The healthcare administration field is a promising career option, and earning a doctorate qualifies you for many positions that pay well and offer job security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health service management positions are expected to grow by 72,100 jobs between 2016 and 2026, resulting in a total of 424,300 management positions in the United States by 2026. PayScale reports that the average salary for professionals who have a Doctorate in Health Care Administration degree is $107,000. With the combination of well-paying careers and job security, earning a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration can be a worthwhile investment of your time and finances. These 10 Top Online Doctorates in Healthcare Administration can help you to pursue your education, even while still working full-time.
FINDING AN ONLINE DOCTORATE IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION
An online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration can prepare you for many potential careers. With a doctoral degree, you can hold positions such as Practice Manager, Executive Director of a nonprofit, Health Information Management Director, and more. Depending on your career goals, you may want to look for a degree that offers particular specializations or concentrations, which can help prepare you with the specialized information needed in your position. Most of these degrees require the development of a dissertation or other significant research project, which allows you to tailor your degree further and explore an area of interest. Depending on the structure of the degree program, you may start working on your dissertation in the first class, or may not begin your work on the project until the third year of the program.
These degree programs are offered either entirely or mostly online. Some feature hybrid models where students attend on-campus residencies multiple times throughout the year. Most of the programs offer asynchronous online learning, which means you can log in and do your coursework when your schedule allows. Some of these programs have classes with strict deadlines, while others are more fluid, allowing you to progress through your courses at your desired pace. Plan on spending at least three and as many as four years completing your degree, depending on your pace and whether you can transfer previous graduate credits toward your degree. While taking on a doctoral degree in addition to working full-time, these programs are designed with the understanding that students are working professionals who must balance their education with their careers and lives.
RANKING THE 10 TOP ONLINE DOCTORATES IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION
While you’re on your way to earning your Ph.D. or Doctorate within your field, the editors at Online PhD Programs are already practicing doctors of their craft: ranking the best online Ph.D. programs. To be featured on our annual rankings online doctorates must satisfy four coinciding requirements: accreditation, research and scholarship doctorate certification, NSF recognition, and institutional association with peer-reviewed academia.
Each degree is then ranked using information provided – primarily – through the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The data collected is scored through a series of weighted categories to represent seven crucial aspects of what makes an online doctorate valuable to future students. Online program quality and presence are joined by industry salaries, student reviews, degree exclusivity, costs, and completion rates to determine the best online doctorates available. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit our methodology page.
#1. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
Liberty University’s Doctorate of Business Administration – Healthcare Administration program prepares students to become leaders in the healthcare field. This 60-credit-hour program takes three years to complete and is available online with optional on-campus intensives. Because there are no set login times for this online degree, students enjoy scheduling flexibility that makes going back to school easier. During the first week of each course, students can attend an optional WebEx meeting with their professor and with their peers. The degree program features a focus on topics such as professional management, human resource development, and quality control, as well as the management of global healthcare systems. This program prepares students to pursue careers as healthcare administrators, management consultants, and directors of nonprofits.
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University was founded in 1971. This university is an accredited liberal arts institution that is home to over 100,000 students. Liberty University consists of 16 colleges and schools and offers over 550 programs of study, with more than 250 of those programs being offered online and educating students from all over the world. Liberty University’s distance education program began in 1985 and was facilitated by the mailing of VHS tapes to students, but today the internet allows online students to access a wealth of resources, including more than 750,000 online books, journals, and articles. For the past four years, Liberty University has frozen tuition rates for all of its undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs to keep education affordable and accessible.
#2. CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
At Central Michigan University, students can pursue a Doctor of Health Administration degree in a hybrid format. Students progress through the program in cohorts. During the first portion of the program, students complete 15 online courses, participate in six face-to-face seminars and must pass an essay exam. Each of the seminars are nearly three-days-long and regionally located, which allows students to observe industry experts outside of the CMU faculty. During the last portion of the program, students complete a dissertation on a healthcare administration area. This 63-credit-hour program offers a comprehensive education on many topics, including healthcare economic realities; health communication, informatics, and information technology; policy, regulation, and community; and the roles of values and ethics in contemporary healthcare organizations.
Located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Central Michigan University was founded in 1892. Today, the university offers more than 200 programs and has a total enrollment of over 23,000. Additionally, over 8,700 students are enrolled with CMU online. CMU holds the distinction of being one of the few universities in the country to hold the highest two Carnegie research classifications. Each year, CMU students are awarded $309 million in scholarships and financial aid. Students at CMU enjoy a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio and may participate in the university’s 150 study abroad programs located in over 40 countries.
#3. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM
The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers an Executive Doctor of Science (DSc) in Healthcare Leadership degree available mostly online. This program prepares students to enter into senior leadership positions in the healthcare field. The program is designed to be completed in three years, and students complete most coursework online. Each year, students also attend three, eight-day on-campus intensives. Students complete two years of coursework and then progress on to a final year focused on dissertation development. Prospective students should apply with an acquired Master’s Degree in Health Administration, Business Administration, or a related field. Additionally, applicants should have at least five years of experience in mid- to senior-level healthcare industry management.
As of Fall 2017, over 20,000 students were enrolled at UAB. The university awards bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as a variety of certificates. Students have access to excellent resources at UAB, and the libraries house over 1.4 million volumes. At UAB, students learn from highly qualified faculty, and numerous UAB faculty are Fulbright Scholars. UAB was named an INSIGHT Into Diversity Diversity Champion in 2018, receiving the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award. Additionally, the U.S. News & World Report recognized 14 of UAB’s programs in its Top 25 rankings for 2020. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings also recognize UAB as #1 regionally and as one of the top 10 universities in the world.
#4. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students can pursue an Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership (DrPH) to prepare to become senior leaders in the healthcare industry. This degree program is offered online, and students attend three- to four-day-long on-campus intensives during the fall, spring, and summer of the first two years of the program. The 45-credit-hour program takes three years to complete and culminates in the development of a dissertation. Program applicants should be working full-time and should have substantial leadership experience and responsibilities. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, and selected applicants will be contacted for phone interviews.
UNC-Chapel Hill was founded in 1795, and it became the first university in the country to award degrees in the 1700s. Today, the university is home to over 18,000 undergraduate and more than 11,000 graduate students. UNC-Chapel Hill offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, and 65 doctoral degree programs. The university offers a quality education where students receive individualized attention; 87% of classes have less than 50 students, and the university has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. In 2018, the U.S. News & World Report recognized UNC-Chapel Hill as being the fifth-best public university in the country. Forbes also recognized the university as being eleventh-best in its 2017 “America’s Top Colleges” ranking.
#5. UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
The University of Mississippi’s Doctor of Health Administration degree program offers students a unique doctoral degree that’s one of a kind in the state. This program is designed specifically for part-time non-traditional students and allows students to complete most coursework online. Students attend only minimal on-campus intensives, facilitating an ideal distance education opportunity. Students develop and defend a doctoral research project during the program’s last year. Program graduates will be prepared to hold a variety of leadership roles, such as hospital CEOs, quality officers, directors, faculty chairs, and more. These graduates can pursue careers in academia, healthcare practice, and healthcare administration.
The University of Mississippi, known as Ole Miss, was chartered in 1844 and opened to a class of 40 students. Since then, UM has grown into a preeminent research university educating over 23,000 students each year, with over 20% of students being minorities. The university consists of 15 academic divisions offering over 100 programs of study. UM’s students frequently receive academic recognition, and since 1998 UM has produced seven Truman, 10 Goldwater, 10 Fulbright, one Marshall, and two Udall scholars. Research also plays a central role at UM; the university is home to over 20 research centers and holds over 40 invention patents.
#6. MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND HEALTH SCIENCES
At the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, students can pursue a Doctor of Health Sciences (DHS) degree that is offered entirely online with no on-campus residency requirement. The program can be completed on a part-time basis in just nine semesters and focuses on the study of evidence-based practice to prepare students to meet the challenges of the health professions. Students may specialize in Health Systems Administration, Educational Leadership, or Global Health, and develop a capstone project. Program applicants must have a master’s degree and should be able to provide proof of their credentials or experience as a health professional.
MCPHS has campuses in Manchester, New Hampshire, and in Worcester and Boston, Massachusetts. This healthcare-focused university offers programs in many different fields, including Acupuncture, Dental Hygiene, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, and more. With more than 100 programs to choose from, students can also pursue some MCPHS programs online, and 72% of students graduate in four years. With five on-site clinics and centers, on-campus students can gain valuable firsthand experience. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked MCPHS graduates as having the top earning power in the country. Money Magazine also ranked MCPHS as being the topmost transformative college in the United States.
#7. FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY
Franklin University’s Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) degree is a 58-credit-hour program that can be completed in about three years. Students can also transfer up to 24 hours of credits. The program begins every January, April, and August, allowing students to begin their degree promptly. With Franklin University’s 100% online classes, students enjoy scheduling flexibility and customizable degrees by choosing from a variety of electives. In addition to coursework, students complete 10 hours of dissertation coursework and must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify for their degree.
Franklin University students average 34 years in age, and students can take classes online or on-site one night per week to accommodate their working schedules and busy lives. With Franklin University’s balanced learning approach, the workload is equally distributed throughout every course. Each course’s workload is fully detailed on the course website, so students can plan ahead to balance their coursework with upcoming commitments. With multiple start dates throughout the year and variable course lengths, Franklin University gives students multiple ways to choose and design their education so that it works within their lives.
#8. MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
The Medical University of South Carolina offers a Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) program in a blended format that combines asynchronous internet learning with face-to-face instruction. Students attend one long weekend at MUSC’s Charleston South Carolina campus each semester. During the program’s second year, students also attend a one-week trip to Washington, DC, during which time they meet with national health policy experts. Students spend the third year of the program focusing on their supervised doctoral project research. This program features two entry tracks: The Executive Leadership & Policy track which focuses on the development of healthcare industry leaders, and the Interprofessional Leadership & Policy track which focuses on developing interprofessional leaders in fields such as health information systems and social work.
Located in Charleston, South Carolina, USMC consists of six different schools, including the College of Medicine, College of Health Professions, and College of Nursing. USMC currently offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and other professional level degrees, while offering residency training to over 750 graduate professionals. Through USMC Online, students can enroll in nine blended or online programs, choose from eight different specialty tracks, and access 229 blended or online courses each year. USMC students have access to many support services, including the Center for Academic Excellence and Writing Center and the Wellness Center, which is also open to the public. Additionally, USMC is home to over 80 student groups and organizations, such as the Student Government Association.
#9. GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY
Grand Canyon University awards a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership With an Emphasis in Health Care Administration degree that students may pursue either online or by taking on-campus classes during the evenings. The online degree gives students excellent scheduling flexibility in a stimulating and challenging environment. Classes begin frequently, allowing students to take the next step in their education and career without delay. For students who want an in-person learning environment, GCU’s night classes meet just one night per week and offer frequent start dates. During this 60-credit-hour program, students will take classes such as Structures and Governance in Health Care, Sustainability of Health Care Organizations, and Strategic Planning and Change.
GCU’s main campus is located in Phoenix, Arizona, and has a 65-year history. GCU is a private Christian university that has undergone significant growth since 2009, and today, students travel from all over the world to attend GCU. Recent additions to the campus include the construction of a state-of-the-art engineering building, a GCU stadium, and three on-campus apartment buildings. At GCU, students can participate in 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, as well as intramural sports, dance, and cheerleading. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in many different fields, including Theology & Ministry, Engineering & Technology, Business & Management, and more.
#10. CAPELLA UNIVERSITY
At Capella University, students can pursue a Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) degree online. Students who have an MHA or related degree can transfer up to 12 credits toward this program, saving up to $9,060, and scholarships are also available to help with the cost of the program. This program is available with four specializations: General Health Administration, Health Care Quality and Analytics, Health Care Leadership, and Health Care Policy and Advocacy. During this program, students learn how to identify and fix issues and problems in healthcare administration and how to create and implement effective solutions. This program prepares students to become leaders who can drive industry change while meeting their professional goals.
Capella University has over 25 years of experience in providing online doctoral education. Established in 1993, Capella University currently educates more than 38,000 students in 53 academic programs. Students average 39 years in age, and enjoy the flexibility of Capella University’s education, which allows them to balance work, family obligations, and their education. Capella University offers two online learning formats. With the GuidedPath format, weekly pre-set deadlines and group discussions provide a structure that helps students to progress through their coursework. The FlexPath is a less structured format, allowing students to progress through courses as their schedule allows. Students receive plenty of support during their education from academic advisors, writing coaches, career counselors, financial aid advisors, librarians, and more.