Most Affordable Online Master’s in Healthcare Administration Programs

by Genevieve Carlton, TBS Staff Writers
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Healthcare administrators manage budgets, oversee staff, and make sure healthcare organizations run smoothly. Master's in healthcare administration programs help learners gain the business skills and field-specific knowledge necessary for healthcare administration careers.

Master's students take courses in healthcare operations, financial management, and organizational behavior. Many programs feature experiential learning opportunities, such as practicums and capstone projects. Online programs are often more flexible and affordable than on-campus master's programs.

The following list ranks the most affordable online master's in healthcare administration programs. Prospective students can use the rankings to find a program that fits their budget, schedule, and career goals.

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Questions About Healthcare Administration

true Q. What jobs can I get with a degree in healthcare administration?

A healthcare administration degree qualifies graduates for careers as medical and health services managers. Many employers in the healthcare field prefer candidates with a master's degree.

true Q. How long does it take to become a healthcare administrator?

Healthcare administrators need at least a bachelor's degree. A master's degree can lead to advanced roles. Most students earn their master's in healthcare administration in two years.

true Q. What is the difference between healthcare administration and healthcare management?

Healthcare administrators typically manage day-to-day tasks, while healthcare managers focus on long-term strategic planning. However, these professionals' responsibilities may overlap.

Why Get a Degree in Healthcare Administration?

A master's degree in healthcare administration can lead to high-paying healthcare positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers earn a median salary well above the median for all occupations. The BLS also projects strong employment growth for this profession.

Online programs often appeal to working professionals. These programs typically offer flexible scheduling options, which can help students balance school with other responsibilities. Online learners can research the most affordable master's in healthcare administration programs throughout the country. Online students can also choose specialized programs in areas such as healthcare financial management and healthcare informatics.

How Much Does a Healthcare Administration Degree Cost?

A master's degree takes less time to earn than a bachelor's in healthcare administration. However, the total cost of a master's can exceed that of a bachelor's degree. Cost varies by program. In-state public schools typically offer the lowest tuition rates. According to the Education Data Initiative, a master's degree cost an average of $66,340 in 2021.

Tuition rates for healthcare administration programs vary widely. Florida International University's online master of health services administration program costs $36,000 total. Students in American University's master's in healthcare management program pay a total of $40,350 in tuition. And the master of health administration at the University of Washington costs more than $65,000.

Additional Online Student Fees

Master's students should consider the total cost of earning a degree. In addition to tuition, many online programs charge a distance learning fee or technology fee. Students may also need to upgrade their laptop or internet service. Books and supplies can cost several hundred dollars per term, and some programs charge a graduation fee.

Online students should budget for any in-person components, such as campus visits. Learners should contact their prospective program for details about the total cost of earning a healthcare administration degree online.

How Much Do Healthcare Administration Majors Make?

Graduates of online master's in healthcare administration programs often earn above-average salaries. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earn a median salary of $104,280 per year. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 32% from 2020-2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Earning potential varies by location, job title, and work setting. The top 10% of medical and health services managers earn more than $195,630 per year. Government facilities and hospitals pay the highest median salaries. Additionally, more experienced professionals often qualify for the highest-paying healthcare administration careers.

Courses in Healthcare Administration

Online master's in healthcare administration programs emphasize analytical and leadership skills. Students earning a master's in healthcare administration often take courses in finance and accounting, information systems management, and human resources management.

Some programs require elective courses, such as healthcare marketing, healthcare policy, and healthcare economics. Master's students may complete a capstone or practicum demonstrating administration skills.

Course availability varies by program. However, students earning their healthcare administration degree online often take the following classes.

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators need at least a bachelor's degree, but many employers prefer to hire master's degree-holders. Graduate-level training in business, healthcare management, and health information systems can benefit healthcare administrators.

Most medical and health services managers work in hospitals, doctors' offices, or nursing and residential care facilities. Other common work settings include government medical facilities and outpatient care centers. These professionals review budget proposals, analyze health services delivery data, and supervise nonclinical staff members. Healthcare administrators typically work full-time hours, and those in hospital settings may work evenings and weekends.

Career and Salary Outlook for Healthcare Administration Students

Many graduates of master's in healthcare administration programs pursue careers in medical and health services management. According to the BLS, these professionals earn a median salary well above the median for all occupations. The BLS projects strong growth from 2020-2030, meaning recent graduates will likely find many opportunities for healthcare administration careers.

Master's degree-holders can become community health advocates and administrative services managers. Healthcare administration programs feature management and leadership training, which can lead to a variety of career opportunities.

Salary Potential and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Administrative Service Managers $98,890 9%
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers $48,140 17%
Medical and Health Services Managers $104,280 32%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Most Affordable Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs

  1. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

    Edinburg, TX



    The Texas Legislature established UTRGV in 2013 to bring high-quality education to residents of the Rio Grande Valley. The school offers campuses across the valley, including those in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville, South Padre Island, and McAllen. The school focuses on medicine, nursing, social work, and health professions. UTRGV may soon become the second-largest higher education provider for Hispanic students in the country. As such, it emphasizes cultural diversity and perspectives.

    The school’s colleges of business and health sciences partner to offer a master’s in healthcare administration online. This program helps working professionals earn the credentials to move into healthcare leadership roles. Degree candidates take courses in healthcare accounting, compliance and risk management, competing through service, and professional proposal writing.

    In total, degree candidates earn 36 credits entirely online. On average, students take one year to complete the accelerated program. They take one or two courses at a time during seven-week terms.

    UTRGV makes education affordable for all. As such, students pay the same low tuition rates regardless of their residencies. Furthermore, online learners enjoy the same eligibility for school-funded financial aid as their on-campus peers.

    Applicants should hold bachelor’s degrees from accredited universities with GPAs of at least 3.0. Some candidates with lower grades may earn conditional admissions. Applicants must send official transcripts, a letter of intent, and two letters of recommendation. The school does not require entrance exam scores.

  2. Peirce College

    Philadelphia, PA



    Peirce College opened soon after the end of the Civil War to train veterans in skills that would allow them to find work. This private school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania started offering higher education to business-oriented women, as well. The school continues its legacy of innovation as one of the nation’s oldest providers of online education.

    Peirce offers a flexible master’s program in health administration. This online MHA allows learners to choose whether they want to attend class on campus or log on and live stream lectures. Students who choose online learning can complete the week’s requirements on their own schedules. Learners can communicate with professors through the course website, email, and text.

    The 36-credit curriculum prepares degree candidates to work in non-clinical healthcare leadership roles through courses such as ethics in healthcare administration, healthcare law and compliance, healthcare informatics and information technology, and strategic management and finance. The program ends with a practicum and capstone course that learners must take simultaneously. Students use online simulations to learn about the processes and tasks that they use in their careers. The projects they complete can also be included in portfolios.

    Applicants need undergraduate degrees or work experience in healthcare. They should also hold bachelor’s degrees from accredited schools with GPAs of at least 2.75. The school requires personal admissions essays and letters of recommendation.

  3. Colorado State University-Global Campus

    Greenwood Village, CO



    CSU Global is a fully online university and an independent member of the CSU system. The school invites students to make financially sound, fulfilling investments in themselves.

    The university offers an online MHA program with accelerated courses and monthly start dates. Students enjoy asynchronous learning and the ability to fit their studies into their schedules. The 36-credit curriculum takes about one year to complete and includes courses in organizational behavior and human resources in healthcare, health law and ethics, healthcare finance, and healthcare information systems. Degree candidates take an optional internship course that gives them practical, hands-on experience in management.

    As a fully online school, distance education students enjoy access to the same CSU Global resources as those studying on campus, such as free online tutoring around the clock. Degree candidates can also submit academic essays to the writing center for free expert feedback. The online library includes a 24-hour librarian chat service, industry publications, e-books, journals, writing tutorials, and resource guides.

    Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The school prefers candidates with GPAs of at least 3.0, but learners with lower grades can earn provisional admission. Prospective students should submit resumes and essays, and they must take a 30-minute assessment when they apply.

  4. Texas Woman's University

    Denton, TX



    TWU is the largest university in the United States that serves primarily women. About 15,000 students learn at the school’s campuses in the Denton, Houston, and Dallas areas of Texas. The university boasts more new healthcare graduates than any other school in the Lone Star State. Boasting a liberal arts curricula and private-school feeling, TWU still retains the benefits of public schooling.

    Students earn TWU’s online master’s in healthcare administration degree through the business school’s MBA program. Degree candidates in this hybrid program must attend classes on the campuses in Houston or McKinney each week. The accelerated courses last just five weeks each. Learners earn 36–46 credits in about 15 months.

    The curriculum includes courses like managerial finance, decision analysis for managers, concepts of health and disease for administrators, and performance management and quality in healthcare administration. Degree candidates can take most courses in any order, but they must complete the capstone course in business strategy and policy in the final term.

    Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 on the final 60 credits from an accredited school. Prospective students can apply with degrees in any subject. However, some candidates may need to take foundational business courses before moving to the MBA classes. TWU does not require entrance exam scores.

  5. Louisiana State University-Shreveport

    Shreveport, LA



    LSUS boasts an excellent reputation in Louisiana and beyond. The school’s nearly 8,000 students learn from the most educated faculty in the Pelican State. More than half of these learners take graduate-level courses. The school participates in the Southern Regional Education Board as a certified Electronic Campus.

    The school’s healthcare administration master’s program online offers full-time and part-time options. Learners without a business degree or those who need refreshers can take optional business foundation courses before starting the main curriculum. These courses use pass-fail grading and count for one credit hour. The required curriculum includes 10 courses in subjects such as healthcare organizational behavior, healthcare law and ethics, healthcare strategic management, and healthcare marketing. Full-time degree candidates can earn a diploma in as few as 10 months.

    Students enroll in one or two classes each seven-week term. Most courses use asynchronous learning, which does not require learners to log on to live sessions. However, some professors use online video conferences.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Candidates with GPAs below 2.5 overall or 2.75 in the final 60 credits need three years of professional work experience or a GMAT score of at least 1,000. Other applicants do not need to submit test scores, and the school does not accept GRE results.

  6. California State University-Long Beach

    Long Beach, CA



    CSULB’s 322-acre campus contains a nationally recognized art museum, an iconic blue pyramid, and beach views, and it also gives students some of the best higher education value in the Golden State. The university ranks among the top five in the country for the number of first-year applicants and boasts a network of about 330,000 alumni.

    The school’s College of Health and Human Services offers an accelerated master’s in healthcare administration online. Applicants need five years of experience in the healthcare industry and must complete prerequisites in microeconomics, accounting, and statistics before the first semester in the program. The school requires a GPA of at least 2.5 to qualify for admission.

    The accelerated program uses a cohort model, so learners take all classes in a specific order. Learners take two classes per quarter for two years until the final semester, which includes just one course. The 45-credit curriculum provides courses in healthcare economics, strategic management, marketing in healthcare, human resource management, and research methods in healthcare management. Students complete most of the coursework online, but they attend on-campus classes in Long Beach on Saturdays.

  7. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL



    In 1961, FAU opened in Boca Raton, Florida with 850 acres near the ocean. Today, the university consists of 10 individual schools and colleges that offer 170 programs. The school’s approximately 30,000 on-campus learners primarily take courses on the main Boca Raton campus, but the university also maintains learning facilities in Davie, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, and Jupiter. Nearly 9,000 learners take FAU courses exclusively online.

    FAU’s College of Business offers an Executive MHA online. Students choose whether to take courses entirely online or to go to the main campus every third weekend for in-person interactions. The online option includes only asynchronous classes so that learners do not need to stop working in order to earn their degrees. Many students complete the program in just 15 months.

    The program includes coursework that leads to Lean Six-Sigma green belt certification. Degree candidates earn 30 credits from courses such as planning and marketing in healthcare, global issues in healthcare delivery, health law, and research methods for healthcare management.

    FAU accepts new students each fall and spring semester. Applicants need an accredited bachelor’s degree in any area of study with a GPA of at least a 3.0 and four years of work experience. They must also submit professional resumes and two letters of recommendation.

  8. Excelsior College

    Albany, NY



    Excelsior serves students primarily through online education. More than 170,000 graduates hold Excelsior associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. With eight-week classes, coursework held entirely online, and asynchronous learning, degree candidates enjoy flexibility while they earn their degrees.

    The school offers a master’s in healthcare administration online with a 36-credit curriculum, allowing students to transfer up to 18 credits. Learners can also earn credits toward a master’s degree through relevant certifications, military service, and work experience.

    Required courses include communication strategy for the healthcare leader, quality management in healthcare, and healthcare finance. Learners also choose nine credits from across the graduate school to form specializations. For example, learners may take three courses in marketing, accounting, or human resources management. In the final semester, degree candidates complete capstone courses in which they complete projects that support their unique career goals.

    Excelsior provides students with several helpful resources, including an online library with access to e-books, journals, and academic papers. The Career Center at Excelsior College gives prospective, current, and graduated learners access to tools to guide them through their education. Students can get resume and cover letter critiques, learn about transitioning from military to civilian life, practice interviews, and determine which careers may fit them best. The Portfolium tool helps candidates create online, interactive portfolios that help them land jobs.

  9. Midwestern State University

    Wichita Falls, TX



    MSU educates more than 6,000 students, many of whom attend classes on campus in Wichita Falls, Texas. The school is the only university in Texas to earn membership to the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, which ensures that public schools provide a high-quality liberal arts education. U.S. News & World Report recognizes Midwestern State University as one of the top 10 schools for low, nonresident tuition rates.

    The school’s Robert D. and Carol Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services offers an online MHA program with four concentrations: health information management, public and community sector healthcare management, medical practice management, and rural and urban hospital management. Students earn 45 credits, which typically takes 2–3 years to complete.

    The curriculum includes 33 credits that all MHA students take and 12 credits for each concentration. The core courses include subjects such as health systems engineering and quantitative methods, healthcare and personnel law, managerial epidemiology and biostatistics, and healthcare financial management.

    The MHA program accepts learners from various educational backgrounds, but admission remains competitive. To qualify for unconditional admission, applicants must score at least in the 50th percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE and score at least 3.5 on the writing section. Candidates must also hold bachelor’s degrees with GPAs of at least 3.0. Finally, prospective students should boast volunteer, paid, or educational experience in healthcare.

  10. Youngstown State University

    Youngstown, OH



    What started as a single law course offered at the YMCA grew into a comprehensive research school in Youngstown, Ohio. YSU students enjoy an average class size of just 21 learners, more than 115 undergraduate programs, and at least 40 graduate degree options.

    YSU provides an online master’s in health and human services for current professionals in these fields who want to work in managerial roles. Learners select one of three concentrations: health promotion, healthcare administration, and health informatics. All master’s in health and human services students take 24 credit hours from the core curriculum, including courses in managing organizational talent, community health practice, health informatics, and healthcare reform.

    The healthcare administration concentration includes 11–13 credit hours from classes such as program planning and evaluation and planning and fiscal management. Courses take place asynchronously online through Blackboard.

    The curriculum ends with practicum or thesis courses, depending on each student’s preference. The practicum requires in-person internship hours near the student’s home and a comprehensive exam on all previous coursework. Degree candidates who choose the thesis option present their ideas to at least two faculty members.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.7 from an accredited university. Before enrolling, prospective students must pass courses in accounting, statistics, management skills, and research. Candidates with GPAs of at least 3.5 earn scholarships from YSU. Due to limited funding, such learners should apply early.

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