The Best Online Master’s of Healthcare Administration
| TBS Staff
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A master's in healthcare administration program prepares professionals for complex and demanding roles.
The healthcare field is currently experiencing faster-than-average growth driven by an aging population and increasing demand for services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 18% growth rate in health services manager employment between 2018 and 2028. Health services managers also have a median annual salary of $100,980, with the highest earners working in government or local, state, and private hospitals.
The following guide discusses how to choose a program, what to expect from your classes, and what careers are available to graduates.
What Is an Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Degree?
An online healthcare administration master's prepares students for management positions in health services organizations. Healthcare administration programs provide students with a broad understanding of leadership styles and information systems. Students also learn to solve financial problems and assess strategies for improved patient care.
"An online healthcare administration master's prepares students for management positions in health services organizations."
Some programs offer specializations like informatics, organization development and leadership, or healthcare policy. These options allow students to gain career-oriented skills like electronic medical records management, program development, and policy interpretation. Having a specialization can make candidates stand out to potential employers.
Online MHA programs typically attract healthcare professionals looking to enhance their management capabilities and pursue career advancement opportunities. Flexible online formats and limited on-site requirements allow for minimal interference with work, family, and other obligations.
Featured Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs
Choosing an Online MHA Program
While online MHA programs have much in common with one another, especially in terms of subject matter, prospective students should evaluate their differences to select the program that best fits their own unique goals and needs. Some factors to consider include the following:
- Program Cost: It is important to research each prospective school's tuition costs, fees, and financial aid options. Estimate your ROI by researching salaries in your local area.
- Transfer Policies: Look for generous transfer policies if you want to apply credits from another school or hope to earn competency-based credit for prior learning.
- School Size and Type: Online experiences can be greatly impacted by things like class sizes, whether the program uses a cohort or individual learning, and the amount and availability of student services.
- Program Length: Most master's programs take two years to complete, but some specializations or joint degrees, like MHA/MBA programs, take longer. Longer programs can increase overall cost.
- On-Campus Requirements: Some online MHA programs require students to attend on-campus residencies, which enrich the educational experience. However, they can be challenging obligations to meet for students who live far from campus, so it's best to research any such requirements before enrolling.
- Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: MHA programs usually culminate in a final project or on-site practicum at a local healthcare facility. Before enrolling, make sure you are prepared to complete all degree requirements.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Healthcare Administration Program?
Most online healthcare administration master's programs include coursework in team leadership, financial skills, information technology management, and organizational awareness. MHA programs typically require 36-42 credits.
Some degrees offer concentrations in areas like informatics, strategic leadership, healthcare policy, and global health. MHA programs may also require on-campus residencies or an on-site practicum.
Healthcare Administration Curriculum
- Clinical Systems Management: This course introduces concepts related to computerized clinical information systems and computer-based patient records. Coursework focuses on quality improvement, change management, governance, and clinical leadership development in complex healthcare settings.
- Organizational Behavior: This course explores the factors that affect the behavior, performance, and job satisfaction of employees. Coursework focuses on best practices for managing teams, individuals, and whole organizations. Students gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage and lead in healthcare settings.
- Health Economics: This course introduces students to the economic forces affecting the production, consumption, reimbursement, and financing of healthcare services. Coursework covers market characteristics of acute and long-term care services, insurance services, and healthcare labor. Students analyze healthcare operations and planning through the lens of demand, cost production, profit, and competition.
Accreditation for Online MHA Programs
Accreditation ensures that a school or program adheres to certain standards. The three types of accreditation are regional, national, and programmatic. All three types involve a rigorous, third-party review process of curriculum content and other factors like student services, school spending, and faculty qualifications.
National and regional accreditation apply to an entire institution. Regional accreditation, overseen by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, is generally considered more reputable than national accreditation, which often applies to for-profit institutions. Most regionally accredited schools do not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools.
Programmatic accreditation is a separate form of accreditation. Agencies and organizations evaluate and award this type of accreditation to individual programs and departments based on industry-specific educational standards. When researching online MHA programs, look for programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.
Healthcare Administration Jobs
An MHA provides highly transferable skills applicable to many careers. Potential industries include higher education, social services, advocacy, and government. A few of these careers are explored below.
Projected Job Growth
College administrators oversee administrative departments at universities, including things like student services, academics, or admissions. Job duties vary depending on the department. Administrators in student affairs assess and support non-academic activities, while academic administrators manage budgets and participate in appointing faculty.
These professionals typically need a master's degree in a relevant field, and employers may prefer prior experience in a postsecondary setting. An MHA provides applicable training in project management, team leadership, and financial skills. Excellent problem-solving, organizational, and interpersonal skills are required to succeed in this career.
Projected Job Growth
Medical and health services managers plan, direct, and coordinate the business activities of hospitals, outpatient facilities, and long-term care facilities. Tasks include goal development, staff development and supervision, financial management, and record-keeping.
An MHA is an ideal degree for aspiring medical and health services managers thanks to its interdisciplinary focus on healthcare systems, business administration, and health information technology. Successful managers have keen analytical, technical, and leadership skills.
Projected Job Growth
Social and community service managers coordinate and oversee community organizations and social service programs. Specific job duties vary depending on the organization's size and target demographic, but these professionals often recruit and train staff, analyze the effectiveness of service programs, and write funding proposals.
This career typically requires several years of experience and a bachelor's or master's in social work, business administration, public health, or a related field. Ideal candidates demonstrate excellent managerial, analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Healthcare Administration Professional Organizations
Consider joining a healthcare administration professional organization, like those listed below, to access webinars, scholarships, conferences, and online discussion boards.
The Best Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs
UNC represents the first public university in the U.S., welcoming its first students in 1795.
Students enrolled in UNC's executive master of healthcare administration program attend synchronous online classes once or twice a week. This program also includes three on-campus sessions per year, for a total of 14 days.
Students graduate in two years after completing 49 credits and writing a business plan or technical paper. Applicants must have three years of healthcare or public health experience and currently work in the industry. They must have a bachelor's degree and submit transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Originally conceived in 1740, Penn ultimately came to life in 1751 thanks to Benjamin Franklin.
Penn offers a master of science in nursing and health care administration in a hybrid format. Sample courses include current issues in health and social policy and concepts in healthcare economics.
Students must complete 14.5 course units to graduate. Applicants must hold a bachelor of science in nursing. Those with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 do not need to submit a GRE score. Applicants must also meet immunization requirements, possess CPR certification, and pass a drug and background check.
Penn State launched its online learning platform — World Campus — in 1998. Today, it offers more than 150 online degree programs.
Students can complete Penn State's master of health administration through online coursework and in-person management intensives. The program typically lasts 28 months, or seven semesters.
Students must complete 49 credits to graduate. Applicants should have at least 3 years of professional work experience and a bachelor's degree. They should also currently work in the health care field. Penn State prefers a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for undergraduate coursework.
Founded over 140 years ago, Johns Hopkins bears the distinction of America's first research university.
Johns Hopkins offers an online master of science in health care management program with a two-day on-site residency requirement. Courses include accounting for decision-making in health care, health care law and regulation, and frameworks for analyzing health care markets.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Applicants must gain admission to Johns Hopkins' Carey Business School and should expect to submit transcripts verifying the completion of a bachelor's degree, as well as recommendation letters.
Founded in 1880, USC taught just 53 students in its first semester. Now, enrollment has surpassed 46,000.
USC offers its executive master of health administration program in a hybrid format, combining both asynchronous and synchronous online lectures with in-person activities. Core competencies include communication, business and management knowledge, and knowledge of the healthcare environment.
Students must complete 36 credits and two four-day residencies to graduate. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater and have at least 5 years of work experience at the mid to senior level.
First opening its doors in 1972, FIU had the largest opening enrollment of any university when it welcomed 5,667 students for its first semester.
Students can earn a master of business administration in healthcare from FIU in just 18 months. The program combines accelerated online classes with three residency experiences, which may also take place online.
Students must complete 42 credit hours to graduate. Applicants must have at least two years of professional work experience, as well as a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for upper-division courses.
Founded over 150 years ago, UMN currently teaches more than 50,000 students.
UMN's master of healthcare administration program combines online learning with 26 days of on-campus study. Students complete the program in about 25 months. Sample courses include innovation of health care services and healthcare financial principles.
Students need 42 credits to graduate. Applicants should currently work in healthcare and hold three years of clinical leadership experience. They must also possess a 3.0 GPA for undergraduate coursework.
Founded as the first school of nursing in Nebraska, Clarkson graduates more than 350 students annually.
Clarkson offers a fully online master of science in health care administration program. Courses last six weeks, and students take one course at a time. Sample courses include healthcare analytics and health care project management.
Students must complete 39 credits to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts showing a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Appalachian represents just one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System.
Appalachian provides its master of health administration program online with one brief in-person campus visit per semester. Students can choose a concentration in health care leadership or information systems.
Students must complete 46 credits to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree and a personal statement. Students with a cumulative GPA less than 3.0 must also submit GRE or GMAT scores.
Founded in 1889, WCU currently offers more than 120 degree options to over 12,000 students.
WCU offers a master of business administration degree with a specialization in health care administration. Classes take place in a hybrid format, with students meeting face-to-face in Biltmore Park every other week.
Students must complete 36 credits and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in order to graduate. Full-time students can graduate in just three semesters.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of an undergraduate degree. WCU may also ask for GMAT or GRE scores depending on work experience or academic history.
Founded in 1893 with just one nursing program, PA College now offers more than 20 degree programs.
PA College offers a master of healthcare administration degree in a hybrid format. Students complete courses online and participate in two on-campus sessions throughout the program. Sample courses include leadership in healthcare, innovation and technology, and health promotion and disease prevention in a diverse society.
Students must complete 34 credits to graduate. Applicants must already have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or better and have earned at least a "C" grade in an undergraduate statistics course.
Founded in 1766, Rutgers currently teaches over 71,000 students.
Students enrolled in Rutgers' master of health administration program can choose between hybrid or online formats. Students can also choose between a traditional or executive MHA program based on their academic and work experience.
Students must complete 45 credits and a practicum to graduate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. The application process requires transcripts, a resume, at least 2 letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
Founded in 1869 by Cumberland Presbyterians, Trinity prides itself on its open, inviting atmosphere.
Trinity offers a part-time hybrid program for students earning a master of science in health care administration. Each semester begins with three days of on-campus study, and then transitions into online learning.
Students must complete 41 credits to graduate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and currently work in a healthcare setting. They must also have prior management experience.
Founded in 1901, Trevecca currently offers 17 master's degree programs.
Trevecca students can complete a master of health care administration degree fully online and in as little as 18 months. Students take just one asynchronous course at a time. Possible courses include operations management in health care, technology innovations in health care, and an optional 12-week practicum in a specific area of interest.
Students must complete 33 credits to graduate. Applicants must already have a bachelor's degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75. In addition, applicants must have earned at least a "C" grade in all undergraduate math and English courses.
Founded in 1821, GW celebrates its bicentennial in 2021.
GW first offered its master of health administration program online in 2014. This program does require some in-person immersion experiences. Students can complete the curriculum, which consists of eight 10-week modules, in as little as two years.
Students must complete 50 credits and 4 immersion experiences to graduate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and at least two years of full-time healthcare experience. They must also currently work in healthcare.
Although originally founded on Baptist principles, USW currently operates as a non-denominational institute.
USW not only offers an online master of business administration with a healthcare administration specialization, but also provides each student with laptop so they can complete their studies. Courses include leading healthcare organizations, controllership, and healthcare policy analysis and decision making.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Applicants must already have a bachelor's degree. The application process also requires a resume and a personal essay.
Founded in 1891, NMC remains a tight-knit community with just over 1,000 students enrolled.
NMC offers a 100% online master of business administration in healthcare degree program that students typically complete in 24-30 months. Potential courses include consumer health informatics, business intelligence and applied healthcare analytics, and healthcare IT project management.
Students must complete 42 credits to graduate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or above and should submit a written statement and resume along with their transcripts.
Founded in 1866, Roberts teaches its students with a Christian and liberal arts perspective.
Roberts offers its master of science in health administration program in a 100% online format. Students can finish in just 18 months. Courses include organizational leadership, health care finance management, and health care informatics.
Students must complete 43 credits to graduate. Roberts prefers applicants with at least two years of experience in the healthcare field and a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75.
Founded in 1959, Mary blends Benedictine values into its curriculum.
Students can complete Mary's online master of business administration with a healthcare specialization in as little as 16 months. Courses include healthcare law and policy, contemporary issues in healthcare, and healthcare organizations and finance.
To graduate with this specialization, students must complete the MBA program with nine credits in the required healthcare concentration courses. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75. Submit transcripts to apply.
Founded in 1819, UC currently enrolls more than 46,000 students.
UC offers an online master of health administration degree program. Sample course topics include emerging issues in health systems management, health care finance, and health policy and regulation.
Students must complete 40 credits to graduate and earn at least a "C" grade in all courses. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. In addition to transcripts, applicants must submit three references, a resume, and either a letter of intent or an essay.
Founded in 1873, SEMO currently offers more than 75 graduate degree programs.
SEMO students can earn an online master of science in healthcare management degree in a 100% online format. Possible courses include healthcare database systems, health psychology, and healthcare risk management.
Students must complete 30 credits to graduate. Applicants must have earned at least a 3.0 GPA during their undergraduate studies. They must also meet one of the following criteria: a GRE of 147 or better, a GMAT of 500 or better, or an active healthcare practioner's license.
First opening in 1888 as the Moorhead Normal School, MSU Moorhead underwent several name changes in the 20th century, finally earning its current iteration in 2000.
MSU Moorhead offers an online master of business administration with healthcare management degree program. Students can complete all courses through asynchronous online sessions with the option to also participate in live, interactive online sessions. Course topics include healthcare delivery science, healthcare economics, and organizational behavior.
Students must complete 37 credits to graduate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, plus a GMAT score of at least 450.
Founded in 1923, FranU weaves Franciscan values into its educational programs.
FranU offers a 100% online master of health administration program, which students can complete in 12 to 18 months with either a part- or full-time schedule. Courses include bioethics, health systems and trends, and quality and performance improvement.
Students must complete 31 credits to graduate. Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree. Those with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 must also submit an essay and two letters of recommendation. This program also has a prerequisite statistics course.
VCU first began its distance learning program in 1988.
VCU offers its master of science in health administration degree in a hybrid format. Students attend classes online and meet on campus six times throughout the program. Students — even those working full time — can complete the program in just 22 months.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and at least 5 years of professional healthcare experience, with management experience preferred.
One of 17 campuses in the UNC system, UNCG awarded its first graduate degree in 1891.
UNCG offers an online dual-degree program for a master of science in nursing and a master of business in administration in health management. Courses include research methods in nursing and law, policy, and economics of healthcare.
Students must earn 62 credits and complete a clinical practicum to graduate. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 and preferably one or more years of full-time clinical experience. Applicants must also pass a criminal background check, hold a current RN license, have a Basic Life Support certification, and meet vaccination requirements.
Online Master's in Healthcare Administration Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Featured Online Schools
Frequently Asked Questions
Full-time students can complete an online master's in healthcare administration in two years. Certain specializations and joint degrees may require 3-4 years.
Students who earn a master's in healthcare administration online can pursue careers in health services management, administrative services management, healthcare social work, and health information technology.
Salary potential varies by career, employer, and geographic location. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earn a median annual salary of $100,980.
Healthcare administration encompasses both the daily and long-term management, leadership, and oversight of complex healthcare systems like hospitals, outpatient facilities, and nursing homes.
An MHA is a graduate degree that prepares students for management careers in healthcare. Courses often cover health policy, marketing and communications, and financial analysis.
MBAs and MHAs teach similar competencies in business management, but an MHA focuses on the healthcare field. Some MHAs also require on-site practica.
While MHA graduates have excellent job prospects across the country, determining the best career is a subjective process that depends on individual priorities like pay, location, schedule, and job duties.
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