part-time option that can be completed in 9 semesters (roughly 3 years). The 54-credit program finishes with an Evidence-Based Capstone project rather than a traditional dissertation, allowing students to put their original research into practice, demonstrating their full understanding. An online doctorate in healthcare administration from one of the original pharmacy schools carries real weight for employers, as well.

Degree: DHS in Health Systems Administration

10. Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA

Founded in 1971 by evangelist Jerry Falwell, Liberty University might today be a conventional Christian college like many others, if not for some very profitable foresight. Always focused on traditional evangelical Christian values, Liberty was also forward-thinking and concerned with the possibilities of adult education. In 1985, Liberty’s distance education program began with VHS-based correspondence courses, but in the late 1990s, Liberty saw the potential of fully online education well before any other Christian university. That investment has paid off tremendously; today, Liberty is the largest Christian college in the world, with 15,000 traditional on-campus students, and more than 100,000 online students.

Liberty’s online Doctor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management degree brings the university’s expertise in business (regularly ranked among the top business schools in the nation) to the healthcare field. The fully online DBA is focused not on clinical practice, but on the business side of healthcare, preparing students to take on high-level executive positions in healthcare facilities, corporations, and agencies. With a strong grounding in areas like human resources, quality management, ethical leadership, and more, working healthcare administrators and managers earn the skills they need for the next stage in their career. Liberty’s reasonable tuition rates have also given their online programs a national reputation for value, making the online doctorate in healthcare administration an investment for students everywhere.

Degree: DBA in Healthcare Management

11. Colorado Technical University – Colorado Springs, CO

One of the top-ranked online educators in the nation – especially for veterans – Colorado Technical University began in 1965 with a mission to provide veterans and military personnel with career training in technical and professionals fields. While Colorado Tech began with a small campus in Colorado Springs, today nearly all of the university’s degree programs are fully online – more than 90%. With both regional accreditation, and discipline-specific accreditations (such as ACBSP accreditation for business), Colorado Tech is one of the most respected for-profit universities in America, and regularly recognized for quality education.

CTU’s online Doctor of Management in Healthcare Management and Leadership degree program is designed for working healthcare professionals who want to expand their knowledge and skills for executive positions. The DMHML focuses on the administrative areas of the healthcare system, giving student the foundations of health policy, government regulation, finance and economics, and management across the field. All coursework is fully online, and while there is a residency component, dissertation development is worked in from the beginning of the program, making the big project more manageable. Students can complete the online doctorate in healthcare administration in just three years.

Degree: Doctor of Management in Healthcare Management and Leadership

12. University of Mississippi Medical Center – Jackson, MS

The medical campus of the University of Mississippi, the University of Mississippi Medical Center plays perhaps the most central role in healthcare research and education in Mississippi. Founded in 1955, the University Medical Center was the first medical school in Mississippi, a development from the earlier two-year medical program on the main Oxford campus. While previous medical students had to leave Mississippi to complete their MDs, the UMMC provided Mississippi with the means to educate its own doctors and gain healthcare independence. Today, the UMMC is semi-independent and remains the state’s only academic medical complex, as well as Mississippi’s top hospital.

The UMMC online Doctor of Health Administration degree program is an example of the Medical Center’s commitment to growing Mississippi’s healthcare system. The fully online program (with some minimal on-campus meetings) is designed to help licensed, practicing healthcare professionals prepare for leadership roles, or to give working administrators a higher level of expertise to increase their managerial abilities. With working professionals in mind, the DHA program is intended for part-time students, though students can take courses full-time as well. For healthcare professionals in Mississippi, it’s an ideal opportunity.

Degree: Doctor of Health Administration

13. Grand Canyon University – Phoenix, AZ

Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University was originally the vision of Arizona Baptists who wanted a Christian university in their own state, keeping Baptist young people in Arizona rather than going to school out of state. When financial troubles in the early 2000s forced the trustees to sell the college, Grand Canyon became the first for-profit Christian university in American history, retaining the university’s regional accreditation and reputation. The change helped GCU grow from fewer than 1000 students to well over 15,000 in just a decade, a rapid development due in large part to GCU’s extensive online degree programs. In 2018 GCU was approved to return to non-profit status by the accrediting agency.

Grand Canyon’s EdD in Organizational Leadership includes a Health Care Administration concentration that prepares healthcare professionals for managerial positions in the field. Offered by the College of Doctoral Studies, the EdD focuses on using evidence-based research as a foundation for decision-making and leadership. The curriculum emphasizes ethical responsibility and research methods, helping students understand the complexity of the modern healthcare system from regulations to resources. Students can choose online or evening cohorts, moving through the program together for mutual support and networking, making the online doctor of health administration program a team effort – just like healthcare.

Degree: EdD in Organizational Leadership-Health Care Administration

14. Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, MI

Central Michigan University has been part of the life of Michigan since 1892, when it was founded as the region’s teacher training and business school. For over a century, CMU worked as a regional public college, steadily growing along with the central Michigan region. Today, CMU has become a major public research university, with some 300 degree programs and a newly-developed medical school. With its mission to provide the best academic and professional education possible, CMU has made its reputation in the 21st century on its top-ranked online programs; online students make up nearly a third of CMU’s student body, demonstrating the increasing importance of online education to the workforce.

CMU’s online Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) degree program is offered in a convenient hybrid format, allowing working healthcare professionals to earn their degree while keeping their current careers in motion. The DHA is scheduled as a cohort, with the same set of students working through their courses together for support and community. The 63-credit program is primarily online, with 15 online courses and 6 brief on-campus seminars of 2.5 days each; a 12-credit dissertation project completes the degree. This online doctorate in healthcare administration gives Michigan healthcare professionals all they need for serious advancement in their careers.

Degree: Doctor of Health Administration

15. Regent University – Virginia Beach, VA

Founded in 1977 by evangelist Pat Robertson, Regent University began as the Christian Broadcasting Network University, with the first courses offered (appropriately) in communication arts. While Regent is known for its traditional undergraduate programs, the university has also prioritized adult education throughout its history, with outreach programs to Virginia’s working adults in areas like education and business. Like its peer Liberty University, Regent began reaching out to distance students with fully online degree programs, and since 1997 has developed a strong reputation for online education, with many nationally-ranked programs at the top of U.S. News & World Report.

Regent’s online Doctor of Strategic Leadership – Healthcare Leadership concentration comes from the School of Business & Leadership, long recognized as one of the top online business programs in the nation. While students learn about the current state of the healthcare industry, the DSL degree is focused not on clinical practice, but on leadership, team building, communication, and Christian ethics within a healthcare setting. All coursework is fully online, with just a minimal amount of on-campus residency, making the online doctor of health administration convenient for working professionals. Graduates may pursue careers as executives, professors, or independent consultants with a flexible, adaptable online DSL degree.

Degree: Doctor of Strategic Leadership – Healthcare Leadership

16. Medical University of South Carolina – Charleston, SC

The oldest medical school in the South, the Medical University of South Carolina began as a private college in 1823, bringing formal medical education to a region that lacked sufficiently educated doctors. MUSC was a trailblazer, becoming one of the first medical schools to set up a teaching hospital (today the MUSC Health Center) and operating one of the oldest nursing schools in the US. For nearly a century, the Medical University operated as a private college, but by 1913 financial failures forced a sale to the state, and MUSC remains a public healthcare-focused university, with six colleges dedicated to medicine, health sciences, and research.

MUSC’s online Doctor of Health Administration Executive Program is a three-year, interdisciplinary degree designed for future healthcare leaders. The DHA Executive Program is built around incorporating health sciences, law, business, and technology for a fully-rounded understanding and command of modern healthcare administration. Courses are taught by faculty and visiting experts in a variety of fields, so students have access to the whole of the discipline. All two years of coursework are fully online, with just one weekend residency per semester, and a doctoral research project completes the degree in the third year. MUSC’s online doctorate in healthcare administration is South Carolina’s best option for aspiring healthcare execs.

Degree: Doctor of Health Administration

17. Franklin University – Columbus, OH

Founded in 1902, Franklin University is a unique institution, beginning with evening classes in the YMCA of Columbus, OH. At that time, it was a small business-focused school, growing into a university within 30 years and becoming a fully independent institution (not under the YMCA) in 50 years. Today, Franklin retains its original commitment to providing the most convenient and practical education for working adults, with 25 locations throughout the Midwest and some of the strongest online degree programs in the nation. Franklin’s reputation is steadily rising in the Midwest and beyond, making it a real value for students who are ready to increase their credentials and move into the next phase of their career.

Franklin’s online Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree program solidifies some of the university’s greatest strengths into a doctoral program – business, health, and online education. The online DHA program is built with innovation in mind, encouraging working professionals to develop their research and leadership skills for the future of healthcare – not the present. Fully online courses help students complete their degree around their current work schedules, and up to 24 transfer credits can cut down tremendously on time. Most intriguing, Franklin’s No-Fear Dissertation structure has students begin building to their dissertation from the very beginning, making it easier for students to finish the dissertation in just one year for a 3-year doctorate in healthcare administration.

Degree: Doctor of Healthcare Administration

18. Nova Southeastern University – Fort Lauderdale, FL

One of the South’s foremost private research universities, Nova Southeastern University is a relatively young institution, founded in 1964 as a technology college in Fort Lauderdale. Over the next thirty years, Nova expanded its technology offerings, developing a solid reputation in Florida. The university made its biggest leap forward in 1994 when it merged with the Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, combining its well-regarded technology programs with Southeastern’s healthcare programs. Today, Nova Southeastern is one of the best-known health sciences schools in the South, and ranked as one of the most diverse universities in the nation for the proportion of degrees awarded to minority students.

The Patel College of Health Care Sciences offers the Nova Southeastern online Doctor of Health Science degree, an accessible, student-centered approach to doctoral education. Designed for working health care professionals and high-level administrators, the DHS degree is a post-professional program intended to strengthen students’ skills and knowledge global health, health policy, ethics, diverse community care, and other aspects of the modern healthcare industry. All coursework is online, with students attending two 1-week on-campus intensive sessions; students must also complete an internship. It’s an online doctorate in healthcare administration from one of the top up-and-coming names in health education.

Degree: Doctor of Health Science

19. Jefferson University – Philadelphia, PA

Jefferson University is one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, founded in 1825. Through a long legal battle with the University of Pennsylvania (which did not like the competition), Jefferson emerged to become one of the top medical colleges in the North, pioneering now-common practices like its teaching hospital and nursing school. Today, after a 2017 merger with Philadelphia University, Jefferson is stronger than ever, carrying a nearly 200 year long history of excellence in health education into the future with online degree programs and Jefferson Health, one of the top academic medical systems in the Northeast.

Jefferson’s hybrid PhD in Population Health Science is a cutting-edge degree program preparing health professionals for the highest levels of research, practice, and leadership in the healthcare system. The PhD program provides four possible areas of concentration: Health Policy, Healthcare Quality & Safety, Health Behavior Science, or Applied Health Economics & Outcomes Research, any of which could be applied to an executive career in healthcare administration. The 62-credit program emphasizes ethical research methods, knowledge of key theories in population health, and communicating findings within a variety of settings. For working professionals who are looking for a new approach, Jefferson’s hybrid PhD is paving the way.

Degree: PhD in Population Health Science

20. University of Bridgeport – Bridgeport, CT

The University of Bridgeport began in 1927 as a small general education college, reaching its height in the years after WWII, when returning veterans on the GI Bill helped swell the student body. The university reached another high as Baby Boomers brought the student body to nearly 10,000, but by the 1990s the university suffered financial trouble. The Unification Church saved the university in 1992, but it was online education that made Bridgeport strong enough to regain its independence in 2002. Beginning in 1997, UB has offered an ever-increasing slate of fully online degree programs, and today, thanks to technology and a growing reputation, the University of Bridgeport is one of Connecticut’s fastest-growing universities.

The University of Bridgeport’s online Doctor of Health Sciences degree program is designed to prepare healthcare professionals for evidence-based advanced practice. With an emphasis on quantitative and qualitative research, the DHS degree program enhances students’ research skills, giving them the foundation they need for careers in education, research, advanced clinical care, and public health. All coursework is fully online, with just a 1-week on-campus residency, and can be completed in as little as 40 months of part-time study. The University of Bridgeport’s name is on the rise, making an online doctor of health science a solid investment.

Degree: Doctor of Health Sciences

21. Capella University – Minneapolis, MN

Capella University is a pioneer in online education, forming in 1993 as a distance-based graduate school focused on the needs of working adults. That was just before online education became a viable option, and today, with a majority of Capella’s degree programs available fully online, Capella’s timing seems ideal. Capella is one of the few for-profit universities to achieve both regional accreditation, and discipline-specific accreditation for some of its top programs, such as the CCNE-accredited School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Known for its competency-based learning system, Capella has been acclaimed for its dedication to student learning outcomes.

Capella’s online Doctor of Health Administration degree program underscores Capella’s main strengths: convenient online education for working professionals, exceptional healthcare education, and outreach to women and minorities. Capella’s online DHA is highly diverse and highly supportive, providing students with an education developed around the NCHL’s Health Leadership Competency Model. With its unique approach to education, Capella’s online DHA program ensures that students know the field before moving on, and integrates the capstone project and practicum so that students’ research has a practical, applicable value to their real career.

Degree: Doctor of Health Administration

22. Walden University – Minneapolis, MN

Walden University is one of the most influential, pioneering distance educators for working adults, founded in 1970 to provide graduate degree options for teachers. Originally, Walden students met with faculty in Naples, FL, to discuss their dissertation topics before completing their projects at home. Over time, Walden moved to Minneapolis, MN and developed a reputation for quality and innovation. In 1995, Walden made its name offering the first fully online master’s in education degree, quickly expanding to offer many more opportunities in a variety of disciplines, earning regional accreditation and many professional accreditations.

Walden’s online Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree program provides working professionals with a convenient way to prepare themselves for executive positions in the healthcare industry. Two different tracks are offered, depending on the student’s current level of education: Track 1 for Master of Healthcare Administration holders, and Track 2 for students with a master’s degree in another discipline. Walden students receive 24 hour tech support, an online writing center, and many more services for support and success, and students can earn as much as $10,000 in merit-based scholarship to make an already affordable degree a bargain.

Degree: Doctor of Healthcare Administration

23. Rush University – Chicago, IL

Founded in 1837 – just before Chicago was incorporated as a city – Rush University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious medical schools. Named for doctor and Revolutionary hero Benjamin Rush (a humanitarian and doctor to President George Washington), the Rush Medical College expanded with a teaching hospital (today known as the Rush Medical Center), nursing school (in 1885) and College of Health Sciences. Today, Rush is regularly ranked one of the top medical schools in the US and has earned a strong national reputation for its fully online degree programs, including areas such as nursing, public health, and health administration.

The Rush University online PhD in Health Sciences degree program is a primarily research-focused program designed for healthcare professionals who want to move into research, college education, and administration. Students are steeped in research and leadership skills, learning to communicate and apply their original research to leadership positions in the healthcare industry and health education. The fully online PhD can be completed in 4-5 years, with three years devoted to online coursework and the last 1-2 years devoted to researching and writing an original dissertation.

Degree: PhD in Health Sciences

24. Regis University – Denver, CO

Founded by the Jesuit order in 1877, Regis University is one of the most respected Catholic colleges in the US, ranked among the top regional colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for decades before moving up into the top tier of national universities. Regis is particularly known for health science programs, after merging with the former Loretto Heights College, a Catholic women’s school. The Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions offers nationally-ranked programs in nursing, pharmacy, health education, counseling, and other healthcare industry disciplines. In recent years, Regis has earned a great deal of attention for its fully online degree programs, reaching out beyond Colorado to meet student needs.

Regis’ online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program has been ranked one of the top online DNP degrees in the nation, and two of the program’s three concentrations are designed for nurse managers and executives. The Advanced Leadership in Health Care and Executive Leadership in Health Care are designed for working nurse professionals who want to take on high-level administrative and executive positions. The Advanced Leadership is intended for nurses already in management positions who want to advance; the Executive Leadership is for nurses with more than 5 years experience in an executive or high-level position. Fully online coursework, no on-campus residencies, and 2-year or 3-year plans make the Regis online DNP a solid choice for aspiring nurse leaders.

Degree: DNP in Advanced Leadership in Health Care or Executive Leadership in Health Care

25. California Intercontinental University – Irvine, CA

California Intercontinental University began in 2001 with the goal of becoming an innovative, bleeding-edge online higher education institution. Entrepreneur Dr. Shaan Kumar, CIU’s founder, intended CIU to be one of the most diverse and ethical schools of its kind, and has made the most of its connections in the startup center of Irvine, CA. A fully online university from the start, CIU is accredited by the US Department of Education-approved Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), and has steadily been building a reputation for educational quality, accessibility, and professional value for nearly 20 years.

The CIU online DBA in Healthcare Management and Leadership degree program focuses on advanced decision-making skills for dynamic, adaptable leadership. In addition to strengthening their analytical powers and strategic thinking, the online Healthcare Management DBA puts students to the test in research and writing, preparing students for high-level leadership positions in academia or the healthcare industry. This 60-credit, fully online management doctoral program can be completed in just 2 years, with an attractively low tuition rate that has made many students around the world recognize CIU’s value.

Degree: DBA in Healthcare Management and Leadership