Best Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration 2021
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A doctorate in healthcare administration can pave the way for a lucrative leadership career coordinating, planning, and managing health services organizations.
Healthcare administration professionals improve the quality of healthcare services and organizations. Graduates of doctor of healthcare administration programs pursue careers as medical and health services managers, college professors and administrators, top executives, and social and community service managers.
Healthcare administration professionals can expect significant career opportunities and salary potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical and health services managers made a median annual salary of $99,730 in 2018. The BLS projects an 18% growth rate for the profession between 2018-28.
Read on to learn more about healthcare administration jobs and salaries and how to earn a Ph.D. in healthcare administration.
The Best Online Healthcare Administration Doctorate Programs
Founded in 1892, ATSU offers an online doctor of health administration. Students gain theoretical and practical knowledge for careers in public policy, clinical care, academics, and research.
The program requires students to complete 42 credits of coursework plus 20 credits of dissertation work. Courses include population health; health policy, law, and regulation; healthcare economics and financial management; and health organization governance. Students must possess a completed DHA portfolio and a minimum GPA of 3.0 to enter the dissertation phase of the program.
Applicants must possess a master's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.5 to qualify for admission.
Founded in 1892, CMU offers an online doctor of health administration. The program consists of 15 online courses and six 2.5-day seminars, followed by a comprehensive exam and a dissertation with an oral defense. Students can attend seminars either on the CMU campus or in regional cities located nearest to the student.
Course topics in the 63-credit program include leadership strategies for healthcare policy and organizations, population health, health informatics, and communication in healthcare organizations.
Applicants need a master's degree in a relevant field and at least three years of professional experience at a mid-to-senior level in healthcare.
Founded in1902, Franklin offers an online doctor of healthcare administration. Students can complete the program in about three years.
The 58-credit program starts with research core coursework, including doctoral writing and research and an introduction to statistics. From there, students take a series of courses required for the major, including organizations, community, and global health; advanced health information governance; and healthcare policies, regulations, and reform. Learners complete program requirements with 12 credits of electives, and comprehensive exam, and a dissertation.
The school allows students to transfer up to 24 credits toward their degree to complete the program faster. Applicants need 30 credits of graduate coursework in healthcare and a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission.
Founded in 1848, Ole Miss offers an online doctor of health administration. Students can complete the program in about three years. Coursework and research prepare candidates for careers in healthcare law, public health, leadership, and academic instruction. Students can complete most coursework online, with a few on-campus sessions required throughout the program.
Course topics include leadership strategies in health entities, strategic change management, fiscal responsibility and accountability, quality processes in health organizations, and health economics. Students must also complete and defend a doctoral research project at the end of the program.
Applicants need a master's degree or professional doctoral degree in a healthcare-related field from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students must also submit GRE scores. Non-healthcare applicants need five years' experience in healthcare management, policy, or clinical practice.
Online Healthcare Administration Doctorate Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
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Featured Online Healthcare Administration Doctorate Programs
What Is an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration Degree?
An online doctorate in healthcare administration provides the highest level of education in this field. Healthcare administration programs prepare graduates for leadership roles in the healthcare industry by fostering leadership, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and research skills. Students learn to manage healthcare organizations and develop solutions related to problems with healthcare cost, quality, and access.
Working professionals in the healthcare industry typically complete a doctorate in healthcare administration to expand their career opportunities and salary potential. Doctoral students become experts and ascend to the highest levels of leadership in this field. Many students continue to work full or part time while pursuing the degree. Most healthcare administration professionals aim to create change in the healthcare system that improves patient outcomes.
Common admission requirements for healthcare administration doctoral programs include a master's or doctorate in a health-related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA and substantial relevant work experience. Most programs also require GRE scores, official college transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, and a statement of purpose or essay. Some admission committees require telephone or in-person interviews for candidates who make it to the final round.
Curriculum for an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration
Online doctorate in healthcare administration programs may offer concentrations in areas like community health, epidemiology, advanced research methods, long-term care, or healthcare improvement. However, not all programs offer concentrations.
The curriculum for online doctorate in healthcare administration programs varies by school. Many healthcare administration programs require classes like population health, leadership strategies, healthcare law and ethics, healthcare economics, and research methods. See below for course descriptions.
- Population Health: This course introduces the principles of population health and examines reasons why health outcomes vary for different groups. Students learn to use data collection strategies and epidemiological principles to conduct family and community health assessments. The course also explores primary and secondary preventive interventions.
- Leadership Strategies: Students learn the foundations of leadership theories, values, and strategies, including topics such as emotional intelligence in leadership, dealing with challenges from outside organizations, and using persuasion and influence to accomplish organizational goals. Learners gain strategic thinking, research, and leadership skills.
- Healthcare Law and Ethics: This course provides an overview of ethical and legal issues that healthcare managers, administrators, and providers may face. Possible topics include end-of-life decisions, sexual harassment in the healthcare workplace, and unionization in the healthcare workplace. Students gain practical knowledge of health ethics and laws.
- Healthcare Economics: Students receive an overview of the structure of American healthcare markets and learn to evaluate the healthcare system in terms of access, affordability, and quality. The course also covers cost-benefit analysis, the implications of the Affordable Care Act, and supply and demand modeling in healthcare.
- Research Methods: This class provides an overview of research methods commonly used in healthcare administration. Students learn about qualitative and quantitative research methods, research ethics, and using statistics. Other topics include internal and external validity, designing and conducting experiments, and using the scientific method in healthcare.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration?
The amount of time it takes to earn a doctor of healthcare administration varies by program and school. Enrollment status, program requirements and structure, and other factors can also affect program length. Many online healthcare administration degrees take less time to complete than on-campus programs, and full-time students can typically earn an online doctorate in healthcare administration in about three years. Students can choose from healthcare administration programs with synchronous or asynchronous courses.
Healthcare administration programs with asynchronous courses make content available 24/7, giving students the flexibility to complete coursework whenever convenient. This option makes it easier for students to maintain work and personal obligations. Healthcare administration programs with synchronous courses require students, usually grouped into cohorts, to log on and attend class at a specific time. Synchronous programs can sometimes provide greater structure and support, but offer less flexibility and may take longer to complete.
Accreditation for Online Healthcare Administration Doctoral Programs
Students should choose an online doctorate in healthcare administration program at an accredited school. Accreditation ensures that colleges and universities meet high standards for academic quality. Schools can hold either regional or national accreditation. Most public, nonprofit universities hold regional accreditation, while private, for-profit, and technical schools tend to hold national accreditation.
In most cases, regional accreditation is considered more prestigious and trustworthy than national accreditation. Credit earned at regionally accredited schools usually transfers easily to other universities. Some employers and professions prefer or require job applicants to hold a degree from a regionally accredited university. A third type of accreditation, programmatic accreditation, evaluates the quality of specific departments or academic programs within institutions.
When researching school accreditation information, look for accreditation agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration
Students can pay for their Ph.D.s in healthcare administration using a variety of funding sources, including federal financial aid, scholarships and grants, teaching assistantships, private student loans, and corporate tuition assistance programs. Most students pay for their healthcare administration degrees using a combination of different types of financial aid.
Private foundations, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, businesses, and universities all offer scholarship and grant opportunities. Healthcare administration departments may also provide teaching assistantships, which typically offer a tuition waiver and living stipend for graduate students who help teach courses. Many businesses offer corporate tuition assistance to help employees pursue further education, especially if the degree relates to the company's mission.
Students can find out if they qualify for federal financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) through the U.S. Department of Education. Even students who do not think they will qualify for federal aid should complete the FAFSA, as many organizations and states that offer scholarships and grants require the FAFSA. Apply for the FAFSA as early as possible each year. Students receive a limited amount of aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so applying early increases the likelihood of receiving money.
Federal student loans offer many benefits, including low interest rates and flexible repayment options. In some cases, it makes sense to consider private student loans to help supplement federal loans or other financial aid sources. Consult our guide on applying for student loans to learn more about completing the FAFSA, determining eligibility for aid, and the different types of student loans.
Healthcare Administration Jobs
Potential careers for graduates of healthcare administration doctoral programs include medical and health services managers, college professors, college administrators, top executives, and social and community service managers. Some of these professions may require licensure or additional training.
Medical and health services managers coordinate the business activities of healthcare organizations and providers. They manage departments, medical practices, or entire facilities. They also improve efficiency in healthcare services, train staff, develop institutional goals, and manage facility finances. Most health and medical services managers work in hospitals, group medical practices, or nursing homes.
College Professors teach students beyond the high school level. They plan lessons, advise and evaluate students, modify curricula, conduct research, and publish scholarly books and articles. They also collaborate on teaching and research projects with colleagues in their field.
Postsecondary teachers typically need a doctorate in their field of expertise. They work at community colleges, four-year universities, and technical schools. College professors are typically resourceful and have excellent writing, speaking, interpersonal, and critical thinking skills. Demand for college professors should rise as the number of postsecondary students increases in the next decade.
College Administrators manage student services, research, and academics at universities and colleges. Day-to-day job duties vary depending on the size of the school. At larger schools, college administrators usually specialize in areas like admissions, student affairs, or the registrar's office. College administrators may review student applications, plan graduation ceremonies, maintain institutional records, and create nonacademic programs for students.
Top Executives help organizations meet goals through planning, direction, and coordination. They oversee financial activities, negotiate agreements, appoint managers, analyze financial statements, and establish procedures. Job responsibilities usually vary based on the size of the organization.
Top executives typically need at least a bachelor's degree and extensive work experience in a related occupation. Most top executives also have a great deal of managerial experience. Some top executives need a certification or license related to their management area. The best top executives need time management, problem-solving, management, and leadership skills. They also need communication and decision-making capabilities.
Social and community service managers need at least a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience. Many future managers work as social workers or substance abuse counselors. Successful professionals need skills in management, problem-solving, time management, and communication.
Social and community service managers oversee community organizations and social service programs and work for nonprofit groups, government agencies, and social service companies. Job duties include working with community members to identify necessary programs, analyzing data to determine program effectiveness, writing proposals to get funding, and planning outreach activities to increase awareness about projects.
Common Questions About Healthcare Administration Doctorate Degrees
Program length varies by school, but most doctorate in healthcare administration programs take 2-7 years to complete.
A doctorate in healthcare administration can lead to careers like medical and health services managers, college professors and administrators, top executives, and social and community service managers.
Healthcare administration salary prospects vary by job title, employer, and experience, but healthcare administration professionals can make anywhere from $65,000-$100,000 per year, according to BLS data.
Healthcare administration strives to improve the business strategies, policies, and decision-making of healthcare organizations, systems, and services.
A doctorate in healthcare administration is a terminal degree that prepares future healthcare administration leaders to manage and coordinate advanced policies and practices in healthcare and medical organizations.
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