#1 Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private, nonprofit, Christianity-affiliated institution offering an online Master of Science in Health Informatics - Health Administration Informatics that requires 36 credit hours. It can take one year to complete the program. Northwestern’s acceptance rate is 9%, and it has a 95% graduation rate.
At Northwestern, online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously through Canvas, a popular learning management system (LMS). A master’s in healthcare administration combines business concepts with healthcare organization and finance. Sample courses are American Health Care System, Introduction to Health Informatics, and Health Analytics Leadership. A capstone or thesis is required for graduation. Future career opportunities for graduates are health insurance managers, clinical supervisors, and healthcare marketing managers.
#2 Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, nonprofit, Catholic and Jesuit-affiliated institution that offers an Executive Master's in Clinical Quality, Safety, and Leadership totaling 32 credit hours. The program offers two tracks: (1) Quality and Safety and (2) Human Factors. Full-time students can expect to complete the program within 16 months. The university accepts 17% of applicants, with 94% of Georgetown students graduating.
The school facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning via Canvas. The program dives into healthcare quality and organizational leadership concepts. Sample courses are Quality Improvement Methods, Introduction to Patient Safety and Quality, and Effective Leadership in Healthcare Organizations. A three-day residency on Georgetown’s campus and a capstone are required. Potential career options for graduates are hospital administrators, clinical managers, and health service administrators.
#3 University of Southern California
At the University of Southern California (USC) — a private, nonprofit institution — prospective students can pursue an online Executive Master of Health Administration, which requires 36 credit hours. Full-time students can expect to complete the program within one year. USC’s acceptance rate is 16%, and it has a 93% graduation rate.
USC students complete coursework online that's delivered asynchronously and synchronously through the LMS Canvas. This program is designed for healthcare professionals looking to advance their careers. Some of the program’s courses are Health Information Systems, Managing and Improving Health, and Quality of Care Concepts. Two four-day residencies on USC’s campuses are also required. Graduates may pursue careers like medical and health services managers, directors, and senior managers.
#4 Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago (LUC) is a private, nonprofit, Jesuit Catholic-affiliated institution that offers an online Master of Arts in Health Care Mission Leadership totaling 36 credit hours. Full-time students can potentially finish this program in just one year. The university’s acceptance rate is 71%, with a graduation rate of 73%.
LUC facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning via Sakai. The program’s curriculum prepares students for senior leadership roles in healthcare administration. The program’s courses are Advanced Concepts in Health Systems Management, Fiscal Management in Health Organizations, and Moral Theology for Bioethics. Students must complete a research capstone or practicum to graduate. Prospective careers for graduates include health information managers, pharmaceutical project managers, and nursing home administrators.
#5 Ohio University - Main Campus
Ohio University - Main Campus (Ohio) is a public institution offering an online Master of Health Administration that totals 36 credit hours. Full-time students can expect to complete the program within one year. The program also offers five specializations students can choose from, including Business Analytics and Leadership. The university accepts 87% of applicants, with 65% graduating.
At Ohio, online students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously on the LMS Blackboard. A master’s in healthcare administration curriculum is composed of courses to help students become leaders in the healthcare industry. Sample courses are Health Policy, Health Care Finance, and Health Law. Some potential job opportunities available to alumni of the program include clinical supervisors, medical billing managers, and practice administrators.
#6 Western Governors University
Based in Salt Lake City, Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, nonprofit institution offering only distance learning. This includes an online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration through the Leavitt School of Health. The program culminates in a capstone project, where students collaborate with healthcare industry leaders to identify and solve a problem affecting the healthcare system. Graduating requires completing 34 credits — 12 courses — and generally takes full-time students a year.
WGU uses a learning management system powered by Salesforce to deliver its online curriculum to distance learners. Online healthcare administration courses include Innovative Solutions in Healthcare Leadership, Enterprise Risk Management, Quality Improvement in Healthcare, and Challenges in Community Healthcare.
#7 University of Alabama at Birmingham
The historically-located University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public institution offering an online MSN - Nursing Health Systems Administration with a curriculum built around the unique needs of the nursing administration workforce. Admission is limited to summer entry only. While coursework is primarily online, on-campus intensives may be required. Students must complete 36 credits which generally takes two years of full-time study. This includes 28 credits of didactic coursework (virtual classroom) and an eight-credit clinical practicum. Additionally, UAB offers an online MPH - Health Care Organization and Policy and an online MS in Healthcare Quality and Safety.
UAB delivers its online curriculum via Canvas. MSN in nursing health systems administration distance learners take courses such as Advanced Quality and Patient Safety, Developing the Advanced Nurse Leader, Evidence-Based Practice and Management, and Nursing Financial Management.
#8 The George Washington University
The George Washington University (GWU) in our nation's capital is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Master of Health Administration. While most of this program is online, two on-campus immersions, one capitol hill immersion, and one health organization immersion are required. Graduating requires 50 credits and takes two to four years to complete. GWU also offers an online Master of Science in Health Sciences in Correction Health Administration, a one-of-a-kind program focusing on the incarcerated population's unique and often overlooked needs.
Blackboard is the learning management system GWU uses to deliver its online programming to distance learners. Online master's courses in health administration include Medical Informatics and Decision Management; Leadership and Ethics, Law, and Policy; and Quality and Performance Improvement.
#9 University of St. Francis
The University of St. Francis (USF) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a Roman Catholic institution guided by Franciscan values. It offers an online Master of Healthcare Administration, which has 12 concentration options, such as Healthcare Management, Healthcare Operations, Higher Education Administration, and Marketing. Students complete 36 credits, culminating in a comprehensive exam. Due to short eight-week sessions and six annual start dates, it generally takes full-time students less than two years to complete this online graduate degree.
USF distance learners access Canvas to receive instruction and participate in class remotely. Depending on the concentration, online MHA graduate students may enroll in courses, Fraud Examinations, Healthcare Marketing, Principles of Managed Care, Healthcare Operations Management, and Technology Innovations.
#10 Norwich University
New England's Norwich University (NU) in Vermont is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Master of Science in Nursing - Healthcare Systems Leadership (MSN - Healthcare Systems Leadership) designed to meet critical industry demands and help students pursue advanced healthcare systems leadership roles. Students take 18 credits in the core curriculum and 18 in the leadership specialty. Class sizes are small, with a maximum of 15 students, and it generally takes those attending full-time 18 months to complete this 36-credit program.
NU delivers its online coursework and instruction via the Nuoodle learning management system. Courses in this online MSN program include The Nurse Leader's Role in Healthcare Systems, Strategic Planning in Healthcare, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Healthcare, and Healthcare Resource Management - Human Resources.
#11 George Mason University
George Mason University (GMU) in the Washington D.C. suburbs is a public institution offering an online Master in Public Health, with eight concentrations, including Food Security and Nutrition, Public Health Practice, Health Equity and Social Justice, and Global Health. This 42-credit online program generally takes full-time students about three years to complete and includes fieldwork. The curriculum also helps prepare students to sit for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam. An online Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management is also available.
GMU's online students use Blackboard to participate in class and complete coursework. Depending on the concentration, MPH distance learners engage with instructors and peers in classes such as Rural Public Health, Environmental Health, Behavioral Health Interventions Across Systems, and Perspectives on Food Security.
#12 University of Denver
Colorado's University of Denver (UD) is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Master of Science in Healthcare Management - Healthcare Policy and Regulatory Leadership that aims to help graduate candidates prepare for career advancement and to sit for the National Association for Quality Healthcare Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality accreditation exam. Graduating requires completing 32 credits — 12 courses — which full-time students may be able to do in 1.5 years.
UD provides access to Canvas so distance learners can receive instruction and complete assignments remotely. Depending on career goals and interests, online healthcare policy and regulatory leadership program courses may include Comparative Healthcare Systems, Ethical Considerations in Healthcare, Implementation and Evaluation of Healthcare Public Policy, and Healthcare Public Policy and the Legislative Process.
#13 University of Washington - Seattle
The University of Washington - Seattle (UW) is a public institution in the Pacific Northwest offering an online Master of Public Health through the College of Professional and Continuing Education so students can acquire the competencies needed to become leaders in public health, promote equity, and support social justice. Students complete approximately 42 credits, taking full-time students 18 months and part-time students 27 months on average. While most coursework is online, three in-person sessions are required.
Canvas is the learning management system UW distance learners use to access online programming. Those enrolled in the online MPH program participate in courses such as Programming Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation; Determinants of Health; Implementing Public Health Interventions; and Environmental and Occupational Health for Public Health Practitioners.
#14 Johns Hopkins University
Known globally for its healthcare curriculum, research, and medical school, Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a private institution offering an online Master of Science in Health Care Management targeted at helping students build skills to gain confidence in making informed decisions on health care economics through the Carey Business School. Students may finish this 36-credit part-time program in two years. JHU also offers an online Master of Applied Science in Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality and an online Master of Applied Science in Community-Based Primary Health Care in Global Health. Choosing the best online master's degree depends on a student's career goals.
JHU delivers online coursework and instruction via Canvas. Courses in the online master's in health care management curriculum include Pharmaceutical Strategy; The U.S. Health Care System: Past, Present, and Future; The Wire: Business Solutions for Community Health Improvement; and Emerging Frontiers in Health Technologies and Strategies. A consulting practicum is also required.
#15 New York University
As one of the top schools in the country, the prestigious New York University in Greenwich Village is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Master of Health Administration through the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. While this part-time program is primarily online, an intensive, in-person immersive in Skill-Building for Healthcare Managers is required during the second term. Graduating requires 45 credits, and this online degree program is designed to be completed in 28 months.
NYU uses Brightspace to deliver its online curriculum to distance learners. The online MHA program requires a combination of asynchronous classwork via Brightspace and live virtual class sessions two evenings per week. Online Master of Health Administration students take classes such as Strategic Management for Healthcare Organizations, Analyzing Data for Healthcare Management, Data Visualization, and Advanced Topics in Health Policy.
#16 Wilmington University
Delaware's Wilmington University (WilmU) is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online MBA in Health Care Administration focusing on issues including health policy, insurance, service demand, and current legal and ethical issues in the global environment. Students complete 36 credits, including 21 in the MBA core and 15 in the health care administration specialization. This accelerated program consists of seven-week courses, enabling some full-time students to finish in under two years. WilmU also offers an online MS in Management - Health Care Administration.
WilmU delivers its online programming through Canvas. Distance learners log into Canvas for remote access to health care administration courses such as Managerial Decision-Making, Marketing in the Health Care Sector, Seminar in Health Care Administration, and Survey of Data Analytics.
#17 University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati (UC) is a public institution offering an online Master of Health Administration to help prepare students to become innovative, transformative, and ethical healthcare leaders in various environments. MHA curriculum uses the National Center for Healthcare Leadership Competency Model, version 3.0. This part-time, 40-credit program culminates in a two-part capstone project. Courses vary between a 7-week and a 14-week format. Students take six to nine credits per semester and finish in a little over two years.
UC distance learners use Canvas to access the program curriculum remotely. Online MHA students participate in a range of courses, such as Health Economics, Global Health Systems, Total Quality Management, Health Policy and Regulation, and Evidence-Based Decision-Making for Managers.
#18 Clarkson College
Clarkson College (CC) in Nebraska is a private, Episcopal-faith-based institution offering an online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration designed to build upon expertise and experience while preparing while helping prepare for career advancement. This 39-credit program takes four to seven semesters to finish. Courses are six weeks long, and students focus on one at a time. They complete a business plan as a capstone project at the end of the program.
CC delivers its online coursework and instruction via Canvas. Online healthcare administration courses include Fundamentals of Informatics, Healthcare Project Management, Healthcare Law and Policy, and Healthcare Information Systems. Completing a three-credit internship is also required as part of the program curriculum.
#19 Pfeiffer University
North Carolina's Pfeiffer University (PU) is a United Methodist, private institution offering an online Master of Health Administration as a sequentially-designed program focusing on topics such as Organizational Communication and Behavior, Leadership, and Health Economics. Graduating requires completing 39 credits in a specific order, and full-time students may be able to meet program requirements in under three years. Field experience is required. Students also have an opportunity to study abroad for up to 10 days between semesters.
PU's distance learners access Blackboard to receive coursework and instruction remotely. The online MHA program courses include Comparative International Health, Health Economics, Leadership Perspectives in Health Policy, and Legal and Ethical Perspectives in Healthcare Administration. Students also complete a comprehensive exam to graduate.
#20 Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond is a public institution offering an online Master of Science in Health Administration that aims to prepare working healthcare professionals for leadership roles in complex healthcare organizations. Students complete 42 credits — 14 courses — generally taking two years for those attending full time. While most of the curriculum is online, students must meet on campus for two days in October and March.
VCU uses Canvas to deliver its online programming to distance learners asynchronously. However, two synchronous Zoom sessions are required throughout the program during long weekends. Those enrolled in this online master's program participate in courses such as Health Analytics and Decision Support, Health Care Marketing, Health Care Politics and Policy, and Strategic Management in Health Care Organizations.
What Is a Master's in Healthcare Administration Degree?
In every hospital, nursing home, and healthcare facility, leaders are needed to make sure that patients are receiving excellent care, employees are working together efficiently, and the organization's finances are well managed. These business professionals need a thorough understanding of business operations as well as familiarity with healthcare regulations and the U.S. healthcare system.
As a healthcare professional with some work experience, it's possible for you to work your way up to these mid- and high-level management positions. However, earning a Master's in Healthcare Administration (MHA) can provide a powerful boost to your career path. Available in online and on-campus formats, MHA programs are designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective leader in the healthcare field.
Perhaps one of the most important considerations when choosing an online healthcare administration program is accreditation. All of the schools on our list of the best online MHA programs have earned institutional accreditation, so you can be assured of a quality education. Some schools may have also earned programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). This shows that the program's learning outcomes have been carefully designed to meet healthcare industry standards.
Before deciding on a master's degree in healthcare administration, you may want to explore several alternatives. These include a Master of Healthcare Management, a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management, and a Master of Public Health. Prospective students who have already earned a master's degree in a related field may also want to consider a healthcare administration graduate certificate. These streamlined programs can often be completed in 12-18 months.
For acceptance into an online master's in healthcare administration program, you'll need to have earned an accredited bachelor's degree, possibly with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Your undergraduate degree does not necessarily have to be a bachelor's in healthcare administration or a related subject. However, if you didn't study healthcare as an undergraduate and have little work experience in the field, you may be required to take a few prerequisite courses before starting your master's courses.
Along with your application, you are likely to be asked to submit official college transcripts, a personal essay describing your healthcare career goals, and one or more letters of recommendation. More competitive schools may also require you to submit GRE or GMAT scores, and some schools may ask you to interview with one of the faculty members.
Graduation requirements for an online Master of Healthcare Administration program can vary. Many programs require 30-36 credit hours, which may be completed in about two years of full-time study or three years of part-time study. Your MHA program is likely to include some type of capstone course, and it may require an internship at a healthcare facility. A few programs also include a clinical research component that teaches you to use evidence-based research methods to solve healthcare problems.
Online Master of Health Administration programs are interdisciplinary, meaning that they combine courses from various disciplines, such as business, information technology, health sciences, public health, and psychology. By drawing upon all of these elements, online learners discover how to apply the fundamental concepts of business administration to specific settings in the healthcare environment.
Although the names may differ by school, some of the core courses typically found in an online MHA program include the following:
What Can You Do With a Master's in Healthcare Administration?
Graduates of healthcare administration master's programs are trained to coordinate with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to run healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, research facilities, and nonprofit organizations with a focus on medical research and aid. Some may move into the workforce after earning their degree, while others may decide to pursue additional education.
While many MHA graduates establish fulfilling and lucrative careers with only bachelor's and master's degrees, you may be interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in healthcare administration. If so, you have two options:
- A Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) focuses on the application of business theory at a high level. The degree prepares graduates for executive roles, especially in larger healthcare organizations.
- A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Healthcare Administration focuses on conducting research to solve large-scale public health issues. A PhD may be a better choice for those who plan to work in academia.
Healthcare Administration Careers
Professionals with an online MHA will find a wide range of master's in healthcare administration jobs available. Many graduates become medical and health services managers, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 28% growth for this in-demand occupation over the next decade. However, MHA holders may also find employment opportunities as healthcare consultants, facility managers, department or division managers, chief executive officers, or chief operations officers.
Financing Your Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration
Cost is one of the most significant considerations when you're thinking about earning an online master's degree in healthcare administration, which is why financial aid is so important. Students enrolled in accredited online MHA programs are eligible for financial assistance from a variety of federal, state, and school-sponsored sources.
You can apply for financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Later, you'll be notified if you qualify and for how much. Grants and scholarships are preferred because they generally don't need to be repaid. If you're already working in healthcare, your employer may also offer tuition reimbursement.
Student loans are another option, but they can be very expensive. To determine how much the interest on the loan may add to the total cost of your degree, use our student loan repayment calculator. Also remember that private student loans often have higher interest rates and more demanding repayment terms than federal student loans.
Looking for a way to economize on earning a healthcare administration degree? Review our lists of the most affordable online bachelor's in healthcare administration and the most affordable online master's in healthcare administration.
FAQs About Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs
How Long Does It Take to Get a Healthcare Administration Degree?
Healthcare administration master's programs typically require 10-12 online courses. Full-time graduate students often finish their degree program in two years, while part-time students — often working professionals — may need up to three years. Some graduate schools offer accelerated master's programs that feature back-to-back, year-round terms. Students often complete these programs in about one year.
Is a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Worth It?
When you consider the significant investment of time and money that goes into completing an online healthcare administration master's program, it's wise to evaluate the value of the degree before enrolling. Whether an MHA is worth it is a personal decision based on your career goals and circumstances.
Although a master's degree in healthcare administration is not a requirement to move into healthcare management, an advanced degree prepares you to take on mid- and high-level management positions that often feature higher salaries. According to the BLS, the median weekly income for master's degree holders is $1,574, which is $240 more per week than the median for all bachelor's degree holders. That adds about $12,500 to your annual income. Additionally, MHA courses are designed to help you develop marketable soft skills, such as critical thinking, business analytics, strategic planning, and collaboration.
How Much Does a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Cost?
The cost of a healthcare administration master's degree varies widely by school. However, the NCES estimates $19,749 per year for a graduate degree, which comes out to $39,498 for a typical two-year master's program. Fortunately, many accredited schools offer lower tuition rates for their affordable online master's in healthcare administration programs.
What Does a Master’s in Healthcare Administration Make?
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for medical and health services managers is $101,340. However, this is for all healthcare professionals in management positions, regardless of their education. Given the expertise provided by a graduate degree, a master's in healthcare administration salary is likely to be higher than average.
Healthcare service providers and healthcare facilities rely on managers who possess both an in-depth knowledge of the healthcare industry and solid business acumen. One of the best ways to acquire both is by earning a master's in healthcare administration online or on campus. An advanced degree in this field is likely to open doors to higher-paying leadership roles.
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