Earning a Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree means keeping abreast of the ever-evolving healthcare administration field. The rapid changes in healthcare policy in both the public and private sectors, combined with changing demographics, now pave the way for performance and technological advances, which are much needed today.
Many health administration professionals are also involved in other sectors of the US healthcare industry – and it’s a massive industry, too. You can work in a healthcare organization like a health insurance company, a healthcare marketing business, or a pharmaceutical company.
Keep in mind that every Doctor of Healthcare Administration and Doctor of Philosophy in Healthcare Administration program has its specific criteria, from admission to graduation. Research first about each program you’re interested in and its suitability for your personal and professional goals.
Healthcare Administration Defined
Also known as healthcare management, healthcare administration refers to the administration and management of public health systems and private healthcare systems. These include hospitals and hospital networks in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, outpatient clinics and departments, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.
Ready to earn a doctorate in Healthcare Administration? We picked 10 of the country’s best graduate schools and programs offered online. Our selection process hinges on these factors:
- Taught in online or hybrid or blended academic arrangements, meaning students are expected to attend web-based activities and meet certain coursework requirements on-campus, highlighting experiential learning,
- Emphasizes academic rigor through an array of relevant courses that prioritize the enhancement of a Healthcare Administration professional’s skill, equipping or preparing them for research-focused practice,
- Shapes strongly qualified Health Administration experts that are detail-oriented problem-solvers with a knack for analysis and excellent communicators,
- Features a learning platform or Learning Management System designed for easy access to doctorate coursework and hosting of online academic activities,
- Seasoned health administrators as professors,
- Offers financial assistance and other relevant aid, as well as career guidance for eligible doctorate students,
- Obtained appropriate academic accreditation and recognition from organizations and industries where Healthcare Administration leadership competencies are promoted,
Check out our Methodology to find out about our doctorate program ranking process.
The Best Online Doctor of Healthcare Administration Programs
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Doctor of Healthcare Administration
The online Doctor of Healthcare Administration program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) accepts experienced healthcare professionals with career advancement goals. Healthcare leaders gain advanced knowledge and skills that prepare them for the increasingly complex issues in healthcare administration.
The DHA program has two start dates – fall and spring terms – so applicants have greater flexibility. The part-time program of study makes it the best choice for current health services managers, too. The flexible online course schedules mean better work-life balance. All courses are conducted online, and there are no residency requirements.
Students complete 54 credits to earn the doctorate in healthcare administration degree. The curriculum consists of five areas of study – Healthcare Leadership, Healthcare Systems and Environment, Healthcare Finance, Health Systems Operations, and Data Analytics, and Doctoral Research Core. As a result, students develop the core competencies determined by the American College of Healthcare Executives and Healthcare Leadership Alliance.
Upon successful completion of the health administration program, graduates possess critical thinking, collaboration, and leadership skills vital in healthcare decision-making and healthcare delivery of services. Students must complete a healthcare administration-centric, evidence-based capstone project.
Core courses include:
- Demographics & Population Health
- Health Policy & Reform
- Informed Decision Making for Healthcare Executives
- Strategic Planning for Health Organizations
- Financial and Human Resources Management
The doctoral research subjects include healthcare research methods and a three-part series of capstone courses.
The selective admissions process includes applicants meeting stringent standards. These include a master’s degree or a doctorate degree with an overall GPA of 3.0, and 3-5 years of healthcare-related work experience, among others.
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences or MCPHS, a private university known for its medical and health sciences programs, is a regionally accredited institution by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Doctor of Business Administration – Healthcare Management
The online Doctor of Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Administration at Liberty University prepares students for leadership in the healthcare field. Students gain advanced training in human resources, financial management, and quality control, as well as applied research skills. The healthcare administration program emphasizes business administration in healthcare settings and, thus, practical skill sets.
The 60-credit curriculum of the doctorate in healthcare administration program can be completed in three years, on average, of full-time studies. With up to 50% transfer of credits allowed, the three-year completion rate is possible.
The courses are offered in eight-week terms, thus, allowing students to keep up with the coursework along with other obligations. Students benefit from the asynchronous delivery (i.e., no set log-in times) and eight start dates throughout the academic year.
The core courses in the doctorate in healthcare administration program include:
- Healthcare Informatics
- Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals
- Healthcare Administration
- Managing Human Capital in Healthcare
Students explore the complex relationships between stakeholders in healthcare systems and develop solutions to current issues. Technical skills, such as healthcare information technology and human resources management, are emphasized alongside transferable skills.
The health administration program is offered by the School of Business, an Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs-accredited school. Liberty University, among the largest private, non-profit institutions in the United States, is regionally accredited by the SACSCOC – Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.
Morehouse School of Medicine
Doctor of Health Administration
The online Doctor of Healthcare Administration at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) requires students to attend one in-person orientation. Students shouldn’t worry about the cost since MSM covers transportation and lodging expenses.
This is an applied research-centric Doctor of Health Administration program with an emphasis on health policy and management, healthcare leadership, and healthcare analytics. Students learn advanced research strategies, operational efficiency, and fiscal integrity, which are distinct MSM values. Graduates of the health administration degree program become notable leaders in diverse healthcare organizations.
The 55-credit curriculum of the DHA program consists of 15 terms, with each term lasting for eight weeks. The program of study is designed for a 36-month completion.
The 15-term curriculum has a sequential order that starts with the first eight terms as an introduction to the fundamentals of healthcare administration for managers. Terms 9 to 13 include topics on global health systems. Terms 14-15 cover research methods and capstone experiences.
The core courses include:
- Strategic Planning for Advancing a Digital World
- Policy & Politics for Healthcare Leaders
- Policy, Law, & Regulation for Healthcare Leaders
- Achieving Compliance in Healthcare
- Applied Research Methods in Health Administration
Admission into the selective health administration program doesn’t require GMAT/GRE scores. But applicants must have a master’s degree, at least one year of healthcare-related work experience, and two letters of recommendation. Exceptions to the work experience requirement can be granted to public health or health informatics graduates.
Per-credit tuition is $1,000 in the health administration program, but students can apply for financial aid.
Morehouse School of Medicine is a private co-educational graduate medical school accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Colorado Technical University
Doctor of Management – Healthcare Management and Leadership
Colorado Tech’s online doctorate in healthcare administration program trains future leaders in the complex healthcare industry. Students learn about business management in diverse healthcare settings.
The doctorate in healthcare administration curriculum consists of 100 credit hours with a residency component. The dissertation component is already integrated into the curriculum. The program of study complies with the American College of Healthcare Executives standards.
The core courses include:
- Management Theory
- Leadership Theories and Development
- Application of Action Research
- Strategic Thinking and Organizational Alignment
- Practice and Theory of Consulting and Intervention
Students can earn a doctor of healthcare administration degree in three years and learn from several in-person symposia. Applicants can choose from multiple start dates at their convenience, too. The online format results in flexible scheduling that works to the advantage of working professionals.
Graduation requirements in the health administration degree program include successful completion of the 100 credit hours and final dissertation. Academic advising is readily available to ensure satisfactory progress.
Financial aid options are aplenty in the health administration program. Students can save on tuition costs via military discounts, transfer of credits, and scholarships, as well as the Corporate Alliances Grant.
Colorado Technical University, a private for-profit university, is a regionally accredited institution by the Higher Learning Commission.
Doctor of Healthcare Administration
The online Doctor of Healthcare Administration program at Walden University is known for its holistic approach to healthcare systems and their management. Students become effective problem-solvers and influential leaders in healthcare organizations, thanks partly to an interdisciplinary curriculum and emphasis on real-world skills.
The curriculum aligns with the standards set by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).
Students must complete five seminars in the health administration program. The seminars are designed to allow students to make satisfactory progress on their capstone project. Students are also provided with exceptional academic advising from faculty members for this purpose.
The doctorate in healthcare administration degree has a maximum eight-year time-to-completion; an extension may be approved under extraordinary circumstances. Students with a master’s degree in healthcare administration can transfer up to five credits and, thus, earn the degree in a shorter time.
The curriculum consists of at least 63 quarter credits spread over the core, research methods, doctoral study seminars, and doctoral research courses.
Course titles include:
- Doctor of Healthcare Administration Foundational Concepts
- Advanced Healthcare Operations Management
- Research Theory, Design, and Methods
- Advanced Health Analytics and Data-Driven Decision Making
- Strategic Management and System Thinking
Students in the DHA program must also complete two residencies equivalent to at least eight days in addition to the capstone project. Every student can access the Doctoral Degree Coach and, thus, earn the healthcare administration degree within their planned timeline. The Coach allows students to track their milestones, meet targets and access useful resources as well as connect with their academic advisors.
Walden University, a regionally accredited university by the Higher Learning Commission, is a respected private online for-profit university.
A.T. Still University
Doctor of Health Administration
The online Doctor of Healthcare Administration program at A.T. Still University (ATSU) is offered through its College of Graduate Health Studies (CGHS). Students learn both the theory and practice that enable them to influence healthcare administration systems in impactful ways. Graduates are well-equipped for the challenges of healthcare leadership in the ever-changing and complex healthcare industry.
Students in the Doctor of Health Administration have the guarantee that their doctorate degree will be valued by prospective employers and professionals, too. ATSU’s reputation as among the best in healthcare education definitely precedes itself!
The curriculum in the Doctor of Health Administration program consists of 62 credit hours spread over 14 core courses and a dissertation. All the courses are completed 100% online, thus, allowing students maximum flexibility while still implementing standards of excellence.
Students in the Doctor of Health Administration degree program also have the choice between an applied or theoretical dissertation. Topics include public health or population health. Academic advisors are readily available for dissertation consultations, and ATSU offers exceptional student support services for its doctoral students.
The core courses include:
- Quality Improvement & Performance Excellence
- Health Policy, Law, and Regulation
- Negotiation, Mediation, and Managing Conflict
- Research Methods
The DHA program aligns with the standards of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
A.T. Still University, a nationally-recognized private medical school, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Established in 1892, it’s the world’s oldest continually operating osteopathic medical school.
Doctor of Healthcare Administration
Franklin University’s Doctor of Healthcare Administration program is aligned with existing healthcare policies. Students are then able to look at real-world issues within the context of current events, policies, and practices. Graduates are known to recommend fresh solutions to current issues and, thus, influence healthcare systems.
The DHA program has a 58-credit curriculum, but students can transfer up to 24 hours of previously earned credits. Students with transfer credits can then earn the healthcare administration doctorate degree in less time. The degree can be earned in three years, but it will depend on your actual dissertation progress.
All the courses in the health administration program are 100% online and include titles like:
- Doctoral Writing & Research
- Introduction to Quantitative Methods & Design
- Introduction to Qualitative Methods & Design
- Introduction to Statistics and Applied Statistics
- Advanced Mixed Methods Research & Design
Students in the doctorate in healthcare administration program praise the no-fear dissertation aspect. The dissertation process comes with step-by-step guidance from academic advisors – but there’s no spoon-feeding involved either!
Student support services include library services, graduate advisors, and the services of the Student Learning Center. The capstone project becomes less burdensome and more impactful as a result.
Graduates demonstrate a wide range of healthcare leadership theories and leadership competencies, including organizational strategies. No wonder most are in leadership positions in healthcare organizations, even in academia.
Applicants must have a master’s degree from a four-year college or university with accreditation from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The minimum GPA requirement is 3.0.
Franklin University, a private university with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, is known for its commitment to adult education and online learning.
Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services
Individuals interested in careers in healthcare policy, education, and research should consider the Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services program. Northcentral University ensures that its healthcare administration program is aligned with the current issues and trends in the healthcare industry.
Aside from theoretical research skills, students also learn practical skills in financial management and human resources management. But it’s in the area of educational leadership that its graduates are known for!
The health administration program consists of 20 courses totaling 60 credit hours. The time-to-completion is 45 months, but it can be longer depending on the progress of the dissertation.
Students in the doctorate in healthcare administration program learn from the best – 100% of its faculty members possess a doctoral degree themselves. The faculty members, who also serve as academic advisors, are recognized as experts in the field of health administration.
Graduates demonstrate expert-level abilities in critical thinking, problem-solving, and strategic planning. Their skill sets are underlined by strong ethics and current technologies in healthcare administration.
Northcentral University, currently a National University affiliate, is a private online university that offers doctoral degrees in diverse fields. The WASC – Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is its accrediting agency.
Indiana Wesleyan University
Doctor of Business Administration – Healthcare Administration
Students who want to earn a doctorate in healthcare administration degree from IndWes must complete 18 courses. This is a 36-month program, but students can take longer to complete it. The main goal isn’t to earn the degree in the fastest time but to gain the knowledge and skills for healthcare leadership, educational leadership, or organizational leadership.
The Doctor of Business Administration with a Healthcare Administration specialization is designed for international applications, too. Students learn within the Virtuous Business Model, IndWes’ distinctive learning strategy.
This is a unique health administration program due to its no-dissertation aspect. But students are encouraged to identify real-world issues and recommend solutions. There’s a stronger emphasis on business administration principles in the context of healthcare administration practices.
Students in the health administration program must attend a one-weekend residency every year. These include Success Skills and Completing the Doctoral Project residencies. There’s also a comprehensive exam.
The core courses include:
- Organizational, Community, and Global Health Administration
- Healthcare Law, Governance, and Ethics
- Healthcare Innovation, Informatics, and Change Management
- Issues in Strategic Planning and Organizational Development for Healthcare Administrators
- Applied Doctoral Program Evaluation and Assessment – Healthcare Administration
This is among the most affordable healthcare administration programs, too. IndWes also offers financial aid options to students pursuing doctoral degrees.
Admission requirements include a master’s degree in a health sciences, healthcare-related, or business administration field and five years of relevant work experience. The master’s degree must be from an institution with accreditation from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Department of Education.
Indiana Wesleyan University, a regionally accredited institution by the Higher Learning Commission, is nationally recognized for its academic excellence.
Doctor in Health Administration
Capella University’s Doctor of Healthcare Administration program has high ambitions for its students and graduates – to become transformative leaders in healthcare delivery! As the training ground for future leaders in health care, the program focuses on the development of leadership skills, including ethics, problem-solving, and communication.
The program welcomes students from diverse disciplines and, thus, encourages interprofessional education. Students come from the business administration, public health, and nursing fields, among others.
The health administration program has a 76-credit curriculum with course titles that include:
- Innovative Business Practices in Healthcare
- Strategic Financial Management in Healthcare
- Healthcare Policy Processes
- Survey of Research Methods
Students in the health administration degree program gain advanced skills in quantitative and qualitative data analysis. These skills are vital for research projects in healthcare organizations and academia.
Earning the Doctor of Health Administration degree requires the completion of a capstone project and virtual residencies. Tuition reductions are possible through transfer credits (up to 18 credit hours), scholarships, and grants. Capella is known for its employer and association discounts for students pursuing doctoral degrees.
Capella University, a regionally accredited institution by the Higher Learning Commission, is known for its online undergraduate and graduate educational programs.
Overview of the Online Doctor of Healthcare Administration Degree
There are two types of doctoral degrees in healthcare administration, namely:
- The Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) degree is an applied research degree, meaning candidates recommend solutions for current issues in healthcare administration. Students in a DHA program typically seek career advancement as managers, directors, and chief executive officers in the healthcare field.
- The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Healthcare Administration degree is a theoretical research degree with an emphasis on the creation of new knowledge. Students in a Ph.D. program usually seek careers in academia and research organizations like think tanks, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
Either one is a terminal health administration degree. This means it’s the highest academic degree that healthcare administration professionals can achieve.
Of course, it’s possible for professionals with either doctorate in healthcare administration degree to cross-pollinate, so to speak. Both degrees allow holders to conduct research, lead organizations, and teach in the healthcare industry, academia, and business industry.
Healthcare administration is a challenging field due to the complexity of health administration in particular and the health industry in general. Applicants to Doctor of Healthcare Administration programs must then meet stringent admissions requirements, including:
- A bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in health administration, health science, or business administration, among other relevant disciplines (The undergraduate or graduate degree requirement varies depending on the program of study offered. Many require at least a master’s degree, while others require a bachelor’s degree plus relevant work experience. Many programs have a bachelor-to-doctorate accelerated curriculum).
- Minimum cumulative GPA for the undergraduate or graduate degree. Specific GPA requirements vary, but competitive programs have a 3.0 minimum GPA requirement (on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent).
- Completion of prerequisite courses (This is particularly true for a doctorate in healthcare administration program that accepts applicants with only a bachelor’s degree.
- Satisfactory scores on either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). (Check the specific scores required for admission consideration. Some programs waive the GRE/GMAT requirements under certain conditions, too, such as outstanding academic performance and research papers).
- Letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors, and persons of authority who can attest to the applicant’s academic record, character, and work ethic.
- Personal statements (Many programs provide applicants with standard questions with specific formats and word counts. Be sure to follow instructions).
- Current résumé with relevant work experience and research projects highlighted.
When preparing your application documents, keep in mind that the best online doctor of healthcare administration programs prefer applicants with exceptional academic performance and potential. Admissions officers and program directors also look for potential research contributions; thus, applicants may be asked to present possible research areas of interest.
Most, if not all, selective online programs will conduct one-on-one interviews of shortlisted applicants. With doctorate degree programs requiring at least four years of intensive coursework and research, applicants must demonstrate the personal capacity to earn the degree. Aside from intellectual ability, vital character traits like motivation, perseverance, and passion are a must.
Individuals interested in pursuing a Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree should seriously consider the time commitment involved. This is true for the Ph.D. in Healthcare Administration degree, too, particularly because of the extensive research commitments required.
The Survey of Earned Doctorates discloses that the median time-to-completion for doctorate degree holders was 5.8 years. But note that many programs have a longer time-to-completion, ranging from six to seven years. Depending on the doctor of health administration program, the maximum time-to-completion can range from eight to 10 years.
The time-to-completion can be shortened, however, if graduate credits earned from a master’s degree can be transferred to the doctor of health administration degree. Many programs also accept doctorate degree credits from other regionally accredited institutions.
Note, too, that Ph.D. and DHA programs demand commitment and concentration that precludes holding down a full-time job. In this case, you should consider an online program with flexible course schedules (i.e., part-time, asynchronous courses), if you’re juggling personal and professional obligations.
Format, Curriculum, and Courses
Ph.D. and Doctor of Healthcare Administration programs set high standards for their doctoral students for good reasons. Doctorate degree holders are considered experts in the healthcare administration field and, as such, must demonstrate their knowledge and skills. This is achieved through a blend of advanced coursework and research, with the dissertation as the culminating requirement.
Doctoral students must pass several major examinations as they progress through the doctor of healthcare administration program. But there are none of the tests, quizzes, and exams that undergraduate students tackle!
Instead, their coursework builds their knowledge and, thus, confidence in the wide range of subjects related to healthcare administration. This is in preparation for the major oral and written exams, namely:
- The qualifying exam that marks the formal entry into the program;
- The preliminary exam includes written and oral components intended to demonstrate readiness for the dissertation phase; and
- The final exam, where candidates present and defend their dissertations in front of a panel of faculty members and other experts
Students in a typical doctoral program may also be required to participate in workshops and seminars, make presentations during conferences, and work alongside faculty members in their research projects.
Not all Doctor of Healthcare Administration programs require their doctoral students to submit an approved dissertation. Most programs, however, have a dissertation requirement for graduation purposes. Such is the crucial importance of a dissertation in a doctoral program in health administration that applicants may be required to present potential titles!
Such is the challenge of creating original research that many students in healthcare administration programs drop out after completing all the coursework but without completing their dissertations. This has given rise to the term “ABD” (All But Dissertation) for doctorate degree dropouts, although it’s a tongue-in-cheek reference.
For reference, the Council of Graduate Schools published a study that pointed to a 56.6% completion rate among Ph.D. students (2008). The difficulty of the dissertation phase is among the reasons given for such a low graduation rate.
Tip: Meet your future academic advisor before enrolling in a doctorate degree program. The level of support from your academic advisor will have a significant influence on your ability to complete a dissertation and, thus, earn a doctorate degree. You may also want to communicate with their former and current students to get a general idea of their expectations, support, and work ethics.
Doctoral students in healthcare administration programs must be prepared for the advanced principles and practices tackled in their coursework. Every Ph.D. and Doctor of Healthcare Administration program has its specific courses and sequence that applicants must take note of; most programs post their curricula on their official pages. The typical curriculum is a mix of courses in health administration as well as research and dissertation coursework.
- Research Methods – Students examine in greater detail advanced research methodologies suitable for their dissertation and future research projects. The course covers effective literature review, statistical interpretation and analysis, and institutional review boards.
- Applied Research Techniques – Students learn practical applications of research methods in finding solutions for real-world issues in healthcare administration.
- Doctoral Project Proposal – Students write and defend their dissertation research proposal in front of their advisory committees and department chair. This is the first step toward the completion of their dissertation and, thus, serves as a measure of their success so far.
- Foundations of Health Policy – Students evaluate and explore the healthcare policy in the United States and the healthcare delivery systems, both current and emerging.
- Communications in Healthcare Organizations – The course is an exploration of the principles and practices in internal and external communications within healthcare organizations. Topics covered include knowledge management, mediation and negotiation, and public relations.
- Strategic Change Management – Students examine the effective and efficient strategies in leading healthcare organizations amidst the rapid changes in the industry. Strategic change management is a crucial component of organizational performance in the short-term and long-term periods.
- Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability – The course examines the key principles and practices in financial management in relation to healthcare delivery. Financial and managerial accounting are covered.
- Healthcare Law, Regulations, and Ethics – Students explore the legal and ethical aspects of healthcare delivery. Patient rights and interests are also discussed in depth since these are at the core of health administration.
- Current Topics in Health Administration – The course is an examination of the current issues and future trends in the healthcare administration landscape. Innovative systems are covered, too.
- Epidemiology – Students examine the epidemiological tools used in healthcare decision-making at the management level.
Many, if not most, online Doctor of Healthcare Administration programs have a residency component, but it’s usually more convenient than on-campus programs. Students may be required to attend face-to-face, on-campus residencies that allow students to:
- Establish personal connections with their peers and professors
- Build their networks
- Orient them on the requirements of the doctorate program
- Provide them with useful assistance in the completion of their doctoral dissertation
- Access on-campus student support services (e.g., peer mentoring, writing and career services, and academic advising)
Internships are uncommon in Ph.D. and Doctor of Healthcare Administration programs. But students may be allowed to take on graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. These assistantship programs are designed to provide candidates with a means to finance their studies and gain work experience.
Skills and Competencies Gained
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) lists competencies that professionals in healthcare administration are encouraged to possess. These competencies are a must in every complex healthcare environment, particularly for leadership positions. Organizational performance, organizational development, and global health are among NCHL’s focus areas in health administration.
Among these competencies are the following:
- Change leadership
- Team leadership
- Communication skills
- Achievement orientation
- Financial management skills
- Innovative thinking
- Organizational awareness
- Talent development
- Strategic planning and orientation
- Impact and influence
Critical thinking is also an important trait among health care administrators, whether it’s in solving human resources issues or in data analysis. Technical competency is a must, too, considering that many aspects of healthcare administration and healthcare delivery depend on science and technology. Basic computer skills are part of the technical competency component.
Holders of Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree should demonstrate professional capacity in the following areas:
- Knowledge and skills in research methodology in healthcare administration settings
- Evidence-based leadership and data-driven decision-making in ever-evolving healthcare systems and environments
- Application of ethical and legal principles to the practice
- Use of effective risk management practices in healthcare settings
Ultimately, a doctorate in health administration degree will open doors of opportunities for career advancement. But what you do after being hired is your sole responsibility.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Individuals interested in earning a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree must also be aware of the financial commitments involved. While tuition costs, particularly per-credit costs, vary between healthcare administration programs in public and private institutions, average online per-credit costs range from $600 to $900, but they can be higher, too.
But it isn’t just the per-credit costs and other fees that doctoral students in health administration programs must take into account. If you’re in the dissertation phase, you may run out of funding for your research and studies. You may have to find part-time or full-time paid work that, in turn, will reduce the time dedicated to writing your dissertation.
Tuition costs may be partly or significantly covered by a financial aid package. Doctoral students are still eligible for federal financial aid (FAFSA), albeit with different terms than undergraduate students. Scholarships, grants, and assistantships, as well as loans, make up for the money gap.
Professional Certifications and Licenses
Even with a doctorate in health administration degree, certain occupations in healthcare administration require licensure. All states, for example, require nursing home administrators to secure a license. The NAB, or National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Board, has specific state-by-state requirements.
Certification isn’t compulsory, too, but healthcare administration professionals can benefit from being certified in specific areas of practice. Check out the professional certifications from the American College of Health Care Administrators (e.g., Certified Assisted Living Administrator and Certified Nursing Home Administrator designations) and Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (Health information management certification)
Healthcare administration professionals should also consider joining healthcare industry organizations. Examples include the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society, University Health Systems Consortium, Healthcare Financial Management Association, and American Hospital Association.
Doctor of Healthcare Administration Job Outcomes and Prospects
The doctorate in healthcare administration degree is a stepping stone toward top-level positions in whatever healthcare organization you’re in. The doctorate degree is a valued credential even among current healthcare administrators who want to shift careers, such as from the corporate sector to academia or the reverse.
Roles and Responsibilities of Healthcare Administrators
The actual roles and responsibilities of healthcare administrators and managers vary based on their organization and position in it. In general, however, healthcare administrators are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating healthcare services.
Their workplaces may require management knowledge and skills for an entire facility, a specific department, or multiple clinics for physicians. No matter their workplaces, healthcare administrators must be updated about the current healthcare policies, laws, and regulations. Being updated about the latest in healthcare technologies is also a must for success.
Among the vital technologies in health administration is the electronic health record (EHR) system. These are designed to capture, store and secure patient health information, aside from complying with existing state and federal regulations. These professionals must also be capable of data analysis.
Healthcare administrators must also be knowledgeable and skilled in healthcare-related economics, including financial management. Their financial management duties range from overseeing budget preparations and ensuring on-time payments and collections.
Of course, at the heart of the job of healthcare administrators is patient care, particularly in efficiently delivering medical and healthcare services. Human resources management is also at the core of their job since the performance of staff members, from the doctors to the janitors, has a direct impact on the quality of patient care.
Average Salary and Job Outlook for Healthcare Administrators
The healthcare administration field is, indeed, among the best industries! Not only is it among the largest industries in the United States, but its jobs are among the best-paying occupations. Federal data reveal that medical and health services managers earned $101,340 in median annual wage. This figure is more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is also projecting an employment growth of 28% (2021-2031) in the medical and health services management sector. There are 56,600 openings expected every year, on average, for the sector in the healthcare industry.
The sustained demand for healthcare administrators is fueled by the increased need for healthcare workers and facilities to cater to the aging population. The widespread use of EHR systems will also fuel the demand for healthcare administrators with expert skills in their management.
Possible Occupations for Professionals with Doctor of Healthcare Administration Degrees
Of course, the term “healthcare administration” is a catch-all term, but there are plenty of specific occupations that a Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree can open!
Chief Executive Officer
In the highest position in many healthcare organizations, such as hospitals and clinic networks, the CEO is responsible for overall management. Their duties include setting, implementing, and evaluating the organization’s strategic plans, including asset allocations, market penetration, and patient care.
Chief Operations Officer
The COO is considered the right-hand man and, thus, second in command to the CEO. As a senior executive, the COO is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the healthcare organization. In a hospital setting, the COO ensures that the departmental activities are in working harmony and in compliance with standards.
Chief Financial Officer
The CFO is the executive-level authority on financial management matters in healthcare organizations. Their duties include ensuring the accuracy, timeliness, and compliance with existing regulations of the financial statements and reports.
Director of Operations
The Director of Operations must be updated about existing healthcare policies in line with duties that include planning, directing, and coordinating medical operations. Patient care, budget implementation, and project management are a few of the crucial duties involved.
Community Health Director
Professionals with a doctorate degree in healthcare administration who want to make a difference at the community level will find the work of community health directors fulfilling. Their job involves the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of community-based health programs, including health promotion and disease prevention projects.
College professors train the next generation of professionals in the healthcare field. Their job also involves research in diverse areas of health sciences.
Being a consultant is rewarding, too, considering the flexibility that the job entails. Their main duties include providing recommendations for the improvement of operations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an online Doctorate degree in Healthcare Administration worth it?
Yes, it is! You will have more opportunities for career advancement, whether you want to be a tenured professor or an executive officer. You can also parlay your doctorate degree into a career in consulting.
Can you be called a “Doctor” with your Doctorate degree in Healthcare Administration?
Yes, you can be called a “Doctor” with your doctorate degree. But you may have to explain that it isn’t a medical designation per se for people who aren’t familiar with the term.
What kind of impact can you make with a Doctorate degree in Healthcare Administration?
As part of the army of healthcare administrators, you can influence positive and profound changes in the healthcare systems! You can do so whether you’re a professor training future professionals, a researcher adding to the body of knowledge, or an executive leading the charge.
- The Doctor of Healthcare Administration degree is a sought-after academic credential among healthcare leaders because of its huge impact on the holder’s knowledge and skill sets. The formal training complements work experiences among experienced healthcare administrators.
- But earning a doctorate degree isn’t without its challenges! The cost of tuition and the demands of the dissertation are among the most-cited reasons for the difficulty of the endeavor.